Recently, drupa and AIPIA have agreed on a marketing cooperation. In this interview, AIPIA Director Eef de Ferrante explains design and motivation behind this new partnership and shares his view of the future of packaging.

When it comes to augmented reality, blockchain or sensor technology in packaging, the Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association – short: AIPIA – is one of the leading addresses for packaging professionals. At drupa 2020, AIPIA will now play a major role in presenting innovative ideas and developments regarding active and intelligent packaging – thanks to our recently resolved partnership with drupa.

drupa talked to Eef de Ferrante, CEO and one of the founders of AIPIA, who is convinced that the newly formed partnerhsip is a win-win situation for both AIPIA and drupa. In the following interview, he shares some background knowledge about the new cooperation and gives us insights into the future of packaging and to what extend it is intermingled with the future of the printing industry.

drupa: AIPIA and drupa have recently agreed on a marketing cooperation. What does this cooperation look like?

De Ferrante: We are very pleased to be working with drupa to bring our members in contact with the enormous visitor profile at the show. We will host a Members’ Village as well as organising demonstrations and presentations about Active & Intelligent Packaging (A&IP) technologies and how these relate to the printing sector. Many A&IP components are created by some very advanced printing techniques such as vacuum deposition, holographics, embedded security coding, micro printing and so on. Of course printed electronics is a key area, too. So we bring a new dimension to the event. In our opinion it’s a chance for members to see new printing technologies which might be adapted to create A&IP products and meet converters and other specialists from the packaging and related sectors. Needless to say it’s a win-win partnership!

drupa: What was the main motivation for this cooperation?

De Ferrante: It is a very exciting opportunity to bring some of the latest applications for new printing technologies to the wider world at the biggest printing show on the planet. The buzz of digitalisation in the packaging sector is enormous but there is so much more such as printed electronics, embedded coding in QR and other codes, micro printing, nano ink and printing technologies, graphene, etc. Applications include traceability, serialisation, condition monitoring, thermochromic and photochromic inks for promotions. There is a long list so the print element is very important.

drupa: Regarding the two partners drupa and AIPIA: What are the most important similarities and where do you see the most promising synergies between drupa and AIPIA?

De Ferrante: Well, it’s all about cutting edge technology moving the bar higher or taking them into new areas. We are both looking to disrupt the sectors we serve by offering exciting new ideas. So although our approach is slightly different – after all AIPIA is a trade organisation and drupa an international exhbition – our objectives are very closely matched. drupa is a great stage to work on and AIPIA has some great performances to offer!

drupa: Regarding the topic packaging: What are the most relevant developments right now?De Ferrante: Probably printed electronics is the highest profile from our point of view as it has the ability to make affordability and scalability of many intelligent tags a reality. The advances in print technologies and ink formulation (for example to maintain or improve conductivity but use recyclable materials) for PE are impressive. The current issues about plastic waste and recycling in general mean everyone must take responsibility for minimising waste. A&IP can certainly do that and can really help to reduce food waste and improve medical compliance – all of which can be far more impactive on the planet than a bit of dropped litter.

drupa: And if you think about the future of packaging? What are the most relevant packaging related themes of the future that you expect to see at #drupa2020?

De Ferrante: Better printing helps us to improve the quality of packaging and, at the same time enables us to offer value added items such as anti-counterfeit, security and consumer engagement features. Brands, particularly big brands, are waking up to the fact that they need to engage with their customers in new ways. Packaging can become one of their most powerful marketing tools. So this is a theme we would like to highlight during drupa 2020.