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Smart and green technologies revolutionise the packaging business

Samples of biofoam products.

Packaging is an important factor in the sales and marketing of consumer products. A package that has luminous effects, or that allows a view of the product inside without opening the package, can in the future attract customer’s attention.

New kinds of interaction offer considerable potential for image marketing, and even new business models. Moreover, increased ethical awareness among consumers and producers and related legislation are guiding the packaging business towards sustainable development.

Ecology with biobarriers and biofoams

Biobarriers are made of renewable natural polymers and have large potential for application in packaging innovations consistent with sustainable development. The properties of biobarriers include efficient oxygen and aroma barrier, which has uses in a number of applications. VTT has patented technologies for the separation, modification and cross-linking of natural polymers such as hemicelluloses, starch and pectin.

Industrial foams are lightweight packaging materials that provide both mechanical protection and insulation for the products packaged. VTT has developed promising production technologies for new, bio-based foams such as polymer and fibre foams. With the right recipe and production method, fibre-based foams can be made to resemble polyurethane foam in terms of density and compression ratio.

Thin-film technology and transparent paper save money

VTT is employing atomic layer deposition technology (ALD) to enable the production of thinner and lighter packaging materials. ALD technology can also replace the use of aluminium foil. ALD thus provides savings on raw material and recycling costs, as the amount of packaging material can be reduced.

Transparent windows in product packages are currently created by cutting holes in the package and attaching a transparent plastic film over the aperture. VTT has developed a new technology for manufacturing transparent paper and board in a single-stage process. This novel production process requires materials consistent with sustainable development and hot lamination technique. The new technology is cost-efficient, and can be integrated with existing production processes with minimal investments.

Packaging potential in advertising

Product packaging has seldom been used to advertise anything other than the contents of the package itself. Placing ads on product packages is nonetheless a potential source of business in the packaging value chain. VTT together with companies intend to launch projects on this topic during this year and the plans for the first projects are already under development. The aim of these projects is to develop tools, methods and processes to help companies with this media transition and to combine contents from various media. The aim is also to systematically collect feedback from the users, which will be utilized in the further development of applications.

New technology breathes new life into packaging

The product package is a strong factor in the decision to buy, and adds value to the product. In the future this can be accomplished in many different ways, one example of which is the flexible printed OLED surface developed by VTT. Here, packages may have illuminated surfaces in different colours to provide information, service or entertainment. The organic light emitting diode (OLED) is a new-generation technology that enables the manufacturing of extremely thin light sources. VTT has developed OLED applications that can be produced using printing technology. This enables lighted surfaces to be manufactured cost-effectively, saving on both material and production costs.

A further level of interaction between consumer and package can be achieved using hybrid media or augmented reality solutions. Mobile phones can become an extension of packaging; image recognition may be used to link a package to electronic media. Through augmented reality, customers may be able to see inside the package before opening it.


If your company is interested in working with us on new packaging technologies, visit http://www.foresttech.fi/ or download the printed intelligence annual review (pdf) and contact us!


Additional information

Tuomas Mustonen
Business Development Manager
+358 20 722 7604

Additional information

Tuomas Mustonen
Business Development Manager
+358 20 722 7604