Thin electronic labels could help brand positioning

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Label

Cosmetic packaging with eye-catching videos or changing information
right on the label could soon be on the shelves with technology
being developed by Siemens for commercial release.

In a display of new wafer thin electronic labelling and packaging technology, Siemens says it can help cosmetic and personal care companies strategically package and market their products.

With the increasingly slimmer margins in a highly competitive industry, a new form of labelling and packaging would help brand owners market their products better.

The special labeling being developed by Siemens would be commercially possible for food companies even where it's unprofitable today for cost reasons, such as on food cartons, medicine and cosmetic packagingor admission tickets, the company claims.

The test product was demonstrated at the Plastics Electronics trade fair in Frankfurt earlier this month and is expected to become commercially available in 2007.

The displays could show information about products directly on the packaging. A cosmetic package label could display instructions for preparing the product, or its remaining shelf life.

The product is an extremely thin, miniature colour display that can be printed onto paper or foil. The displays can be produced at very low cost compared to current liquid crystal display (LCD)labelling panels, the company claims.

The flexible miniature displays operate using electrochromic substances, materials that change their color when an electrical voltage shifts charges in their molecules.

As a result, the molecules absorb different wavelengths than in their original state. The display consists of a electrochromic material holding a pattern of electrodes. A conductive plastic foilserves as the other electrode and the transparent window.

To date, Siemens engineers have been using silicon switching elements to control the device. The objective now is to use a printing process to manufacture the entire display, including theappropriate control electronics, from conductive and semiconducting plastics.

The scientists are also developing materials that react so quickly that the displays can also show moving pictures. An unnamed partner company is already working on integrating the displays intothe packaging and production process, Siemens said in a press release.

The displays can obtain their energy from printable batteries, which are already available. There is one draw back though, because the batteries last only a few months, the technique is only feasible for products with a short shelflife.

The packaging, with the displays, can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner as a composite material, Siemens stated.

Related topics Packaging & Design

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