Innovation Zone ThePackHub -


Welcome to this week’s Innovation Zone snapshot from ThePackHub.

ThePackHub collates up to 20 new packaging innovations every week. We have selected four brand new initiatives that we hope will be on interest to you below.

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#1 Label-free beer branding ‘tattooed’ onto bottles

AB InBev owned Beck’s has announced the introduction of an alternative printing method that might reinvent how branding is applied to packs. The system uses only ink and no paper labels for their famous beer brand. The Beck’s brand name is ‘tattooed’ onto the bottles rather than printed onto labels. Ink and varnish are both applied directly to the bottle, which wraps around the entire bottle. An initial run of 200,000 bottles will road test the new technology, which has both environmental and cost benefits to be enjoyed due to the removal of paper use. The initial run is for the UK market but may be expanded further afield.  The bottles are digitally embossed to give them a tactile effect. This is achieved via a colourless ink that is used to mimic glass embossing. There are nine bottle designs in a collaboration with six up-and-coming artists as part of a limited-edition run of Beck’s Artist Series. The direct object printing technology is being developed at AB InBev’s Tattoo Alpha Plant in Leuven, Belgium. See also 360 degree direct-to-glass print capability coming to US beer market.


More info in The Innovation Zone.

#2 Patented container and lid combo offer plastic bag free solution

The XBRIK project is a patented container and lid initiative hoping to transform how solid-food food packaging is produced and used. The innovation, which is ready for United States commercialisation, is a container with a plastic opening lid and closure that has some good consumer added functionality. The solution can help contain perishable products such as cereals, nuts, porridge, coffee, biscuits, pasta, sugar, salt and rice.  XBRIK does not carry an inner bag and it is reported that could do away for the need for plastic bags for a range of products.  The fully recyclable and reusable container consists of a laminated container with two micro sheets of PP. It is estimated that the lack of an inner bag can cut cost by around 30% in high volume situations.
More info in The Innovation Zone.

#3 Graphene’s carbon footprint reduction potential for packaging being scoped

Graphene has first isolated back in 2004 and has been successful introduced within industries such as electronics and automotives. The material has a variety of potential applications and may even replace existing technologies. The opportunities within the packaging arena are thus far less understood with a handful of initiatives coming to the attention of the Innovation Zone. However, multinational food packaging supplier Tetra Pak hopes to move things forward significantly with the announcement of a concept project to explore graphene’s potential use for packaging applications. Tetra Pak is representing the packaging industry as part of the European Commission Graphene Flagship project. The project team will test to see how graphene could offer coatings to reduce supply chain carbon footprint.  Graphene is a carbon-based material that is around 200 stronger than steel. It is an excellent conductor of heat, electricity and has a wide range of light absorption abilities. Graphene’s ultra-thin flexible sensors could also used as data carriers for smart and intelligent applications. See also these articles from the Innovation Zone exploring graphene use in packaging innovation.


More info in The Innovation Zone.

#4 E-commerce mailer uses paper-based cushioning material for easier recycling

Henkel’s Adhesives Technologies business unit has developed a paper-based mailer that helps improve recyclability in the growing e-commerce channel. The solution includes a proprietary cushioning material that can be easily separated for recycling. The padded mailer replaces the traditional bubble envelope used extensively and has been recently adopted by e-commerce behemoths Amazon. The EPIX mailer has the key functional attributes of a padded mailer, but includes weight reduction improvements as well as better impact resistance. The mailer is easy to separate the fibre from the cushion to facilitate recovery of the latter in the re-pulping process. The technology allows more than 90% of the pulp to be recovered.  ‘Widely recyclable’ accreditation from How2Recycle permits consumers to place the entire mailer into their recycling bin.  The mailer is manufactured in multiple sizes and with different levels of protection to provide a choice of packaging closet in size to the contents, therefore negating the requirement for additional packing materials. See also E-Commerce paper padded mailer is fully recyclable.

More info in The Innovation Zone.

Please visit ThePackHub or call us on +44(0)118 963 9990 to find out more about the range of packaging innovation services we offer. We’ve delivered projects for a number of brand owner, retailer and packaging suppliers.

Until next time. Happy innovating.

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