Page 32 - Packaging News Magazine Mar-Apr 2021
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ACTIVE & INTELLIGENT | | March-April 2021
 Pandemic boosts smart packaging credentials
 The focus on food safety, traceability, authentication and secure supply chains has put the spotlight on where smart packaging technologies offer fast and effective solutions to meet ‘the new normal’. Andrew Manly writes for PKN.
SMART packaging practitioners have tended to use the word ‘disruptive’ to describe the many technologies which are developing rapidly to address issues of authentication, trace- ability, counterfeiting, food waste and consumer engage-
ment. It was not, perhaps, envisaged that it would be necessary to meet the challenges of a completely disrupted world. Nevertheless...
As the pandemic spread, it soon became apparent that critical pres- sure points existed across most sup- ply chains. Initially, this was concen- trated on the manufacture and distribution of personal protection equipment (PPE) – most visibly face- masks. It then extended to test kits and is now firmly focused on the safe roll-out of highly temperature sensi- tive vaccines. Contending with the real products was and is challenging enough, let alone the forgeries.
Authenticating genuine products and identifying fakes soon became a
major issue. One novel solution has been developed by Finnish company TrueMed – it’s end-to-end counterfeit detection system which it says in a ‘non-additive‘ solution. Using AI powered optical detection it can iden- tify real products at the fibre level.
TrueMed has worked with fellow Finnish material supplier Suominen to ensure the authenticity of PPE masks. The company says AI can be used to cross-reference any package, pill or powder with existing produc- tion print files, as well as trace sources and routes of counterfeits and compare them to similar items that had surfaced somewhere previously.
Now the roll out of vaccines has started in earnest, ensuring they have not breached critical temperature limits is vital. These temperature requirements (-20 to -80°C) have been well publicised so consumer confi- dence is important. Working together, two American companies, American Thermal Instruments and Chromatic Technologies offered pharmaceutical companies a colour-changing condi- tion monitor which gives a clear indi- cation of a problem. The printable device also offers tampering security as well as authentication, they say.
Systech is using the pack’s existing bar code to track the products, whether these are PPE, test kits or vac- cines. The company is very forthright about the dangers of fake products. “The internet is a perfect distribution
ABOVE: Systech’s Brand Protection Suite has additional software that adds an authentication layer to traceability and digital security.
BELOW: NFC technology has been leveraged to provide smart packaging to the unit-level for everyday pharma products to improve patient safety and experience.
channel for counterfeits and that means the proliferation of forged vac- cines,” the company asserts. Its Brand Protection Suite offers a simple and cost effective solution which is easy to implement, it says. Additional soft- ware adds an authentication layer to traceability and digital security.
Away from the pandemic the smart packaging sector has been notewor- thy for a number of developments, not least a number of new partnerships to combine technologies for various product solutions.
One early example in the year was the announcement that Kezzler and Bayer APAC had joined forces to trace and authenticate seed stocks distrib- uted to farmers in the Asia Pacific region where sub-standard products

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