From Vision to Prototype in 48 Hours

Innovative approaches to solutions for digital and sustainable processes in the packaging industry were in demand at the 3rd Packaging Valley Makeathon, which took place decentrally at five locations on May 17 and 18, 2022.

Around 50 participants at the locations in Schwäbisch Hall, Waiblingen, Heilbronn, Kempten, and Allmersbach in the Valley dealt with issues pertinent for the future, relating to smart solutions for digitalization and resource conservation in the packaging industry. Over two days, fresh ideas from young talents met the comprehensive know-how of experts in the packaging industry. The topics are more relevant than ever and reflect what moves the packaging industry. At Harro Höfliger, for example, the first practical solutions were designed using the latest technologies to track the components of a machine across the entire supply chain and not only determine the carbon footprint of the components, but also subsequently reduce or optimize it. How can the implementation of a digital machine logbook for inventory machines succeed?

At Syntegon, ideas were implemented on how to use sensors and cameras on and around the machine to gain more information that would provide significant benefits for process efficiency and operator safety – regardless of the machine’s control system. In Optima & Würth’s task, solutions were successfully found on how to use AI in logistics to ensure optimal utilization when packing shipping boxes and to guarantee safe packing. Here, the idea of registering the position and orientation with the support of a MATLAB-based image recognition algorithm could be implemented in a very short time.

Furthermore, at Heilbronn University, students from the Mechatronics and Robotics course under the direction of Professor Peter Ott and in cooperation with Balluff dealt with the exciting topic of packaging and packaging contents and investigated the potential of radar in packaging technology. Technology partners and co-operations are an integral part of the Makeathon. The Makeathon is a think tank where visions are set in motion. In an informal, creative atmosphere, a special dynamic is created between the participants. „The interaction with students, Packaging Valley partners, and sites is unique,“ says Dr. Johannes Rauschnabel, PA/ETI of Syntegon.

„The Packaging Valley Makeathon is an excellent reflection of our cluster: technological innovation, sustainability, contacts between companies and future professionals, a flagship for the industry,“ says Martin Buchwitz, Managing Director Packaging Valley.

He added that the Packaging Valley Makeathon had proven its worth and become a permanent fixture in the network.

„It’s great to see our original idea of the Makeathon being carried forward and our approach to the Education 4.0 principle continuing to grow. The Packaging Valley Makeathon challenges and encourages offbeat and creative ideas and is an asset in brainstorming sustainable solutions for the packaging industry. All three Makeathons were a great success for all participants,“ says Dr. Rainer Stetter, initiator of the Packaging Valley Makeathon and Managing Director of ITQ GmbH.