When people think of packaging, we usually consider it in terms of its traditional functions: providing physical and barrier protection, containment, information, security, and marketing opportunities. Today, thanks to printed electronics technology, packaging can also be a data point, a switch or even a sensor.
This packaging evolution is being driven by the significant rise in smartphone and tablet use among consumers along with the simultaneous advancement of wireless and sensor communication technologies, such as NFC, BluetoothLE and 2D barcodes. Together they are pushing an unprecedented transformation of products and packaging. No longer is intelligent packaging used simply as a means to sell more product by making packages stand out on the shelf, but technology is also enabling important functional applications including sensors for cold chain monitoring, product shelf life management, as well as marketing and supply chain analytics.
In fact, the global demand for electronic intelligent packaging devices is currently at a tipping point and will grow rapidly to $1.45 billion within 10 years, reaching 14.5 billion units within electronic functionality within the decade.1
To meet this growing demand, Jones is collaborating with T+Sun (Sun Chemical, T+ink) to enable the printing of its Touchcode™ touchscreen sensitive coding. This invisible code has the ability to activate any touchscreen with web apps or dedicated applications and can be accessed by most multi-touch devices like smartphones or tablet computers, thereby connecting physical products to mobile devices. The use of this technology could prove particularly valuable in the areas of brand protection and marketing. And, it’s more secure than QR codes offering important anti-counterfeit applications.
We have also entered into a commercial partnership with Thin Film Electronics ASA ("Thinfilm”) to create a ‘smart packaging’ solution for pharmaceutical brands to address product integrity and patient safety in Rx and OTC medication packaging. By integrating Thinfilm’s NFC OpenSense™ technology into paperboard pharma packaging and establishing key manufacturing processes for production on our high speed lines, we connect the world of physical packaging to virtual and dynamic content on the internet.
Also, as a Tier 1 partner in the National Research Council’s Printable Electronics Consortium, we are taking part in the development of materials and manufacturing processes to create intelligent packaging that will help patients manage their complex medication regimes. Through the use of printed electronics technology, we are developing adherence packaging that could log when medications are taken and provide notifications to a patient reminding them of their next dosage.
There’s no doubt – the future of printed packaging is here. Contact us to learn more about our intelligent packaging solutions that will add interactivity and functionality to your products.