In my quarterly reports I like to take you back through the events of the past 3 months, and also take a glimpse into the future. I will do that again in the third quarterly report of this year. I also want to explore the possibilities of our moving together towards a more sustainable and circular future. And look at Audion’s role as a manufacturer of packaging machines and packaging films.
In this article I will discuss the following developments:
Results last quarter
In the past quarter, we had good results. The order book is very healthy. This is partly because of increased sales and partly because of longer delivery times. Delivery times are longer mainly due to limited availability of parts. So, we go on finding new opportunities to be less dependent of some suppliers and logistics chains.
Nearshoring plays an important role here but we are also successful in designing essential parts such as PCBs. We already produce the more simple PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers). Now, designing PCBs is the next step towards more guarantees for reliable deliveries and continuity.
Another important aspect is our job market success. The job market is very competitive right now. Still, we received many applicants and we filled a number of vacancies recently. I welcome each of our new colleagues and wish you a bright future at Audion!
Power Sealer PLUS IP65
I would like to highlight one of our new packaging machines. Our flagship is the new Power Sealer PLUS series. It is a validatable impulse sealer which has the advanced Audion Touch Techware. This powerful sealer was designed for the most critical industrial and validatable packaging applications. The IP rating (International Protection Rating) of electrical equipment is an indication of the degree of protection. This includes protection of the electrical or electronic construction against own damage when used in harsh conditions. This Powersealer Plus meets the IP65 standard. This means that it is completely dust and waterproof. (No damage if sprayed at 12.5 l/min in each corner).
Our fantastic business developers Theodor Todorov and Tim Leusink did a great promotion job. Do not forget to watch the video below.
Toward circularity and the role of packaging film
The demand for raw materials is increasing worldwide. Therefore, we must be smarter and more economical in the use of resources. The goal of the EU is clear: we are to consume half as many raw materials by 2030. For 2050, the goal is even more ambitious: a fully circular economy. We still have a long way to go.
Audion want to do their part and contribute to the realization of the goals. Packaging is one of the major consumers of raw materials. At the same time many processes cannot do without packaging. The food sector is one of our strategic target markets. Packaging guarantees longer shelf lives and less waste in this sector. Medical and pharma is another target market. Their packaging provides more hygiene. And packaging is an essential link in logistics in e-commerce. This is a target market I like to use as an example.
Plastic or paper packaging in e-commerce?
A lot of e-commerce packaging is cardboard. But there is an alternative that is preferred by more and more e-commerce companies: film.
Flexible film has a many plus points. It is lighter, more efficient, faster and cheaper. When used with flexible bag length, another multiplier can be added to the above. Are there no minus points? Yes, there are. The gigantic islands of plastic floating in our oceans have major consequences for flora and fauna, and microplastics threaten our health.
The proportion of biodegradable and organic plastics is increasing but is too small. So, I must admit that the negative impact of plastics in ecological systems is still substantial.
In general, we can conclude that when plastic is not biodegradable and is not recycled, paper is less harmful to the environment. The better image of paper is the logical reason why some larger e-commerce parties will not switch over yet. But is that justified?
The production of cardboard and paper requires a lot of raw materials and energy. The paper industry is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gas. But the main argument is that paper is not circular. Paper can be recycled several times, but then the fibres become too short to be reused as a raw material. So, a fully circular model for paper is difficult to achieve. In addition, we can all see that the use of paper for packing and shipping is not most efficient. We all get products that we ordered online in boxes
that are way too big. Simply too much raw material is used for the transport of mostly air. I found this an interesting article. It looks at the aspects of usability and transportation.
Plastics can be infinitely circular, and with proper recycling the use of plastics is better. How can we manage proper recycling together? In my opinion, it makes sense to reduce the number of types to a manageable number. Standardization of a limited number of film types will make the circular model easier to implement. We must look at packaging as a stand-alone product, with its own product identification. We can do that if we realize that packaging is a valuable raw material. When we take this step I am very positive about the circular future.
On our route to a circular economy, plastic is still the long-term solution. Steps are taken towards a smaller footprint in production. Plastics are made from recycled or renewable plastics of guaranteed quality. Meanwhile, there are now infinitely recyclable bioplastics. So, developments are speeding up.
There are people who work hard on ecological and economic issues of sustainability, developing new materials in laboratories. I would like to talk to those people about how we can make more impact together. If you are active in e-commerce packaging, I would also like to get in touch! Audion has some business cases that we would like to discuss. Anytime!
Eugène Tangelder (CEO)
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