Packaging goes green

The packaging industry faces changing times and environmental challenges.

© Jon Anders Wiken / AdobeStock

© Jon Anders Wiken / AdobeStock

Week after week, large numbers of people move through many different cities and protest in favour of better climate policy and sustainable consumption. Even those who don't choose to demonstrate experience a form of sensitisation to environmental issues; one that we haven't seen over the past few decades, and not in such a determined manner.

In short: everyone's talking about climate change and its consequences for us all.

The topic is hotly debated every day at the scientific, political and economic level. Humans have an influence on the most important climate-related factors that shouldn't be underestimated: greenhouse gases; primarily CO2 and methane. Plastic waste in our oceans is also an important topic currently.

packaging is going green…

The resulting pressure on the packaging industry to act is great, and a wide range of new technologies is being developed and new materials are being tested. Currently, new or modified machine types are being developed by manufacturers, and innovative production techniques and processes by operators.

This new generation of machines, which is only just emerging, will of course pick up and continue the trends of digitisation and IoT. In specific terms, this means that many machine manufacturers are implementing innovative technologies such as predictive maintenance, digital twins and intelligent data exchange in their new machines.

Not only the data itself, but also the quality and presentation of information about the machine, its use, as well as service and maintenance are of vital importance.

If, instead of thousands of pages of operating and service instructions in paper form, we could make the required information available on an HMI (Human Machine Interface), in the content delivery portal or on data glasses, depending on the target audience and context, this will save search times, reduce repair times and increase machine uptime. At the same time, we can make a valuable contribution to both forest and overall climate protection.

Our experience in current projects within the packaging industry shows that this technological change can be combined very well with a reorganisation of information production and publication to the user.

If, for example, a service procedure could be sent precisely to the technician on-site, the technician could then intuitively find the required information within a very short time and get the machine up and running again. Such a solution would make sense, in terms of availability and in the best possible benefit, be a value-add, as well as being environmentally friendly.

When we consider how many business trips (preferably by plane) the service technicians of our customers in the packaging industry travel around the globe, in order to maintain, repair, and put machines back into operation, then intelligent, digital information management is a sustainable measure that can certainly make a positive environmental impact.

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