Amcor’s new European Innovation Centre brings the latest in material science and packaging design

Above: Amcor European Innovation Centre (AEIC) in Ghent

Packaging solutions producer, Amcor has opened its Amcor European Innovation Centre (AEIC) in Ghent, Belgium. The new facility will partner with brands and retailers from across the region to design packaging that delivers better results for consumers and the environment through pioneering new material technologies.

“The opening of the Amcor Innovation Centre Europe is a significant investment towards more sustainable, circular, and innovative packaging,” said Michael Zacka, president Amcor Flexibles Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

“The centre brings together the brightest minds in packaging design and material science with state-of-the-art technology to offer our customers a complete brand solution, from concept to commercial launch.”

In its Innovation Centre Europe, Amcor supports brands from concept to shelf using its Catalyst™ approach.

This flexible, collaborative, and creative co-development methodology creates packaging solutions that consider a brand’s market, consumer needs, sustainability and recyclability requirements, and customers’ existing production lines.

To support this end-to-end collaborative process, the AICE facilitates a range of activities:

• The Material Science Centre creates innovative packaging materials that can drive down packaging’s carbon footprint. For instance, it introduces recycle-ready mono-material solutions that can match the performance of common mixed-material solutions or switches to bio-based and recycled polymer alternatives. The centre also supports developments in high-barrier paper packaging and vapour-deposited nano-coating. In the analytical labs, new materials are tested using the most advanced techniques.

• The Customer Engagement Centre supports collaborative sessions and boasts an observation room for consumer focus groups. Packaging appeal and usability can be tested in an on-site retail simulation area, as well as in kitchen, living room, and bathroom settings, where consumers and marketers alike can interact with packaging. The on-site prototyping lab can quickly create different packaging solutions for test participants.

• The E-Commerce Lab tests and certifies packaging according to ISTA 6 standards to validate packaging for shipment through Amazon and other e-commerce distribution chains.

• The soon-to-be-added Packaging and Recycling Test Centre will house small-scale packing lines that mimic brands’ own packing lines for in-house machine trials. Recycling equipment will allow Amcor to evaluate packaging for ease of recyclability in the real world.

“We want to create packaging that consumers like and that is better for the environment,” said Noemi Bertolino, vice president of Research & Development.

“The packaging needs to look appealing, and be easy to open, portion and close. It also needs to be suitable for current and future collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure. At the AICE, we can test packaging against these requirements. For example, in our Customer Engagement Center, we can test whether a child-resistant push-through blister pack for pharmaceuticals is easy for an adult with arthritis to open.”

Amcor has set ambitious sustainability goals for itself. It has pledged to develop all its packaging to be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025, and to significantly increase its use of recycled materials. In line with this sustainability commitment, the Amcor Innovation Center Europe is housed in a building that is designed and built according to BREEAM sustainability certification standards.

Pictured above: Michael Zacka, president Amcor Flexibles EMEA (left) and Noemi Bertolino, vice president R&D (right) cut the ribbon on the new Amcor Innovation Centre Europe.


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