State-of-the-art RFID and blockchain technologies are expected to make load carrier management even more efficient in future. Photo: Pexels
Industrial packaging 4.0
Every pallet truck drivers load or unload needs its own pallet receipt on paper. In future, Industry 4.0 solutions could make this a thing of the past. How? By enabling the pallets themselves to transfer data on their location. Blockchain is just one of several technologies that help industrial packaging 4.0 ensure seamless traceability, as exchanging load carriers is extremely complex and currently still lacking in terms of efficiency and transparency.
This decentralised data technology was originally developed to trade cryptocurrencies and is currently increasingly used in production and logistics. Danone is one company that has elected to use blockchain technology to track its baby foods.
A pilot project run by GS1 Germany will test the exchange of pallets based on blockchain technology for industrial packaging 4.0. 14 partner companies will take part in this test, which aims to develop a blockchain solution for load carrier exchanges over the course of the project’s two-year duration and focuses on digitalising administrative processes to increase their transparency and efficiency. This in turn will ensure complete process control in supply and delivery chains.
First and foremost, industrial packaging serves to protect goods in global trade logistics and aims to ensure that cargo is handled as quickly as possible during transportation. Examples include pallets – made out of wood or plastic – wooden boxes of varying sizes for lighter and heavier loads, cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, shrink film, crates and corrugated cardboard as well as polyethylene and aluminium foil. As a side note, two thirds of all transport packaging is made out of corrugated cardboard, according to statements of the German Association of Corrugated Cardboard Manufacturers [Verband der Wellpappen-Industrie, VDW], with wood in second place.
When it comes to industrial packaging 4.0, manufacturers focus on
the different needs of each participant in the supply chain to optimise benefits for everyone, from logistics companies and shippers to forwarders, trademark owners and customers, as for some, protecting goods is just as important as the product’s presentation in our supermarkets.