The technology, developed by SABMiller and the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, (announced at the Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association (AIPIA) Conference) embeds a temperature sensor within a pack to display the coldness of the beer inside at the push of a button.
Printed Electronics (PE) technology
Doug Hutt, manager, global packaging, SABMiller, told BeverageDaily, the technology builds on the colour changing (thermochromatic) ink concept which changes color when beer is cold, as used on bottles of US beer Coors Light, where a mountain range turns from white to blue.
“This colour changing ink remains transparent at ambient temperatures but reveals a blue colour when the beer reaches the desired drinking temperature,” he said.
“The smart sensor shows people precisely what temperature their beer is so they know exactly when to open their favorite brew.
“The color changing ink resonated well with consumers. However, we need to keep innovating. This was the starting point for developing this smart technology.”
According to Hutt, the smart sensor display system has taken five years to develop and is based around Printed Electronics (PE) technology, which allows a sensor, display and battery to be integrated within packaging.
“SABMiller has patented this innovation and we are confident it is a ‘World first’, which will show the consumer, and the world of branded fast moving consumer goods, the impact and value printed electronics can potentially bring over the next decade,” he added.
Castle Lite’s Smart Ice Core
The technology is sold as part of Castle Lite’s Extra Cold Smart Ice Core and has now been expanded across the SABMiller portfolio for ‘cold refreshments’.
It is powered by a battery on a multi-pack, which has a central core of ice surrounded by an arrangement of cans, creating the maximum surface area contact to ensure thermodynamic conduction and a cooling effect.
This is contained within insulation material called Neopor. Silver Neopor is a graphite-infused polystyrene which acts as a heat reflector and is 20% more thermally efficient than regular polystyrene; the Castle Lite cans remain extra cold for up to 48 hours.
According to Yandisa Hene, innovations brand manager, SABMiller, smart technology is rapidly becoming an integral part of day-to-day life.
“At Castle Lite, we wanted to further extend the use of this technology by pioneering a smart beer drinking experience for our customers. We are yet to see something that is advanced or progressive as the limited edition Smart Ice Core in the market,” she said.
“We are looking to completely redefine the beverage category by showing our customers what this technology can offer.”
In the year ended March 31, 2015, SABMiller sold 324 million hectolitres of lager, soft drinks and other alcoholic beverages, generating group net producer revenue of $26,288m and EBITA of $6,367m.