Food Ingredients China 2019

Digital design: Greater scope for Chinese firms to embrace dynamic packaging opportunities

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Professor Li Zhan-yong, vice president of Tianjin University of Science and Technology.
Professor Li Zhan-yong, vice president of Tianjin University of Science and Technology.

Related tags: Design, Packaging, China

Chinese food and beverage firms need to better embrace the latest digital design technologies in order to keep up with the times and accelerate the nation’s manufacturing skills in line with the government’s Made in China 2025 programme.

Professor Li Zhan-yong, vice president of Tianjin University of Science and Technology made the comments while speaking about “Modern Food Packaging Equipment Technology” ​at a high-level forum on food equipment manufacturing at Food Ingredients China (FIC) 2019.

With the concept of Made in China 2025, Li said the government hoped to accelerate the manufacturing capability of the country with a series of initiatives, such as digital transformation and environmental friendly production process. This concept has its equivalent in other countries, such as Industry 4.0 which originated from Germany.

In the context of China’s food packaging industry, Li pointed out digital design was paramount for operation efficiency and success.

 “This (digital design) is what a successful enterprise should do. In the past, we do 2D design, now we do 3D design with digital design, we can even do dynamic design,” ​he said.

The process can be summarised in three steps, starting with a virtual modelling of the packaging product, followed by a modelling of the production process before moving on to the actual production.

The process seeks to use minimal material and is a departure from the traditional mode of package designing process.

 “When we are doing digital design, we already have information about the product in the first place, but for conventional design, we need time to understand, find out and test the design, an experienced craftsman will be able to do this well..

“The most special thing about [the latest digital design skills] is that you can see if there is any problem with the manufacturing lines, whether there is any interruption during the process…” ​he said.

“Overall, digital design means that product modelling is the foundation of the process, improving the product design is the main activity, and data management is the core.”

China’s challenges

The domestic enterprises are not yet in tune with the country’s Made in China 2025 initiative, according to Li’s observation.

 “It seems that not a lot of Chinese people are interested in the concept of Made in China 2025, but the overseas, especially developed countries, are placing great attention on this concept…They are concerned with whether China is going to surpass them in certain areas,”​ Li said.

He also pointed out China was facing stiffer competition in the manufacturing industry from both developing and developed countries.

“There are people who say that China is big but not strong, and our labour is no longer as cost competitive, and as a result, some enterprises have moved to Vietnam and India.​There were also challenges from the US, Germany, and the UK, as the countries sought to revive their manufacturing industry with the use of digital tools, such as the Internet of Things and digital manufacturing, he said.

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