Active and intelligent elements are being widely added to packaging to increase consumer engagement and safety of the product. One such smart addition to packaging is smart ink.
Smart inks are generally of two types:
THERMOCHROMATIC INKS: They change colour when the temperature increases or decreases. This colour change is reversible and constant.
PHOTOCHROMIC INKS: They change colour on exposure to daylight (UV light). Again, this change this reversible and instantaneous.
These inks are used in packaging to communicate valuable information about the product inside, especially if it is sensitive to temperature changes or should be protected from exposure to light. They can also simply be used to create an eye-catching designs for marketing and branding purposes.
An example of the use of smart inks for packaging include:
COCA-COLA CANS IN TURKEY
A combination of four differently-colored thermochromic inks are used to create bright images when the cans are chilled.
Coors light has also used the same technology for their beer cans.
Some other emerging smart inks are:
CUPROUS OXIDE CONDUCTIVE INKS which are essentially invisible antennas and can be used to track the product using RFID. Other conductive inks are also available in the market based on carbon and silver.
Advancement in technology has also led to the development of “chameleon inks” which change colour based on the specific wavelength they are exposed too.
We expect more creativity in the packaging industry with the help of smart packaging techniques in the coming years.