HP’s smart packaging guarantees ink cartridge authenticity

The company’s solution integrates customer experience with sustainability and is available to companies in the food, pharmaceutical, beauty and other industries

Edson Perin

HP Brazil customers can be absolutely sure that they are purchasing original products and that they will be able to properly dispose and recycle products through smart packaging developed by the company itself. HP adopted the same process of printing personalized codes digitally, which it had been using on the boxes of printing equipment, on the packaging of ink cartridges manufactured in Brazil.

In this way, each cartridge gains a unique identity, as explained by Diego Mutta, manager of reverse logistics and projects at HP Brazil, in an exclusive interview with IoP Journal (click to watch the video).

“HP’s Smarter Packaging project uses Smart Packaging technologies, such as Security QR Codes and RFID tags, among others, in our products. More recently, we started to implement the technologies in our ink cartridges, initially in a test phase, to evaluate how this solution performs in the market, but bringing a new experience of authentication and validity of our cartridges sold both in our online stores and in physical stores”, explains Mutta.

Click to watch the interview in Portuguese

Through the solution, HP ink cartridge buyers can be confident that they are buying a genuine product. To do this, simply point the smartphone camera at the QR Code printed by digital process on the cartridge packaging. “When the consumer performs this action, he or she immediately receives information about whether or not the product in his hands is an original cartridge”, says Mutta. In addition, the customer immediately has access to a page with information about the product, services, access to in-store promotions and much more.

No special app is needed to perform the action. Consumers just need to point their smartphone camera at the QR Code printed on the cartridge package and follow the instructions that will appear on the screen. Currently, cell phone cameras automatically identify QR Codes and present the options programmed in the digital code.

“To be able to apply this Security QR Code, we adopted a change in our packaging production”, describes Mutta. “So, our packages, which were produced in conventional processes, are now manufactured by digital printers, which print the serialized codes, which guarantees full traceability and identification of the products, in the best way”.

From the moment that HP decided to adopt the Digital Printing technology, which was developed by HP itself, according to Diego Mutta, this solution became available to all customers of the brand. “This is not a technology available only to HP. It can be used by other companies and other sectors, such as food, pharmaceutical, beauty, etc. Thus, everyone can apply this technology to their packaging”.

The technology of printing packages through the digital process brings a series of added values. “An example that we bring here, when making the change from a conventional technology to a digital one, is that we can print on demand. In other words, companies can print exactly the volume of packaging they need for the products produced”, says Mutta, which eliminates waste. “In this case, there is no minimum order quantity, which conventional processes need to have an adequate cost”.

As a result, Mutta adds that, in addition to cost benefits, sustainability gains are also achieved. “Because I can ensure a more efficient process, with less materials, and with a smaller carbon footprint as well”.

In the case of cartridges, another sustainability gain is guaranteed by the reverse logistics program that HP carries out, removing at home devices already used by customers and which may have their materials reused in the production of new cartridges or other goods. “HP’s Planet Partner program has been available for several years, free of charge, by collecting used cartridges at home. Now, customers can scan the cartridges to find out if they are genuine HP products, and also, with a click on the web page, request the product to be discarded”.

HP Brazil has pioneered the use of advanced technologies for supply chain control, sustainability and customer experience for at least the last 20 years. The company’s investments in smart packaging – or Smart Packaging – range from the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags in the brand’s printers manufactured in Brazil, ensuring 100% efficiency in its assembly lines and also in the delivery of products and their respective accessories, to the use of technology that digitally prints personalized codes on the boxes to carry out a closer communication with its consumers.