Similar to other industries, the pandemic also affected the packaging industry. The health crisis allowed the industry to refocus on sustainability as concerns on hygiene have increased. With increased e-commerce activities, package designs will change since previous designs focused mainly on physical stores.
Aside from design, you can expect new technologies to emerge that are suitable for the packaging industry. These technologies can improve efficiency and productivity. Here are the technologies that you may want to check if you’re in the packaging industry.
Computer vision is an area of artificial intelligence (AI) where computers are trained to identify and recognize the visual world. It traces its roots to the 1950s, where neural networks detected the edges of objects to allow it to classify them into simple categories, such as squares and circles.
The 1970s saw the use of computer vision to decipher handwritten or typewritten text through optical character recognition. The technology advanced further with the availability of facial recognition software. It later allowed machines to differentiate different persons in videos and photos.
When it comes to packaging, computer vision can ensure the finished product has no errors. It allows the computer to compare files and catch any color, text, or logo errors. With this, printing errors will be avoided, which can reduce overruns. The technology also ensures all packages sent to customers are error-free.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Designing and creating new packaging designs used to take months to complete. There are instances when it would take a long time if the clients are not keen on the design. It will go back to the drawing boards and go through the same design and creation process.
The coming of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) has made the entire process easier and faster. It allowed designers to work on virtual and 3D mockups of the packaging. Instead of working on physical packaging, the designers can easily modify the design without printing, folding, and cutting the designs.
AR facilitates the design and creation of digital mockups of the packaging. On the other hand, AR allows designers to see how the packaging looks like in the real world. Additionally, these two technologies can limit errors when businesses start printing using the foil stamper machine. Any errors may cause companies to lose time and money since the machine uses a special foil when creating different colors and designs simultaneously.
Many industries have adopted the use of automation tools to increase productivity and efficiency. Similarly, the packaging industry has also incorporated these tools in its operation. These tools reduce the frustration experience during the packaging process. It also makes the process smooth and streamlined.
These tools can deal with any bottlenecks in the system. Automation allows companies to increase the speed of the packaging process while reducing costs. This is facilitated when the company uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Automating information gathering and allowing the computer to work on the designs can remove the frustration companies feel when working on the packaging process.
The packaging industry has also increased its reliance on the internet. Similar to ordinary consumers, it’s in their best interest if the speed is faster than usual. With this, the coming of 5G connectivity facilitated communication and connection between packaging companies and their clients. It also made it easier for companies to connect with their suppliers in real-time. Faster connectivity means they can resolve any issues as they encounter them.
The industry has encountered fewer connectivity issues that once plagued it in the past. Around a decade ago, communication between companies and clients wasn’t as good as it is today. Even communication between rank-and-file employees and management was also inefficient. But 5G technology has made it possible for companies to easily send messages to their employees, clients, and suppliers.
In 2020, the number of social media users in the United States was more than 220 million. This figure will increase in the coming year as people go online more often. The technology makes it easier for companies to test different package designs through focused testing.
Social media also does away with the need to print designs to get feedback from people who need to see them. Posting these designs on social media also makes it easier to get the necessary feedback. People can easily share their ideas through messaging apps. Additionally, social media platforms allow people to stay in touch with each other.
Even as these technologies have benefited the packaging industry, companies should be receptive to any changes in the future.