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International Prinzhorn Holding Hungary

Coronavirus boosts packaging innovations. Can the age of smart boxes come?

As the packaging industry changes, Dunapack is always looking for the most efficient solutions. The challenges of recent months have brought about several new innovations and a change in the general perception of the profession itself. 

Dunapack experts see that the age of traditional "paper boxes" has expired. 

Different industries were affected differently by the situation caused by the pandemic: some needed less packaging material, but some demand increased by several times due to the "quarantine closure" in the spring. Examples of such areas were e-commerce and the FMCG sector. Overall, the epidemic also required increased efficiency in the packaging industry, which has driven manufacturers towards innovation. 

For years, sustainability goals, a sharp increase in online sales, customer demand and changes in logistics chains have generated processes that have rewritten packaging and paper trends. 

"In the field of packaging materials, the coronavirus epidemic has strengthened the innovation processes. The situation has brought the needs of increased efficiency from our costumers' side, and we have had to provide new, innovative responses to them," said Viktor Seenger, Technical Key Account Manager at Dunapack Packaging, part of the Prinzhorn Group. Dunapack, which generates more than half of domestic packaging material production, produced more than 140,000 tons of packaging last year and is expected to keep this number again this year.   

The main reason for the change is that the packaging material can now perform several functions at the same time. 

For example, it is increasingly part of the design, product image, and marketing. On the other hand, packaging can improve efficiency in logistics and product management processes in supply chains and contribute to reducing costs. According to the expert, while the primary task of packaging materials used to be to protect the product, now it is just one among others. For example, advances in manufacturing technology have allowed the production of "shelf ready" boxes, which can immediately be put on store shelves and help with sales. 

This can reduce the time of replenishment by up to 50%. 

Efforts to improve efficiency are also reflected in transport and logistics, where they also model how more products can be palletized and transported in the smallest space possible, using as little paper material as possible. Up to 40% better space utilization has been achieved in this area. Behind these developments, there is significant engineering, research and analytical work, and even a 1% efficiency improvement can result in huge cost reductions in transportation. 

The aim is to reduce material consumption and to give packaging more and more functionality. We can say that the age of smart boxes has slowly arrived,” added Zoltán Nagy, Dunapack's construction manager of Dunapack. 

Changes in logistics and supply chain have led to 3D packaging designs being created in virtual reality. 

This makes it easy to compare different designs without using up to a gram of paper. This virtual technology made it particularly easy to consult customers during the coronavirus situation, as they were able to verify the prototype without physical contact. This could become more common in the future, not only because it is faster than making a trial version of a package, but also a more cost-effective and "greener" solution. 

The full article of Világgazdaság related to this subject can be found here