Interactive Steel Packaging for Brand Protection and Enhanced Consumer Experience

Key Information

Supervisors: Dr E Jewell, Dr D Degenello and Mr R O’Neill

This advert will remain open until a suitable candidate is found. Do not delay, submit your application today.

Expected Interview Date: As soon as can be arranged.

Steel packaging is the product of choice for many manufacturers, where quality, integrity and brand status are key.

A highly prized market is global packaging of infant baby formula, which currently has a value of $18Bn in China alone. European brands are held in the highest esteem and command the most market share. Counterfeit material is known to enter the market, sometimes with fatal consequences. Currently, brand protection is applied to steel packaging through covert and overt features during the decorating stage to help ensure product integrity. There is scope for further innovation through the development of interactive packaging using technology such as near field communications, radio frequency identification, quick response codes, electronic sensors and internet of things integration. These provide additional product security, enhance the customer experience, monitor product tampering and provide customer feedback to the brand owner.

Tinmasters provide highest quality steel packaging for leading international brand owners in food, beverage and premium goods. Tinmasters have a pedigree in innovation with ability to identify future customer demands and provide unique technological inspired solutions. The development of interactive packaging is the next logical step in their product and service portfolio.

This project offers the opportunity for an enthusiastic and free-thinking researcher to develop innovative solutions to important commercial and human health issues. There are a multitude of possible research avenues including device design, device testing, device modelling, engineering integration, life cycle analysis, economic analysis, software integration, durability and whole system analysis.

The Research Engineer will:

  • Determine the optimum means by which interactivity can be added to steel packaging.
  • Develop possible solutions to product demonstration scale.
  • Assess the viability of the solution from the perspective of the consumer, tinplate decorator, brand owner and can filler.
  • Understand, evaluate and reduce / eliminate technological challenges to the proposed solution at each stage in the supply chain.

    Swansea University is a top 30 UK institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014) and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

    The Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) in the College of Engineering is a Swansea University initiative which provides postgraduate research training in partnership with industry; providing access to world-class laboratories and a wealth of academic and industry expertise. The M2A is committed to delivering high quality collaborative research opportunities within an inclusive environment, funded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Swansea University and Industry partners.

    Interwoven through the research study are business, technical and entrepreneurial courses, designed to support and prepare participants for a senior role in industry or academia, on completion of their studies. Research Engineers may participate in our career mentoring system, offering opportunities to engage with M2A alumni and other senior staff from across the University.

    The Athena SWAN charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committed to addressing unequal gender representation.

    Applications from women are particularly welcomed. As a positive action to address gender imbalance, female undergraduates considering a career in research are invited to join our two-day laboratory taster session and learn about a typical day in the life of a research engineer.

    Sponsoring Company Tinmasters
    Company Website Eligibility

    We welcome applications from candidates with an Engineering or Physical Science degree (minimum level 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent relevant experience to the same level to join the M2A community of research engineers.

    To be eligible for WEFO funding, applicants should:

    • Be a UK or EU citizen (eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of their studies.
    • Be resident within West Wales and the Valleys at the time of enrolment and for the duration of the candidature.
    • Must not be financially able to participate in study for a postgraduate research degree without the award of this funding.

    To be eligible for EPSRC funding, applicants should:

    • Be eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University.
    • Have settled status in the UK, meaning no restrictions on the length of stay in the UK; and be ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant, apart from temporary or occasional absences.
    • Not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. This does not apply to UK nationals and EU nationals who were ordinarily resident in the EU immediately before the period of full-time education.

    Funding Full fees at Home/EU rate for a period of four academic years.
    Maintenance stipend at £20K per annum for a period of four years. Closing Date 31 July 2019

    Start Date October 2019

    Apply Now

    Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk