The ESIG Solvents Award ceremony took place in Brussels on 6 November during the General Assemblies of the Oxygenated Solvents Producers Association (OSPA) and the Hydrocarbon Solvents Producers Association (HSPA). The prize went to Packwise with its digitalisation innovation project 'Smart IBC industrial containers'. The winner was selected this summer by a jury made of representatives from European institutions, trade press and associations among the five shortlisted candidates. Packwise, a start-up from Dresden, Germany, developed smart Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) with automated circuits. Packwise's innovation improves time and cost efficiency, ensures that solvents are transported safely, helps save resources and creates a new approach to customer relationship management. After the award ceremony, ESIG interviewed Gesche Weger, Packwise CEO:

Tell us what led to the creation of Packwise and what was the idea behind it?
"My background is in economics and I did research in the field of global economic affairs at the Kiel Institute and worked as an economist for one of the major Swiss banks. I then spent a few years on parental leave and it is towards the end of it that one of Packwise cofounders came up with the idea of creating this start-up. He had been working for an intermediate bulk containers' manufacturer and had noticed that the processes regarding the reuse and the organization of containers were not sustainable at all. Therefore, the other cofounders and I decided to develop a technology that would make industrial containers as cost and resource efficient and safe as possible in line with the concepts of sustainability and circular economy. The start-up was created two years ago in October 2017."

Why is the technology so innovative?
"The hardware we developed is really tailor-made for the chemical industry. The device that tracks the filling level and the location of the containers and several other parameters like temperature, shock etc. is non-intrusive. It is placed on top of the container, which avoids that the containers lose its certification. This is very important in order to comply with the industry standards. No additional equipment is required to send or receive the data. The device works autonomously and sends the data via the cloud through our platform. Our software enables companies to analyze relevant KPIs and automate processes such as automated repeat orders."

Why did you apply for the ESIG award and what did it bring to your company to be the winner?
"We applied for the ESIG Award, because it recognizes contribution to the sustainable handling and use of solvents. The packaging is one important element when using and supplying solvents and we felt our initiative fitted very well in this framework. We feel very honoured to have won the ESIG award. It has increased our visibility in the industry. As a result, we have received a few media requests as well as several requests from potential customers. Thank you so much for giving us the Award!"

 

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