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Event Spotlight

Packaging Innovations

Packaging Innovations is one of the print industry’s most important events. Genevieve Lewis previews the 2020 exhibition and explains why you should attend

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Packaging Innovations will take place in Halls 9 and 10

Pivotal packaging 

Packaging has become an area of high interest, with particular focuses on sustainability and specialist solutions.

As small independent and artisan products push to grace the shelves, unique designs for packaging are also required, while providing a sustainable edge.

It is not just the traditional aspects in terms of packaging – such as being recyclable, coming from sustainable sources etc – but also the way products can be packed and transported. New ideas for packaging are popping up all the time, and one place to gain inspiration is this year’s Packaging Innovation exhibition, which is also incorporating: Ecopack, Contract Pack & Fulfilment, Label&Print and Empack.

O Factoid: There are over 300 suppliers on the Packaging Innovations floorplan this year O

Victoria Blake, event director for Easyfair’s packaging portfolio, says that this year includes the show’s busiest ever floor plan with 300 exhibitors. She explains: “This year is our busiest ever show floor, with over 300 suppliers set to join us across both days. Sustainability will remain firmly in the spotlight with the launch of our new seminar session, the BIG Carbon Debate, whilst our new interactive features and numerous networking opportunities are guaranteed to provide visitors with valuable insights and inspiration that can be applied to their own packaging.”

There are currently around 300 exhibitors on the floorplan including all the co-located events

She adds: “The 26th and 27th February are certainly dates packaging professionals need to put in their calendars.”

The 26th and 27th February are certainly dates packaging professionals need to put in their calendars

It is clear even from the name of these co-located events and the BIG Carbon Debate that the environment is weighing on the minds of the industry. One company that will be exhibiting at Packaging Innovations is Dufaylite, which creates recycled paper honeycomb board.

Ashley Moscrop is the managing director of the business and explains that the event is an opportunity not to miss. “Packaging Innovations provides a great opportunity to see new innovations and talk to great businesses to find out what is really going on in the market – including the challenges and chance to network, learn and be inspired,” he comments.

Moscrop continues: “We would love people to come and visit us to find out more about our 100% sustainable and recyclable solutions, and how our packaging product Envirolite and layer pads can replace foam and polystyrene. Innovation is at the heart of everything we do, and we are focused on working with our customers to help them make sustainable changes.”

Dufaylite will be showcasing this alternative to polystyrene for heavy goods, as well as its services in precision die-cutting and creating products of varying thicknesses “depending on the required level of protection”. Moscrop adds: “We will be showcasing our range of products from simple edge protection, to layer pads through to bespoke systems to solve complex packaging and shipping problems. Envirolite is a perfect packaging partner and we look forward to meeting everyone.”

Green is good

In terms of its commitment to the environment, Moscrop states: “We work in an industry that requires continuous innovation and improvement and I expect to see a lot demonstrated at the show. It is definitely time that we saw more actions and solutions rather than just words and promises. Sustainability is vital and alternatives are available.”

Blake also highlights the importance of the environment, especially with packaging heavily in the spotlight of both consumers and governments around the globe. “Sustainability has been a huge focus of the show since 2018 when we introduced our BIG Plastics Debate feature,” says Blake. “However, this year we are moving the debate forward with the introduction of the BIG Carbon Debate, as we take a more holistic view of packaging’s eco-credentials throughout its entire lifecycle.

“The new debate reflects a shift in conversations and recognises that just avoiding plastic won’t solve the problem; it will take major changes to the entire supply chain to make a real difference.”

But why is the heavy concentration on the environment so important? With countries across the globe having a focus on both its recycling and packaging consumption – take China’s recent ban on single-use plastic like straws and delivery packaging which hopes to be in place by 2022 – it is important that education and options are discussed.

“The issue of sustainability is varied and complex,” explains Blake. “But the industry as a whole is making great strides to improve packaging’s green credentials. Between consumer pressure and media headlines, it has never been more important that we work together as an industry to find a solution to the sustainability question. That is why we have a key focus on the topic across the show, both on the event floor and throughout our seminar programme, including our headline feature, the BIG Carbon Debate.”

She adds: “Whether a visitor wants to find a green solution, gain advice on creating a sustainable packaging concept, or hear about the latest environmental thinking and policy, they can do so at the show. We have even incorporated sustainability into our Industry Forum sessions to give more granular insights tailored for specific sectors of the industry including food, drink and beauty.”

Visitors will be able to talk to numerous suppliers about their options and gain inspirations

Other features also include the Education Hub, which was first launched at the London arm of the exhibition. “There are a wide variety of roles and opportunities when it comes to a career in packaging, so we wanted to create a platform that would allow apprentices and students to meet established professionals to ask questions and understand what is possible,” says Blake. “It’s also a great way for seasoned pros to uncover the next generation of talent.”

First timers

Substainability is not the only quality, with packaging producers wanting to learn more about the look and feel of their products, and how they can make them stand out. Duplo International will be exhibiting at Packaging Innovations for the first time, with its new range of solutions designed for the packaging sector. This includes the launch of the PFI Blade B3 digital shape cutter and the launch of the DuSense Digifoil.

Duplo, which are exhibiting for the first time, will showcase new technology and how to provide stunning finishes on packaging applications

Alongside these two launches will be the established DuSense Sensory Coater, offering ideas on how these machines can create premium finishes for packaging.

The DuSense has an added barcode option for packaging, while the PFI Blade B3 has been designed with shorter runs in mind, boasts a small footprint and green button technology. With the addition of the Digifoil, Duplo can offer a production line that can specialise in producing short-run packaging goods with cutting, embellishment and foiling from a single supplier. The Digifoil uses QSleek technology and adds a foil finish on top of the UV varnish from the DuSense. Visitors will be able to head over to Duplo on stand F15.

Why attend?

Easyfair’s Blake says that having all five shows under one roof is a major selling point for those in the industry, because they will be able to witness the latest solutions and meet major suppliers from the sector. “With five co-located events all taking place under one roof, the show allows visitors to meet numerous suppliers and source the very latest solutions and products for use right across the packaging supply chain, which is something that no other UK packaging event offers,” says Blake.

Victoria Blake, event director for Easyfair’s packaging portfolio

“Not only does this save time as it can be difficult to arrange multiple meetings around the country to meet with new suppliers, but it allows visitors to discover new companies they may not have otherwise come across.”

Packaging Innovations takes place February 26th and 27th at the NEC in Birmingham in Halls 9 and 10.

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