Inks and labels for smart packaging

ITENE develops inks and labels for smart packaging that monitor product quality and provide valuable information about its condition. These inks and labels are developed using formulation and electronic printing techniques and can be used on paper, cardboard and plastic.

These technologies can also be used to develop freshness monitoring, anti-theft and anti-counterfeiting systems, and to support user interaction via smart devices such as mobile phones.

etiqueta inteligente
Circuitos impresos
ADH-INK pollo

Innovative applications for smart packaging

At ITENE we develop various smart packaging solutions through:

    • Customised ink formulation for various printing methods and substrates
    • Development of printed electronics system prototypes using different printing methods: flexography, inkjet and screen printing.
    • Design of flexible electronic solutions for data capture by means of sensors and data transmission through wireless technologies such as:
      • RFID (radio frequency identification)
      • NFC antennas
      • Bluetooth
    • Quality indicator inks for perishable products (freshness and time-temperature)
    • Labels for detection of gas in packaging and in the atmosphere
    • Anti-fraud and traceability systems

Technological solutions

ITENE has been working on several technological solutions that enable us to monitor the condition of products throughout the value chain using smart packaging developments.

Freshness indicator label that monitors the deterioration of packaged products by changing colour

  • ITENE has patented this solution, conceived as a complement to the best-before date.
  • It shows the condition of the products throughout the handling, storage and distribution processes until final consumption.
  • In addition to monitoring the product’s shelf-life, it assures food safety and consumer protection while preventing waste.

This label was developed by ITENE within the framework of Phase 2 of the SME Instrument project as part of the Horizon 2020 program for the liquid ink and digital printing manufacturer Kao Chimigraf.

Find out more about FRESHCODE.

Smart indicator labels for the detection of ethylene in fruit

This smart label changes colour when it detects ethylene and warns that its concentration in the package is different to the recommended level.

This indicator label helps to improve stock management since some fruit ripens faster when exposed to ethylene.

Find out more about the SHEALTHY project.

Etiquetas indicadoras de etileno
Tintas indicadoras de CO2

Colour-changing CO2 detection ink

    • This blue ink goes transparent when exposed to CO2.
    • Its potential application in packaging could include the detection of potential leaks or of CO2 caused by microbial growth.

Find out more about the LEE-BED project.

Benefits of smart packaging

Our commitment to smart packaging brings many benefits:

  • It enhances consumer perception of the product by satisfying increasingly demanding customers through improved product quality-control and information about its condition.
  • It adds competitive advantages in the marketplace by differentiating products and services: it attracts customers’ attention at the point of sale and acts as a promotional resource.
  • It provides useful information that contributes to improving product transport, storage and distribution management systems.
  • How can I help you?

    Jesús Palenzuela

    Head of Printing technologies and Functional surfaces Unit

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