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Packaging revolutionised by industry 4.0

28 Feb 2022 —
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As manufacturing is transformed by Industry 4.0, packaging must also be part of the digital revolution, to increase competitiveness in today’s fast-moving markets.

As manufacturing is transformed by Industry 4.0, packaging must also be part of the digital revolution, to increase competitiveness in today’s fast-moving markets.

This exciting evolution targets operational excellence by increasing overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) and enabling total productive maintenance (TPM). It uses big data, interconnectivity and automation to give greater control across all channels in the packing line.

The seamless integration of business systems that were once separate should result in huge leaps in productivity, allowing for high levels of customisation at a lower cost. In fact, Industry 4.0 could add $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030, according to a study from Accenture*.

Conquering current challenges

Packaging is both an important customer interface and a vital part of the value chain. However, innovation has given rise to diverse products with shorter life cycles, making packing efficiency more costly and complex at a time when the sector is trying to achieve the opposite.

Modern lines need to be flexible to produce customised packaging in a variety of readily available formats.

What is smart packaging?

Industry 4.0 innovation helps solve these problems, enhancing functionality to best meet demand. How? Smart packaging uses digital sensors that track and record product details related to temperature, humidity, motion, pressure and usability. It detects changes and shares that information, which helps to extend shelf life, verify freshness, confirm quality and improve safety. Depending on the context, smart packaging can also be adapted to other applications, such as compliance and traceability, or even inventory control.


From GPS trackers, scannable barcodes and anti-tampering labels to special films, liners and barriers, many state-of-the-art packaging solutions are already available. But it won’t stop there: Smart packaging is becoming increasingly smarter as the Internet of Things (IoT) gets exponentially more advanced and secure.


At this rate, smart packaging is expected to unlock significant time and money-saving benefits for companies and customers alike, with global market value predicted to reach $52 billion by 2025.

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Big data builds better lines

To be equipped for 4.0 success, packaging systems must be connected, adaptable and modular. These new-generation machines will continuously diagnose and report information thanks to technology that optimises real-time performance, promotes smart energy consumption, monitors processes remotely, and predicts maintenance.

To make the shift, packaging line processes and materials need to be revamped, with data analytics at the heart of the efficiency-boosting process. The strategy should include collecting automated data on overall equipment effectiveness for better visibility on quality, performance and availability.

For production to run smoothly, operations need to be consistent between all machines, so the data can be used to help prevent interruptions to the process.

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Analysing total cost of ownership can help to maximise the value of future packaging lines with calculations based not only on the purchase price, but also on costs linked to mass customisation, upgrades, production flexibility, and power consumption.

It is anticipated that machinery for smart packaging will be easier to operate and maintain, and a study on Industry 4.0 by PwC** shows that 43% of companies expect to lower costs by more than 20% over the next 5 years.

Additionally, the same report says that within 5 years, 61% of companies will be enhancing maintenance through the use of big data analytics. Packaging with big data collected from sensors paired with direct online connectivity enables TPM by setting proactive measures and auto-request maintenance actions.

This is an important step towards fulfilling the Industry 4.0 goal toward zero tolerance.

Path to Packaging 4.0

The upgrade to Industry 4.0 will set new standards for excellence in packaging. The expectation will be rapid mass personalisation and production, with very few defects, accidents or breakdowns.
Many exciting developments lie ahead, and the benefits apply to all packaging companies, both small and large.

Getting started doesn’t have to be a complex matter: Patience is an essential part of the process as incremental changes brings bigger advantages. Through its adaptable packaging solutions and expertise, Antalis can work with you to find the right path towards 4.0 transition.