Pack World

Paw-friendly ice melt gets beefed-up package

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 07:42:32 +0000

A custom PP flip-top closure replaces the difficult-to-maneuver wide-mouth screw top that was used previously.
Morton Salt redesigns the container for its Safe-T-Pet Ice Melt product to provide greater stability, reducing package damage as well as the need for corrugated during pack-outs.

When Morton Salt introduced its Safe-T-Pet salt- and chloride-free ice melt product, the goal was to protect pets’ paws from the skin burns that can result from the salt used to de-ice winter streets and sidewalks. Created with the help of veterinarians, the product was successful at both protecting their paws as well as eliminating the risk to their health from ingestion of traditional ice melt products.

Unfortunately though, Morton Salt wasn’t as successful at preventing the product’s packaging from damage. The packaging for Safe-T-Pet Ice Melt, an 8-lb handled high-density polyethylene container, had a closure that sat above the shoulders of the bottle but did not cover the entire top of the bottle. Because of this, when other bottles were stacked on top of the container, the top load would cause crushing in the shoulders, resulting in quality issues and returns. In addition, the handle was not ergonomically friendly, making it difficult for some consumers to comfortably pour the product from the heavy container.

In early 2015, Morton Salt approached Berlin Packaging to help them create a container that would improve its supply chain functionality as well as the visual presentation of the product. As Berlin Senior Account Executive Johanna Jost explains, Berlin designed a new closure that covers the entire top of the container to help distribute top load and prevent crushing. In addition, the durable HDPE container features chamfers from top to bottom that also help distribute weight more evenly.

“Because of the redesigned container’s increased column strength, the company saves money by removing corrugated in the shipping pack outs,” Jost notes.

The new design also includes a number of functional improvements, including a wider, grooved handle that easily accommodates bulky winter gloves and a custom polypropylene flip-top closure, which replaces the difficult-to-maneuver wide-mouth screw top that was used previously. The new closure also has a larger sifting feature that allows more salt to flow out of the container during dispensing.

While the new package is more robust for the retail supply chain, the redesigned die-cut pressure-sensitive label offers pet owners extra confidence, stating the ice melt is “Safer for Pets” and “Veterinarian Recommended.” It also includes an image of a young girl with her puppy on a clear and clean sidewalk, showcasing exactly how the product works to allow pets to play freely.

The new 160-oz container is supplied by Humberline Packaging, while the new polypropylene closure is provided by Jatco. After Morton Salt switched its Safe-T-Pet Ice Melt product to the new container, it transitioned its other ice melt products, including Action Melt and Safe-T-Power, to the new packaging as well.

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Clemson's award winners

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:16:10 +0000

Clemson's Mark Walker Bartz
Clemson University has announced that Mark Walker Bartz is the Packaging World Outstanding Science Senior for Fall 2017 while Virginia Ellis has been named the Dr. Robert Testin Outstanding Packaging Science Senior Award winner for Fall 2017.

A graduating senior majoring in Packaging Science with a minor in Food Science, Bartz is the youngest of three siblings, all of whom attended Clemson. During his time at Clemson, he achieved a 3.97 GPA and was able to work for HAVI and DowDupont in separate internships. He spent a year working at Clemson Blue Cheese and researched with Dr. Greg Batt in the Clemson University Sonoco Packaging Testing and Material Evaluating Lab. Outside of the classroom, he served as a Clemson Life Mentor for three years and was a member of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. Upon graduation, Bartz will be working full-time with DowDupont in Midland, MI, as a member of their Material Handling Tech Center.

Also a senior at Clemson, Ellis is studying Packaging Science with an emphasis in food and healthcare packaging. She has worked part-time as the Undergraduate Lab Manager for the Cryovac Flavour Mark Laboratory on campus, where she has worked with a variety of food and packaging companies on different research projects. During the spring semester of 2017, she completed a co-op with Campbell Soup Co.

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Butler Automatic: Enhanced register sensor for automatic film splicer

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 15:29:55 +0000

Enhanced register sensor for automatic film splicer
Butler Automatic announces that it has developed an enhanced register sensor for new and existing SP1 automatic film splicers: the new register sensor improves upon the previous sensor’s accuracy and reliability, and features software that more precisely controls the splice position, thereby reducing packaging film waste.

The register sensor in the SP1 Automatic Film Splicer uses registration marks on the film to provide an automatic, in-registration butt splice. In doing so, the splicer provides the downstream process with a consistent product pitch or imprint spacing, eliminating the need for re-registering the film in the process after a splice. The register sensor is critically important to minimizing film waste.

Butler’s new register sensor delivers a wider range of sensing and has proven to be more reliable in distinguishing between similar colors than the prior generation. As a result, manufacturers are now able to have print across the full width of the film, even when the print is similar in color to the black register marks.

Additionally, while the prior design required the operator to physically relocate the sensor in the in-web direction when adjusting between products of different length or pitch, the new control software allows the operator to achieve the same result simply by entering an offset value on the touch screen user interface. This enhancement allows operators to locate the splice in different positions on the final product more easily.

The new register sensor is available as an option on any new Butler SP1 Automatic Splicer. In addition, it is available for retrofit with any Butler SP1 Splicer that shipped with the factory-installed Bi-Directional Registered Splice Option and also has a touch screen user interface. In these machines, it provides the full functionality when installed as a retrofit.

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Biodegradable plastics: good for recycling?

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 07:46:03 +0000

Biodegradable plastics facilitate separate collection of bio-waste and help to divert organic waste from other recycling streams, new study confirms.

Biodegradable plastics offer innovative solutions to improve recycling quality by facilitating the means for more efficient separate waste collection. This has been confirmed by a new study concerning the effects of biodegradable plastics on plastics recycling streams in Italy, where all single-use carrier bags have to be compostable since 2011.

Analyzing the quality of recycled plastics from 19 waste sorting and recycling facilities around the country, Corepla: National Consortium for the Collection and Recycling of Plastic Packaging found that compostable plastics only made up 0.85% of the plastic input. Similar studies by the University of Wageningen show that there are no negative effects on the properties of recycled plastics containing starch film and PLA recyclates. Biodegradable plastics are designed to be treated in industrial composting plants. If they do enter mechanical recycling streams due to misthrows, they can easily be sorted out by available sorting technologies such as near infrared, as recent tests by the German research institute Knoten Weimar show.

Biodegradable plastics facilitate separate collection of bio-waste and help to divert organic waste from other recycling streams. Yet, the contamination of organic waste streams by misthrows of non-compostable plastics is high and constitutes a real problem for composting facilities. The Italian Composters Consortium, in cooperation with Corepla, conducted tests in 27 composting plants in Italy and found that the contamination of organic waste by non-compostable plastics reaches up to 3.1% in average.

“The results of these studies carried out in real-life conditions in recycling plants confirm that investments in the modernization of the waste management infrastructure and mandatory separate waste collection is necessary in order to improve the quality and quantity of plastics recycling,” says Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics.

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End user operational improvements driving automation

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 19:13:46 +0000

Digitization of the factory continues and automation continues to be a focus, says PMMI Business Intelligence
A new study from PMMI Business Intelligence follows the evolution of automation and the digitization of the factory.

“There’s a need for end users to replace human labor, and technology suppliers are providing the solutions,” said one beverage engineer.

OEMs may have the solutions but it is not an easy sell. “There is industry pressure on price, terms, and conditions from low end manufacturing,” says one Global OEM Business Manager.

CPGs counter with some complaints about long ROI due to frequent product replacement and expensive software. “CPGs Technology costs are rising with software and PLCs only lasting three years, which is extending ROI payback,” says a Group Engineering Manager at a large food company.

Food Processing and Packaging Operational Improvements Driving Automation

  • Cost Reductions
  • Faster Commissioning, Start-up and Recovery
  • Automating Labor
  • Consistent Quality
  • Fast Changeover
  • Increasing Output
  • Predictive Maintenance

Source: 2017 Evolution of Automation, PMMI Business Intelligence. Download here.

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SOPO: Eco-friendly HBA lotion dispenser

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 19:04:22 +0000

SOPO dispensers will unclutter sink tops, vanities, bathroom showers, and tubs, while eliminating the array of HBA products typically scattered through the average home.

The SOPO dispenser is a dispensing system for all HBA soaps and lotions and is projected to save manufacturers over $90 million per one-billion units in production costs, according to the company. Made of cardboard similar to a milk carton, it is eco-friendly and convenient to use.

The product turns any HBA lotion into a self-contained dispenser. SOPO dispensers will unclutter sink tops, vanities, bathroom showers, and tubs, while eliminating the array of HBA products typically scattered through the average home. Self-sticking adhesive strip attaches the SOPO dispenser to any surface and pulls off with a snap without damaging the surface. The Provision Patent has been granted. SOPO dispenser system (Stick On-Pull Off) is at the USPO waiting for the Utility Patent to be granted.

The SOPO dispenser's contents are gravity fed, which eliminate the more expensive pump and tube mechanism currently found on most bottles. The flip-top cap eliminates the frustration users experience when unscrewing the pump and shaking out the remaining contents always left in the bottom of the bottle. Being gravity fed makes 100% of the contents usable. When empty, the user will hear a "Raspberry" sound. The flip-top cap has a one-way silicon valve, which prevents leakage even when the cap is left open. The contents in the SOPO dispenser are only dispensed when light pressure is applied anywhere on the front of the SOPO dispenser. The dispensers can also be used as upright dispensers.

The SOPO dispenser has undergone a thorough patent search determining there is nothing on the market close to it.

The patent also includes a dual dispenser containing compatible products such as moisturizer and body wash or shampoo and conditioner. The dual dispensers will be sold as one unit with two dispensing compartments. Another feature is, once mounted, unlike the pumps and caps currently in use, SOPO dispensers are user-friendly for the sight impaired consumers, the large aging population, and anyone with dexterity issues like arthritis.

SOPO dispensers have the potential to tap into the $286 billion global skincare, haircare, and soap industries with immediate potential in more than 211 million households and businesses in the U.S., followed by 2.44 billion households and business worldwide.

The SOPO dispenser container will cost about the same as existing containers. However, the flip-top cap as an alternative to a pump will result in about $1 million in production savings for every $100 million units over existing units with pumps, according to the company. The SOPO dispenser can be made of plastic. But initial market research indicates a cardboard container, similar to a milk carton, would be more appealing due to consumers shifting concerns about being "green." An additional attribute making the SOPO dispenser patentable, is its most important feature, the way SOPO dispensers attach to any surface, pulling off with a snap without damage to the surface.

“We’re very excited about the potential and initial responses,” says Edward Goldfarb, Inventor. “We have a few irons in the fire, however, for now, we’re keeping our options open. As a former naval aviator and patriotic American, I’d love to see SOPO dispensers made in our country.”

Contact for more information, Edward Goldfarb, Inventor



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Solid growth predicted for global pharma processing and packaging machinery

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:42:12 +0000

Solid Growth Predicted for Global Pharma Processing and Packaging Machinery
Report says generic and OTC meds increase demand for equipment, and improve pharmaceutical production in an era of automation and technology.

As the growing population continues to age, increases in chronic and infectious diseases, a rising need to comply with various government regulations, and a variety of technical advancements are driving the pharmaceutical processing and packaging equipment market.

According to Meticulous Research, the global pharmaceutical processing and packaging equipment market will increase at a CAGR of 8.5% through 2022, reaching a value of $25,018.3 million by that year.

The report does note that the growing adoption of refurbished machines “is expected to hamper the growth of the market to some extent.”

Although North America represented the major share of processing and packaging equipment, the Asia-Pacific region is projected to show lucrative growth potential between 2017 and 2022.

The report looks at pharmaceutical processing machinery, including milling equipment, vibrio sifters, granulators, dryers, blenders, tablet presses, tablet coating machines and allied machines.

Packaging machinery noted in the report includes primary equipment for solid, semi-solid, liquid and secondary uses. Solid packaging includes machinery for blisters and strip packs. Semi-solid packaging includes soft tube filling and sealing, and sachet packaging. Liquid packaging includes vials and ampules, prefilled syringes and cartridges, and bottle filling and capping. Secondary packaging includes equipment for cartoning, wrapping, case/tray packaging, as well as labeling and serialization.

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Plastic bottle recycling dips in 2016

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 06:31:27 +0000

Plastic bottle recycling remained strong in 2016, but declined slightly, slipping 2.4% to just over 2.9 billion pounds.
A decline of 2.4% is attributed to a slight drop in material collected for recycling, changing export markets, and increased contamination of recyclables.

Plastic bottle recycling remained strong in 2016, but declined slightly, slipping 2.4% to just over 2.9 billion pounds, according to figures released jointly by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC). The “27th Annual National Postconsumer Plastic Bottle Recycling Report” indicates the overall recycling rate for plastic bottles for the year was 29.7%, down from 31.1% in 2015.

The five-year compounded annual growth rate for plastic bottle recycling was 2.1%. Following more than 20 consecutive years of growth, factors that contributed to the recent decline include a slight drop in material collected for recycling, changing export markets, and increased contamination of recyclables. In addition, growth in the use of plastic bottles in packaging was offset by continuing progress in lightweighting and increased use of concentrates with smaller, lighter bottles.

In 2016,PET recycling decreased by 44 million pounds.The collection of high-density polyethylene bottles, which includes bottles for milk, household cleaners, and detergents, fell by 31.7 million pounds (2.8%) to just over 1.1 billion pounds for the year. The recycling rate for HDPE bottles slipped from 34.4% to 33.4%.

Exports of HDPE bottles rose nearly 5% from 184 million pounds in 2015 to 193 pounds (or 16.4% of total HDPE bottles collected) in 2016. The amount of HDPE reported processed in the U.S. fell by 37 million pounds (or nearly 4%) to just under 993 million pounds.

“Some U.S. recyclers are seeing these short-term challenges as opportunities to innovate and invest in our plastics recycling infrastructure,” says Steve Alexander, President of APR. “The key to continued growth lies in improving our sorting and collection technologies to deliver consistent, high-quality yields that strengthen our global competitiveness.”

“Plastics recycling has a track record of long-term growth spanning 25 years,” says Steve Russell, ACC’s Vice President of Plastics.“Post-use plastics are valuable materials that have weathered many cycles and different growth factors. From resin suppliers to recyclers to brand owners, the plastics value chain is working together to continue to create new opportunities and long-term solutions.”

This year’s survey found the collection of polypropylene bottles rose nearly 15.3% to reach 36.6 million pounds, as the PP collection rate climbed to over 20%. PP caps, closures, and non-bottle containers are widely collected for recycling in the U.S., and these data are presented in a separate report on recycling non-bottle rigid plastics, which will be released in the coming months.

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Eagle Packaging: Case packing system reduces labor

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 14:34:35 +0000

Case packing system reduces labor
The BoxxPak’s integrated system is ergonomically designed with the operator in mind to combine case erecting, product loading stations, and case sealing into a compact and efficient work cell.

At the forefront of benefits are minimal repetitive wrist movement and arm motion during the case packing process. Additional operator-friendly features include quick size changeover, conveniently adaptable load stations, and flexible system configuration.

The BoxxPak is highly customizable and can accommodate up to four operators. In the pick and pack workstation, product is neatly conveyed alongside each erected case minimizing physical stress and decreasing the likelihood of operator injury.

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‘No Waste’ coffee capsules

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 07:01:44 +0000

San Francisco Bay Coffee Co. unveils its No Waste OneCup coffee capsule packaging, comprising a compostable pod, a compostable mother bag, and a recyclable carton.

Since introducing its single-serve coffee pod products seven years ago, family-owned San Francisco Bay Coffee Co. has been working on capsule technology to reduce packaging waste to landfill—a project that came to fruition October 2017, with the launch of its No Waste OneCup packaging. The company bills its new pod packaging, currently being used for 100-ct cartons of French Roast blend for Costco, as the first no-waste solution, with a compostable pod, a compostable mother bag, and a recyclable carton.

Since San Francisco Bay Coffee was born 40 years ago, its emphasis has been on making the best pot of coffee possible, while giving back to communities locally and those where its beans are sourced, and on being environmentally responsible.

Therefore, the packaging waste resulting from coffee capsules rankled its sustainability sensibilities, even as it participated in the market. “We decided we wanted to get into the single-serve market when we were seeing the explosive growth,” says Jim Rogers, one of four Rogers siblings running the company. “But at the same time, we were really alarmed at how much plastic was being thrown into landfills.

“The first thing we did was talk to a number of suppliers and customers to gauge their interest in more environmentally friendly packaging and to ask, ‘What can we do right off the bat?’”

The first change the company made to the traditional pod was to eliminate the thermoformed plastic cup used to hold the coffee, replacing it with a mesh material attached to a plastic ring. That alone reduced the plastic content of the pod by 25 to 30%, recalls Rogers.

Over the next six years, San Francisco Bay Coffee challenged a number of suppliers and converters and invested “a couple million dollars” to find a less wasteful package. In looking at the options, the company opted for compostability over recyclability. “The whole coffee capsule market is based on convenience. No one is going to take a traditional coffee pod and spend 10 minutes separating all the components so they can recycle it. I just don’t see that happening,” says Rogers. “We went down the road of compostability for two reasons: number one, using materials made from renewable materials is far superior to using petrochemicals, and number two, composting has made a lot of strides in the last five years, and we hope that continues.”

The new pod is uses corn-based polylactic acid for the ring and mesh, and a wood pulp-based lid, both from proprietary suppliers. Among the challenges of developing this construction was that in early iterations, the ring would warp during transit and not work in the coffee machine, and sometimes the mesh holding the coffee would burst.

San Francisco Bay Coffee is using existing equipment to fill the capsules, but with extensive modifications. “We had to modify how the mesh was formed, and part of the challenge was finding a lid that would stick on a corn-based ring. You don’t want the lid separating during the brewing process,” says Rogers. “The project involved all kinds of things you wouldn’t even think of.”

Rogers admits the one weakness in the pod design is the fact that it’s not a sealed unit, resulting in the need for a mother bag, which holds 10 to 12 pods to keep the coffee fresh until use. With the new design, San Francisco Bay Coffee introduced a PLA bag that is also compostable.

When citing compostability, Rogers emphasizes the packaging is certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute for industrial composting only. While composting isn’t available curbside for consumers, San Francisco Bay Coffee has added to the carton the website information for, so consumers can learn if there is a composting facility in their area.

In the meantime, Rogers says the company is continuing to work toward a pod that is also home-compostable. “Our goal has always been not to be where we are right now, but to be completely and fully compostable,” he says. “We want to see dirt in 90 days.”

San Francisco Bay Coffee produces a number of private-label brands as well as its own brand products, sold in national grocery stores, mom-and-pop gift shops, and online. The No Waste OneCup packaging has so far launched only in Costco, but eventually will be used for all the coffee company’s single-serve products.

“The No Waste OneCup is a huge step toward potentially reducing the environmental footprint associated with single-serve coffee,” says Rogers. “Now that San Francisco Bay Coffee has shown we can produce pods made from 100-percent compostable materials that come in recyclable packaging, we’re hoping the industry follows suit so we can really move the needle on coffee-related waste.”

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BioPreferred packaging selected for ‘healthier medicine’

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 21:45:51 +0000

Genexa carton of Cold Crush Children's medicine.
Genexa introduces USDA-certified organic OTC medicines in environmentally friendly, shelf-appealing ‘jewel box’ carton.

Many of us take for granted that our medications will benefit our health. When it comes to our children, we tend to pay closer attention to the list of ingredients on a package’s label. That was the case with David Johnson, CEO of Genexa, a Beverly Hills, CA-based producer of organic, non-GMO medicines.

Born and raised in a family of naturopathic and chiropractic physicians, Johnson has been involved in natural healthcare his entire life. When he became a new father, he began researching what was in conventional medicines for kids. What he found shocked him.

“Many ingredients in over-the-counter medicines are blatantly unhealthy and are listed right there on the package,” Johnson says. “Children’s medicine ingredients can include aspartame, sorbitol, and other artificial sweeteners; binders and fillers made out of gluten, lactose, and soy; artificial dyes and preservatives and other synthetic ingredients.

"I co-founded Genexa because I hated feeling helpless when my kids got sick. I didn't like the ingredients in their medicines either. Children's medicine should be free from toxins, allergens, and synthetic fillers. That's why we created Genexa, a cleaner, healthier medicine for the whole family."

Johnson explains that the company, led by himself and his business partner, Genexa President Max Spielberg, worked to develop products free of what they considered unhealthy ingredients. The process involved three years of R&D to create the proprietary technology needed to make the medicines healthy, organic, and natural. Says Johnson, “We had to create a never-before-seen formula for binding the medicinal tablets together that wouldn’t include allergens or toxic synthetics, and we succeeded. Now we have several patents pending on the groundbreaking inventions that allowed this medicine to be possible.

“Our products are the first-ever OTC medicines to be dual-certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO project-verified, meaning that all the ingredients in our medicines are non-GMO and 95% or more are organic. This is extremely different from generic or traditional brand OTCs, many of which are made with synthetic ingredients and GMOs. Moreover, our medicines are free from gluten, dairy/lactose, artificial sweeteners, nuts, and other allergens that are often used as fillers and binders in OTC medicines. Almost all of our products are also vegan, which is also unusual for medicines like this.”

Packaging matters

As a certified B Corporation,Genexa is dedicated to accountability, transparency, and using business as a force for good. Because the company is committed to sustainability, all Genexa product packaging is certified BioPreferred, which means it is made of renewable biological ingredients derived from plants.

The primary package is a white plastic bottle with matching cap, decorated with a label that wraps around its waist. Details on material specifications or suppliers are considered proprietary.

Johnson explains that packaging plays an important role not only in that it is made of recycled and recyclable materials, but also in terms of package design. “We really wanted to develop packaging that reflected how safe, healthy, and effective these medicines are. Our ultimate product design aimed to combine—and successfully does combine—both elements, and the outer ‘jewel box’ carton holds broad appeal for all consumers, whether interested in natural and organic products or conventional OTCs,” he says.

One bottle of medicine friction fits into a die-cut slot within the carton, which opens like a book. The “panel” that opens includes an extended flap fitted with a slot so that once it is reclosed it fits into a slot on the carton. The carton measures 1.875 x 2.875 x 4.3 in. The carton’s multiple panels are printed with various product marketing messages, while the back panel includes drug facts, warnings, directions, and ingredients.

Genexa explains the extended panel and overall carton mechanisms are part of the specialized packaging process it developed to differentiate its line from other products on the shelf.

“The unboxing process for this kind of carton is unusual and creates a special, unique experience for the customer opening his or her medicine for the first time,” says a company spokesperson. “We call it a jewel box because it opens like a jewelry box, and it also comes in a range of 11 jewel-tone colors—a different color for each of our products.”

The 18-pt carton is printed offset in six PMS colors plus flood varnish by RR Donnelley. The printing helps the boxes stand out on the shelf with true and bright colors. Printing is done on a six-color 40-in. Komori press.

RR Donnelley uses a high-quality-grade paper that is Sustainable Forestry Initiative-certified. Soy-based inks are also used. Die cutting, foil stamping and embossing of the logo are completed offline on Heidelberg presses. The boxes are designed to assemble with no gluing.

Johnson says the Genexa package design was developed by “working with the most elite packaging design firm in the space, LAM Design.” He adds, “Our partnership with LAM actually resulted in a 2017 American Package Design Award from Graphic Design USA for our new product line.”

Genexa packages its 11 healthy medicines on a new line that includes proprietary equipment developed specifically for the company, so it did not disclose details.

Genexa’s medicines for adults include those that target colds, sleep, stress relief and more. Children’s medicines include those for colds, allergies, and calming. Its cold and flu medicines can be found at GNC, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Markets, and at more than 15,000 national and regional natural food retailers, healthcare practitioner offices and pharmacies across the country. Product shelf life is three years. Genexa says it also plans to launch products soon in various international markets.

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Tsubaki: Improved roller chain

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 14:12:12 +0000

Improved roller chain
U.S. Tsubaki Power Transmission, LLC announces the lube-free Lambda chain, specifically designed to provide extended wear life in applications where chain lubrication is difficult or even impossible.

The new and improved Lambda chain now features NSF-H1 high-temperature, food-grade lubricant impregnated into the bushings to improve chain performance and extend wear life. This improvement makes Lambda an excellent choice for food and beverage conveying applications, packaging applications, hard-to-reach drive and conveyor systems, and operations where lubrication is not possible.

Tsubaki Xceeder Lambda chain, with patented felt seals for preventing particulates from entering the critical pin-bushing area, also utilizes the new bushings and continues to provide maximum performance and wear life. The KF Series Lambda chain for high-temperature applications not only includes the NSF-H1 bushings, but also NSF-H3 food-grade rust preventative to withstand the moisture rich conditions in the hot environments in which it operates.

Tsubaki Lambda chains are available in standard box and reel sizes as well as in cut-to-length strands for both ANSI and British Standard drive and attachment chains.

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Men’s skincare brand debuts sugarcane-based tubes

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 07:54:26 +0000

Bulldog has become the first men’s skincare brand to use sugarcane as a raw material for its flexible tube packaging.
A new line of flexible tube packaging for Bulldog Skincare for Men uses polyethylene made from sugarcane.

Bulldog Skincare for Men has become the first men’s skincare brand to use sugarcane as a raw material for its flexible tube packaging. Bulldog’s new tubes, developed by RPC M&H Plastics, are used for moisturizers, face washes, and face scrubs, with multiple variations of each product focusing on different skin types, including sensitive skin, mature skin, and oily skin.

Explains RPC, the “green” polyethylene is created by farming sugarcane on sustainable land in Brazil, thousands of kilometers from the Amazon rainforest. While being cultivated, the sugarcane captures CO2 from the air as it grows. In fact, says RPC, sugarcane is so efficient at capturing CO2 that with every kilogram of green plastic produced, 3.09 kg of CO2 is removed from the air. Once grown, the sugarcane is transformed into ethanol, used by Braskem to create its I’m green™ Green PE. RPC M&H Plastics then uses the material to create Bulldog’s flexible tubes while maintaining the performance characteristics of traditional PE.

RPC adds that another benefit of the material is that sugarcane is often planted on degraded pasture land, which in turn helps recover the soil for future use as general farmland or to simply plant another crop of sugarcane.

Says Simon Duffy, founder of Bulldog Skincare For Men, “Bulldog is proud to be the first men’s skincare brand in the world to use plastic from sugarcane in our packaging. We have always tried to make the most ethical and sustainable decisions we can, from never testing on animals, to never using microbeads to making all our products suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Plastic from sugarcane is the latest step in this approach, and we are delighted to have worked with M&H Plastics to turn Green PE into something we can use in the tubes and caps of our packaging.”

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PACK’R: Monobloc filler capper for corrosive products

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 14:09:21 +0000

Monobloc filler capper for corrosive products
PACK’R has developed fillers with PVDF components to support a large range of viscosities and adapted them for hazardous and aggressive liquids.

This customized filler capper is designed to provide superior chemical compatibility with a broad range of products. In applications where stainless steel would normally fail, the PACK’R Monobloc prevents this with an array of features. Pneumatic and electrical systems are protected from product vapors, while the pressurized control panel and connectors are sealed off by junction boxes to prevent vapor oxidation and direct contact with these products. Additionally, all the electrical wiring is enclosed within a protective sheath to greatly improve the lifecycle of the components.

Machine includes the option to capture all of the filling and capping data for a better traceability and machine optimization.

This rotary weight-filling machine can be used with products such as:

- Corrosive chemical products

- Bleach concentration from 13% to 16%

- Bases and acids

- Cleaning products.

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Pharma co-packer implements track-and-trace

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 07:56:49 +0000

Ropack Pharma Solutions has implemented a track-and-trace network to provide serialization solutions for its customers.

Ropack Pharma Solutions has selected TraceLink Inc.’s track-and-trace network to provide serialization solutions for its customers. Ropack, with U.S. headquarters in Commack, NY, and Canadian headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, is a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) that handles solid oral dosage packaging for pharmaceutical and natural health companies throughout Canada and the U.S. Leveraging the TraceLink Life Sciences Cloud, Ropack’s international serialization hub provides a streamlined solution to assist its 130-plus pharmaceutical manufacturing customers to comply with the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA).

The Ropack serialization hub enables packaged pharmaceutical products to be sent by an organization’s in-house packaging team or contract partners to the Ropack facility. Using the TraceLink Life Sciences Cloud and Optel Vision, the packaged products are serialized, aggregated, and then shipped with the appropriate compliance documentation to a distribution network or another warehouse.

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New possibilities with new cartoner

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 07:51:55 +0000

The horizontal end-load module can produce up to 80 cartons/min and is upgradeable to fully automatic production.
Supremia, a provider of creative solutions and integrated process management for promotional product development, has added a semi-automatic cartoner to its packaging operations.

Supremia, a provider of creative solutions and integrated process management for promotional product development, has added a semi-automatic cartoner from ADCO Manufacturing to its packaging operations. Partnering with global brands for more than 35 years, Supremia offers services that include design, printing, sourcing, quality assurance, and logistics management for luxury merchandise programs. The company’s capabilities range from premiums, gift with purchase (GWP), primary packaging, secondary packaging, value added packaging (VAP), and custom projects.

The ADCO Cartoner, a horizontal end-load module, can produce up to 80 cartons/min and is upgradeable to fully automatic production. The machine handles boxes in a range of sizes and utilizes a Nordson gluing system with variable pattern control. The cartoner is operated by a touch-screen digital HMI and offers in-process speed control among a variety of other manufacturing and safety features.

“The new cartoner showcases Supremia’s commitment to reliability and continuously enhancing our capabilities set to the benefit of our customers,” says Robert Catalano, President, Supremia Americas. “It affords us a wider array of possibilities to make our team’s ideas come to life for the global brands that put their trust in Supremia.”

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Powder filling at 6,000/hr

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 07:46:56 +0000

The auger filler dispenses powders at speeds to 50 cans/min/head, allowing SternMaid to fill 6,000 cans/hr.
Contract manufacturer and co-packer SternMaid America of Aurora, IL, has installed a new double-head auger filler that will increase the capacity of its can filling line for powders.

To fulfill growing demand from the food and nutraceuticals industries, contract manufacturer and co-packer SternMaid America of Aurora, IL, has installed a new double-head auger filler that will increase the capacity of its can filling line for powders. Including further peripheral plant components, the company has invested some $300,000 in the capacity extension.

The auger filler dispenses powders at speeds to 50 cans/min/head, allowing SternMaid to fill 6,000 cans/hr with a range of powdered products—from instant cocoa to dietary supplements. Changeover for different pack sizes is easy, and the machine is able to fill cans of up to six inches in diameter and three to ten inches in height. Filling weight depends on the can size and the product’s bulk volume. Can filling and sealing is now fully automated, but there is potential for future investment, as packing and palletizing are still done by hand.

Says Jan Thoele, Executive Vice President of SternMaid America, “Customers expect flexibility and reliable on-time delivery. Even short deadlines have to be met at the right time and with top quality. If a company’s plant breaks down unexpectedly, and a contract manufacturer is asked to take over, production must be able to start very quickly. Not only do these new investments increase our capacities in the co-packing sector, but they also make us much more flexible. We can now carry out even large orders in a short time.”

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Store brands gaining in U.S. retail channels

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 07:42:06 +0000

In 2016, private-label dollar volume in the mass merchandise/club/dollar store segment climbed 4.4% to $49.6 billion.
Store brands are gaining market share against the big national brands in America’s fastest growing retail channels.

Store brands are gaining market share against the big national brands in America’s fastest growing retail channels. That’s according to the latest sales and market share statistics from Nielsen. Reports Nielsen, for the 52-week period ending Dec. 24, 2016, retailer’s brands strongly outperformed the national brands in the rapidly growing mass merchandiser’s segment of Nielsen’s total outlets database. This segment includes retailers such as Walmart and Target as well as some warehouse club and dollar stores.

Private-label dollar volume in the mass merchandise/club/dollar store segment climbed 4.4% to $49.6 billion, resulting in a +0.5-point market share gain to 16.6%. A similar pattern emerged in regard to units, with private label advancing 4.2% compared with only 0.2% for brands. As a result, private label’s market share moved up +0.6 of a point, to 19.7%.

Store brand’s market share declined in the slow-growth supermarket channel—measured at 18.4% dollar share and 22.3% unit share—as well as in Nielsen’s “all outlets combined” sector, but the data clearly indicate that, separate from the adverse impact of supermarket numbers dragging down the overall private-label results, market shares for retailer brands in the other outlets have experienced solid gains at the expense of national brands.

While Nielsen reports total private-label sales for 2016 at $118 billion, these results do not include sales from some of the biggest and best store brand retailers in the country, such as Costco, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s. Estimates of their private-label sales would add $35 billion to the total and push the total U.S. private-label market to more than $150 billion.

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CPA News—November/December 2017

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 07:27:26 +0000

CPA members meet with winners of the Tom Bacon Memorial Scholarship along with their parents.
News on scholarship winners, Pack Summit, and PACK EXPO Las Vegas success

Inaugural CPA scholarship recipients announced

Four future college graduates with a direct connection to men and women working at a Contract Packaging Association member company were invited to CPA headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace, IL, on August 9 for a luncheon with their parents and CPA board members, where they each received the inaugural Tom Bacon Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1,175.

Recipients included Michael Aykroid, a freshman at Arizona State University studying business and German; Kelsey Bekermeier, a junior majoring in journalism and minoring in business at the University of Missouri; Nicholas Herrmann, a freshman at the University of Kentucky studying business and marketing; and Julia Kurolapnik, a freshman at the University of Minnesota majoring in business and finance. All awardees accepted the scholarship and began or continued their studies at their respective universities in fall 2017.

The scholarship, which was created to support packaging education and to raise awareness of the packaging field as a career choice, pays tribute to CPA founding father Thomas Bacon. The CPA Board of Directors worked directly with the Bacon family to create the scholarship in honor of this industry icon. The fund amount was first increased during the annual CPA meeting in February 2017, when attendees donated to raise its value to $3,200. The Bacon family generously raised the value yet again in May 2017, bringing the final award amount to $4,700—guaranteeing at least $1,000 per recipient.

The unique aspect of this scholarship is that it is only offered to family members of employees working at CPA member companies. Bekermeier is a family member of an employee at CPA member company Pacmoore Products, while Aykroid, Herrmann, and Kurolapnik are family members of employees at CPA member company Hearthside Foods Solutions.

According to Hearthside Food Solutions Vice President of Sales and former CPA President Vicky Smitley, it was important—and easy—to spread the word internally to employees about this member benefit. “I simply forwarded the e-mail announcement about the scholarship to the Human Resources Manager, who then distributed the information to other employees within the company. That quick and easy act of sharing is helping three students and their families save money while they pursue an education,” she says.

Candidates for the Tom Bacon Memorial Scholarship must:

  • Be a family member of an employee at a member company that is in good standing with CPA
  • Be enrolled at an accredited two- or four-year college, university, or vocational/technical school in a course of study relevant to a business or business-related field with preference given to packaging curriculum
  • Have GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Be a U.S. citizen

Winner(s) of the Institute of Packaging Professionals scholarship are not eligible. For more information on how to apply for the scholarship in 2019, contact Member Services Coordinator Jill Gabbert.

Casting the Vegas spotlight on CPA Sourcing Center

CPA hosted its popular Sourcing Center in the PACK EXPO Las Vegas Association Partner Pavilion, Sept. 25-27, 2017. The three-day event featured over 2,000 exhibitors and more than 30,000 attendees, spanning 900,000 net square feet of opportunity to exchange ideas with leading packaging and processing suppliers.

“The Association Partner Pavilions at PACK EXPO Las Vegas, and co-located Healthcare Packaging EXPO, bring together leading industry associations with decision makers from the world’s top CPG companies, retailers, and pharmaceutical, medical device, and nutraceutical manufacturers,” says Charles D. Yuska, President & CEO, PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. “The on-site expertise and industry knowledge provided by partner associations offered an invaluable resource to attendees.”

As always, the Sourcing Center was the place to be for brand owners interested in contract packaging and manufacturing services to learn about CPA members and how to source these service providers. Visitors had the opportunity to view real examples of contract packaged and manufactured goods from CPA members featured in the Showcase Tower and had the opportunity to ask questions and interact with industry experts.

One of this year’s highlights was the popular Meet and Greet reception on Sept. 26, which gave attendees an opportunity to mingle with CPA members, prospective members, and other packaging industry VIPs. According to CPA President Tim Koers, “As expected, we had a great turnout at our Meet and Greet and generated nearly 300 leads during our time at PACK EXPO Las Vegas, which we will now get to provide to our member sponsors as an awesome benefit. Our partnership with PMMI gives us a great opportunity to serve our members in the best possible ways.”

CPA is already looking forward to the next opportunity to showcase member benefits at the 2018 PACK EXPO East show, April 16-18, in Philadelphia.

CPA partners with Frain Integration, Sonoco & Nulogy for 2nd annual Pack Summit

Frain Integration, Sonoco, and Nulogy—in partnership with the CPA—hosted the 2nd annual Pack Summit. This year’s theme was “Unlocking Speed to Market: Growth Challenges in a Divergent Economy.” The event kicked off on Oct. 24, 2017, with an evening executive networking session at Medinah Country Club in Illinois, then carried over to a full day of informative sessions on Oct. 25 at the Frain Conference Center.

The event was a look into the health of the packaging industry and featured a series of keynote speakers, case studies, and panel sessions presented by foremost industry experts and thought leaders. Attendees learned how the right strategy can overcome disruptive trends and how to launch new products up to 75% faster by utilizing shared assets and a rapid deployment supply chain approach.

Speakers for the Summit included co-founder and Principal of PTIS and AMERIPEN Senior Director Brian Wagner; Holland & Hart’s Food & Beverage Practice Coordinator, Catherine Walsh; Senior Brand Manager from Reynolds Consumer Products, Ben Ellis; owner/CEO of MaGi Foods, Roger Davidson; Frain Integration President David Eggleston; co-founder/President of OnPoint2020, Matt Dingee; Nulogy’s Vice President of Customer Success, Tom Perrone; Aptar Group’s Business Development Manager, Dave Johnson; and Sonoco Director of Insights Alicia Rudick. The event was moderated by Flexible Technologies Executive Vice President/General Manager—and current CPA board member—Nikki Johnson.

Frain Integration, Sonoco, Nulogy, and CPA plan to continue this forum in 2018. Details to come within the next few months.

Save the Date: CPA Annual Meeting
Don’t miss the CPA 2018 Annual Meeting, taking place February 20-24 at the Hyatt Centric French Quarter in New Orleans. Register online.

Become a CPA Member

CPA has proudly served as the national, not-for-profit trade organization for the contract packaging industry since 1992. Our membership includes both primary and secondary contract packagers and the suppliers that serve them. Our members support an incredibly diverse array of consumer goods companies, including automotive parts, electronics, candy, food and beverage, and health and beauty aids businesses.

The mission of CPA is to “serve the growth of member companies by assisting in the establishment of productive links between buyers and member companies and by providing educational opportunities for member companies’ executives to improve the efficiency and productivity of their operations.”

Joining CPA allows us to put our mission of growing and uniting the industry into action. We pride ourselves on providing our members with up-to-date information about events and news related to their businesses, continuing education, networking opportunities, informational resources, and promotional support.

A CPA membership is for companies that perform all packaging functions, from manual and semi-automatic to full-speed, high-performance packaging lines. Other member services include design, warehousing, and distribution, among others. An Associate Membership is for those companies that provide machinery, containers, components, materials, or other services to the contract packager.

Join us today and experience the impact CPA will make on your business. For more information, contact Managing Director Ron Puvak.

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A message from the new CPA President

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 07:18:03 +0000

CPA President Tim Koers
As Tim Koers begins his tenure as president of the Contract Packaging Association, he shares plans for the coming year as well as new developments at the association.

It is a special honor and privilege to begin my term as president of the Contract Packaging Association. Since becoming involved with CPA in 2007, I have seen this association steered by fellow colleagues in the contract packaging arena who, as CPA Founder Thomas Bacon once said, have an “awesome responsibility” to get CPA resources into the hands of those who need it. Our Immediate Past President, Vicky Smitley, deserves an enormous thank you from all of us for doing just that and for helping advance CPA within the industry and the membership. Luckily, Vicky will continue to serve the membership for the next year in her role as past president. I hope to build upon her great foundation during my tenure.

In preparation for my presidency, the past year has included my participation in many of our association’s committee meetings. This has given me a chance to learn firsthand about the important activities in which CPA is currently involved. Since I officially took the reins, both the board and I have been hard at work planning our next annual meeting, adding educational opportunities to the calendar, and planning exhibit enhancements for our industry show presence.

Also during this time, Ron Puvak has been appointed managing director for CPA. Ron, who has a 40-plus-year track record in management, development of packaging technology, and promotion of new innovation and business development, will be responsible for overseeing the association’s current activities and creating a plan for long-term growth. Already in his short time on staff, Ron has hit the ground running and is coming up with new and innovative ideas to make CPA the best it can be.

Some of Ron’s initiatives include introducing new concepts to our 2018 annual meeting. Our New Orleans spot at the Hyatt Centric French Quarter is the perfect place for this year’s theme of Taking it to the Streets. From Feb. 20-24, attendees will find multiple ways and opportunities to hone their business intuition and skill through networking opportunities.

At our latest board meeting, strategic planning was a lengthy topic of discussion. Moving forward, the CPA team as a whole will discover new ways to further engage our membership as we contemplate our association’s future. Our priorities are to strengthen CPA membership and serve our members in the industry as best we can. We have experienced tremendous growth over the last few years, and with this growth comes the need for greater involvement from more individuals associated with CPA member companies. Our members are in the trenches every day, meeting with the movers and shakers who make our industry successful. Your feedback on what you would like to see and hear from us is how CPA continues its success. To this end, I urge you to become involved with CPA and spread the word to your colleagues and encourage them to lend their voice. If you are interested in joining a committee, feel free to complete the Volunteer form on our website, and more information will be sent to you as space within each group becomes available. We also welcome suggestions for Annual Meeting panelists or keynote speakers and webinar topics or ideas.

We’ve recently asked those within the industry to share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions by participating in our Tri-Annual Industry Report. This new and expanded report will be a valuable tool for anyone competing in the industry, including customers that buy the industry’s services and for suppliers to contract packaging and contract manufacturing firms. The results of this report are in the process of tabulation, and I’m excited to share our findings with others in the business. CPA’s goal is to further solidify our place as the industry’s thought-leader for contract packaging and manufacturing, and we believe this report will become the benchmark for measuring the growth and success of the industry. Our objective is to provide not only more data about key, previously underreported industry issues and topics, but also better data to best serve you. Because this is such a significant time for packaging and manufacturing, we as an association understand the importance of strengthening our partnerships and continuing to keep in step with industry changes.

I look forward to working with the CPA board and team to help the organization develop our member companies, as well as the organizations they serve—brand owners both large and small.

I hope you will join me on the journey.

Tim Koers is Chief Operating Officer of The Visual Pak Companies.

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Natural foods a natural fit

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 07:01:46 +0000

Anne Marie Mohan, Editor, Contract Packaging
As the natural foods market explodes, co-packers are a natural choice for startups looking to bring their innovative products to market.

In 2016, the natural products industry grew to $141 billion in sales. That’s according to the Natural Foods Merchandiser 2017 Market Overview, which added that the segment displayed a 7.4% growth rate across all channels. At the same time, Mintel reported that more than 70 new on-pack product claims or tags for U.S. food and beverage products were identified in 2016, with seven of the top 10 related to health and convenience.

While larger multinational brands may be trying to stop the center-store bleeding by reformulating their preservative-laden products—think Kraft’s tweaking of its Mac & Cheese recipe in 2016 to eliminate artificial preservatives and dyes—it is the entrepreneurial startups that are leading the natural foods explosion. Key to the success of any of these new businesses is the ability to recognize consumer trends and act on them. But while they may have the ingredient know-how, many times they lack the ability to organize resources to bring the product to market quickly. That’s where contract packagers come in.

“I see a lot of founders who come out with a great product, but they only know the product,” said Roger Davidson, owner/COO of MaGi Foods, who was part of the brand owner panel at a recent event hosted by Frain Integration. “They don’t understand the complexity of packaging, production, marketing, e-commerce, and that type of thing.” He added that those co-packers who have a bank of resources or connections will be the ones who will be able to take that idea, bring a group together quickly, and move on that innovation.

But as a co-packer, how do you know if taking on a fledgling company with small quantities is worth the risk? Advised Heather Marvin, Principal of E2E Innovation during the same panel discussion at Frain, “I like to see their sales presentation, because that’s what’s going to sell them and make the two of you successful together. You need to see if they have a growth strategy you can get behind.”

In this month’s Packager Profile, Batavia, IL-based GreenSeed, a successful and rapidly growing contract packager of dry natural foods, shares how they built their business to capitalize on this expanding market and assist innovative startups in this space to grow from the ground up.

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Co-packer, brand owners toast success of wine in a can

Sun, 12 Nov 2017 07:45:47 +0000

Foley Family Wine’s Guenoc wine in a 275-mL can is an ‘adventure seeker’s brand.’
Canned wine takes off for co-packer Free Flow Wines after it adds a canning line. Also getting a boost are customers Essentially Geared and Foley Family Wines.

When co-packer Free Flow Wines of Napa, CA, installed an entry-level wine canning line in April 2017, the idea was to dip its toes in the water to test the market. But by late July 2017, when Contract Packaging magazine visited the plant, Free Flow was wishing it had jumped in feet first, given the extraordinary demand for its services.

“In the world of being a CEO, you wish you had a crystal ball so you could clearly see what things look like a year down the road, because it would be a lot easier to plan,” says Jordan Kivelstadt, co-founder and CEO of Free Flow Wines. “But we don’t have that. When I made the request to the board in August 2016 to install a wine canning line, cans had just taken their first little surge forward, but there still wasn’t a lot of product on the market. We only had a few customers banging our door down to can their wines right then and there. But we’ve just seen that grow, grow, grow. The response we’ve seen from the industry has been astounding. We're just scrambling to keep up.”

Launched in 2009 by Kivelstadt and Don Donahoe, Free Flow is a turnkey supplier of wine kegging services. When customers began inquiring about wine canning however, the company took a serious look at entering the market. As Free Flow Director of Operations Rob Perman explains, wine canning is an underserved market. “We saw it not only as a niche we could serve, but also as a way to diversify our revenue stream, especially to offset some of our slower months on the kegging side.”

And, as they say, once they built it—a 50-can/min line featuring a counter pressure filler, a full-body sleeve labeler, and a shrink wrapper—the customers came. Among them, Foley Family Wines, based in Santa Rosa, CA, which introduced its Guenoc brand in a can, and Essentially Geared Wine Co. of Napa, CA, a company launched solely to produce wine in a can under the Essentially Geared name.

Wine market ripe for cans

At year-end, June 2012, wine in a can was a $1.9 million industry. By 2016, Nielsen reported that sales of canned wine had grown to $14.5 million, up 125% from 2015. In 2017, the market is estimated to be worth $35 to $40 million.

When founding Essentially Geared in mid-2016, Grant Hemingway and partner Kivelstadt saw the trend of craft beer and craft sprits moving to aluminum, spearheaded by younger consumers. “We felt the market was ripe for the can format for wine, given the rise in Millennial consumption and purchasing power, as well as the demand for convenience, outdoor consumption, and lifestyle brands.

“The core tenets of EGWC are Sustainably Packaged, Carefully Sourced, Always Essential. Cans are lightweight, durable, easy to open, and fully recyclable, and thus offer ultimate convenience in simple, resourceful packaging.

“Our primary differentiating factor in the market is wine quality. Real wine from quality grapes and solid winemaking used to craft an approachable, consumer-friendly profile, at an affordable price point.”

Essentially Geared, in three varieties—Chardonnay, Red Wine, and Rosé Wine—was introduced in May 2017 in 375-mL cans, sold singly or in a two-pack, held together with a PakTech can carrier. The wines are sold in 18 states at independent retailers, selected chain stores, and outdoor venues. “We intend to grow into 30 states in 2018 to meet increased demand and increased production,” says Hemingway.

For Foley Family Wines, established in 1996, the impetus to introduce one of its bottled wines in a can came from discussions with its partners and retailers, who saw the category growing. And what better brand to put in a can than its Guenoc, a wine marketed as “A Celebration of Independent Spirit.” Says Denise Roach, Director of Marketing for Foley Family Wines, “With this brand, we focus on an active lifestyle and outdoor living. It’s an adventure seeker’s brand, so that’s how we position it. The Guenoc brand includes really affordable wines that taste great and are made for everyone.”

Like Essentially Geared, Foley Family Wines is squarely focused on the quality of its wines. Its current portfolio includes a collection of brands from California, Washington, Oregon, and New Zealand. Explains Roach, Foley differentiates itself by having each property produce handmade, delicious wines that capture the character, varietal, and personality of the site.

Foley Family Wines introduced its Guenoc canned wine in May 2017, in Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé Wine. It chose a slim, 250-mL size, enough for a single serving, which it sells in four-count cartons; per law, 250-mL cans of wine cannot be sold singly. The wines are available in retailers nationwide, with increased distribution planned for 2018.

Free Flow’s starter line

As Essentially Geared and Foley Family Wines demonstrate, there was little time between Free Flow’s installation of the new packaging line and the commercialization of products coming off that line. But Free Flow was prepared, having carefully selected the equipment and having conducted a Factory Acceptance Test of the final line in Golden, CO, at the plant of its primary machinery supplier, Codi Manufacturing.

As Perman recounts, Free Flow met Codi at a Craft Brewers Conference, and after doing research and talking to some of Codi’s small manufacturing customers, it determined that Codi offered the technology it wanted in a size that fit their needs. According to Perman, Codi’s CCL-45 counter pressure filler offers a cleaner fill than open-air can filling, which was key for Free Flow.

“The machine actually closes on top of the can and keeps the pressure inside the vessel,” Perman explains. “It also helps us maintain the dissolved CO2 in the product better. Open-style can fillers fill from the bottom up, so if the wine or beer isn’t cold enough, it will start to spit out CO2 and foam.”

Free Flow also wanted a filler that could accommodate different can sizes. Currently it offers 375-mL and 250-mL cans; at some point, it plans to add a 187-mL size. Speed was not as much of an issue for the startup business. “We knew we weren’t going to have a high-capacity line,” Perman says. “The CCL-45 runs 40 to 50 cans per minute.”

Along with the filler, Codi also provided a depalletizer, a stainless-steel twist rinse, and some of the conveyors on the line. Codi’s semi-automated DPL-250 can depalletizer is manually fed with pallet loads of cans by operators and then uses a vacuum-style pick-up assembly in the pick arm to load cans into the twist rinse, and a vacuum assembly to pick slip sheets off the layers and stack them onto a pallet. The twist rinse trackwork, or cage, orients the aluminum cans into position upside down so the insides can be sprayed with ionized air to take the charge out of the cans and blow out any debris.

Another major piece of equipment on the line is an SL-10 shrink-sleeve labeler from Pack Leader USA. Free Flow added the machine to give customers an opportunity to test small runs of canned wines. Notes Perman, the minimums for printed cans are very high—around 110,000 for a 375-mL size and 130,000 for the 250-mL can, he estimates.

Foley Family Wines is one customer using full-body sleeve labels. Says Roach, “As we started looking at decorating, Ball is the company to work with if you’re going to print directly on cans. The issue we had was that their quantities were very high. It would require us to produce more than we wanted to, and we would also have to plan a good solid six months in advance.

“With this brand, it’s more of a just-in-time bottling, so we don’t necessarily know six months from now what we’re going to be doing. When we first put the product in the market, we needed to see how it performed before we could commit to another run.”

On the recommendation of Codi, Free Flow contacted Pack Leader to supply the sleeve labeler and shrink tunnel. Recalls Karl Lavender, Senior Vice President of Pack Leader, Free Flow was looking for a machine that could handle 187-, 250-, and 375-mL can sizes, while being easy to change over. Until that point, Lavender says, Pack Leader had not designed a machine for single-serve cans, so the challenge was to make sure they provided the right mandrel tooling.

The SL-10 can run at speeds over 100 cans/min, labeling packages before or after filling. It’s designed with the ability to be rolled up to a customer’s conveyor, or Pack Leader can provide the conveying equipment. In the case of Free Flow, Pack Leader provided the throughput conveyor to ensure no interruptions and to synchronize the speed of the cans moving through the machine. “If we provide the conveyor, everything is synchronized,” says Lavender. “If we’re cantilevering over onto a customer’s existing conveyor or onto an OEM’s conveyor, you lose the synchronicity of the equipment. So, as you turn up the speed of the machine, everything moves with it.”

While having a sleeve-labeling machine on the line is a great benefit for Free Flow’s customers, Perman says it adds a level of complexity to the process. It requires the packager, the label converter, and the machinery supplier to work in concert to ensure the label fits the machine’s tolerances. “We’re finding what materials work better than others, and we are working through it,” Perman says.

Additional equipment, services

Additional equipment for primary packaging of the cans includes a Markem-Imaje 9450 small-character ink-jet printer, which adds a date code to the bottom of the can right before it enters the filler; a Chart Industries UltraDoser 150S liquid nitrogen doser that adds a dollop of N2 during filling to eliminate oxygen in the headspace; and a lid dropper and seamer from Codi.

For those cans that receive a sleeve label, Free Flow supplies the brite stock cans and pull-tab lids from Ball. For its can, Foley Family Wines provides a full-body PETG label, flexo-printed in seven colors plus varnish, converted by CCL Label. As for secondary packaging, Free Flow can supply generic trays, if required. Essentially Geared uses preprinted cans, which it sources from Orora Packaging in Australia. “Ball is our primary contact, but we went through Orora to procure the 375-milliliter can, because of the lack of domestic production for this size,” explains Hemingway.

While the minimum for direct-print cans versus sleeves was a concern for Essentially Geared, Hemingway says the company wanted to take advantage of the advancements in printing capabilities. “The quality of graphics and overall aesthetic between print and sleeve is night and day,” he says.

Essentially Geared’s cans are printed in four colors, but a new design for a brand extension will fully utilize six-color process printing—“Think rainbow!,” Hemingway says.

Secondary packaging is labor-intensive

The least automated part of the Free Flow line is secondary packaging. For products such as Essentially Geared that use two-count can carriers, these must be manually applied; Free Flow can also apply four-pack can carriers. Tray packing is also manual: Operators first erect the corrugated trays, pack them with product—six four-pack cartons in the case of Foley Family Wines, and 12 two-packs for Essentially Geared—load the trays onto the infeed of a semi-automatic shrink bundler from EDL Packaging, press the start button, and then collect the wrapped trays at the outfeed of the shrink tunnel, placing them onto pallets by hand.

Initially the line did not include a shrink bundler. “We didn’t even know we needed it until everyone started asking us for it,” Perman says. “Luckily I was able to find a piece of equipment very quickly and install it. We didn’t even have the budget for it. So, we kind of learned as we went what people wanted.

“We really didn’t have any expectations for labor. We sort of had an idea of what we were going to need, but I think we underestimated it a little bit. The line is pretty labor-intensive. Some of the cost we have to eat, some we bill back to customers.”

As of late July 2016, Free Flow was conducting an analysis of its labor costs and the advantages of automating the secondary packaging process. Perman says automation could reduce labor on the line by four people “right off the bat.” To keep up with demand for canned wine, Kivelstadt says Free Flow plans to grow its capacity substantially over the next 18 months.

Consumers love convenience

While canned wine is still in its infancy, Free Flow and its customers agree that one of the biggest hurdles—convincing consumers of the quality of wine in a can—has already been mostly overcome. In fact, says Perman, Free Flow has struggled more with educating consumers about the quality of wine on tap.

“We struggled a lot with kegs, and I think we are still struggling more on the keg side than we are with cans,” Perman says. “The can is a fresh, new idea. It’s cool; you can take it to the beach, or camping, or boating. Even for people who say they don’t want to drink wine in a can, once they see the places they can take it, where they can’t bring bottles, they change their tune.”

Foley Family Wine’s Roach agrees: “People like convenience and portability. According to Nielsen, 73 percent of people say that packaging options that are easier to carry are important to them, and 90 percent of regular drinkers who plan to drink over the summer say they will drink wine outdoors.”

As for Essentially Geared, Hemingway says the company’s new product has generated “excitement and intrigue.” He adds, “The appreciation for the wine quality has been gratifying, but watching the consumer connect the dots, and understand they can now bring wine to places where it has been prohibited in the past is really rewarding.

“It’s a new era in wine consumption and purchasing habits, and quite honestly, it’s about time the wine industry displayed some innovation and creativity to engage consumers.”

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From the seed of an idea comes a different kind of co-packer

Sat, 11 Nov 2017 07:08:13 +0000

GreenSeed is based in Batavia, IL, and operates within 120,000 sq ft.
GreenSeed dedicates itself to becoming the premier natural foods co-packer in the market, with a business model, strategy, and culture that focus on purpose-driven growth.

GreenSeed, a successful and rapidly growing contract packager of dry natural foods based in Batavia, IL, is not just a place to pick up a paycheck, says David Gray, President and Chief Growth Officer of the company. It’s also not a place housing packaging equipment with the latest bells and whistles—the machinery is functional and adaptable, and it gets the job done. What sets GreenSeed apart is its business model, strategy, and culture.

“Our number one focus when we began the company was to create an environment that was enjoyable and where we’d feel good about what we were doing at the end of the day, which is supporting a mission of changing the way the world sees food by enabling people to have better food products, and being a piece of that puzzle,” says Gray. “That’s what we were seeking from the very, very beginning.”

Founded in 2009, GreenSeed Contract Packaging, Inc. has grown from a 30,000-sq-ft plant to 120,000 sq ft in just eight years, providing like-minded companies with a range of flexible packaging services. Its plant offers all the vital certifications and quality controls, and has just equipped 60,000 sq ft of manufacturing space to handle products that contain allergens.

But beyond the bricks and mortar, Gray describes the organization as a social giver, a people defender, and an idea liberator. “Those three buckets are going to drive our continuous growth as being unique and different as an organization, and make our culture a place where people grow,” he says.

‘A treasure underneath a rock’

According to Gray, who came from the private equity sector, developing the business plan for GreenSeed was a matter of “finding a treasure underneath a rock.” He says, “Contract packaging definitely wasn’t a business model that was unique, and the barriers to entry were fairly low. If you have the money and you want to jump into the space, the equipment’s out there.”

“It really started me thinking about how we could create something unique,” he adds. On the one hand, they could grow their business with a commodity mentality, through lower costs, but that strategy, given the number of co-packers in the market, didn’t seems like a great opportunity to Gray. The other option was to offer something unique, such as IP, or find an underserved market.

That underserved market, they discovered, was the natural foods industry. “No one had dedicated a packaging company to support that growing segment,” Gray says. “So, our strategy was to become the premier company for natural foods packaging—the most sought-after thought leader in the market.”

GreenSeed coupled this with their observation that packaging was moving from rigid to flexible, led by the Asian market. “We believed that trend was going to eventually meet us in North America, so we invested our capital toward that type of packaging technology,” Gray says.

The first couple of years, Gray admits, were challenging, consisting of finding access to technology, capital, and labor, building a reputation, and developing a pipeline. “But at some point, you cross the tipping point, and then all of a sudden, the floodgates open,” he says. “Then the question becomes how do you manage these opportunities, and then manage them within the existing infrastructure.”

GreenSeed started its operations in a 30,000-sq-ft former co-packing plant. In 2013, the company expanded its facility to 60,000 sq ft, and in 2015, to 120,000 sq ft. Today, GreenSeed has 200 employees, with the new allergen building scheduled to open in January 2018.

Supporting healthy foods in a variety of ways

As mentioned, GreenSeed’s specialty is flexible packaging; it offers pouches, including stand-up reclosable, stick packs, and large-format and single-serve formats. One area experiencing a lot of growth, Gray says, is the single-serve snack market—“healthy snacks for kids, teenagers, and adults in small, portable sizes to support an on-the-go lifestyle.”

Among GreenSeed’s other capabilities are composite-can packaging and secondary packaging, including carton and case packing for retail, club, and e-commerce. On the food processing side, it can provide blending and ingredient sourcing. It can also direct customers to partner suppliers, including those offering packaging materials as well as food manufacturers, at the ideation stage.

The company’s facilities are SQF (Safe Quality Food) Level 3-certified as well as cGMP, organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO-certified, which is critical for its success. “Playing in the space we do today, we would not be in existence if we didn’t have a really strong quality team and programs in place, including the documentation, the training, and the systems to be able to manage these types of projects,” Gray says.

The products packaged by GreenSeed include dried and extruded snacks, freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, ancient grains, such as chia, hemp, flaxseed, and quinoa, fruit snacks, and powders, among others. With its new allergen building, the company will be able to package products in growing categories such as paleo and gluten-free items. These include nuts, seeds, granolas, healthy chips, powders, and baking mixes that contain ingredients such as almond flours or pea protein.

“It’s a really exciting time for us,” says Gray. “Historically, a portion of our business has always been in the baby/toddler space, and we’re managing some pretty large multinational accounts. In that scenario, you just can’t play with allergens. So, over the years, we’ve left a lot of deals on the table because the risk of introducing an allergen into our plant was just not acceptable.”

As for the plant’s packaging equipment, agility is key; being able to move a piece of machinery from one production room to another is vital. Although Gray wishes more automation could be used within the plant, today’s food market isn’t like that, he acknowledges: “It consists of shorter runs. That is the mindset we adopted early on, and we have adapted to it, which I think has allowed us to be successful. We’ve had to develop a very fluid, agile system, and at the same time be able to offer that same quality program with all these changes.”

A purpose-driven environment

Since its beginning, GreenSeed has sought a certain type of customer: a like-minded company that, at the end of the day, through the experience, will enable both businesses to grow personally and professionally. The sweet spot, GreenSeed has found, are middle-market companies focusing on the natural foods market that fall under large Consumer Packaged Goods companies, but are run autonomously from them.

“Natural food companies are unique cultures,” says Gray. “Typically, they are driven by a leader who is passionate about providing something authentic and is passionate about working with a team of people that has bought into that mission.

“What we’ve tried to do from a relationship standpoint is meet them where they’re at by creating an environment that duplicates their own. We’ve tried to be much more purpose-driven in the way we go about our lives, creating a culture where everybody matters.

“We’re striving to have a stronger purpose in this whole value system in manufacturing—not just a transaction, not just a place where you pick up a check. We really believe a 21st century manufacturing company should be a learning institution, and that we should learn and grow together, which once again comes back to the idea of like-minded companies.”

Many of these like-minded companies, he notes, are entrepreneurs who, as new parents, looked at the foods available to their infants and “were appalled.” While these new enterprises may have begun by creating better-for-you foods for babies, they didn’t always stop there. As their children grew, so too did their product lines, as they introduced foods for toddlers and then young children.

“We’ve had a chance to grow with a lot of these business leaders who have a vision that’s better for our society,” says Gray. “It’s really taken off, and once again, it’s been one of the really cool results of us taking this initiative to have a strategy to be a leader in packaging for natural food companies.”

Within its four walls, GreenSeed strives to be a place where employees can be themselves. One group within the organization that Gray says is a catalyst for the idea of being a 21st century learning institution is “The Tribe.” The Tribe is a group of individuals nominated for “their humility, their grittiness, their work ethic, and their ability to be real.” The group, he adds, has driven the company culture from the ground up in terms of defining the company and how it is unique and different.

A seed begets growth

From a financial standpoint, GreenSeed is helping some customers grow even more quickly through its Partnership Platform. Through this program, it is providing capital, packaging, manufacturing, and brand management expertise to optimize the production of its partners.

“We’re definitely trying to meet the market, where more and more food companies are popping up trying to disrupt traditional markets,” Gray says. “As a result, a lot of them are seeking investments, and we thought we could definitely provide that to unique companies.” So far, GreenSeed has partnered with three companies.

Through its business model, strategy, and culture, GreenSeed is differentiating itself as a company committed to purpose-driven growth. Says Gray, “The name GreenSeed stems from the color green, which is the color of growth, and seed, as we know, is about growing something. You plant it, and then if you nurture it, it becomes something special. That seed is our community. That seed is our people. That seed is our clients.”

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Bestcode: Coding security system

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 19:11:55 +0000

Coding security system
The Model 88S Security system is targeted at product traceability, security, counterfeit avoidance, and brand protection applications: ensuring the product in question is truly your product.

Users can print real-time one-dimensional (1D) and two-dimensional (2D) barcodes – Datamatrix, QR Code, and other custom dot codes on demand. Barcodes can be encrypted with company and product specific serialization information.

Invisible ink prints clear and invisible, and can only be seen when fluoresced with UV light. The codes and marks light up a bright blue color. Printing is permanent to a wide range of substrates: drying immediately on metal, glass, plastic, and more. Invisible codes survive high temperatures and remain invisible when exposed to high temperatures, steam processes such as that used for pasteurizations or sterilization processes.

88S systems are simplified to allow anyone to operate, minimizing operator touches, extending time between human interactions.

The Model 88S security system features more than 20 operation and print languages, including all Latin based languages, Chinese, Arabic, Cyrillic, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Greek, etc. Systems utilize the Unicode character set with capabilities to print over 65,000 different characters and symbols.

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Clear plastic can

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 17:33:22 +0000

Co-injection molded plastic can is retorted at 266 deg F.
S&W Fine Foods International, a Del Monte Pacific Ltd Company, has introduced shelf-stable pineapple chunks and pineapple slices in a retorted plastic can that is currently on store shelves in Seoul, South Korea, and Shanghai, China; plans to expand over the coming year are in place.

The can body is co-injection molded of polypropylene and EVOH (for barrier purposes) by Milacron. A steel lid with a ring-pull opening feature is seamed onto the top after filling. This is described as the first commercial application of Milacron’s Klear Can technology. Milacron says the can is BPA-free, recyclable, fully microwavable, stackable, and uses the same industry standard can ends as well as the same filling, seaming, and retorting machinery as traditional metal cans. It’s designed to withstand retort pressures and temperatures up to 266 deg F. Graphics come by way of a full-body film label.

This two-piece format is a distinct departure from the three-piece see-through retortable plastic can from Sonoco that made its debut earlier this year. That can has a PP/tie/EVOH/tie/PP coextruded body that gets cut into individual units before having a steel ring-pull top crimped on by Sonoco. Included at the Sonoco plant is an induction sealing process that tightly bonds end to body; after filling at the customer’s plant, a bottom end is applied in the same fashion, including the induction sealing step.

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Digitization of the factory continues, and automation continues to be a focus, says PMMI Business Intelligence

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 17:26:22 +0000

Digitization of the factory continues and automation continues to be a focus, says PMMI Business Intelligence
A new report, 2017 Evolution of Automation, predicts adoption of real-time data collection, edge computing, and cloud analytics.

“One day the machines on the plant floor will talk to each other, take corrective action to maintain maximum uptime, schedule repairs, and order inventory – automatically and autonomously,” says one industry consultant.

That is the target everyone is shooting for, but how far along the evolutionary curve are packaging and processing OEMs in delivering automated solutions to their end users?

Currently, some machines are connected, but many are not, advancements in the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) will connect M2M (Machine-to-Machine) and machines to people. Edge computing will be used to analyze data on site for improved operations insights and cloud computing will be used for big data analysis across the enterprise.

The trend shows all companies are going towards digitalization and will ramp up in the next five years. Increases will continue into the next decade.

“Most companies still react to maintenance needs now, but in the future, there will be more predictive maintenance utilizing sensors and warnings,” says one Senior Controls Engineer, for an OEM.

One production manager at a small food company says, “Increasing utilization of OEE is a ten year goal; we will get a user interface, achieve CIP, and have remote connectivity in the next five years.” Compute your OEE here.

The 65-page study covers what CPGs want from OEMs, and how CPGs can work better with machinery and materials providers to develop complex systems that are easy to maintain and operate.

Source: 2017 Evolution of Automation, PMMI Business Intelligence. Download here.

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Weintek: Smart communication gateway

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 15:16:32 +0000

Smart communication gateway
The Weintek cMT-G01 Smart Communication Gateway has HMI data processing capabilities to provide the best solution for data transfer and integration in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

This new innovative gateway provides real-time alarm notification and supports over 300 protocols. Unlike other high-cost gateway products with limited connectivity, with an enormous capacity to communicate with more than 300 brands of controllers and support Modbus TCP/IP, MQTT and OPC UA Client / Server, the cMT-G01 gateway enable easy integration of distinct onsite devices and facilitate data transmission to the upstream monitoring or data management systems such as SCADA, ERP, etc.

It is designed to completely integrate multiple devices into one. The cMTG01 is equipped with data acquisition and the same analysis functions of an HMI (like capture-eventlog). It can implement data transfer (like recipe data) between devices, and run macros to perform arithmetical and logical operations. In addition, the cMT-G01 supports scheduler to trigger events at a specified time.

MQTT and OPC UA protocols are built-in features to support TLS/SSL certificate system; designed for transmitting data securely. In addition, EasyAccess 2.0 is also encrypted with TLS/SSL to ensure data integrity and to provide enhanced hacking protection. When connecting to EasyAccess 2.0, the cMT-G01 is also capable of sending instant notifying emails with push-notification function and troubleshooting HMIs/PLCs from a remote location with Pass-Through function. The cMT-G01 gateway plus EasyAccess 2.0 offers a wide range of features and benefits that can greatly improve efficiency, reduce potential loss of productivity and save costs for the organization.

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Ice cream container boasts spoon-in-lid packaging

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 22:32:33 +0000

Froneri’s new ice cream container allows consumers to enjoy ice cream on-the-go.

Nestlé Brasil Ice Cream launched a series of 140-mL single-serve packages in December 2016 with a Peelable IML lid, including a spoon embedded in the lid. Since then, Brazilian consumers have enjoyed the convenience of the ice cream package.

Plastic packaging producer Plasticos Regina, ice cream producer Froneri, and IML label producer Verstraete IML developed and produced the new IML lid.

As a joint venture, Froneri combines the knowledge and expertise of Nestlé and R&R Ice Cream. The Froneri ice-cream division has a staff of 15,000 professionals, is active in 22 countries, and is headquartered in the U.K. Professional knowledge and a passion for producing innovative ice cream are the focus at Froneri. Their ice-cream products range from cones and ice lollies to ice cream in a cup and multi packages for a wide range of popular commercial brands and private labels. This ice cream manufacturer focuses specifically on a variety of target groups with premium, mainstream, and economy packs. In Brazil, you can also enjoy Froneri ice cream from both local and international brands.

Since December 2016, Froneri has been using the Peelable IML lid for its on-the-go ice cream in Brazil.

“We’ve been aware of the advantages of IML for some time, since we use it for other packaging solutions. IML entices consumers with a premium look and feel,” says Henrique Bechara, Packaging Development Nestlé Brasil. “It is also technically possible to integrate a spoon into an IML lid, creating a significant competitive advantage. Consumers can eat their ice cream whenever they want, since they always have a spoon available. This user-friendly spoon-in-the-lid design gives us a real edge on the competition. Besides, individual spoons would unnecessarily complicate the logistics distribution of our ice cream.”

Froneri wanted a lid with an easy-to-remove spoon so that consumers can open their ice cream, remove the spoon from the lid, and enjoy the ice cream directly. Moreover, the spoon remains intact when filling, stacking, and transporting the ice-cream packages. IML spoon-in-lid packaging also eliminates two steps in the regular production process: The label does not need to be adhered afterwards, since it is integrated into the lid, and the spoon is an integral part of the lid. The high IML print quality increases the appeal of the product, which in turn enhances the brand image among consumers, according to the company.

“The greatest challenge in this project was to integrate the perfect spoon into the lid. Verstraete IML sent us a number of test labels,” says Bruno Dedomenici, Associate Industrial Director at Plasticos Regina. “We provided each other with feedback so that together we could arrive at the best functionality, optimal design, and ready-made molds. Nestlé is very pleased with the result. The spoon is extremely easy to remove from inside the lid, and the system is both safe and hygienic. In addition, the spoon is of the perfect size, lightweight, and sturdy. It also stays securely in place when filling, transporting, and stacking our packages.

“We absolutely recommend Verstraete IML as an IML partner. Verstraete IML responds quickly to inquiries, respects deadlines, and communicates clearly. Their high level of engagement and technical support were essential to the success of this project. Thanks to the excellent collaboration between all parties, the new Peelable IML spoon-in-lid packaging could be implemented very quickly.”

The new ice cream single pack has won a Gold Award in the DuPont Awards competition for Packaging Innovation. The jury stated the following reasons for honoring the packaging: “It is a packaging solution designed for the on-the-go consumer. The clever cup is the combination of a suite of technologies, including thin wall thickness, fast cycle-time injection molding, and in-mold labeling for decoration. Demonstrating a strong commitment to responsible packaging, Froneri repurposed 26 percent of the whole lid weight to be formed into the detachable spoon instead of adding another film layer or using additional materials. The ice cream cup showed increased production efficiency, a commitment to responsibility, and a clever use of materials thanks to the IML spoon-in-lid.”

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Sealing machinery proves critical for implant packaging

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 21:42:48 +0000

Establishment Labs seals trays of breast implants.
Patient safety is at the core for Establishment Labs, where packaging equipment and materials are vital to the company’s breast and body shaping implants.

The decision to surgically add or remove a breast implant is a deeply personal one that involves emotional and physical considerations, with safety a paramount factor. Establishment Labs understands that, incorporating patient safety, quality and control in its aesthetic technology product development and innovation.

Based in Costa Rica, Establishment Labs is a global, privately held, medical device and aesthetics company that designs, develops, manufactures, and markets a product portfolio consisting of advanced silicone-filled breast and body shaping implants. Its CE-marked Motiva Implants® employ ultra-high purity medical-grade silicone and are subject to strict quality assurance testing throughout the manufacturing process. The implants are regulated as Class III medical devices.

Downstream packaging machinery and materials serve essential functions, according to Salvador Dada, Establishment Labs’ Chief Operating Officer. In particular, he points to two new NX-T1 medical tray sealing machines from Nelipak Healthcare Packaging.

Establishment Labs began selling implants in late 2010, which are now sold in more than 50 countries worldwide. Dada says, “Our first two families of implants [represented] an improvement [over] current devices in the market. Our third generation is unique, responding to unmet market needs.”

In all, the company produces more than 400 different sizes and shapes of breast and body contour implants. These are sold to hospitals, clinics and plastic surgeons for aesthetic and reconstruction breast enhancement procedures. Dada says, “These are the most innovative and state-of-the-art breast implant in the market. And we have the lowest numbers of complications recorded in the market due to its unique features.”

Specifically, the implants use Puregraft®’s FDA-cleared and CE-Marked technology that provides plastic surgeons with purified fat for reinjection on the sterile field used in hospitals and clinics worldwide. Another feature employed is Divina®, a proprietary 3D imaging technology integrated in consultation and surgical planning to customize implants for aesthetics and reconstruction. All manufacturing facilities are fully compliant with both FDA and ISO applicable standards. (Watch a video of the company’s Motiva Implants® production process.)

Sterile barrier packaging

With 10 manufacturing locations across the U.S., Central America and Europe, Nelipak applies innovative design, development, manufacturing and packaging for implants, which require sterility to remain intact throughout their 5-year validated shelf life. Product must be kept at temperatures between 4°C and 40°C.

“Packaging is critical as it [provides] a sterile barrier and protects the device from harm during its shelf life and maintains its sterility,” says Dada, explaining there are two packaging sizes for 80 different sizes of silicone implants.

Although material specifications are considered proprietary, Dada says the implants are protected within a polycarbonate rigid tray with a zone-coated DuPont Tyvek® lidding, and a product label. Nelipak provides the trays while the Tyvek is sourced through Oliver Healthcare Packaging.

Machine benefits, ROI

Before using the Nelipak NX equipment, Establishment Labs used sealing equipment from a different vendor. In searching for additional equipment, the company evaluated various suppliers, eventually visiting Nelipak’s Cranston, RI facility to “test drive” the NX-T1 tabletop tray and blister heat sealers.

“The main reason for the switch was the technological features the Nelipak equipment provides,” explains Dada. “Specifically, the digital controls, the ability to upload the data into cloud-based systems, the one-piece flow configurability, the zone-seal feature, and the regulations Nelipak adheres to in building its machines.”

Establishment Labs uses two of the machines within a Class VII clean room just prior to sterilizing the implants in their primary package.

Dada notes the Nelipak machines are user-friendly, allow for easy parts changeover and require little maintenance. “Moreover,” he says, “there is good spare part availability. The service is a highlight and the cost is acceptable. To compare it with other technologies, Nelipak makes a great choice.”

And what is the return on investment for the equipment? Dada says, “We were expecting to increase our output significantly to amortize the cost of the equipment compared to the [previous equipment] in the short term. Currently the output is similar, however, in terms of controls, data management, and preventive maintenance features, this equipment is superior to our legacy machine.The company is very satisfied with the technology switch.” He says Establishment Labs continues to focus on improving its output.

Dada states that customers have noticed a difference in the implant packaging since switching to the Nelipak machinery.“The sealing track is less ‘damaged’ and no ‘wrinkles’ are generated in the Tyvek due to the ‘zone-seal’ feature,” he says.

Optimistic future

Looking ahead, Dada says, “As we increase production volumes, more equipment will be required—at least two new machines within the next 10 months.”

The ability to increase future production volume makes sense given the optimistic forecasts for the global implant market. According to a Persistence Market Research report, “Breast Implants Market: Global Industry Analysis and Forecast, 2016-2024,” the breast implant market will reach a value of over $1.48 billion by the end of 2024.

Referring to the Persistence Market Research, noted that implant growth factors include a “greater emphasis on physical appearance,” a “rise in global disposable per capita income of women,” and “a growing prevalence of breast cancer and the availability of an expanded product line with premium pricing leading to greater sales.” Growth restraints cited by the report included an “increased risk of developing serious complications including deflation, capsular contracture, infection, and breast and nipple sensitivity; and high costs of the implant procedure.” The report listed Establishment Labs as one of the “leading market players dominating the global breast implants market.”

With its combination of Nelipak sealing machinery and sterile barrier materials, Establishment Labs is positioned to take advantage of the growing implant market, and maintain its focus on patient safety.

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Consolidated Packaging Group: Flat-bottom, stand-up pouches

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 18:35:06 +0000

This pouch features a flat bottom for stability while the quad-sealed side-gussets provide rigidity, framing the five display panels for maximum shelf impact and brand awareness.

Consolidated Packaging Group (CPG) introduces their new flat-bottom, stand-up pouches, which complement their existing product line. These packages feature a flat bottom for stability while the quad-sealed side-gussets provide rigidity, framing the five display panels for maximum shelf impact and brand awareness.

CPG’s new flat-bottom, stand-up pouches are manufactured in numerous sizes, printed using advanced HD 175-line screen Flexo in up to 10 colors. The pouches’ film structures are designed to satisfy each customer’s oxygen and moisture barrier property requirements. An added feature is the ability to use different films on a single package, such as presenting a metalized, foil or matte finish front panel with a clear material on the side panels to allow consumers to see the product inside the package. Fitted with re-closeable options such as Press-To-Close, Aplix® or Velcro® zippers, the pouches provide enhanced consumer convenience.

“We’re excited about adding flat-bottom pouches to our already broad pouch portfolio. We now offer virtually any style pouch, including traditional stand-up, quad-seal side-gusseted, shaped, fitment and flat pouches, to meet the needs of the marketplace,” says Gary Kaufman, Executive Vice President of Consolidated Packaging Group. “At CPG, we’re known for our wide variety of quality products, customer care and fast delivery at competitive prices. We listen and work closely with our customers, making investments in technology to help them grow and succeed. Adding this new pouch capability helps us with that mission.”

Market applications for the flat-bottom pouch include foods, pet care products, confections, snacks, nutraceuticals, lawn and garden products, consumer products, health and beauty.

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