DS Smith has confirmed the launch of its global R&D and Innovation Centre, ‘R8’.
The new facility, which is one of the first and allows DS Smith, its customers, and partners to accelerate the research and development of radically new packaging fulfilment solutions.
Located near Birmingham in the UK, the R8 facility includes a 4,000 sqm pilot hall, four laboratories, conditioning chambers, an ideation and design studio, prototyping areas, and collaboration spaces. As well as being the home of DS Smith’s Group Innovation and R&D teams, it is intended to spearhead research in manufacturing, maximising on the growing demand for sustainable packaging, and the innovation needed to deliver it.
With R8, DS Smith has created a collaboration space that allows it to cover the whole innovation spectrum under one roof: from early technology and material development, ideation, and concept development, testing and product development, through to prototyping and customer pilots.
Projects will be informed by key industry drivers rooted in sustainability, supply chains, and data. Smart packaging for tracking and monitoring the supply chain, alternative natural resources in papermaking, reusable fibre-based packaging and technologies, and advanced barrier technology for food and industrial applications, are all areas for exploration.
Among the leading-edge technologies at R8 is a modular Pilot Line, inspired by the automotive industry and developed in Italy, which uses robots to make boxes from multiple components, and fill them at high speed.