Automated Packaging Design: Efficient, Fast, and Future-Oriented

In a world where digital information is ubiquitous, physical, three-dimensional objects like packaging are becoming increasingly important. They can evoke emotions and offer daily opportunities to be present with customers and win them over for the brand. Packaging is increasingly understood as a crucial touchpoint between brand and consumer. Nowadays, packaging design is less about creativity and art and more about economic aspects.
In this article, we focus on automated packaging design. This field brings efficiency and precision to packaging design and production through centrally managed data from a PIM system. We discuss the benefits of automated workflows, examine the prerequisites for their implementation, and look at future developments in the packaging industry.
Automated Packaging Design: Efficient, Fast, and Future-Oriented

Product Packaging: A Crucial Touchpoint Between Brand and Consumer

“The willingness of customers to switch brands is greater than ever, prompting brands and retailers to regularly vary their packaging and label motifs, placing great emphasis on attractive design and innovative finishes.”

Brands are in intense competition and use packaging to stand out from the competition and win over consumers. The increasing willingness of customers to switch brands prompts brands and retailers to regularly vary their packaging and label motifs, placing great emphasis on attractive design and innovative finishes. Automated packaging design (also called “Dynamic Publishing”) plays a crucial role in this context, as it allows quick adjustments to changing market requirements while simultaneously strengthening brand identity through consistent, high-quality packaging.

What is Automated Packaging Design?

Automated packaging design refers to using technologies and software to coordinate and manage product information for packaging design. This process begins with carefully integrating product data from sources such as an ERP system like SAP, a Product Information Management (PIM) solution, and a printing system, which provide the foundational information for the layout and content of the packaging. Based on these data, elements such as texts, images, and barcodes are automatically positioned and checked for accuracy and brand conformity. Packaging data management ensures that all relevant content is flawlessly transferred to the packaging and optimized for production.

The types and styles of packaging can vary greatly. The possibilities are limitless, from folding cartons and outer packaging made of corrugated cardboard or paper to label printing and direct printing. Automated packaging design is not just about efficiency. Packaging must be aesthetically pleasing and brand-compliant. Automation in this area offers tremendous benefits but requires careful planning and implementation to fully realize its potential.

Benefits of Automating Packaging Production

The automation of packaging design offers numerous benefits:

  • Accuracy & Compliance: Automated systems reduce the risk of human error, leading to greater accuracy of information on the packaging. They also ensure compliance with legal requirements and industry standards.
  • Scalability & Faster Market Introduction: The ability to quickly adapt designs to different packaging sizes and types makes packaging production more flexible and efficient. At the same time, new products can be brought to market faster.
  • Process Assurance: Automation allows processes and workflows to be systematically represented so responsibilities are clearly structured and the status or degree of completion is always traceable and known.
  • Corporate Design: Uniform templates serve as the basis for product packaging and ensure consistent presentation of all necessary information. They help maintain corporate design or identity through automation.
  • Customizing: Customization allows for market-specific packaging adjustments to specific regions or countries and customer-specific preparation in the B2B area. This way, product packaging can impress with market-relevant content and country-specific content.

Overall, automated packaging design is critical for companies wanting to succeed in today’s fast-paced, environmentally conscious, and customer-oriented business world. However, implementing such systems requires investing in the right technology and having robust PIM and printing systems to provide the required quality data.

Prerequisites for Automated Packaging Design: Centrally Maintained Data in the PIM

A thorough understanding of your workflow, database connectivity, and opportunities to maximize automation is crucial. This step lays the foundation for all further processes, ensuring efficient execution from concept to finished product. To successfully implement automated packaging design, some technological prerequisites are necessary:

  • Centrally maintained data: A powerful PIM system is essential. It serves as the central source for all product-related data that should appear on the packaging, such as product descriptions, ingredients, instructions for use, and legal notices.
  • Integration-capable software: The software for packaging design must be able to seamlessly connect with the PIM system to retrieve and update data.
  • Flexible publishing solutions: Advanced publishing solutions guarantee immediate assurance of corporate design for packaging and the necessary adjustments.

Once the product data is centrally and completely captured, the connected systems for publishing automation can take over the product information and prepare the data for printing.

Case Study: Dynamic Publishing at fischerwerke GmbH & Co. KG

The principle of Dynamic Publishing can also be applied to catalog creation. An example is provided by the company fischerwerke GmbH & Co. KG, known for its gray-red fastening systems for DIY enthusiasts. fischerwerke GmbH & Co. KG has completely automated the creation process for its main catalogs and price lists using an innovative publishing solution. This process began with a series of workshops where the specific requirements for the catalog were defined. Central questions were clarified, such as: What data is needed? Where does the data come from? And how can it be effectively integrated into the predetermined layout?

The automation of the layout for the main catalog brought significant benefits. Based on the automated layout of the main catalog, further specialized catalogs could be developed. Thus, fischerwerke GmbH & Co. KG was able to improve the consistency and quality of the documents and achieved significant time savings, thereby accelerating market introduction. Similar principles and techniques create technical data sheets and list-based products.

Sustainability and Innovation: Future Developments in Print Automation

In the future, automated packaging design will further drive efficiency and personalization and play a crucial role in reducing the ecological footprint of packaging materials. Innovative technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Near-Field Communication (NFC), and Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) will be increasingly used to make packaging interactive and take customers on a digital journey beyond the physical product.

Moreover, integrating recyclable materials and implementing “Connected Packaging” concepts, which inform the consumer about recycling opportunities, will become standard.

“In the future, automated packaging design will not only further drive efficiency and personalization but also play a crucial role in reducing the ecological footprint of packaging materials.”

The future of packaging production is a world where cost and time efficiency, customer orientation, and environmental compatibility are paramount. High-quality data plays a decisive role, enabling precise and efficient design and production processes and thereby laying the foundation for advanced and sustainable packaging design.



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