Canadian Packaging

Intelligent film packaging in the works

Bemis teams with Thin Film Electronics to develop intelligent packaging platform.


July 10, 2012
by Canadian Packaging Staff

Seeking to develop a new category of packaging, Bemis Company, Inc. and Thin Film Electronics ASA have joined forces.

Bemis, a supplier of flexible packaging and pressure sensitive materials, and Thin Film, a leader in the development of printed electronics, have agreed to join forces to develop a flexible sensing platform for the packaging market.

They expect that this new category of packaging—the Intelligent Packaging Platform—will collect and wirelessly communicate sensor information for use by leading food, consumer products and healthcare companies worldwide.

Thin Film has previously announced technology partnerships to develop an inexpensive, integrated time-temperature sensor for use in monitoring perishable goods and pharmaceuticals.

Under the agreement with Bemis, Thin Film will extend this work to create a customizable sensor platform that Bemis will tailor to its customers’ individual requirements.

The Intelligent Packaging Platform can be adapted to monitor and record key physical properties and environmental data in packaged perishable products.

“Intelligent packaging is an emerging technology with many potential intersections with Bemis’ flexible packaging and pressure sensitive materials business segments,” explains Bemis president and chief executive officer Henry Theisen. “Our agreement with Thinfilm represents an investment in a technology that could eventually make printed electronics a component of every package we manufacture.”

Bemis’ packaging is used for a wide range of products from meat and cheese to medical devices and personal care items. Its customers include leading food and consumer products companies around the world.

The flexible packaging market for North America, alone, is estimated by PCI Films Consulting Ltd to be $18.3 Billion.

“These are exciting times for the printed electronics market, where innovative solutions that simply could not be manufactured before are soon to be delivered,” says Thin Film chief executive officer Davor Sutija. “Our partnership with Bemis will lead to new categories and types of packaging that will bring intelligence to everyday lives of millions of people worldwide. We are excited to work with the company because of their distinguished history of innovation and their vision for printed electronics.”

Dr. Malcolm J. Thompson, founder and director emeritus of the FlexTech Alliance feels that the Bemis-Thin Film alliance is a clear sign that the printed electronics market is entering a new commercial phase.

“While vendors have created standalone components, the integrated systems commercialized through this partnership are truly disruptive,” notes Thompson. “Vendors who have waited to see what printed and flexible electronics can offer should take this as a strong sign that now is the time to be seriously evaluating what new product opportunities printed electronics can generate.”

The Bemis Intelligent Packaging Platform is expected to be commercially available in 2014.

About Bemis

Bemis Company is a major supplier of flexible packaging and pressure sensitive materials used by leading food, consumer products, healthcare and other companies worldwide. Founded in 1858, it reported 2011 net sales of $5.3 billion. Bemis’ flexible packaging business has a strong technical base in polymer chemistry, film extrusion, coating and laminating, printing and converting. Headquartered in Neenah, WI, Bemis employs approximately 20,000 individuals worldwide. More information is available at www.bemis.com.

About Thin Film Electronics

Thin Film Electronics ASA is a leader in the development of printed electronics. As the first to commercialize printed rewritable memory, Thin Film is creating printed system products that will include memory, sensing, display and wireless communication—at a cost-per-functionality unmatched by any other electronic technology. Company headquarters are in Oslo, Norway, with product development in Linköping, Sweden, sales offices in San Francisco and Tokyo, and manufacturing in Pyongtaek, South Korea. For more information, visit www.thinfilm.no.