Germany’s Packaging Valley Association is one of the most innovative alliances of the packaging industry worldwide. It networks more than 100 companies with a total of more than 30,000 employees. These include manufacturers of packaging systems and packaging machines, as well as suppliers of software and automation solutions. It also includes manufacturers of components and providers of services relating to the packaging industry. The companies in Packaging Valley are always one step ahead of the market and offer the most advanced technologies in the field of packaging machines. With an export share of over 80%, Packaging Valley’s technological diversity is represented all over the world. International market leaders from the food, beverage, confectionery, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries are among its customers.

Germany’s Packaging Valley Association is headquartered in Waiblingen, with a further office in Schwäbisch Hall. Most of their members are located in the whole area between Frankfurt, Nuremberg and the Stuttgart metropolitan region.

Interview with Martin Buchwitz, Managing Director at Packaging Valley Germany e.V.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the cluster?

Martin Buchwitz: Packaging Valley Germany provides its members with a wide range of information, networks companies with each other and offers the possibility of joint projects, usually with universities. There are four working groups: Human Resources (HR), Marketing, Sustainability and Technology Trends. As a cluster, we are present at the Interpack and Fachpack trade fairs (both Germany) with a joint booth, and at Fachpack with 800 sqm. With the annual Makeathon event, we offer our member companies a platform to come into direct contact with students. Every year we offer many events, online and in person, on various topics related to packaging machinery manufacturing as well as networking meetings. Packaging Valley works very closely with other clusters and organizations, also in Europe.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

M.B: The products and services come from our member companies, which are active in the fields of packaging machinery, automation technology, interior and packaging materials.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

M.B: The packaging machinery market as served by Packaging Valley members is very broad. However, there is a focus on FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), food and pharmaceuticals. The food and pharmaceutical markets in particular have been developing extremely positively for many years and are very resistant to crises due to the growing prosperity in the world.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

M.B: The topics of sustainability and digitization are the drivers of development. The two topics belong inseparably together. Another trend topic is “new (data-driven) business models” in packaging machinery manufacturing. Many companies from Packaging Valley are challenged by a shortage of skilled workers. In addition, there are current problems with the supply chain.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

M.B: As a cluster, we cannot name a specific product, but innovation is happening, as already mentioned, primarily in the areas of sustainability and digitization. Digitalization includes all the technologies such as VR/AR, artificial intelligence, digital engineering, digital Twin, IoT and so on.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022?

M.B: We expect our member companies’ business to continue to develop positively in 2022. However, this will be severely curbed by difficulties in the supply chain, the shortage of skilled labor, and rising raw material and energy prices. We are therefore cautiously optimistic.