The packaging industry is always looking to incorporate innovative design features and advanced technologies to produce new packaging products and ever more sophisticated systems. With the Packaging Innovations Show in the UK just around the corner we thought we’d take a look at the rapidly developing area of smart packaging, an area of real interest for AirPack.
We think some of the most interesting developments and capabilities for ‘smart’ packaging are in the areas of temperature control and monitoring, shock and impact monitoring and location tracking.
Pharmaceuticals, biologics and blood products need to be not only temperature controlled throughout the supply chain but also carefully monitored for any temperature fluctuations which may occur which could compromise the safety or effectiveness of the product but not be immediately obvious – unlike perishable foods for example, where the deterioration is likely to be much more apparent.
A real catalyst for the latest generation of high performance and ‘smart’ packaging products are advancements in drug developments, which include the increase in more fragile and temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products. Rapid development in the life sciences sector includes the rise in temperature-sensitive ‘biologics’, which are biologically based pharmaceuticals as opposed to chemically-based. It is predicted more than 50 percent of approved new drugs will be biologics within the next few years.
New packaging solutions are being developed which not only protect fragile items and keep them at the required temperature, but also include the ability to store and provide recorded data for accurate traceability of temperature fluctuations throughout the supply chain journey. We see this as an important and rapidly developing area and opportunity for new packaging developments.
Shock and Impact Monitoring
In a similar way to temperature monitoring, products which are fragile or particularly sensitive can increasingly be measured for impacts and shocks, with everything from simple shock sensors to sophisticated data logging capabilities now being developed.
New technical packaging advancements include web-based management software solutions designed to track individual shipments around the world. GPS is perhaps one of the most significant of the latest developments in response to ensuring the protection and tracking of high value shipments.
Cloud-based systems offer a range of capabilities such as shipment alerts, more accurate logistics forecasting and real-time reports, capturing and monitoring information throughout the course of the shipment.
Bringing It All Together
As smart packaging develops further and becomes more accessible it’s easy to see how the potential for combining these measurement, logging and reporting capabilities will provide further efficiency and quality improvements – for example offering insight to find out at what point and where a failure occurred and to develop improved future processes.
With packaging becoming ever smarter and the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming an increasing part of our everyday lives and making real-time data more and more accessible, the possibilities for innovation in the packaging industry continue to get more exciting. So, just a few more reasons to look forward to the Packaging Innovations Show – we look forward to seeing you there!
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