Packaging production is being designed with exchangeable and adjustable parts to provide more customizability options through to the final curing and printing stages. Packaging sizes are more varied than ever. Nano-sized devices and super-sized items are being shipped. Now behavioral scientists have discovered that packaging shape influences consumer purchase decisions. All the while, these more demanding packaging designs must keep products safe and snuggly in place for increasingly longer intermodal transport across the globe. 

If it were not for advances in packaging materials, package manufacturers would spend their days placing round pegs in square holes. New materials are enabling more customized packaging to ensure goods arrive at business and residential doorsteps undamaged. 

As product properties also become more demanding — biomedical, frozen, and so on — new packaging materials are keeping brand owners and customers happy. Packaging manufacturers recognize that there is no one box or material solution to customized packaging.  The latest advanced materials in packaging designs today include:

Re-engineered Packaging Materials 

Common container materials including paperboard, rigid and flexible plastics, and aluminum packaging are being reengineered with smarter features. Many new bioplastics are being used in packaging. Made from renewable materials, including biofuels such as wood pulp and naphtha, bioplastics have low carbon footprints. They are a safe alternative for medical, food, and electronics applications.

Nanomaterials With Super Properties

Nanotechnology is at the center of entirely new materials. Tiny nanoparticles including nanosilver, nano titanium dioxide, and carbon nanotubes are bringing super properties to packaging. They include protecting food from spoiling, detecting pathogens, and destroying them with antimicrobial properties. 

Printed Out Packaging 

3D printing of aluminum and other metals is replacing the packaging casting process of some electronic components. The low volume process, however, is still favored for use in prototyping. 3D metals finishes are becoming trendy in the luxury goods market. Recent editions of Hermės lipstick (aluminum) and Lančome perfume (limited edition) bottles use 3D metal packaging. 

Ideally, these new materials will be more easily customizable. In some cases, however, a trade-off will exist between sustainable materials with low carbon footprints and shaping properties. Fortunately, packaging cutting tools are becoming more sophisticated and can make up for shortcomings in materials.  Packaging production is being designed with more exchangeable and adjustable parts and processes to provide more customizability options through to the final curing and printing stages. Packaging equipment rotary die cutters, for example, can die cut, perforate, score and perform many other value-added functions. This cutting is performed at increasingly high precision. Rotary die cutters are also cutting to increasingly finer points and larger thicknesses–all while minimizing material waste. 

With the right materials and equipment, customized packaging does not have to be at the expense of shaping precision, quality, or run speeds.