The printing and packaging industry is being transformed as packaging becomes more than just an object to hold and printing becomes increasingly functional. Public transit ticketing is becoming more and more commonly done by RFID in credit card, paper label and token formats using antennas patterned with printing techniques. Low cost and low power flexible displays for price labels on packages and shelf edges have already been commercial for some years. Integration of RFID enabled sensors, for example for temperature, are improving tracking of cool-chain logistics, and a demonstrator of an energy autonomous temperature sensor integrated into a package with printed energy harvesting, storage, back plane and display has also already been developed. Labels and packages of consumer products, e.g. beverages, are now enhanced by NFC functionality for brand protection and product information that can be read using the NFC function on a smart phone. In the future, we expect to see more and more functionality integrated into packaging for customer communication and safety as well as quality monitoring.
By printing piezo active material on a substrate, very thin loudspeakers can be fabricated. These can be integrated into all kinds of devices, e.g. to create a talking book.
Printed electroluminescent lighting enhances the visibility of products, while keeping the packaging flexible.
Packaging can also be equipped with electronic functions, by printed NFC functionality. This enables direct interaction with the consumer and supplies them with more information on the product.