On the Mark #9

On the Mark #9: Transitioning to Industry 5.0, the economic effects on packaging and more 

Catching up on interesting news and innovations in production, packaging and more 


Advanced analytics paves the way toward industry 5.0 Industry 5.0 represents the next stage of innovation in digital manufacturing. For manufacturers on the journey toward modernization and digitalization, it’s important to understand the principles of Industry 5.0 and why they will matter in the future. While Industry 4.0 aimed to make factories autonomous, Industry 5.0 begins to pair human intelligence with the artificial. It emphasizes the importance of skills like reasoning, communication, creativity and collaboration between systems and departments, with the goal of optimizing manufacturing processes. To transition to Industry 5.0, companies should begin to analyze operational data to give operational experts a holistic view of all the processes, then slowly advance analytics to solve production challenges. Source: processingmagazine.com.  

The cost of shrinkflation adds up for manufacturers Sometimes, products on store shelves seem to shrink, meaning they are lighter or smaller than before. What’s frustrating for consumers is those products still cost the same. But, somewhat ironically, the changes come at a heavy price to manufacturers as well. The industry term is “shrinkflation,” and the practice has been going on sporadically for decades. Typically, shrinkflation occurs when the cost of raw materials increases or becomes hard to acquire, such as lingering supply chain issues because of the pandemic. This presents major challenges for packaged goods companies, representing a long decision period weighing the pros and cons, involving multiple departments and a lot of number crunching to ensure return on investment. While sometimes the changes are justified, product downsizing isn’t always the best decision for manufacturers and alternative solutions should be considered. Source: profoodworld.com.   

Packaging material growth expected across categories A recent report by PMMI Business Intelligence indicates that the packaging material landscape will see big changes in the coming years. Overall, materials usage in the U.S. is expected to increase significantly, with the most gains appearing in flexible packaging in the food category, followed by rigid plastic and paper-based containers. Metal is expected to decrease in the food category. While pet products largely remain the same, the report identified the most changes in the home care category. Rigid plastic, metal and paper materials are all on the decline, but flexible packaging and the use of glass are expected to grow. Source: profoodworld.com. 

Who wants to pay for a palletizer upfront? Packaging automation is on the rise, including robotic palletizing. But as manufacturers feel the squeeze of an economic slow-down and decrease capital expenditures, new robotics installations may be stalled. One alternative could be robots-as-a-service (RaaS). RaaS means leasing a robot for a monthly fee rather than purchasing one outright, and apparently comes with guaranteed performance levels. Makers of the RaaS solutions aim to “de-risk the customer’s investment in automation” and offer highly customized palletizing solutions for companies of all sizes. However, it remains to be seen if RaaS systems will improve transitions to packaging automation. Source: mmh.com.