Connected Packaging

Rexroth electric industrial motion control powers plenty of packaging machines. Smart factories connect machinery and humans. Now packaging is connecting with consumers, too.

A Tostitos bag has a breathalyzer feature — when users have had too much to drink, a blue steering wheel on the bag turns red and shows the message: “Don’t drink and drive.” There’s also a UPC code on the bag that gives an Uber discount, just in case you see that red steering wheel.

Johnny Walker has a bottle that senses whether it has been opened and suggests consumers go ahead and open that bottle they bought. Of course, this technology also allows the company and its retailers to see if a bottle has been opened along the supply chain, adding a layer of security for the company and safety for the consumer.

A Heineken returnable bottle gives consumers a code they can use to read stories about the people who’ve drunk from the same bottle in the past. They’ve also shown a design concept bottle which can sense the part it’s currently playing in human interactions. It shows different behaviors depending on whether it’s sitting alone on a table or being lifted with a shout of “Cheers!”

A Massachusetts brewery got together with a local band to make an album available on their beer cans.

These may be the flashier examples, but there are more serious uses of connected packaging.

Pharmaceuticals, for example, can remind consumers to take their medicine on time. They can send a prescription refill request to a pharmacy or doctor, too.

A package of meat could track the temperature all along the supply chain, alerting retailers and consumers if there is any reason to worry about the freshness of the food.

Packaging analytics can show whether consumers have trouble opening a shampoo bottle, and discover ways consumers use packages that manufacturers might not have thought of. This kind of data can help manufacturers be responsive to consumer needs.

The IIoT and the IoT have potential we can’t yet imagine. In the meantime, we’re here for you whenever you need support for Rexroth electric motion control.

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