Rutgers students and faculty joined other packaging professionals at the NJPEC dinner on March 14, where innovations were showcased through company displays and a lecture on biomimcry or imitating nature to manufacture problem solving products, as a basis for fresh approaches in design. NJPEC is a coalition that brings industry leaders to work together on issues in the packaging world. The evening gave students an opportunity to see new aspects of packaging engineering.
Seeing the different companies come together to exchange ideas on cutting edge innovation and the field of biomimicry challenged students to see packaging engineering beyond the classroom walls. Nabil Armout, who is receiving his certificate in packaging engineering from the university, said that the evening opened his eyes to see more of the field than what is simply taught in the classroom. “In the classroom the main focus is packaging and engineering concepts, but we got to see what innovations are coming out right now,” said Armout. Amongst the many exhibits of innovations, he recalled one design for oral anesthetics that came in small squeezable tubes created for one-time use to help make operations a little simpler. "Seeing how products are made and in what industries they are used showed the students how deep the field of packaging can go," he said.
Diane Jones, a junior in packaging engineering, found the concept of biomimicry fascinating. “I did not know that such a thing was possible, but it is very cool and I see potential for a lot of growth in the area,” she wrote in an email.
Apart from its’ academic representation, Rutgers also demonstrated its standing as a professional business filling industrial needs. Professor Harry Bennet and Dr. Gea went as representatives of the program to explain the commercial part of the packaging program. They explained to other executives how Rutgers’ testing facility is being serviced to the packaging industry for research and development purposes. “Our package testing service is an industry like selling raw materials, but in a larger service we are a source of talent and training for their employment needs,” Gea said. According to Bennett, "Rutgers provides industrial and academic services like a business and therefore played an integral part in showcasing its’ own innovations as well."
By: Andrea Morocoima