TrakRap: wrapping its way to eco-friendly packagingWith its innovative “cold wrap” technology, TrakRap is ushering in a sustainable revolution in the packaging industry. The successful market launch included an intelligent “pay-per-wrap” leasing model from Siemens Financial Services coupled with Siemens Digital Industries’ digital twin.
Consumer packaging for food and beverages has hardly changed since the 1970s. That’s how Martin Leeming, CEO of UK-based machinery manufacturer TrakRap, describes the situation prior to development of the company’s novel packaging technology. High consumption of materials and energy was routine. Now, revolutionary cold wrapping technology is being used in what is known as an orbital wrapping process: The products are wrapped in an extremely elastic, ultra-thin stretch film. The results are impressive: energy consumption down 90 percent, 70 percent less plastic and 40 percent less cardboard. Quite substantial figures, which equate to a 70 percent reduction in the overall carbon footprint. What’s more, the material used to make the film was developed to be up to 100 percent recyclable, bringing the vision of a more circular economy within reach. The close collaboration with Siemens Digital Industries and Siemens Financial Services was a key factor in this success story.
Working with Siemens Financial Services on creating a “pay-per-wrap” leasing model opens up our eco-innovative packaging to a much wider audience.Martin Leeming, CEO TrakRap
“Pay-per-wrap” accelerates market entryTrakRap’s environmentally-friendly packaging technology is a boon to companies, especially those in the food and beverage industry, helping them improve their carbon footprint and conserve resources. In its role as TrakRap’s strategic partner, Siemens Financial Services provided support from a very early stage in the development of this innovative business model.
The first challenge was to get the system to market quickly and cost-effectively, says Martin Leeming, CEO of TrakRap, harking back to the early days of the project. Our customers’ main concern is how to get eco-friendly packaging at the lowest price. By contrast, owning the packaging machine and having to maintain it themselves is lower down their list of priorities. That is why the pay-per-wrap model – under which TrakRap’s machines are provided to customers as a service – arose in partnership with Siemens Financial Services. That has many advantages for their customers: They can reduce their CAPEX and get a better handle on their monthly costs. In addition, the costs per package are lower and their carbon footprint is considerably enhanced.
The pay-per-wrap model has allowed the technology to be made available quickly to a much broader target group – including, for example, many SMEs in the food and beverage industry. “It’s important for us to listen very carefully to our customers and to understand what exactly is important in their market,” says Veronika Bienert, CFO of Siemens Financial Services, explaining the key success factors of the business relationship. “In this way, not only was this kind of flexible financing model the right fit for a successful market entry, but it also offers TrakRap more security when it comes to planning, enabling them to reinvest more easily in further developing their technology.”
Digital innovations paved the way to one of the eco-friendliest packaging machines in the worldFrom the very outset, TrakRap relied on a digital twin when developing its technology. Virtual commissioning has become one of the most important speed and quality factors – not only for more and more new customer applications, but also for the continuous improvement of the machines in operation.
Martin Leeming describes the challenge like this: “Every new machine is a business risk, so we can’t afford to make any mistakes.” A digital twin enables real-life simulations of a machine’s exact physical behavior during the development phase. That minimizes the risks that can materialize during commissioning and shortens the time needed for development. The digital twin contains all the mechanical and electrical components as well as the entire automation design.
It also helps at a later stage, namely during maintenance and operation. When data gathered directly from the machine using edge computing is added to the mix, a detailed picture is obtained that makes it possible to continuously improve the machine and, in most situations, maintain it remotely.