On June 13th and 14th, the Packaging Cluster gathered its associate members and main collaborators to enjoy presentations and networking sessions among the more than 150 attendees. The so-called Strategic Immersion that they celebrate every year changed its name last year with the celebration of the 10-year history of the cluster in 2022. The event featured interesting presentations on a wide variety of topics, talked about innovation and trends and topics that will be key to drawing the future of packaging.
On the first day, Àlex Brossa Enrique, cluster manager of the Packaging Cluster, and Martina Font Olivé, President of the Packaging Cluster, kicked off the Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assembly. Afterwards, lectures were given with digitalization and artificial intelligence as protagonists. The day ended with a networking dinner and a party among the attendees.
On the 14th, the presentation was given by Isaac Peraire, director of the Waste Agency of Catalonia, Xavier Pascual, business unit director of Packaging, printing & Retail of Fira Barcelona, and Martina Font, president of the Packaging Cluster.
Xavier Pascual presented Hispack, a fair that has established itself as the most important professional fair for the packaging industry in Spain and one of the first four in Europe. The fair will take place from May 7 to 10, 2024 at Gran Via Fira de Barcelona.
The elite athlete, Núria Picas, managed to excite the attendees with her experience as world champion of Ultra Trails, with her intervention ‘una vida. Persevere, overcome obstacles and do not lose heart in the face of adversity.’
“We agree that we will have no future if we continue in this line.” With these words Benedikt Brenken, Director of R-Cycle initiative, began his presentation With ‘Transparent’ Packaging to a Circular Economy – Transforming the packaging value chain-. In it he explained what the digital product passport is and how it will work. This is a new tool that will undoubtedly revolutionize trade in Europe. “The circular economy is not possible if we do not have information on how to recycle or reuse products. This means that we must know at the beginning of the manufacturing phase how that product will end up,” he said. “It is a solution to support more sustainable production, circular business models and well-informed purchasing decisions.” Before concluding his speech, he showed an example with a QR code to all the attendees.
The round table ‘Innovating in the world of packaging: advanced strategies to transform the sector innovating in the world of packaging’ was about innovation and what it means for companies such as Alzamora Group and Rotor Print, where their project manager, Ferran Berga and his sales director Albert Costa, respectively spoke about their companies.
For the sales manager, Albert Costa from Rotor Print. “We approach the journey from the most traditional to the most digital packaging as an opportunity that allows us to expand the product portfolio and visit new customers. We are a young company and we are very focused on the business of innovation.”
For Ferran Berga, project manager of Alzamora Group, innovation is also key in his company. “It is one of the engines of our growth these last 15 years.” As an example of the company’s innovation, the ‘LatCub’ system developed by Alzamora Group stood out as a grouping format that allows cans to be grouped with 100% biodegradable cardboard packaging, made with 100% natural fibers from sustainably and responsibly managed trees that have the FSC seal, as a measure to reduce the use of plastic.
Rotor Print undertakes two or three innovation projects a year. Costa highlighted as an example the development of the recyclable blister pack for pharmaceutical packaging. Although it had been one of the most widely used containers in the pharmaceutical market, impossible to recycle, Rotor Print created a recyclable blister for pharmaceutical containers with barrier properties, 100% PET. They use a PET sheet for the bottom and a PET sheet for the lid film. It is monomaterial and is not opaque, so it meets the requirements of recycling plants to be recycled.
Robert Thompson, scientific director of Materfad, with his presentation ‘Beyond conventional materials: research opportunities with new materials’ praised the role of some materials that can replace others and the role of the research carried out at the Materials Center in Barcelona.
Another of the presentations of the day was the one dedicated to company culture. ‘Organizational keys to promote good leadership and talent development’ by Oriol Montanyà, UPF Barcelona School of Management Professor. The columnist at La Vanguardia also made the attendees reflect on the different business models and how to optimize them.
Sustainability was also a focus of the day. The round table ‘towards a sustainable future: how customer companies are adapting to changes’ featured the experience of packaging user companies: Mireia Vilalta, R&I Packaging Sustainability leader Europe at Danone, Víctor Cañadas, sustainability consultant at Ferrer, Laura Batlle, senior sustainability manager at Heura Foods, Cristina Cantón, Dept. Packaging of Idilia Foods and was moderated by Pere Coll, R&D Director of Enplater. During the round table, each company announced its sustainability goals and the solutions they have already adopted to align with sustainability, such as changing some packaging materials. “Our strategy is to work with packaging that is 100% reusable, can be recycled or composted. We want to reduce by half the amount of virgin plastic we use, and decarbonize the packaging”” concluded Danone.