Saturday 2 May 2020

7 scariest COVID impacts on packaging

Everything was rushing up to speed in the world pretty much in normalcy when the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic arrived and took the world by storm in 2020. This is very much different from the great depression or the 2008 recession - it is a one of a kind catastrophe humanity has had to face since a long time - predicted well in advance by Bill Gates.


Whereas on a national level, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown forcing all industries to shut shop and over 1.3 billion people to stay put in their homes - there are bound to be larger and perhaps, unseen, impacts that we need to be aware of.
If we talk about the packaging sector, here are 7 impacts on the industry that we need to be aware of.

Saturday 28 March 2020

An introduction to Lamitubes - Laminated Tubes

Used in FMCG packaging for over 50 years now, Lamitubes are quite popular because of the soft squeeze characteristics it possesses, enabling the almost the entire product to be released from the container with application of pressure.

Timeline of trends in lamitube structures
1970s : Paper, Aluminium foil, and thermoplastic film
1980s : Phasing out of paper based structures.
1990s : Multilayer polymer based barriers
2000s: Sustainability focus: foil thickness reduced to 9 to 12 microns from earlier 30-40 microns
2010s: 40 to 75% PCR HDPE | 50% organic sugarcane based polymer

Printing technologies
Elite Fusion
One click
3D printing
Digital printing

Uses across sectors

With diameters ranging from 12 MM to 50 MM, there are multiple tube sizes in the market with different shapes like oval and round - the basic idea is always to have synergy between carton, print media, and tube packaging.

Thursday 26 December 2019

Self folding structures: the future of packaging?

Haruki Nakamura, the origami artist and paper engineer from Japan, is perhaps one of the most under rated contributors in the field today. His works are amazing, especially how he brings 2 dimensional structures into 3D, and 3D ones alive by adding the component of time to them. You can check out his work on YouTube.

What is more intriguing, is when we take this conversation towards further automation as explained below. This has far reaching implications on interactive packaging- on creating a whole experience out of how the user interacts with the paper packaging. This is exactly what the next level is - experiential economy.

If you have a look here, you can check out the amazing work done by MIT Media labs. Using really simple base materials such as paper, plastics, and fabrics, the designers adequately stitched certain folds and used inflation and resulting pneumatic pressure for the material to automatically fold over itself - resulting in a unique 'alive' origami structure.
Their developed software creates a sort of a key-line that dictates the degree of bending, the geometry etc. that the 2D structure will morph into.

Speaking of work done in the packaging sector by MIT Media labs, another unique publication (follow link here) is where they have introduced wireless sensors (which are of-course really cheap and consume very less power) in labels to identify how the consumer behaves around the product. For example:  a children's milk bottle can play a soothing baby music whenever it is picked up, and whenever the quantity is reaching lower than specified  it can send an order automatically for refill.

Thursday 27 June 2019

Features of apparatus used in ink matching #printing

Last week we talked about the basic details of ink matching lab and the 7 basic steps for ink matching. Now we are talking about the features of apparatus used in ink matching to achieve the best quality result for luxury packaging and brand and retail packaging supplies.

Ink knives –

Use in taking inks and mixing inks in the mixing machines. Whenever we take ink on ink knife we should ensure that ink knives must be properly cleaned.

Weighing scale-

As its name refers ‘Weighing scale’ , This is used for measuring the amount of inks that we had taken for mixing. Its accuracy must be accurate likewise with minimum error.

Pantone colour Matching Guide-

Used for color matching for making recipe of the color that we have to made.

Draw Down Kit-

Used for taking Draw Downs of the ink recipe that we had made for standard color. This is very useful.

Mixing Machines-

Used for mixing the recipe for making particular inks that we have to match standard color.

Thursday 20 June 2019

7 step procedure for ink matching #printing


Ink Matching Department is the place where ink is prepared for printing (other than CYAN, MAGENTA, YELLOW, BLACK colors) and Packed. Here, many base inks are present with the help of which colors are formed for example - red, blue, opaque white etc.

Apparatus Used 

Draw down kit, Weighing scale, UV Heater, Chromatic Light boxes, Mixing machines, ink knives, pantone colour matching guides etc.

Standard Procedure –

  1. First, the sample is taken on the table and Spectrophometer is connected to the computer with installed software
  2. Spectrophotometer is used for taking the l,a,b values of color & when l,a,b value are measured then those values are set to be standard values
  3. After which those l,a,b values are sent to software and it is done 3-4 times for accuracy.
  4. After which, the paper type is selected by doing the same with the paper on which we have to print.
  5. When this all is done in the computer the computer software will give a recipe for that particular color for about 1 or 10 kg
  6. After which we take all the colors as specified by software in recipe in adequate amount and mix the same with the mixing machines.
  7. After mixing we take draw down of the color for just verification that the color that we have made is either accurate or not. If it is accurate then we had made that color. If it is not, then we add a bit amount of other colors like transparent white to match the color with standard

Friday 5 October 2018

Debunking the biggest myth about lamitube 'eye mark'

An ‘eye mark’ (also known as ‘eye spot’) is a small rectangular printed area located near the edge of the printed flexible packaging material. Common specifications of eye marks are
  • 2 MM x 6 MM
  • 2 MM x 8 MM
  • 3 MM x 8 MM

There are two types of eye mark on lamitubes (if you place the lamitube vertically upward on a flat surface):-
    • This shows the length of the product
    • This has two functions
      • Help the tube making machine to cut tube according to length
      • Align the tube centrally to ensure back panel and front panel are as need
    • This is primarily for the end product manufacturer machine to fill the product
    • A sensor on the FORM-FILL-SEAL (FFS) MACHINE  reads the eye mark to identify packaging material, control the material’s position, and coordinate the separation and cutting of the flexible packaging material. To package products with flexible packaging, the printed material is supplied on a continuous roll and fed into the FFS machine where the sensor reads the eye mark to indicate when to cut individual units, fold the material, seal the sides (creating the packaging’s shape), fill with the product, and then seal the final side.
    • It’s important to note that the eye mark pathway should be clear of obstructing design or text to ensure the sensor reads it properly.

There's a video circulating on Facebook and Whatsapp that talks about the eye mark color options.
Green means the product is completely naturalBlue indicates a natural composition with some added medicines Red is a mix of natural and chemical Black is an all-chemical make-up.
The color of the eye mark should simply 'not' be any solid color that comes in a straight line design of the tube (so that it does not interfere with the machine sensors)
The eye mark color must differ from the tube color in order to make sure the detector can recognize the eye mark i.e dark tube use white eye mark while Light tube use black eye mark.

Position of the eye mark:-

It can at the end of the tube or close to the end. It depends on the location of the sensor on sealing machine. Normally the sensor’s location can be adjusted so there is no problem for this.


Try to use one of the color in your artwork as the eye mark color as long as the sensor can tell it from the tube color. And use the same printing method to print them. This can save some production cost and time.

Monday 3 September 2018

5 creative ways to cut 1/3 of your packaging costs

So, you're an Indian SME owner. Or a sourcing lead at a major MNC. Optimizing your product’s package is probably the one thing you could change to net tremendous savings. You can redesign the products primary packaging, secondary packaging, or even the way the boxes are stacked within one another! such reconfiguration will allow more packages to fit on a pallet and you can save big bucks on shipping costs!

Here are 5 ways to reduce your packaging costs!

1. Research Your Options
With innumerable packaging options available today, get online and start researching the latest in packaging materials, designs and technology. Following aspects should be considered
  • Total cost of materials
  • Durability of transport
  • Resistant to pests/environemtn
  • Ease of handling
  • Aesthetics
  • Government regulations
2. Determine Necessary vs. Unnecessary Costs
What may have been useful yesterday does not imply it is so today. Ask yourself the following questions after calculating the per item cost of your packaging.
·         Does your product require an inner carton and an outer carton?
·         Is the information printed on the box necessary? Limit it to essential info only.
·         Is full color printing worth the expense? Can you get away with black and white only?
·         Does the package need a clear viewing window? Can you get by with a photo on the box?
·         Can you save money by taking off the label and printing information directly on the box?
·         Can you reduce the ‘heavy duty’ precautionary measures taken at the beginning?
-         Inner carton dimensions
-         Outer carton dimensions
-         Carton dunnage needed
-         Carton stacking configuration on pallet
-         Container loading configuration

3. Investing in Testing
The packaging will travel thousands of miles via truck, shipping vessel, rail, air, maybe truck again. It’s going to go through a variety of environmental conditions. It might be subjected to some extremes in temperature. There could be some people who don’t handle your packages with the same loving care that you would. But when you open the package, you want that product to come out as flawless as when it went in. Come up with testing guidelines and procedures and recheck the following requirements

·         Compression - the weight of load, both static and dynamic (load under vibration).
·         Vibration - the constant movement or motion from a various modes of transportation.
·         Shock - either drop or impact, rotating, free fall or on an incline.
·         Atmospheric - Constant/cyclic changes in temperature, humidity and pressure

4. Lean Inventory
Keeping inventory low helps in better cash flow- and this is especially helpful if your company is procuring tubes and cartons together, along with outer shipping boxes. PRP has become a one stop shop for labels, tubes, cartons, rigid boxes etc. and a hassle free customer experience is guaranteed as both tubes and cartons are received by you in a single go, increasing your throughput as per Eli Goldratt’s The Goal.

5. Jolly Green Packaging
PRP has recently introduced a seed paper carton box- which can help you create a niche product with higher value. Else, going for a plastic box for dispatch to enable an inventory system is the best option as you can save on the outer shipper cost which generally goes to waste!.