Packaging for the Future

Plastics packaging have a fundamental role to play in our everyday life. They preserve our food from contamination, they extend the food shelf life, they can increase resistance of our glasses, they protect our medicines and pharmaceuticals products, they can be manufactured to pack liquids, powder, and solids, they can be smart (for example to improve the food integrity and/or to guarantee food traceability), and much more. To ensure all these important functions, a single polymer material is not always enough; thus, plastics packaging becomes more and more complex and incorporates many different polymers and additives often combined in a multilayers structure, to provide all the properties needed.

HORIBA Raman microscopy solutions and the LabSpec 6 software platform make it easy to obtain a full and complete characterization of all the polymers, additives in any packaging structure. Defect and failure analysis, reverse engineering, production support and research and development on new polymer materials: The HORIBA solution can help your analysis to reach your goals.


Packaging Analysis

HORIBA Solutions

Application Notes & Webinars

Packaging Analysis

Nowadays, the plastic packaging industry is facing new challenges due to the increased global focus on the recyclability and sustainability targets in each product value chain, new materials (paper and cardboard packaging for example), and new formulations coming into the market. Indeed, product design is one of the key tools to improve packaging recycling, with these design improvements cutting in half the cost and the time of recycling plastic packaging waste.

Over the last 20 years, plastics food packaging has undergone several transformations to better preserve quality and extend the lifecycle of foods, but also to optimize production cost achieved through both the use of new polymer materials and from the optimization of the existing ones. These new and old polymer materials and additives have been combined to obtain complex multi-layered structures (which may have 10-15 layers or more, with an overall thickness ranging from few tens, up to several hundreds of microns), with the goal to improve the packaging properties and functionalities such as chemical barriers, mechanical/heat resistance, avoid bacteria contamination, etc. 

Today, as mentioned, the new circular economy strategy is changing the main drivers for the packaging companies, now with the main goal being to design packaging that is recyclable, reusable or compostable and biodegradable.

Below are challenges to be addressed:

  • R&D departments will face:
    • Sustainability challenges with the identification and implementation of recycled plastics
    • New materials formulation to combine sustainability and performance of multilayered structures and to develop new compostable and biodegradable packaging
    • Production support to quickly analyze failures and defects to avoid production delay
    • Safety concerns on the selection of new material by conducting quick migration
  • QC labs will face:
    • Identification of complex multilayered structures and new formulations
    • Daily support with raw materials and final product testing
    • Production support to quickly analyze failures and defects

HORIBA Solutions

To support R&D and QC labs in their new challenges, HORIBA has developed a full solution:

  • A mechanical multi-use tool to hold and cut in cross-section mode any multi-layered structure for microscopy investigations
  • An intuitive software app entitled Layers, built in the LabSpec 6 platform, to automatically provide number and thicknesses of complex multilayered structures by analysis of the Raman data
  • A, ultra-fast and powerful Raman microscope instrument capable of combining a high resolution visual image and chemical information

Demonstration video

Raman microscopy: The perfect tool for analyzing multilayered structure

Raman microscopy, considering its capability to reach spatial resolution down to 1 micron and below, is the perfect tool to analyze complex packaging structures where layer thickness can be less than 1 micron, and it can address all the new challenges of the packaging industry. Some of its advantages are:

  • High spatial resolution, key to analyzing multilayered structures where adhesives and coatings are less than 1 μm thick
  • Easy to use with little to no sample preparation needed, and no need for cryogenic microtomes or liquid nitrogen
  • Confocal analysis with 3D imaging which helps identify inclusions, defects, components distribution and layers thickness when sample cannot be cut
  • Detailed structural and orientation information, and insight into the crystalline/amorphous nature of recycled polymers, which is very important
  • Helps in migration studies
  • Easy characterization of inorganic additives and cellulose-based materials

Choice of three Raman platforms


Affordable Benchtop Raman Spectrometer



Raman Spectrometer - Confocal Raman Microscope 


LabRAM Soleil

Raman Microscope

LabRAM Soleil Raman Microscope full view

Dedicated software and tools

Layers App for LabSpec 6

Identify and differentiate polymer multilayers structure


Multilayer Tool-Kit

Complete tool-kit allowing sample preparation to analyse in cross section multilayers structure

Application Notes and Webinars

Improve your knowledge

Watch the webinar

Raman Microscopy: The Solution for Advanced Characterization of Packaging and Polymers

In this webinar, Massimiliano Rocchia and Ludivine Fromentoux, HORIBA Scientific, will demonstrate Raman microscopy solutions that enable scientists to obtain full and complete characterization data for all polymer films, from defect analysis to multilayer materials characterization.

Watch the webinar

Packaging analysis using Raman Microscopy and Layers software app

In this webinar you will learn how the new Circular Economy Action Plan will influence the design of the future packaging and its waste management and you will gain insights how Raman Spectroscopy/Microscopy can be the perfect tool to address these new challenges.

Read the Application Note

Resolving micron-sized layers in multilayer films with Raman microscopy by cross-section analysis and confocal depth profiling

Multilayer polymer films, composed of different materials, are used in a variety of industrial applications. The analysis of these multilayers is important to support the production, to identify defect and perform failure analysis, to understand delamination problem due to adhesion issue (lack or non-uniform distribution of the adhesive) and for reverse engineering investigation.

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