Merger Prospect with Institute of Packaging

Following the development of terms for a possible merger between the Institute (IOM3) and the Institute of Packaging (IoP), the trustees and national council of IoP are recommending that a merger takes place between the two bodies. If the motion gains approval, the IoP membership will join with the IOM3 existing Packaging Division members to establish a new group, 'IoP – The Packaging Society', within the Institute’s Divisional structure.

Founded in 1947, IoP is a UK-based based institute with around 2,100 members, whose support for the motion will be sought at an extraordinary general meeting to be held on 24 January 2005 at the IOM3 headquarters in London.

The two institutes are certainly no strangers to each other, as the IoP is already represented on the IOM3 Packaging Division. In addition, IOM3 is involved with the IoP Student Starpack Awards, sponsoring an award with the design criterion, ‘Innovation in Plastics Packaging or Materials’. IoP has many high profile activities which would be retained within the merged institution:

  • Unlimited Packaging Solutions (UPS) – a web-based packaging forum that allows members to share their expertise by posting and replying to packaging-related technical questions. This service could mesh well with the IOM3 Materials Information Services, according to IOM3 Chief Executive Dr Bernie Rickinson.
  • An awarding body – The Packaging Industry Awarding Body Company (PIABC), which has Qualifications Curriculum Authority approval to offer the Diploma in Packaging Technology (Level 4), and the Certificate in Packaging (Level 3), within the National Framework of Qualifications.
  • A magazine – The Packaging Professional
  • Starpack
  • The Packaging Industry Dinner
Dr Paul Butler from the IOM3 Packaging Applications Division thinks that a merger makes technical sense. ‘Packaging is strongly material-based – for example the cost of material in packaging can be anything from 50-70% of the total cost of the package. Packaging, together with transport and construction, is a major user of glass, plastics, and metals (such as steel and aluminium) in tonnage quantities. This makes materials usage critical to the future of economical packaging in terms of lightweight and downgauging, for example. Future innovations and developments in packaging, such as smart and sustainable packaging using biodegradable products, are going to be strongly material dependent. Which means that there’s an excellent fit between IOM3 and IoP’, he says. He also adds that incorporation of IoP into the IOM3 Packaging Division would serve to kick-start joined-up thinking across the Institute’s Divisions about packaging materials.

‘It’s all about critical mass’, says Rickinson, in agreement with Heather Kendle, IoP National Council Chairman. ‘As a single organisation we can tap into the existing knowledge base within the Institute’s [IOM3] Divisions. There is interest in the Steel Division, in the Light Alloys Division in terms of aluminium sheet, the Plastics and Rubber Division due to crossover with film, sachets and internal coatings, right through to the Surface Engineering Division, with their work on coating and labelling’.

Further details from: Dr Bernie Rickinson, tel: 020 7451 7365.

Date Posted: 3 January 2005

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