Environmentally friendly and communicative packaging
Package research by VTT helps improve the environmental friendliness, usability and communicativity of packages, while also creating entirely new packaging features. Iscent Oy and VTT are in the process of commercialising VTT-developed hologram technology that can be printed on plastic-based and fibre-based packages and is suited to mass production. The technology enables eye-catching effects combined with anti-counterfeit security.
Thanks to the new holographic technology brand owners, for example, gain a guarantee of authenticity for their products through this difficult-to-copy technical solution. Printing houses can exploit the method to reduce ink use, while advertising agencies can create striking packages that are environmentally friendly. Applications include, for example, packaging and gift wrappings, which can be made more decorative without compromising transparency. The technology is also suitable for injection-moulded plastic products such as mobile phones, CD jewel cases and laptops, and for laminate solutions such as interior design elements and sports equipment.
Commercial hologram printing lines in the printing industry are almost without exception based on processes implemented for narrow products. A new Finnish company, Iscent, is opening up a completely novel range of business opportunities by investing in an end product that can be up to 1,200 mm wide, enabling large-volume products thanks to minimised raw material costs.
Commercial holographic technologies are based on metallised solutions, and often on laminated structures or effects produced with UV curable varnishes. The effect achievable with the new method is not dependent on these, or any extra additives, as the rainbow colours are generated solely by altering the topography of the plastic or paper surface.
The drivers towards more ecological packaging are not only the developing legislation but also the increased ethicality of consumers. Environmental friendliness emerged as one of the most important evaluation criteria when VTT studied consumer hopes and expectations as part of the Future Food Packaging research project.
A package is not just a case or a box protecting the product. It must also look good and communicate the right things. The Communicating Package project studied the meaning of a package for consumers, how a brand can be built with the help of packaging, and how digital printing technologies could be used to increase communication possibilities.
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