Bolstering carton security

Jones Packaging Inc. has become the first folding carton converter to receive a “Preferred Converter” certification for applying NFC OpenSense tags from Thin Film Electronics ASA to paperboard packaging for over-the-counter and prescription medication, Jones reports.

The tags are thin, flexible labels employing near-field-communication technology for detecting both a product’s “factory sealed” and “opened” states. They contain unique identifiers that can be used for authentication and tracking. “Primarily, the tags are used for brand protection, tamper evidence, marketing, education, and data collection,” James Lee, Director, Technology & Innovation, Jones Packaging Inc., tells PMP News. The tags can wirelessly communicate these product states with the tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone. They remain active even after a product’s factory seal has been broken, allowing further communication with consumers and patients.

Jones has been working with Thinfilm since January 2016. “Since we announced our partnership, our teams have been working together to automate the application of Thinfilm’s NFC OpenSense tags to paperboard pharmaceutical packaging on a high-speed production line at our converting facility,” says Lee. “We completed successful trials this past August and developed a video to visually convey the automated process – setup of the carton, application of the tag, reading of the NFC chip, recording of key information, and ejection of compromised packages.

“Throughout the trials process, we developed multiple structural design iterations to enable bidirectional carton panels that not only house the tag, but also protect it during shipment and filling processes on our customers’ production lines. We were able to take testing one step further by conducting trials on our own filling lines at our contract packaging services facility – this is an excellent indicator of success, given this equipment is similar to our customers’,” he says.

After trials, Jones worked with Thinfilm to complete a comprehensive evaluation program to achieve the Preferred Converter status. “This involved demonstrating our ability to establish key production processes and consistently meet designated standards related to carton design, tag application, process control, in-line testing/discrimination, product quality, data management, transfer/security, training and support,” Lee says. 


Jones applies the OpenSense tags to cartons in a high-speed automated process.


The NFC OpenSense tags are intended to provide ongoing security. “One of the key security features of the OpenSense tag is the fact it is not rewritable,” says Lee. “The tag stores its unique ID physically, instead of using rewritable memory. Current tags in the marketplace could be rewritten in the field, which is of concern from a counterfeiting perspective. In order to counterfeit an OpenSense tag, the counterfeiter would need to build a semiconductor fabrication plant, which involves millions of dollars of equipment. The unique tag IDs are then provided to the customer in a cloud database, which they can use to resolve to their own respective databases. This allows customers to maintain the concept of ‘rewritable’ tags–in that they could change the information retrieved through the tag via a secure portal in the cloud–but they also maintain the security of the physical method so tags cannot be rewritten in the field by counterfeiters. Ultimately, the unique tag IDs can be tied to content that is dynamic and controlled by the customer.”

Pharmaceutical companies can verify the contents of the tags by modifying their production lines or processes. “The customer would need to have a reader placed on their line for verification of OpenSense tags on each individual item,” Lee says. “If the customer chooses to use sampling verification methods, then an NFC-enabled smartphone is all that would be needed to verify tag contents.”

The tags can also complement human readable codes and bar codes to help support serialization and Unique Device Identification. “The OpenSense tag would do this by tying its unique ID to a database with human-readable codes, as well as GS1 codes with the standard numerical identifiers,” says Lee.


The NFC OpenSense tags can communicate with patients and consumers with an NFC-enabled smartphone. 


They can also support ongoing marketing and communication. “With the tag’s ability to direct a patient to internet-based content, our customers could also use packaging as a portal to more marketing and educational information about a given medication,” says Lee. “These tags can uniquely provide a pre- and post-sales context (which may not be applicable for Rx products) where different messaging can be provided based upon whether a package has been opened. Every time the tag is tapped by an NFC-enabled device, metadata regarding the interaction is recorded and tracked for data analytics purposes, as well. For example, a customer of ours may be able to determine consumer interactions based upon geography, see where a product sells regionally, and redirect communication efforts from a high-selling region to one with lower sales.”

Jones continues to develop various intelligent solutions for packaging. “Our integration of Thinfilm OpenSense tags with paperboard pharma packaging is just one of the flexible solutions offered to our customers,” says Lee. “We can also apply capacitive touchscreen-sensitive inks to packaging, which facilitates other types of consumer interaction with touchscreen devices for marketing and brand protection. What’s more, we are developing conductive ink applications to connect sensor technology inside packaging to promote medication adherence or assist with cold chain monitoring. Overall, Jones realized that one solution is not enough to meet our customers’ needs, which is why we are building a portfolio of options that offer the right solutions and the right value propositions for each customer’s specific requirements.”

For more details, visit

Looking for more ideas for cartons and product security? Visit WestPack February 7-9 in Anaheim for a range of exhibitors and educational opportunities.

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Acquisition unites two sealing tech companies, advances automation possibilities

SencorpWhite, known in the medical device packaging industry for its CeraTek family of constant-heat sealers, has acquired impulse sealing machinery provider Accu-Seal. According to Kent Hevenor, VP of CeraTek Sales for SencorpWhite, Accu-Seal will be a wholly owned subsidiary of SencorpWhite and will maintain its own brand identity as Accu-Seal.

The acquisition positions SencorpWhite and Accu-Seal to work together to produce automated systems that utilize Accu-Seal’s impulse sealing technology. SencorpWhite has made recent strides in automating the sealing process. According to Hevenor, “there is a push for an increase in automation versus manual processes. This acquisition will help SencorpWhite by allowing us to utilize the automation expertise of our home office in concert with Accu-Seal’s impulse sealing technology to develop the right solution for every customer.” New systems will be offered in both proprietary custom and standard configurations, the company reports.

Hevenor tells PMP News that “one of the challenges that we are seeing for medical device manufacturers is an increased pressure for risk mitigation from regulatory bodies. Automation is the primary solution to this challenge and this acquisition will benefit Accu-Seal by providing them access to more engineering resources from the SencorpWhite home office to provide customized solutions to meet these risk mitigation needs.”

In addition, Hevenor also notes that “larger device manufacturing companies are undergoing a lot of merger and acquisition activity, and there is a flurry of new start-up business entering the medical device space.” To address this trend, SencorpWhite and Accu-Seal can now offer a greater range of products to serve both start-up companies and large manufacturers, says the spokesperson. “Also, with a larger geographic footprint we are now able to provide longer business hours and enhanced service capabilities with a bi-coastal operation that brings us closer to our customers,” he says.

Accu-Seal will continue operations in San Marcos, CA, allowing both Massachusetts-based SencorpWhite and Accu-Seal to extend service and engineering support. “Medical device manufacturers can expect to receive the same great quality products and services that they have come to expect from both SencorpWhite and Accu-Seal along with extended business hours, improved service capabilities, a greater geographic presence and more support every step of the way,” says Hevenor.

Adds Brian Urban, CEO of SencorpWhite:
 “SencorpWhite’s acquisition of Accu-Seal adds to our current sealer offerings and helps us expand our reach. This investment represents an important strategic opportunity that broadens our capacity, increases the markets we serve and enhances our ability to provide excellence in customer service and support.” 


“When looking for a buyer, we wanted one that would not only strengthen the Accu-Seal brand, but also share in our company’s commitment to innovation, product quality and customer service, sustaining the legacy we have worked to build over 45 years,” stated Accu-Seal’s General Manager Lesley Jensen. “SencorpWhite meets that criteria, and we are looking forward to working together to continue to deliver the reliability and value our customers expect.”

For more information, visit and be sure to visit MD&M West/WestPack in Anaheim February 7-9, 2017, to see SencorpWhite at Booth #1943 and Accu-Seal at Booth #5439.

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A toast to 2016’s most spirited packages

We celebrate 2016 with this 6-pack of the year’s top beverage packaging articles. Spoiler alert: It’s all about wine and beer.


The winding down of 2016 signals the start of celebrations that often acknowledge the past months’ accomplishments. We do that in grand packaging style by toasting the top-performing beverage packaging articles of the year. These happened to center entirely on beer and wine, popular subcategories overflowing with innovative labels and packaging designs among other value-added embellishments.

We open up our 6-pack of these top-read stories with #6 that dates to early July, when we posted an article about a series of peculiarly coded labels printed with letters and numbers. The unique alphanumeric symbols decorate a line of 6 beers from Denmark’s TO ØL Brewery. The article presented a triple mystery that lured readers: What do the labels’ codes mean? And from what cult classic movie does the line of colorful brews draw its inspiration? And finally, what does the brewer’s name signify?

If you love a mystery as much as many hundreds of readers, then you’ll want to test your deductive skills by examining the clues in Can you read this mysteriously coded beer label?

Wine labels with a lot of character…


Explore fresh food and beverage packaging and design ideas during WestPack, February 7-9, 2017, in Anaheim, CA


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Champagne bottles dress up for the holidays

With the recent cooler weather, jackets have come out of the closet—now even for champagne bottles. An elaborate zippered sleeve on champagne bottles offers a trio of benefits: gains attention in the store; keeps the bubbly cold; and provides a convenient carrying handle.

The jacket covers regularly labeled 750-milliliter champagne bottles from Veuve Clicquot, a brand from the Moët Hennessy Group. The main advantage is that the padded fabric keeps a chilled bottle cold for up to two hours.

Unusual secondary packaging is a standard fare for the Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label collection, with an arrow-shaped metal case, a handled shopping bag and a reclosable trunk among the designs. This latest entry continues the brand’s bright color scheme on the ice-cooler sleeve, which definitely catches the eye from far away—especially a bulk display (see photo above).

Branding on the outer coat includes a front label encased in a sewn-on windowed pocket, along with a tag hanging from the neck that explains how the sleeve keeps the beverage cold outside of a refrigerator or ice bucket.

A sewn-on handle (leather or imitation leather) makes it easy to carry one—or more!—bottles.

Consumers access the bottle by unsnapping a top strap, unzipping the jacket and slipping it off.

Similarly, sister brand Moët & Chandon was decked out in a zippered jacket design of its own.

At a Chicago-area Jewel supermarket, bottles originally priced at $56.99 were on sale for Thanksgiving for $44.99, with a further 10% discount ($40.49 each) for volume buys of six bottles or more.




See more ideas for beverage packaging at PackEx Montreal 2016, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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Tamper-evident sports closure opens with the push of a button

The Avantage cap that opens with one hand also indicates clearly tamper-evidence and has an integrated drop band that tethers it to the bottle.


Do you like things that conveniently open with the push of a button? Then you’d probably like the new Avantage sports closure as much as I did because it adds push-button convenience to bottled drinks. It offers several distinct advantages found in its ingenious design that balances convenience with safety. It looks different from other sports caps because it is different and offers these features:

The tamper-evidence is compromised when the flip-top cap is removed by pushing the button on the closure front;

Once opened, the press button has a permanent whitening effect to indicate that the product has been opened; and

It offers a spill-proof valve.

And thanks to a patented Stay-With drop band, the polypropylene closure remains tethered to the bottle top as a safety precaution for children to prevent choking.

At Pack Expo two weeks ago where it was on display, Matt Schalewski, AptarGroup account manager, told Packaging Digest that the tethering of the cap is also intended to reduce littering while increasing recycling rates for the closures.

Intended for on-the-go-beverages, the Avantage was commercialized in October in the United Kingdom for a children’s beverage from Ribena that’s available in 200- and 250-mL sizes.


According to AptarGroup, several independent focus groups have shown that consumers young and old are automatically drawn to press buttons. That’s borne out by the highly favorable reviews posted at the Ribena website that specifically call out the closure:

“Both my girls loved their Ribena Minis. I was particularly impressed with the opening and non-drip tops! Thanks to the Ribena minis gang for making my life as a busy mum a little easier”

Zoe, London

“The Less mess cap is perfect when you’re out and about, they are mum friendly, bag friendly and car friendly.”

Sarah, West Moseley

The closure is available in a 28mm neck finish for cold ambient filling and has a 7-mm SimpliSqueeze orifice.


For more information, visit the Avantage page at the AptarGroup website.



Find new food and beverage packaging ideas and more at PackEx Montréal, November 30, 2016 to December 1, 2016. 


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