Macfarlane Packaging, the UK’s largest distributor of protective packaging materials, has teamed up with Microsoft to bring a “mixed reality” experience for its customers using the Macfarlane Packaging Innovation Lab.

The Innovation Lab, located in Milton Keynes, will introduce Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headsets this month. Mixed reality merges the real and virtual worlds allowing Macfarlane’s customers the ability to visualise new packaging concepts in a real-world environment where actual and digital objects co-exist and can interact with each other.

Customers using the Innovation Lab will wear the HoloLens headset and walk through their packaging operation with Macfarlane’s packaging experts on hand to identify cost savings opportunities and efficiencies during the process. The HoloLens equipment is fully transportable and can also be used on site in a customer’s premises to visualise any potential changes to their actual environment.

The HoloLens headsets offer many opportunities for customers to visualise full scale 3D holograms in the real world including, for example, pack station designs, packing lines, infill machinery and optimisation of palletisation, transportation and storage spaces. The first customer to use the new headsets will be the major retailer Selfridges. Macfarlane is working with Selfridges and their fulfilment partner, DHL, to redesign their packing area and improve productivity.

Donna Lynch, Director from Macfarlane Packaging said: “These new Microsoft HoloLens headsets will further enhance the experience for our customers, helping us to convert our customers’ packaging challenges into ideas and tangible solutions. Our Innovation Lab has been designed to ensure that there are no bounds to the imagination when seeking out smart solutions for our customers and with these new headsets we can also take a mixed reality experience to a customer’s premises as we will do with Selfridges.”

Richard Garratt, Technical Design Manager at the Innovation Lab said: “This is exciting technology with many new advantages for our customers. We are inviting companies to the Innovation Lab to experience Hololens and see how it can be used to optimise their packaging operations. With this approach we can go beyond a 2D visual and present our solutions in three dimensions using Microsoft’s new hologram technology. We can make smarter decisions together and reach the approval stage much faster.”

The Innovation Lab was launched in March 2016 and was designed to create solutions for the most demanding packaging challenges.

The lab is located in Milton Keynes and brings together the latest packaging technology under one roof. The ability to achieve these solutions in one location enables Macfarlane Packaging to speed up the process of creating bespoke, cost effective protective packaging solutions for customers.

Macfarlane Packaging will be demonstrating the technology at the upcoming Packaging Innovations show from 28 February to 1st March at stand E13 in Birmingham.

For more information on the Innovation Lab go to: www.macfarlanepackaging.com/serv ices/innovation-lab

MACFARLANE PACKAGING

www.macfarlanepackaging.com