Effects of COVID-19 Set to Change Packaging Design

According to a news article by Packaging Digest, shifted buying patterns, heightened health and safety concerns, and sustainability outlooks are presenting packaging design challenges to the post-pandemic realm. With increased packaging demand due to shelter-at-home orders, food delivery and e-commerce became a necessity. Additionally, concerns regarding surface contamination altered the way consumers interacted with packaging.

In the post-pandemic world, these trends will most likely continue. Hence, product packaging designers are ready to respond by adapting to shifting buying patterns, designing packaging with sustainability in mind, and meeting heightened health and safety standards.

Coronavirus has altered the way in which people purchase items. Online shopping has become the safest choice for most, as store trips risk the chance of coming into contact with the virus. E-commerce traffic has spiked exponentially from 16.07 billion visits to sites in January to 21.96 in June. This translates to an ever-increasing importance for packaging design to accommodate shipping and unboxing accordingly. Adapting to these shifting buying patterns is imperative for product packaging designers.

An article published by Scientific American states that the ocean pollution plastic problem has worsened due to COVID-19. As an increasing number of humans utilize plastic gloves, wear plastic masks, and order takeout, recycling programs are declining. Researcher projections claim that by 2050, there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish. To counteract the damage being done, environmental awareness is re-emerging. For the foreseeable future, food delivery services and online shopping will be at the forefront of e-commerce. More sustainable packaging is not only desired by consumers, but will be in high demand in the coming months and years.

As health and safety concerns rise, so too must the packaging associated with those expectations. People worldwide question the safety of various products purchased and brought into their homes. Countless people disinfect packages or quarantine them in order to bypass the chances of contracting coronavirus. Physical and psychological health must both be prioritized in packaging design.  

To read more information, check out the original article by Packaging Digest. For any packaging measurement needs, contact Apex Measurement systems. At Apex, we measure in coat weight, coating thickness, lamination, and moisture to ensure repeatable production results.

Apex Measurement Systems brings clients to measurement success by optimizing their control processes. We are a global company with an expert team of scientists and engineers. Our area of expertise is vast; we handle materials, applications, data analysis, and calibrations. If you can’t measure it, you can’t make it. Contact us by phone at (810) 220-6084 or e-mail us at to learn more about our products and services.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems:


The Chemistry of Contaminated Hand Sanitizers

Chances are, you have a bottle of hand sanitizer sitting in at least one area of your house, your car, and maybe even your office. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been buying and stocking up on hand sanitizer, causing a spike in the industry. Despite being sold in everyday stores for millions of consumers to purchase, numerous hand sanitizer brands make false and misleading claims. Countless hand sanitizers on the market cannot pass standards set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some even contain poisonous ingredients such as methanol ranging from 1 to 80 percent.

Since June, the FDA has unmasked 160 alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing toxic chemicals. The irony lies in the fact that hand sanitizers have one goal: to keep people safe. The fake, chemical-laden hand sanitizers disguised as safe can actually be deadly; several people have died after ingesting them. Other consequences of using these noxious sanitizers include hospitalizations for blindness, cardiac arrest, nervous system effects, and more.

A direct result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, shelves across the world became bare as people began to stock up on invaluable items. Shortages were – and still are – prevalent in countless countries. Hand sanitizers were no exception; simultaneously, the ingredients (ethanol, isopropanol, and glycerin) used in most (safe) hand sanitizers also became scarce. In an effort to provide sanitizers to the public, non-traditional manufacturers such as perfumeries, small businesses, and breweries began to produce the liquid gold people were desperate to find. However, without prior experience or proper knowledge, they unknowingly began to create and sell toxic hand sanitizers.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA had a small hand in the industry; now, they analyze it with a magnifying glass. The agency said in a statement, “Almost all of the hand sanitizer manufacturers [with contaminated products] are newly registered facilities.” Hand sanitizer is not controlled or standardized in many countries. Without regulations, new products can effortlessly enter the market despite manufacturers’ lack of knowledge regarding the product. The absence of regulations combined with the overwhelming need for hand sanitizers created a perfect-storm scenario.

Curious to see whether your hand sanitizer is safe or potentially deadly? Check out the FDA’s hand sanitizer guide to determine whether your product is on the list. As always, the best way to prevent the spread of disease – including COVID-19 – is to wash your hands with soap and water.

Chemical composition should never be a guessing game. At Apex Measurement Systems, we measure a broad range of chemical compounds such as raw materials, industrial minerals, and feedstocks using elemental and compositional analysis. Click here for more information about faux sanitizers. 

Apex Measurement Systems brings clients to measurement success by optimizing their control processes. We are a global company with an expert team of scientists and engineers. Our area of expertise is vast; we handle materials, applications, data analysis, and calibrations. If you can’t measure it, you can’t make it.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems:

Industry News

Developments in AI within the Chemical Process Industry

Rich data sets have accumulated within the chemical process industry (CPI) throughout many years of production, and now, because of this data, there is a push to start utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) in modeling, optimization, advanced control, debottlenecking, troubleshooting, and more. AI/CPI is being looked at if a first-principles-based approach cannot efficiently solve the problem.

However, it’s not necessarily easy to interpret the AI data models, which hinders acceptance and adoption from most of the community. Developing an effective process is not an easy feat for the CPI. Budget constraints, time, human resources, and limited pilot tests are roadblocks for AI/CPI development. 

Design engineers can use process simulation packages to run different scenarios or build in-house models; however, the process’s inevitability becomes inefficient and suboptimal while also losing control of essential variables. 

Additionally, workable issues may not be uncovered until the mature product development stage. As the AI/CPI market conditions change, the original design purpose may not fit the intended use-case for the final product, making it hard to forecast reliable system processes. These factors make the developing AI/CPI industry challenging to predict and indicates that it’s only just developing. 

To learn more about specific discoveries such as models and datasets, explainable AI, and case studies within the AI/CPI industry, read the article here


Organic Photovoltaic Cell Produces 17% Efficiency

A research team lead by Professor Jian-Hui Hou from the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, has optimized the alkyl chains of the BTP-4Cl and synthesized a series of new non-fullerene electron acceptors (NFAs) that can be used for large-area coatings. The team applied the new NFAs in fabricating large-area coated OPV cells and achieved good results. Their study was published in National Science Reviews, “17% efficiency organic photovoltaic cell with superior processability.”

In cooperation with Professor Wei Ma from Xi’an Jiaotong University, they found that a BTP-4Cl-12 had balanced solution processability and aggregation features. The results were that the blade-coating film showed an excellent phase separation morphology, which contributed to the high carrier transport and suppressed charge recombination in the OPV cells. The findings demonstrated that the efficiency of the photoactive materials’ chemical structures substantially impacted large-area coating production.

To learn more about this research, read:

Apex Measurement Systems is a leading process analytical and quality control supplier in Brighton, MI. We place value on working with engineers and chemists focused on quality, process optimization, standardization, and automation. Contact us for inquiries.