Packaging plays an integral role in food. It provides protection from things like dirt and bacteria; security to help know if a product has been tamped with and a means of marketing. That is just a few things in the long list of uses for packaging.
Though did you ever consider that the design of food packaging doesn’t usually fall in the hands of Research and Development? There is actually a profession dedicated to designing food packaging!
So keep reading to learn the facts about Packaging Engineers.
Packaging Engineers Design And Test Food Packaging
Packaging engineers are the individuals responsible for designing, testing and implementing packaging designs for food products.
They begin by knowing what the specifications of the product such as the cooking preparations of the product. Next, the designing stage begins where they start coming with ideas for what a prototype might consist of.
Finally, once that is compete prototypes are developed allowing for the eventual performance testing of the packaging.
Some of their responsibilities include:
- Oversee the complete packaging development process beginning with the creation of potential packaging designs and ending with performance testing
- Developing extensive testing plans in order to ensure that packaging meets customer specification
- Establish standards and guidelines for clients to ensure the integrity of packaging is maintained
Packaging Engineers Typically Graduate With An Engineering Degree
Packaging is a very specialized section in the engineering field but to your surprise there are a lot of programs which offer this specialization. However, this is typically associated with general packaging rather than food.
Packaging science majors will begin with courses relating to the general sciences as it provides a solid foundation. In the later years they will focus on concepts such as packaging design theory, polymer science and mechanical properties of packaging.
Packaging Engineers Are Heavily Involved With Cost Saving Projects
It is one thing to design a package which performs a specific job but it is another to design it in a way which is cost saving.
The margins on food products are small and packaging plays a role in its cost over all. New technologies are constantly being produced meaning there is a lot of new possibilities for improving existing technologies. Packaging Engineers should follow up on the newest materials available like polymer science to see if they can include them in future projects. Then they can apply it to existing packaging to save on company costs.
Packaging Engineers Are Problem Solvers
With every new product there is a problem to be solved. Engineers have to be comfortable with thinking on their feet and coming up with creative way which will satisfy the clients needs.
Every food product on the shelf is slightly different than the last which means that packaging needs to highlight these differences. Overall, it is the job of a packaging manager to troubleshoot new and existing packaging problems which might arise from areas such as material costs and processes. The solutions to these problems are creative, timely, and cost-effective.
Packaging Engineers Have To Manage Multiple Projects Simultaneously
There are new food products coming out every day and that means the work load of packaging engineer can become quite hectic. Packaging Engineers needs to be efficient with their time and have the capability to work on multiple projects simultaneously.
Deadlines are present on the job and it takes time to produce prototypes. It is critical they are organized to ensure their clients demands are met in a timely manner.
Packaging Engineers Need To Follow Packaging Laws
In Canada the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act provides requirements of packagers to ensure that consumer make informed purchasing decisions. In the United States this falls under the Food and Drug Act. Engineers must work ethically by ensuring the packaging they design must not mislead the customer with respect to the quality and quantity of the product.
Packaging Engineers Are Integrated in Cross-Functional Teams
Packaging engineers are a part of a fully integrated cross-function team. In many companies they work closely with R&D platforms, sourcing, engineering and marketing to create the perfect package. Though outside companies are also included as well.
They build strong relationships with business partners such as cardboard manufacturing by focusing on collaboration. Finally, engineers utilize supplier resources to their advantage and communicate on a daily basis.
Packaging Engineers Are Knowledgeable on Packaging Equipment
Packaging is not the only thought that needs to be considered when designing packaging. Engineers need to understand the machines which will be used in the food packaging lines. Becoming knowledgeable includes actively participating in equipment selection processes and contacting equipment suppliers for specifications.
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