In Packaging, PDA Stories, News & Events

Packaging can be a confusing business. There is such a breadth of terms and applications that sometimes things can get muddled. At PDA we believe in knowledge sharing in our community and within the industry. Our goal is to always provide information to make packaging clear, relevant, effective. In this article we’re sharing some of the most popular terms in packaging that are often misunderstood in packaging technology.


Time during which a piece of equipment (such as a computer) is functioning or able to function  (Merriam Webster)

Data Highway

A network of computer networks, other devices and switching systems used for the transfer of digitized information. (Concept Systems)

Connected Packaging

Connected packaging (also called smart packaging) is capable of direct communication with a smart device through integrated technologies such as Quick Response (QR) codes or Near Field Communication (NFC) tags.  (The Boxmaker)


Changeover is the process by which a packaging machine is adjusted to accommodate different bags or products. Because changeover means the machine is not producing, it should be minimized. Depending upon the machine, changeover can take from minutes to hours. (Viking Masek)

Sealing Equipment

Equipment for a wide range of objectives including sealing closures after filling containers, sealing molded plastic components, sealing flexible plastic packaging, etc. Manual, semi-automatic and automatic systems are available. (Tricor Braun)

Human Machine Interface (HMI)

Similar to a computer monitor, the Human Machine Interface (HMI) is the primary operator station through which a human controls the packaging machine. Often a flat, 10 – 12 inch touch screen panel, this interface provides feedback, error reporting, status updates, and other information.

The HMI is usually located at the front of the packaging machine and can be attached directly to the equipment, located at the end of a movable arm, or on its own stand or pedestal next to the machine. (Pack Mojo)


Flexography is a form of printing that utilizes a flexible relief plate. It is often referred to as ‘surface printing’, ‘rotary printing’ or ‘modern letterpress printing’, and is commonly used for printing on packaging and other uneven surfaces. Flexography is often used with many different kinds of substrates to produce things such as printed paper, food and beverage labels, and other types of products. (Global Vision)

Injection Molding

A molding procedure whereby a heat-softened plastic material is forced from a cylinder into a relatively cool cavity giving the article the desired shape. (Berlin Packaging)

Machine Vision

The technology and methods used to provide imaging-based automatic inspection and analysis for such applications as automatic inspection, motion control and robot guidance. (Concept Systems)

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)

A form of wireless communication that incorporates the use of electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically-stored information. (


The process of using integrated software and technologies to monitor the progress of finished goods or raw material through the supply chain, usually in or near real-time. (The Boxmaker)

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