New materials, strategies and technologies for the circular economy and digitization ...
...at the dvi's Digital Packaging Days
The packaging industry network met from December 2-4, 2020, as part of the Digital Packaging Days of the Deutsche Verpackungsinstitut e. V. (dvi). More than 300 industry experts and students benefited from impulses and concrete insights on sustainable material innovations, digital strategies for SMEs, recycling of paper composites and award-winning start-up technologies for circular economy and digitalization. A special matchmaking tool also provided a highly used opportunity for direct contact between participants in face-to-face B2B meetings.
"The Dresden Packaging Conference has been an important networking and information platform for the industry for 30 years. We were able to successfully maintain this character even in Corona times through the Digital Packaging Days format," says a pleased dvi managing director and event moderator Winfried Batzke (photo), looking back on an "exciting and successful event." Even if the dvi would have preferred to invite the industry to the pre-Christmas Elbe metropolis as usual, the new format also offers advantages, according to Batzke. These include the fact that "this year we were not limited by the number of chairs and were therefore able to allow over 100 students from Germany and Austria to attend. That was worthwhile for everyone. While the new generation benefits from early contacts and valuable insights, the professional participants have a valued opportunity to get to know potential employees of tomorrow in good time."
Student panels on Wednesday
To kick off the Digital Packaging Days, the companies Nestlé, Tetra Pak, Jokey, Tchibo and the Schwarz Group (Lidl, Kaufland) had presented their sustainability projects to a student panel and put them up for discussion. "Here, too, our concept worked," Batzke is pleased to report. "The companies were able to present their strategies and developments to a younger generation and benefit from their feedback. In return, the students gained exciting insights into the plans and work of leading companies in the industry."
Sustainability on Thursday
In the large round of all participants, the topic on Thursday was then sustainability, which was illuminated from various angles. Resource conservation, waste avoidance, circular economy and recycling played the main role in the short presentations and start-up presentations.
For example, Michail Ginsburg, division manager and authorized signatory of the waste disposal and environmental services provider PreZero, which belongs to the Schwarz Group, and its subsidiary OutNature reported on a new, sustainable paper based on the silphia plant. The perennial plant has so far been used mainly as an energy crop for biogas plants, but according to Ginsburg it is also very suitable for paper production and has a negative carbon footprint.
Exciting insights into the strategy and practical approaches for the development of sustainable packaging were then provided by Philipp Keil, Head of Global Packaging Materials Management at the Kneipp Group. Right at the beginning of his presentation, Keil pointed out that there is no one golden road. The circular economy and the elimination of plastics are equally important and must complement each other, especially for export-oriented, globally active brand companies. Keil is convinced that a key element in the successful development of sustainable products and packaging is close cooperation within the upstream chain.
Werner Surholt from Delkeskamp Verpackungswerke then gave the participants insights into the recycling of paper composites. He showed which paper composites can be recycled, how to manage increasing volumes and diversity, and which framework conditions should be improved.
Fabian Solf, CTO & co-founder of the start-up Papair, presented the Digital Packaging Days participants with an innovative pleasure cushion foil made of paper, which consists of 100 percent recycled paper and can therefore be completely disposed of and recycled via the waste paper cycle.
Christian Schiller, co-founder and CEO of the start-up cirplus, then presented his B2B platform, which is both a marketplace for the recycling industry and procurement software for users of plastic. According to Schiller, recyclates can be procured via cirplus in all qualities as well as in spot or contact quantities.
Vivian Loftin, co-founder and CEO of Recyda, also presented an innovative digital platform. The cloud-based assessment tool checks packaging for recyclability and compliance for different national markets worldwide.
Digitization solutions for the supply chain on Friday
"Bringing digitalization and sustainability together is not only a named goal of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, but has also been a concern of the dvi for years, which we also put into practice at the Digital Packaging Days." With these words, Winfried Batzke led the online participants into the third and final day of the event.
Adolf Ahrens, owner of the consulting agency Pack+Print Consulting and jury member of the German Packaging Award 2020, kicked things off. According to Ahrens, networking processes and integrating packaging is one of the important goals of digitization. For this to succeed, he says, the packaging must be machine-readable in all processes without manual support and without using additional materials, inks or recycling interferents. In addition, the solution must be implementable in all packaging and in all printing technologies. Ahrens then presented the Digimarc system, the Holy Grail 2.0 project and the "First Machine-Readable Packaging System for Optimizing the Entire Process Chain to High-Quality Recycling," which was awarded the Packaging Prize in the Digitalization category.
Peter Jenkner, Head of EHSR at ACTEGA, then gave exciting insights into the implementation of digitization in a medium-sized company. The first step was to take care of the customer database and the CRM. As a second step, production was converted to paperless data transfer and data management was further developed so that the data obtained could be mapped and worked with, for example in the area of risk assessment for raw materials used. According to Jenkner, part of the digitization initiative at ACTEGA was also the development of its own web store platform, which is multifunctional and price-transparent and allows direct access from the customer's own ERP systems.
Christian Baumann, CEO & founder of the start-up PackPart, then presented his innovative matching system for manufacturers of packaging machines and their customers. The system offers a "fast, simple and efficient way to find the right partner," Baumann said. To do this, he said, customers are guided through a digital questionnaire at the start, where they can enter the necessary specifications and present their project.
Dr. Sascha Bach, Managing Director and CTO of watttron, spoke about data acquisition and energy savings in the sealing process at the end of the Digital Packaging Days. According to Bach, the systems provide valuable services, for example, where the tolerance windows for sealing are becoming smaller and smaller due to the use of sustainable monomaterial solutions. Another benefit of the watttron technology is its use in quality monitoring and testing, he said. The watttrix net also monitors the entire sealing process, collecting data that is of great interest not only to machine builders, but also to producers, retailers and material manufacturers.
Strong packaging network
"The 30th Dresden Packaging Conference also worked well in its digital form," said dvi Managing Director Winfried Batzke, summing up the event. "The Digital Packaging Days brought exciting impulses and insights and networked more than 300 players and students from the industry. For us as the German Packaging Institute, it was the primary concern. For 30 years now, we have been working in this spirit as a network of the packaging industry."
According to Batzke, however, the conclusion of the Digital Packaging Days includes something else: "Packaging and the packaging industry can make valuable contributions to sustainability and digitalization, and they do. Protecting products, preserving the environment, guaranteeing the flow of goods - none of this is possible without the contribution of packaging and its makers. This is also an important message that needs to get out there. As the dvi, we are proud and happy to be ambassadors here."
(Deutsches Verpackungsinstitut e.V. (dvi))