Technology and innovation
Excellence – Engineered. Solutions – Delivered.
Our innovation capabilities enable us to address multiple customer needs and respond to fast-changing consumer trends. We draw on the unmatched flexibility of our system to create modular solutions that give customers the optionality they need. We spend approximately 3% of revenue on R&D, and our innovations are patent-protected.
Our R&D is conducted at two major Tech Centres in Linnich, Germany and Suzhou, China. Here we design, engineer and test innovative packaging structures and shapes as well as new product formulations. We conduct filling tests on the latest filling machines, and our customers can visit the centres themselves to try out the new product formulations in an industrial setting. In Linnich, the Tech Centre has food accreditation, enabling us and our customers to carry out consumer trials, with products marketed directly in retail. The Tech Centre in Suzhou, opened in 2018, is enabling us to faster serve the rapid innovation cycles that are typical of the APAC region.
Our unique technology
The unique advantages of the SIG portfolio lie in our proprietary filling technology and sleeve-based system. We offer a range of packaging formats, volumes and opening solutions, providing our customers with more than 270 packaging options. Taking advantage of our differentiated filling capabilities, customers fill more than 10,000 food and beverage products into our packs. The flexibility of our system limits changeover downtime and results in better asset utilisation for many customers. As well as a high level of reliability, our system offers low waste rates for both the packaging and the finished product.
Benefits for customers and the environment
In 2020, we introduced further enhancements to our filling machines, with benefits for the customer and the environment. The temperature of the heaters that are required at various points in the filling process can now be reduced during idle times, delivering an energy reduction of up to 85%.
Energy reduction of up to
Water use reduction for filling machines and for cleaning of up to
We also launched two water-saving solutions in 2020: a conversion kit for filling machines to reduce water usage around the pocket chain and SureBrite, a cleaning machine that reduces manual labour as well as water use for cleaning.
Digital solutions in the factory…
All new filling machines from SIG now come with industry-standard OPC Unified Architecture (OPC-UA) connectivity built in. This enables horizontal machine-to-machine and vertical communication within the entire production plant – from shop floor to top floor. All existing SIG filling machines can now also be retrofitted with a simple plug-and-play installation providing OPC-UA connectivity.
After successful piloting in the Middle East, the Plant 360 Asset Management solution, co-developed with GE Digital, is now being rolled out in Asia-Pacific and the Americas.
… and in the supermarket
Our PAC.ENGAGE solution provides a variety of digital communication options that brands can use to interact with consumers directly on the package. With a simple scan from a smartphone, the unique QR code can launch dynamic engagement in the form of lucky raffles, loyalty programs, quizzes and more. In Brazil, milk producer Gloria wanted to raise its profile and better understand where it fits in the Brazilian market. Gloria used the PAC.ENGAGE static code to set up a program where consumers who scanned the code and completed a 10-minute survey were rewarded with the chance to win prizes such as televisions, iPads and iPhones. The surveys provided Gloria with a deeper consumer understanding than if they had used a more expensive research agency.
Through our consumer-led research, we help our customers bring new products to the market in packs that perfectly match the product concept. We are also enabling customers to respond to growing environmental concerns by offering fully renewable packaging, including the industry’s first aluminium-free solutions – EcoPlus and SIGNATURE 100. We have started to replace fossil-based polyethylene with plant-based material (SIGNATURE 100 and Full Barrier) via a mass-balance system and recently became the first company to offer beverage cartons with circular polymers made from recycled post-consumer plastic waste.
And to show that we are always looking towards the future, SIG – together with Nestlé, Logitech and other industry partners – is funding a new Chair for Sustainable Materials Research at EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland.