Packaging Clusters Combine Know-how

In times of crisis, quick rethinking is required. The „Packaging Valley“ and „Packaging Excellence Center“ clusters are currently co-organizing a competition of ideas in order to use the know-how of the member companies to overcome the crisis.

The packaging clusters „Packaging Valley“ and „Packaging Excellence Center (PEC)“ have set up a joint task force to better master the challenges of the corona pandemic by working together. Concentrated expertise: After all, the two clusters combined represent a total of around 100 companies from the packaging machinery and automation technology sectors. „Right from the start of the crisis, we thought about what we could do as a cluster to help with quick solutions in the current situation,“ says Martin Buchwitz, Managing Director of Packaging Valley Germany e.V.

Competition of ideas as a central project

Large member companies have long been involved in the production of face masks and face shields, for example, or in assisting in the bottling of disinfectants. „The central project of our joint task force is currently a contest of ideas, which is supported by a total of 20 member companies“, explains Buchwitz. “ We are planning a 24- or 48-hour hackathon.“ The aim is to make the best possible use of the know-how of member companies, for example in the production of protective equipment or the automation of laboratories.

Finally, in order to successfully combat the corona pandemic, the German government intends to boost the production of medical protective equipment in Germany and Europe. „The aim is to strengthen in-house production in Europe and Germany,“ said Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier in a joint press conference with Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn. Global demand would continue to rise and „remain high for a long time.“

Numerous challenges for member companies

Does this possibly hold business opportunities for the members of the two packaging clusters? „Yes and no,“ says Buchwitz. „The larger member companies are already active in this area, but for the smaller companies it is not so easy. At the moment, the activities are also far from sufficient to cover the demand – so there is still potential.“ In any case, packaging machine manufacturers are facing numerous other challenges in the current situation. „For this reason, our clusters also offer continuously updated information for members,“ Buchwitz points out, „whether for short-time work, deferral of taxes or access to subsidies.