Thanks to ongoing technological advancements and a rich history of protecting goods in transit, storage and distribution, the future looks rosy for corrugated packaging.
Major investment in new technology and manufacturing plant is achieving new operating economies, which the industry passes on to its customers. Technology advances are complemented by 100 years’ experience of solving problems. A vast programme of research and development is leading to more economic products and more responsive customer service.
Technical advances during the last decade have produced weight savings of 20 per cent without impairing protective or structural qualities. And the drive for improved weight reductions continues. Advances in material science are leading to new types of structural products such as corrugated pallets that offer huge economic and other advantages.
Distribution issues of the Future
The packaging industry is focused on the distribution issues of the future, such as the development of intelligent packaging that is instantly identifiable, along with agreed standards for the sizes of the boxes, trays and other packaging to make products easy to stack, store and unpack. It is also introducing customer-led services supported by Just-in-Time and Efficient Consumer Response systems.
At the cutting edge of R&D, the industry is already exploring ways to make this vision a reality by effectively integrating smart chips into corrugated packaging. The goal is to create packages that are so easily identifiable and secure, they will make barcodes look primitive.
It is also the most versatile packaging. It can be printed or plain, have a smooth white outer surface for high quality graphic images and brown inside for improved economics.
High Quality Post Print (HQPP)
The latest technological developments have made high quality printing a practical proposition for extending brand images to transit packaging. Leading corrugated case manufacturers are able to offer low-cost, short print runs for special promotions. Now more information such as the use-by-date can be put into bar codes and adjusted more frequently. Other information such as assembly instructions can be printed on the box. Some manufacturers are already exploring other encryption possibilities such as secreting information in the glue or the board or adding smart chips. Improved identification of products assists with proof of ownership or to support issues of due diligence.
The corrugated packaging story has many chapters yet to be written.