Flexible Packaging Minor

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The flexible packaging minor addresses flexible containment systems, one of the fastest growing segments of the packaging materials industry. The manufacturing and use of flexible containment systems requires specific expertise and knowledge of appropriate technology for implementation. Flexible pouches and containment systems are considered more sustainable for replacing glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, and metal cans. They use materials more efficiently and reduce the weight and costs associated with physical distribution activities.

Students learn about the sustainability performance of flexible packaging by studying product lifecycle from a societal, environmental, and economic impact as they design and manufacture more environmentally friendly flexible container systems. The minor enhances employment opportunities in industries such as consumer goods, health care, and the various food industries. Students with interests in engineering, engineering technology, printing, manufacturing and safety, product marketing, industrial design, logistics, and other related fields can benefit from the minor.

Notes about this minor:

  • This minor is closed to students majoring in packaging science.
  • Posting of the minor on the student's academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.


Required Courses
Print Production
This survey course introduces students to the technologies of print production, with a focus on the materials and processes used in conventional, digital, and functional printing methods. Hands-on lab experiences expose students to the underlying concepts while imparting knowledge of the strengths and limitations of the various methods. Quality, efficiency, economics, and sustainability are addressed.
Package Printing
Students who take this course will understand how package-printing technologies work, and how they are used to print bags, labels, cartons, cans, boxes, and bottles. Students will apply a packaging printing workflow to produce labels and folding cartons of their own design. Finally, cost analyses of package printing using various technologies is discussed.
Converting and Flexible Packaging
The course develops knowledge and techniques in converting and flexible packaging. Topics covered are converting materials, quality control practice in converting, evaluation of packaging film and converting and applications in flexible packaging.
Choose two of the following:
   Lithographic Process
This course provides detailed fundamentals of the equipment and materials used in the lithographic process for both sheetfed and web presses. Topics include plates, blankets, press, inks, substrates, and pressroom management. There is an emphasis on process color printing, problem solving on press, and process variables that impact quality and productivity.
   Image Processing Workflow
   Gravure and Flexography
Students will explore gravure and flexography technologies, and learn to evaluate applicable designs. Extensive hands-on experience is included. Students will create pressure sensitive label designs, take command of a flexo press, and print labels.
   Digital Print Processes
Students who take this course will understand how digital printing technologies work, what they are capable of doing, and how these technologies are used commercially. Students will analyze the factors driving the explosive growth of digital printing, including how the economics of digital and conventional printing compare. The concepts taught in the classroom are reinforced through hands-on labs and field trips to digital printers and equipment suppliers.
   Color Management Systems
This course addresses the science and technology of color management systems in achieving quality color reproduction across multiple capture and display devices, such as digital cameras, scanners, monitor displays and printed output. Students will study the role of color measurement for device calibration, device characterization, and building an ICC-based color management system. Students will perform color image rendering from digital capture to print, investigate digital proofing, as well as soft and remote proofing technologies, and evaluate color management system performance. Process control tools and analysis of control targets will be covered.
   Packaging Metals & Plastics
The study of packaging materials from extraction through conversion and production, physical and chemical properties and uses. Emphasis is on plastics and metals used in packaging and other component materials. Recognized standard testing procedures are presented and students gain practical experience in the operation of various testing instruments, interpretation of results, and evaluation of properties and performance characteristics.
   Packaging Regulations
This course begins with an overview of government laws and regulations applicable to the packaging industry. Students will then gain the hierarchical impact that regulations have on the global supply chain, quality systems, patent innovation, and workplace safety.
   Packaging Sustainability and the Environment
Consideration of packaging in a social context. Factors that enhance secondary use, recycling, recovery of resources, and proper disposal are discussed. Package design in relation to solid waste disposal and materials and energy shortages are considered. Other topics of interest are discussed. Primarily a discussion class for senior students. Open to undergraduate non-majors.
   Packaging Machinery
A study of package forming and filling, closing, product/package identification, inspection, and other machinery commonly used in packaging, plus consideration of handling and storage/retrieval systems. Students become aware of project management techniques, setting timelines, critical path, and resource evaluation. Quality tools and issues along with quality control processes are integrated into line and machinery designs. Students gain practice in setting up complete production lines for packaging various products.