Digital innovation and sustainability in the future of processing & packaging

Published: 18/05/2022

The processing & packaging supply chain is one of the most dynamic and complex industries in Italy, considering various actors involved, i.e. processing, packaging technology, packaging solutions and materials that create a real business ecosystem, unique in Europe. 

We are talking about an industry that, as regards packaging machines, is 8.2 billion Euro worth in 2021,with a progress of 5 points over the previous year and a 9% increase of orders taken, according to data released by Ucima, Italian Packaging Machinery Manufacturers’ Association that represents the Italian packing and packaging machinery manufacturers. 

Today, these figures only add to a healthy industry, aligned with the world market of approximately 7,200 billion Euro with a predicted growth of +5.3% (Cagr), where production in the food & beverage and non-food sectors marks shows a steady positive sign for the next three years to reach 8,460 billon Euro in 2024 (Monitor Ipack-Ima Mecs).

The Processing & Packaging Sector: Resilient, Innovating and Increasingly “Digital”

The processing & packaging ecosystem met again at the reference trade show of this industry, Ipack-Ima (3rd-6th May at Fieramilano) four years after the past event, with number of innovating solutions thanks to an industry that was able to interpret challenges in the best possible way, imposed by the pandemic and now by a difficult geopolitical situation.

A significant and unheard-of increase in cost of energy and raw materials, together with a lack of components generated difficult, unexpected conditions that the processing & packaging supply chain faced responding with great resilience and a spirit of innovation.

The ongoing digital transformation that thanks to linked systems, the Industrial IoT and industry 4.0 enabling technologies allowed production activities to continue concurrently brings new blood for tomorrow’s industry: data. This way, companies that had already embarked on a path based on connectivitydigitalization, automation, remote control and customization were able to rearrange themselves in terms of safety and flexibility, and to show innovating solutions in a digital perspective. During the exhibition, a hub devoted to the digital world offered some comparison opportunities among suppliers of solutions and clients on the three major market segments: food, beverage and pharma & chemical.

Sustainability is Essential 

The packaging industry has always been working alongside sustainability. The search for innovating materials and with less impact on the environment thanks to eco-design projects that combine functionality, aesthetics and ecology, acquires a greater value today, when compared to ecological transition targets shared at European level.

In an increasingly significant way, sustainable packaging goes hand in hand with sustainable packing systems; while aiming at smart machines in an a smart factory perspective, they can ensure a sustainable production, particularly as regards energy efficiency, thus going some way to reducing atmospheric emissions.

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