Michael Zacka, President Amcor Flexibles EMEA (left) and Noemi Bertolino, Vice President R&D (right) cut the ribbon on the new Amcor Innovation Center Europe.

© Amcor

Amcor opens new European Innovation Center in Belgium

Amcor, a global leader in developing and producing responsible packaging solutions, has now opened its Amcor Innovation Center Europe (AICE) in Ghent, Belgium. The AICE aims to pioneer new material technologies to make packaging more sustainable and performant, while focusing on designs that stand out in shops and increase ease-of-use for consumers.

“The opening of the Amcor Innovation Center 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.”

Support from concept to shelf

In its Innovation Center Europe, Amcor supports brands from concept to shelf using its Catalyst approach. This flexible, collaborative, and creative co-development methodology creates packaging solutions that take into account 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 Center creates innovative packaging materials that can drive down packaging’s carbon footprint; for instance, by introducing recycle-ready mono-material solutions that can match the performance of common mixed-material solutions; or switching to bio-based and recycled polymer alternatives. The center also supports developments in high-barrier paper packaging and vapour-deposited nanocoating. In the analytical labs, new materials are tested using the most advanced techniques.
  • The Customer Engagement Center 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, plus 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 to try out.
  • The E-Commerce Lab tests and certifies packaging according to ISTA 6 standards, to validate packaging for shipment through Amazon and other ecommerce distribution chains.
  • The soon-to-be-added Packaging and Recycling Test Center will house small-scale packing lines which 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.

Appealing and recyclable

“We want to create packaging that consumers like, and that is better for the environment,” said Noemi Bertolino, Vice President 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.


Caption: Michael Zacka, President Amcor Flexibles EMEA (left) and Noemi Bertolino, Vice President R&D (right) cut the ribbon on the new Amcor Innovation Center Europe.

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