What is Biopack & Transport?
Das internationale ZIM-Kooperationsnetzwerk „Biopack&Transport“ ist The international ZIM cooperation network “Biopack&Transport” was launched on September 1st, 2019. It has so far brought together 12 small and medium-sized companies – ten of them German and two French – and three research institutes. The network is already being expanded and is growing steadily.
The goal of the network is to further develop the potential of fibre-based, eco-friendly packaging as a substitute for plastic packaging and also to open up this kind of packaging to the field of transport packaging. The packaging should be developed to be compostable and recyclable. The focus will be on the development of intelligent packaging, i.e. packaging that monitors the condition of the food it contains – for example, its freshness – and provides information on this. This is of particular interest for high-quality food products, as great importance is attached here to special, quality-assuring protection of the goods. For the organic sector, the use of environmentally friendly packaging is also a must.
France is a country known for its regional delicacies and thus offers excellent development opportunities for online trade. By including the French partners in the network, excellent bridges are created for the German partners in the form of industry contacts and research alliances. These enable them to open up new markets in the adjacent country.
Neben der Entwicklung innovativer Verpackungen hat sich das Netzwerk In addition to the development of innovative packaging, the network also aims to encourage innovations that allow both companies and consumers to be able to provide transparent information about transport and to prepare the integration of the data with blockchain technology.
Which strategies are being pursued?
The topic of “sustainable transport” in connection with digitally operated logistics is becoming increasingly important, also in view of demographic change and the development of rural areas. Society is aging, and at the same time important facilities of general interest are being lost in rural areas, as the operation of grocery stores, doctors’ practices or pharmacies is often no longer worthwhile due to the shrinking population. Smart logistics solutions are in demand to ensure that all sections of the population at every location can be supplied on a sustainable basis.
The vision of the network is a sustainable packaging world that is also digitally integrated. The basis should be ecological base materials, with the focus on fibre-bound packaging. The raw materials for this are to come mainly from annual plants. This would enable the paper industry, which has lost around 20 percent of its market share in recent years due to digitalization in the graphics sector, to win back markets. In addition, the global amount of plastic waste could be reduced.
The planned innovations in the development of functional surfaces also focus exclusively on those materials that can be disposed of in the paper, cardboard and paperboard (PPK) fraction. This has two ecological advantages: firstly, only residues of annual plants are used, which are chemically unpolluted and which “accumulate anyway”; secondly, there is a high recycling rate in the PKK stream, and the recyclates enhance the quality of the process due to their unpolluted fibre structure.
Who can participate?
The network is suitable for small and medium-sized companies with a focus on packaging or transport issues – producers and suppliers, companies from the fields of metrology and process engineering as well as the food industry – who are interested in product development, market expansion, cross-industry interdisciplinary cooperation and networking.
Who are the partners?
Currently, 12 companies and five research institutions from Germany and France are participating in Biopack&Transport:
The company from Hennef in North Rhine-Westphalia has developed a process for the production of fibres from grass. The raw material is produced purely mechanically and can replace fresh and wastepaper fibres in a resource-saving way. Creapaper GmbH has received several awards, including the “IKU Innovation Award for Climate and Environment 2017”, the “KfW Award Gründen 2017” and the “Seal of Excellence 2018” of the European Commission. It has also been named one of the “Red Herring Top 100 Europe 2019”. In the network, Creapaper is to process other residual materials such as hops and hemp for paper and fiber processes.
The Munich-based company easy2coolGmbH offers tailor-made cooling systems made of recycled wastepaper for transport and logistics as well as for end consumers. Their favorable alternative to polystyrene can be completely disposed of in the paper, cardboard, carton (PKK) stream. For its temperature-controlled packaging COOLandFREEZE, the company was awarded the “IF Design Award 2018” and the “Innovationspreis Wellpappe”.
Founded in 1999, EcoCool GmbH won the Bremerhaven Founders’ Prize in the first year of its existence with its innovative packaging and insulation concepts. The packaging solutions are used by customers from the pharmaceutical and food internet shipping sectors as well as by freight forwarders and logistics companies. The company’s expertise in classic refrigerated packaging is to be successively transferred to the development of more ecological variants. The network benefits from the fact that previous experience with specific material properties and market conditions can be evaluated in detail with regard to different groups of buyers.
Ekolis, based in Châteaugiron, Brittany, is a software company that makes transport data available or readable for trucks. The company now wants to make this application available for smaller units as well. Applications for pallets are already available, and the path to even smaller applications is already laid down in the development line. Thus Ekolis is an ideal partner for the further network companies, which can realize a complete application with suitable hardware or appropriate platforms.
Gut Wulksfelde Lieferservice GmbH
Gut Wulksfelde Lieferservice GmbH from Tangstedt in the north of Hamburg has more than 30 years of experience in the distribution of “organic boxes”. The customers are supplied directly, which guarantees the freshness of the food. The company is particularly interesting for testing new types of dispatch packaging, as the entire supply chain can be monitored from receipt of goods to delivery to the customer. This logistics expertise will be used to develop plastic-free outer packaging that guarantees a high level of food quality. New elements for cold chain monitoring and tracking are to be integrated.
Leinos – Reincke Naturfarben GmbH
Reincke Naturfarben GmbH manufactures ecological, toxicologically safe natural paint products. As a specialist with many years of experience in the chemistry of natural substances, the company, founded in 1985 under the name Leinos Naturfarben, has succeeded in combining quality and ecology on the basis of natural raw materials and in producing paints, glazes and care products of the highest compatibility. The integration of the company’s expertise in the field of “healthy printing” is an important building block on the way to holistically ecological packaging.
Meteolytix GmbH, based in Kiel, has been involved in the development of specialized forecast models since 2009. Its customers include bakeries, beverage retailers and logistics companies for whom the company optimizes sales planning and personnel deployment with the aid of algorithms. The attributes added by Meteolytix are important components of an open data structure, which are to be enriched with further information about the transported goods within the network. The company also has a specialization in weather data, which is interesting for the food shipping industry.
Popular Packaging Design
The young Hamburg-based company Popular Packaging Design develops sustainable packaging solutions for so-called fast-moving consumer goods. At Fachpack 2019, Popular Packaging Design received the “Sustainability Award for Young Companies”. As a formative part of the innovation process, the design office represents the link between production and the customer. In addition to the development work on innovative closure possibilities for the new materials, there is also the possibility of creating prototypes with new materials, which give the network partners good presentation opportunities at trade fairs etc.
The French company ProcSea operates an online platform for shipping fresh fish. Within 24 hours, the fish from the predominantly Breton fishing areas is brought to restaurants in France, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Via the internet platform, trade is conducted without intermediaries and thus directly and quickly. There is also maximum transparency – in this case regarding the origin of the fish and the fishing method. This makes the company an ideal development partner for realizing intelligent transport packaging for an expensive, sensitive and also heavy transport good. With ProcSea, one of the first sustainable fresh fish packaging will be developed and tested in the network.
Richter & Hess Verpackungsservice GmbH
Richter & Hess Verpackungsservice GmbH has its own production of corrugated board products for the industry. For this purpose, a modern machine park for printing (flexographic printing), cutting, creasing, die-cutting and sealing (gluing, taping, stapling) is available at the company’s location in Chemnitz. The product portfolio includes folding cartons according to the FEFCO-ESBO code, special designs and bulk packaging as well as customer-specific solutions (including compartments, inserts and blanks). The company would like to work in a network on printed reinforcements made of natural materials.
SES RFID Solutions GmbH
SES RFID Solutions GmbH is one of the world’s leading providers of solutions in the field of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), i.e. radio wave-based transmitter-receiver systems. The performance profile includes copper-wound antennas with 125 kHz and 13.56 MHz, thin and flat inlays, dual interface inlays, injection-molded and overmolded labels, intelligent wearables and woven antennas. This performance profile offers the right hardware for the data acquisition system with which the transport packaging is to be equipped in the network.
Studio Fren GmbH & Co. KG
The focal points of Studio Fren GmbH & Co. KG are product and packaging design. It also realizes its own prototype and small series production. In packaging design, the young company pays particular attention to the use of newly developed and sustainable materials that are as compostable as possible. In doing so, the separation of outer packaging and protective packaging is broken down as far as possible; ideally, only one material is used for the entire packaging. This, in turn, favors composting or feeding into the recycling system.
Under the umbrella of the Bremerhaven Technologie-Transferzentrum (ttz), founded in 1987, an international team of around 50 experts works in the fields of food technology, bio-economy, aquaculture, sensor technology and analysis. In addition, the institute supports companies of all sizes in the planning and implementation of innovation projects. As a network management institution in the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM) of the German Federal Ministry of Economics (BMWi), ttz has already been active in 13 cooperation networks. In the Euverion-ZIM network Biopack&transport, the institute intends to participate in research projects for the development of new packaging and shipping solutions for food. For example, ttz could also test prototypes of transport containers with high insulating properties using ecological materials or the use of temperature sensors and other measurement technology for food in the supply chain.
Universität Bonn, Institut für Tierwissenschaften
Already since 2003 the main focus of the research group at the Institute of Animal Sciences at the University of Bonn is cold chain management. In terms of content, the focus here is on improving food quality and increasing safety in the context of food transport. The research focus includes the topics of intelligent packaging systems and cross-chain sensor systems and thus covers the core topics of Biopack&Transport. With the ITW, the network participants have an experienced and very well networked partner at their side who covers the entire cold chain in terms of content.
This network is supported by: The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, based on a resolution of the German Bundestag.
How are you supported?
Our innovation and network managers take care of all organizational matters related to your projects. They
- carry out market and competition analyses and evaluate these for the activities of the network
- coordinate the conceptual R&D work in the network and develop the technological roadmaps for this purpose;
- help you to prepare your funding applications and communicate with the funding agencies;
- support you in the development of marketing concepts;
- organize your presentation at trade fairs and exhibitions;
- coordinate with international partners in order to identify suitable funding programs;
- take care of knowledge transfer and communication between the partners and externally;
- manage the public relations of the network.