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Outlook 2023: Packaging industry to move towards smart production

Source:International Plastics News for Asia     Date:2022-12-29
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The upcoming trends in plastics packaging in 2023 will cover three main aspects, based on assessment by Henky Wibawa, Executive Director of Indonesian Packaging Federation and Vice President for Education of World Packaging Organisation. 

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Mr. Henky Wibawa, Executive Director of Indonesian Packaging Federation and 

Vice President for Education of World Packaging Organisation

One is the impact of Covid-19 pandemic that has been bringing, among many things, food safety concerns. The well-documented e-commerce boom post-Covid has obviously increased demand for more well-tested and approved food contact materials, including best practices along the supply chain. The second aspect is the redesign of plastic packaging for circularity. Mono-materials are particularly crucial, because any reduction in packaging structure, or anything that makes the packaging easier to be recycled, creates huge benefits to a sustainable world. The third aspect is the changing landscape of consumption, which means that plastic packaging solutions are increasingly required to be smarter from eliminating food waste, fighting counterfeiting and market diversion, driving supply chain efficiencies, brand protection and consumer engagement, to increasing recycling rates, where active, connected and interactive packaging innovation can have a transformative impact,” according to Mr. Wibawa. 


Mr. Wibawa cites some major factors that will affect the overall operations of plastics packaging manufacturers in 2023. “These factors include how to manage continuously the overall equipment effectiveness with six big losses in equipment - such as breakdown losses, setup and maintenance losses, idling losses, reduced speed losses, quality losses, and startup losses. Also, the most hotly discussed in the packaging manufacturing world is Industry 4.0. A broadly defined group of emerging innovations in industrial automation and data exchange, Industry 4.0 demonstrates tremendous potential to bolster productivity, reduce waste, refine product quality, enhance manufacturing flexibility, decrease operating costs and deliver myriad other benefits to the factory floor. Given the highly diverse operations of global manufacturers and variations in region, industry, size, and competitive environment, the full potential of Industry 4.0 continues to take active shape,” Mr. Wibawa explains. 


The properties that make plastic so appealing for packaging - strength to weight ratio, durability, malleability, sterility and clarity – will be the direction. “Including the Southeast Asian region, we need to understand that plastic packaging will still grow next year, because there's no real substitute. Our collaboration efforts with plastic packaging designers, brandowners, converters, and material manufacturers indicate that they are ready to rethink the whole challenges,” Mr. Wibawa mentions. 

Another direction will focus on the supply chain closed loop systems: detailed market data, packaging compositional analysis, redesign & mapping recyclability (infrastructure study, EPR schemes, digital track & traceability), efficient recycling strategy and technology, end markets-fit to purpose by quality/preferable over virgin fossil-based materials. He also noted the four pillars of unlocking the plastic packaging circular economy: Operational (sorting, collecting, recycling), Financial (full net costs: returning recyclates to market), Community (consumer guidance), Governance (representative leadership accessible to expertise).  


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