On the heels of its recognition by the Wall Street Journal as one of the most innovative technologies for 2010, Australian packaging developer Smart Lid Systems has announced it will take its packaging to the U.S., first importing the thermoformed lids but eventually finding a domestic processor to take up the work.
Smart Lids Systems (Sydney) is a product development company that for the past eight years has been collaborating with Australia's largest foodservice plastics processor to research and develop a disposable coffee lid that can change color.
What's the purpose, you ask? Well, remember the lady who sued McDonalds for serving her a hot coffee that she spilled on herself? By changing from a dark color to a bright red when the lid is applied, the Smart Lids alert consumers their coffee, tea or other hot beverage may be too hot to drink.
More importantly, says the company, the lid visually indicates whether or not it is securely attached to the takeaway cup, placing coffee house owners and consumers at ease regarding the safety concerns of hot beverage spillages—in effect, no more grounds for spurious lawsuits.
With over 600 technology firms assessed, the Wall Street Journal gave the lids the runner-up award for the Technology Design division of its annual Technology Innovation Awards for 2010. There are 17 different categories.
"We are only the second Australian company to be recognized by the WSJ for technology advances since these awards commenced ten years ago" said Nick Bayss, managing director of Smart Lid Systems. His product recently received U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) food-contact compliance for its key technology material, which is supplied by a U.S.-based supplier of ink. Bayss says that with FDA compliance assured, he intends to start exports to the country.
In answer to questions from MPW, Bayss identified Rema Industries and Services as its Asia-Pacific licensee and the company thermoforming the Smart Lid for it in Australia. "Initially we will be exporting everything from Australia and then the rollout plans include having a U.S.-based manufacturer and also a European-based manufacturer," he added. The lids are processed from polystyrene.
Bayss says that the company will not yet release more information on the supplier of its ink. —[email protected]