Category Archives: Industry News

It’s a ‘game-changing’ plastic

A Richmond firm designed a plastic that degrades in landfill within 10 years

Plastic waste is notorious for taking too long to decompose, but a Richmond firm is changing that.

“This is absolutely game-changing for the plastic packaging industry,” said Mark Rose, vice-president of Flexible Packaging, Layfield Group at 11120 Silversmith Place.

The company’s new technology, the BioFlex package, allows its plastic packaging to degrade in 10 years, according to Rose, while regular plastic takes hundreds of years to degrade.

The package with BioFlex technology looks like an ordinary Ziploc bag. It can be used for packaging products such as coffee, peanuts or potato chips. Photo by Daisy Xiong/Richmond News

The package looks like an ordinary Ziploc bag. It has a closure strip and patterns on the cover, and comes in different sizes and colours. It can be used for packaging products such as coffee, peanuts or potato chips.

“The closure strip is degradable within 10 years, too,” said Rose.

He said many companies have agreed to converting their packaging to BioFlex, and the company is expanding to meet demand. Since its launch three months ago, the company has hired 25 new employees and is going to hire another 25, said Rose.

“My goal is, within 10 years, that all packaging will be BioFlex.

“People will feel good about using our packages because they know it will be degraded within our generation,” said Rose.

Rose added that the gas created from degrading 1,000 pound of these bags can power an electric car for a family for a year.

Rose’s father created the plastic company 40 years ago, when plastics production expended exlosively worldwide.

“It is interesting that when my father first started the business, everyone thought plastic was a great thing, and now people think it’s bad,” said Rose, who has worked for the family business for nine years.

But he believes plastic packaging has its own advantages and there is a way to make plastic environmentally friendly, despite plastic and the environment often conflicting with each other.

“Many people think containers such as glasses, metals and hard plastics are environmentally friendly because they can be recycled.

“But if you look at their environmental footprint, you will find that they take up so much land, while plastics are much more efficient – 50 coffee bags only weigh a pound.

However, most plastics go straight to the landfill and take up to 1,000 years to be turned into compost.

Rose and his team have looked at substitutes for traditional plastics, including corn and sugar polymers and recyclable barrier plastics.

But those options are either not resilient enough, too expensive or leave too large of a footprint on the environment.

“The sugar-based option looked good, but they were basically from sugar canes grown in the Amazon area. People are cutting down the Amazon, burning the field to grow the sugar cane, and then harvesting the sugar,” said Rose.

In the end, Rose and his team experimented with new materials and came up with BioFlex, which, according to Rose, is resilient, affordable and degrades in landfills faster.

“For each bag of food sold for 20-30 dollars, it only costs 20 or 30 cents extra to shift to our packaging. But you are making a contribution to our environment,” said Rose.

“And our packages are easy for companies to switch to from their previous packages. They don’t need to change their production lines.”

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Original Author: Daisy Xiong

Original Date: Nov 102017

Strong Growth for Stand-up Pouches

5 Packaging Design Must-Dos For Mass Consumer Appeal

According to Walmart’s corporate website, Wal-Mart Discount Stores offer 120,000 items and their Wal-Mart Super Centers offer approximately 142,000 different items in-store. That creates a very competitive environment in terms of shelf-space, and attracting consumer attention.

Package design is one way to draw eyeballs to your brand, leading consumers to select your item over the countless other options. Your branding, and packaging design specifically, can either make you or break you in a retail environment. To avoid collecting dust on the shelf, here are five must-dos when creating a package design that appeals to the masses.

1. Portray Products in an Honest Manner

A brand is going to want to portray its product in the best possible light, which is completely understandable, but it’s important that you show them in an honest manner. “If you enhance images or show products in a drastically different light, all you are doing is deceiving the consumer,” says Russell Nicolet, attorney at Nicolet Law. “This leads to disappointment, poor brand image and ultimately, horrible sales.”

It’s possible to present a product in a positive way without completely misleading the consumer and outright lying. It’s something that has undoubtedly happened to all of us before — that feeling when you open a box and think to yourself that the product looks nothing like the box. Consumers are a very intelligent, and if they sense any deception in your packaging they will look for an alternative option.

2. Be Practical

A great logo, wrap, label and graphics are all great, but if the actual packaging of a product isn’t practical you aren’t going to win over consumers. The actual packaging — box or container — needs to be the right shape and size.

When a product’s packaging is functional, it will sell better due to an improved customer experience. A brilliant example of practical packaging is Apple. The way their packaging opens and how the products are laid out inside is something that really connects with the consumer.

It’s important to focus on practicality first, as this will often lead to a product that is not only more appealing to the consumer, but also one that displays better for the retailer. Leading with this thought process will eliminate other package design obstacles.

3. Have Clarity

Your packaging must clearly answer two questions, within seconds of the consumer glancing at it — what is the brand behind the product and what is the product for, and more importantly, what problem does it solve.

“While there can be a bit of mystery for some product categories, being unable to identify a product in terms of brand identity is a practice that will result in poor performance,” explains Dr. Steven Shapiro, creator of Shapiro MD, a patented hair loss shampoo and conditioner company whose products are purposely minimalistically-packaged.

Be clear about your product and brand, as it affects buying decisions. Aside from looking good, your packaging must explain what’s inside. A clever and beautiful design won’t convert unless the consumer is clear as to what’s found in the box.

4. Radiate Shelf Appeal

Your product is never going to be seen by itself and a consumer is never going to see 100% of your packaging’s detail. Not all shelves position products at optimal vantage points and there is competition surrounding you — 141,999 competitors if your product is located in a Wal-Mart Super Center.

Packaging that is distinctive will sell better, and if your packages create a noticeable pattern when stacked together, it will attract additional attention. There is no secret formula for success when it comes to shelf appeal. You will need to test several concepts and designs until you physically see how you stack up surrounded by competing products.

5. Be Authentic

Being authentic is the most effective way to secure consumers’ attention that every single brand is competing for. In any category, there are hundreds of brands all after the same consumer.

While there isn’t a how-to guide on being authentic, you can do everything within your power to ensure that you don’t have boring or generic looking packaging. Think outside the box, and if you are in a stale industry, be innovative when it comes to creativity and make a packaging change that makes your brand impossible to ignore. Layouts, images, colors, fonts, etc. — these can all be changed to make you stand out.

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McCormick’s recipe for packaging that’s more sustainable

Mike Okoroafor, vp, global sustainability & packaging innovation, discusses the key ingredients of McCormick & Company’s sustainable packaging projects.

Spice and food flavoring giant McCormick & Company, Hunt Valley, MD, announced new 2025 corporate goals that align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and focus on reducing the company’s global environmental impact. These objectives include the company’s commitment to create packaging innovations that reduce packaging weight and overall carbon footprint, among other important environment goals such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water reduction.

In developing an integrated approach to meeting these commitments through its 4R framework of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Renew, the company reported progress that includes:

  • Redesigning its iconic OLD BAY and Black Pepper cans with a fully recyclable PET container, which equated to a 16% reduction in associated carbon emissions;
  • 10% reduction in material for all European glass jars, resulting in reduced weight and associated carbon emissions from production and transport;
  • Achieving 43% carbon footprint reduction by improving logistics and using fewer trucks for transport at its location in Hunt Valley, MD.

Packaging Digest connected with Mike Okoroafor, the company’s vp, global sustainability & packaging innovation, to discuss further details about McCormick’s sustainable packaging efforts.

How crucial is packaging’s role in the company’s overall sustainability initiatives?

Okoroafor: Packaging is a key priority for McCormick. It plays a crucial role in helping us prevent food waste, guaranteeing our high-quality standards and informing our consumers. It also helps us curb our resource and carbon footprint and contributes to other important objectives on our sustainability agenda, such as the elimination of BPA (bisphenol-A) from all of our packaging by the end of 2018.

 What’s the timing of the aforementioned projects?


  • Redesigning our iconic OLD BAY and Black Pepper cans with a fully recyclable PET container, which equated to a 16% reduction in associated carbon emissions, has new cans scheduled to be released in 2018;
  • Completed in 2017 is a 10% reduction in material for all European glass jars, resulting in reduced weight and associated carbon emissions from production and transport;
  • Also completing this year is a 43% carbon footprint reduction by improving logistics and using fewer trucks for transport at our location in Haddenham, England.

Which of these was the most complex or challenging project?

Okoroafor: The new PET container for Black Pepper and Old Bay was the most challenging project.  It involved not only a completely new package design for the container and the closure, but also a new production line in our manufacturing facility along with a new manufacturing line for the containers at our container supplier.

How do you prioritize McCormick’s packaging initiatives?

Okoroafor: Sustainable packaging design criteria are a part of our overall package design process. Our packaging designers and engineers are always on the lookout for ways to capture more environmental benefits. We prioritize packaging initiatives based upon those where we feel that we can make the greatest impact.

What options are there to addressing Reuse and Renew initiatives?

Okoroafor: The investigation into the use of renewable packaging materials for our packaging is an ongoing process where we are continuously exploring the possible use and application of these materials in our primary and secondary packages.

Is there any venue or incentives for managers or employees to offer ideas?

Okoroafor: Our new product/packaging projects are conducted using a highly collaborative, team-based approach that affords maximum opportunity for input and discussion.

Can the company point to any partnerships related to these programs?

Okoroafor: We partnered with key packaging component suppliers and packaging machinery manufacturers in the development of our PET container for Old Bay and Black Pepper.

 Does McCormick message these improvements to consumers?

Okoroafor: McCormick messages its Purpose-led Performance efforts, including its packaging improvements, via its consumer web site:

What’s been your biggest lesson learned in sustainable packaging?

Okoroafor: There is a common belief that sustainable packaging is more costly, but this is not always the case. One important and significant learning from our sustainable packaging initiatives is that sustainable packaging often provides the best financial choice.

Have all the packaging projects represented cost savings as well?

Okoroafor: Yes, reducing raw materials and packaging waste has resulted in more than $2 million in savings in our location in Hunt Valley, MD, alone.

 What’s next over the short term? And then what?

Okoroafor: In our 2017 Purpose-Led Performance Report we laid out a series of 2025 goals, which includes a 25% reduction in carbon footprint from packaging. We will achieve this by…

  • Continued focused on reducing the quantity of packaging used in our products.
  • Increasing the use of recycled content in our packaging.
  • Partnering with our suppliers on sustainability initiatives.
  • Leveraging our supply chain to reduce the impact of transportation in the sourcing of our packaging.

 Final thoughts?

Okoroafor: We consider our sustainability program for packaging to be more of a journey than a destination.  Through this program, we are seeking to make a meaningful and measurable impact on our environment and to do what is best for the company, our consumers and our communities.

Original Source:

Original Author: Rick Lingle

Original Date: Oct 30 2017

Green Giant creates new twist on microwavable packaging

Brand owner B&G Foods and vendor Sonoco expound on the breakthrough packaging for Green Giant Veggie Spirals, an all-in-one PrimaPak bowl/bag/carton/tray packaged on f/f/s machinery.

As a new kind of food product in a new kind of packaging, Green Giant Veggie Spirals from B&G Foods, Inc., Parsippany, NJ, takes a big stride in packaged convenience.

The frozen foods are made of 100% vegetables without sauces or seasonings, and each variety is gluten-free, Paleo-friendly, low calorie and offers from 65-90% fewer carbohydrates than traditional pasta. The products will be available in zucchini, carrots and butternut squash varieties when introduced in early 2018.

Notably, the Spirals are packed in a first-of-a-kind microwavable PrimaPak that’s a custom twist on the patented PrimaPak packaging that just debuted earlier this year for Perfetti Mentos flavored mints. However, the 12-oz package requirements for this application, the first for a frozen food, were far more challenging.

The versatile PrimaPak technology, produced by a joint venture that included Sonoco Flexible Packaging, is a kind of all-in-one, semi-rigid rectangular packaging that acts as a bowl while replacing a bag and or a carton traditionally used for microwavable packaging found across different products and categories in the frozen foods aisle. It is a convenient-for-consumers heat-and-serve format that does not require additional dishes and is resealable. The PrimaPak is produced on modified form/fill/seal machinery.

Jordan Greenberg, vp of Green Giant, and Roman Forowycz, CMO of supplier Sonoco Elk Grove (formerly Clear Lam Packaging, Inc.), part of Sonoco Flexible Packaging, provide answers to Packaging Digest’s questions about the innovative packaging.

Tell us about PrimaPak packaging.

Greenberg: The proprietary PrimaPak packaging is designed to replace older forms of packaging such as bag-in-box, stand-up pouches, pillow bags, chipboard cartons or rigid trays. The patented technology produces a rectangular, flexible, stackable package that provides six crisp panels for maximum graphics coverage. As a leader in the frozen vegetable category, the Green Giant brand selected PrimaPak for our Green Giant Veggie Spirals because of its ground-breaking and patented next generation hybrid form. We believe the single-serve consumer meal innovation provided by the PrimaPak packaging will enhance the Green Giant brand’s leadership position in the frozen category.

 What are the key benefits of this format?

Greenberg: PrimaPak packaging is stackable and enhances cube efficiency throughout the supply chain allowing for more packages on a truck, in a warehouse and on the store shelf.

PrimaPak packaging is flexible as it is made from a single roll of flexible film that is a suitable lightweight replacement for preformed cans, bottles, jars and trays.

It’s convenient and can be used as a single-use bowl or a multi-serving dish with an intuitive peel/reseal opening allowing for easy ingredient blending and quick microwave heating.

What are the advantages of having a flexible package that stands upright?

Greenberg: The PrimaPak is designed to stand up on end, providing a perfect and consistent facing every time.  Retailers appreciate the enhanced merchandising capabilities of PrimaPak packaging over bags and pouches that typically fall down and look messy on store shelves.

What’s notable about the Green Giant PrimaPak from your view?

Forowycz: It’s a first-of-its-kind, cubed package designed for steam cooking in the microwave. As such, the Green Giant PrimaPak was a completely custom design developed to handle veggie spirals or noodles and to merchandise much more effectively in retail cases while providing a consumer-friendly opening and reclosing option. Formed as a rectangular to allow it to be more space efficient, the unique shape also allows it to act as a serving dish. Consumers can open and remove the label providing full view of the product and enjoy the benefit of “selectability.”


What’s the film structure?

Forowycz: PrimaPak film structures vary depending on the product being packaged (other examples shown below). Some require higher oxygen barrier, and in those cases ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) may be included. Others may require higher moisture barrier. The Green Giant film structure is a multilayer lamination that also includes a reclosable front panel.

Tells us about the peel-and-reseal, easy opening front panel.

Greenberg: The peel/reseal front panel label functions with an easy-open pull tab that incorporates a tamper-evident feature.  When opened, consumers gain a full view of the product, get easy access to spirals, can add additional ingredients, reseal the label and microwave cook in minutes. The PrimaPak containers for our Green Giant Veggie Spirals have incorporated steam venting on the top panel that is clearly marked for safety reasons.

 Please explain the statement that this packaging “uses less plastic compared to traditional trays.” 

Greenberg: PrimaPak containers for our Green Giant Veggie Spirals are made from a single roll of flexible film that are formed on a specially outfitted vertical form/fill/seal packing machine. They serve as a suitable lightweight replacement for preformed cans, bottles, jars and trays, with weight savings of 20%-65%.

Is PrimaPak referenced on the package?

Greenberg: Yes, consumers are referred to a Sonoco Elk Grove website link for information about the PrimaPak.


How did B&G Foods hear about PrimaPak?

Greenberg: B&G Foods’ co-manufacturing partner, Growers Express, presented the PrimaPak packaging to B&G Foods during the development of Green Giant Veggie Spirals.  Nearly six months’ development and negotiations between Growers Express and Clear Lam Packaging led to this packaging format that’s exclusive to frozen cut vegetables in North America.

Please tell us more about Grower Express’s f/f/s machine.

Forowycz: The PrimaPak equipment is made by licensed vertical f/f/s machine manufacturer Ilapak with a cubing interface from Sonoco Elk Grove.

What was the biggest packaging-related challenge? 

Greenberg: That was the technical development of complimentary materials and adhesives that would survive a cold and wet packing environment which led directly into a spiral freezer, a sub-zero cold chain that was ultimately microwave cooked reaching content ingredient temperatures that could exceed 165°F.

Forowycz: The microwave temperature range was definitely a challenge. Other challenges included the need for the packaging to fold and seal effectively while keeping its shape to enhance merchandising.

Original Source:

Original Author: Rick Lingle

Original Date: Oct 17 2017

Fashion, fun, and entertainment inspire granola bite graphics

Breaking the mold for what better-for-you, nutritious snack packaging should look like, Nourish Snacks has redesigned the graphics for its flexible stand-up pouch packaging with a festival of colors and patterns that convey the snack’s playful and delicious position. Nourish founder, Joy Bauer, is a registered dietitian, a health expert on NBC’s Today show, and a New York Times best-selling author. Says Libby Inchalik, Brand Manager for Nourish, “Keeping in mind that a strong voice travels far, our expectations for our new design were to bring Joy’s personality, as well as the personality of the brand, to life.”

Nourish was founded in 2014 with the belief that snacks should be both delicious and good for you—an idea the company calls “nourishing indulgence.” The original packaging for its granola bite snacks, however, failed to convey that message. “In a word, our old packaging was conventional,” says Inchalik. “Let’s be honest, the better-for-you snack aisle is cluttered with snacks that focus on trends and food certifications du jour. Nourish Snacks has something new to say, and we wanted our packaging to reflect that. Our story is all about the nutrient-rich ingredients we use and their benefit to your body.”

Working with design firm Collins in summer 2017, Nourish sought inspiration though a category audit, interviews with experts in the food space, consumer ethnographies, in-store shopalongs, and in-home interviews. What it learned was that people are actively seeking healthier food options, but they hate having to sacrifice taste in order to do so. Nourish felt it could meet this unmet need, and its packaging was an integral part of conveying that to consumers.

The new design is arresting, standing out from the competition on shelf. It consists of bold colors that Inchalik says were inspired by the purposeful ingredients used in the granola bites. The patterns—circles against diagonal stripes—are drawn from fashion, venues of fun and entertainment, and food itself. With registered dietician Joy Bauer developing all of the snacks, the circular logo is meant to be reminiscent of a seal of approval. The Nourish name is also presented with each letter—in lower case—held in a different circle. Other circles hold product variety names and product information.

“Even our approach to front-of-pack product photography is fresh,” says Inchalik. “In the age of air-brushed magazine covers, consumers are calling the bluff on unrealistic food photography. While we do show a granola bar on the front, we allow the colors and patterns to cue taste appeal, then let the back of our pack tell our nutrition story. The contrast in the front-of-pack and back-of-pack designs helps us convey both our indulgent and nourishing values—a true nourishing indulgence.”

The 1- and 4-oz gusseted, low-density polyethylene bags hold five varieties of granola bites. The pouches are flexo-printed in eight colors plus a matte varnish by CL&D, which Inchalik says created a unique touch plate that allows the colors to be printed right up to the edge of the package, for a “virtually seamless canvas.”

The new packaging was rolled out in May 2017, and Inchalik says consumers love it. “We’ve received countless compliments for breaking the mold, and people love that our packaging is truly standout—nothing at all like what’s currently in the grocery aisles,” she says. “It sparks smiles and conversation. It’s something people can see living with at home, in their bags, in their cars—an accessory to their everyday lives.”

Nourish Snacks’ are sold in Target, Wegmans, Safeway, and Stop & Shop, in hundreds of travel, business, industry, and education foodservice accounts, and on Amazon.

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Original Date: Oct 23 2017

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A Look at Commercial Printers Entering Packaging Markets

There are many factors that commercial printers should consider when adding package printing into their mix of offerings. An industry expert and commercial printers share what they have learned along the way.

As package printers are well aware, the packaging segment of the printing industry is one of consistent growth. Meanwhile, many commercial printers that have either found their growth at a plateau, or even on a decline, have caught onto this trend and are looking into adding packaging services to their repertoires.

Shown is part of the digital print area within OTC Group’s facility.

According to Kevin Karstedt, CEO of Karstedt Partners, the folding carton market is a good place to start for commercial printers because it relies mostly on sheetfed offset printing. But before a printer can go ahead and start printing packaging jobs on an offset press, Karstedt says it’s important for them to assess whether their current equipment is up to the challenge.

“If a commercial printer only has a four-color press, they’re going to be challenged for producing packaging, unless they can produce work that is CMYK oriented, and there are no special or corporate colors,” Karstedt says. “Some older sheetfed presses also don’t handle paperboard very well, so they’re not going to be able to produce folding cartons.”

Karstedt adds that commercial printers should determine if their diecutting equipment can be used for folding cartons, and if they have the prepress capabilities in-house to be able to do prepress for packaging. “If printers don’t have these capabilities, they should look to outsource that work to local companies and establish a relationship,” Karstedt explains. “Work like diecutting, folding and gluing, embossing and foil stamping, if not completed in-house, can be outsourced.”

As part of his consulting work, Karstedt says he holds “voice of the customer” meetings, in which he talks to commercial printers interested in packaging to learn first hand about their interest in the label or folding carton markets.

He explains that the two main drivers for commercial printers to seek out opportunities in packaging are that it can provide an additional source of revenue and, if they already serve small or boutique brands, it can serve as an opportunity to enter the market. If a printer is doing commercial work for a client in need of packaging, adding these capabilities can help them bring that work in-house.

“Commercial printers are looking for ways to strengthen their product offerings and their bottom lines; packaging may be a way to do that,” he explains. “Another reason to consider packaging is the growth in small business, such as the recent surge of microbreweries and small wineries.”

Short-Run Packaging Specialist

One example of a commercial printer that has added a substantial portion of packaging to its mix of services is The OTC Group, headquartered in London, Ontario. According to Adam Egan, VP of high-performance packaging, entering the packaging segment seemed like the next logical move to help fill in work on its press during the slower periods. Today, short-run packaging accounts for about 30% of the print jobs that the company produces.

Kevin Karstedt, CEO of Karstedt Partners, shares what commercial printers should consider right away when deciding to branch out into the package printing market.

Click to enlarge)

The OTC Group outputs highly serialized and highly variable packaging for the pharmaceutical industry, and produces both consumer packaged goods and food products. In addition, the company prints labels for a number of markets, including small wineries and pharmaceutical companies.

Additionally, with its short-run capabilities, Egan says The OTC Group has partnered with traditional folding carton print shops that are not as well-positioned for short runs. “We’ve worked a lot with other folding carton manufacturers producing short-run orders for them,” he says. “By developing these relationships, we were able to take on a lot of their short-run work that was costing them money to produce.”

The vast majority of the packaging work The OTC Group produces is printed on its five Xerox iGen digital presses and Egan says the company plans to add more printing capacity. Additionally, the company has two coating machines, three gluers and two diecutters.

When entering the packaging market from the commercial world, The OTC Group did encounter some challenges, ranging from substrate issues to catching print errors. “You’re not printing on paper anymore; you’re printing on box board,” he says. “So there’s the whole finishing element, which is different. I wouldn’t say it’s harder, but it’s different than [traditional] bindery services. Mistakes can also be costly. If there’s an error in running a job, and it makes its way through the plant, it will cost a lot more than what would have happened in the same sort of scenario in the commercial printing world.”

Exploring New Market Opportunities

Color Ink, a Sussex, Wis.-based commercial printer, along with FunDeco, its consumer products division, added packaging capabilities after seeking out new ways to utilize its existing equipment and enter new markets with minimal investment.

When first considering the package printing market, Todd Meissner, president of Color Ink, says the company needed to learn what was needed to design a package and the infrastructure that would be required to accomplish that.

“We asked ourselves how we could design a folding carton from a structural standpoint to get the best yield on paper,” he recalls. “And how we could automate every part of the process — to be able to print efficiently, diecut and then scrap, fold and glue that carton efficiently. We also needed to invest in training our people in the structural and graphic aspect of package design.”

Color Ink and FunDeco now produce litho labels, direct-to-corrugated, clamshell inserts and sample runs of prototype folding cartons. It utilizes both offset and digital printing presses, running longer-run jobs on its six-color, 40˝ Komori Lithrone press configured with UV printing and coating capabilities. Shorter runs are produced on a Fujifilm J Press 720S cut-sheet inkjet press, along with a five-color Ryobi 755 press with UV coater.

“We’re seeing that digital printing processes are really being used much more than they were before, at least with our customers,” Meissner says. “For short-run cartons, it’s very cost-effective to be able to print digitally, so we’re printing a lot of packaging digitally.”

Acquiring Expertise Proved Challenging

While many commercial printers have actively sought out opportunities in packaging, Asheville, N.C.-based BP Solutions Group entered the packaging space in 2005 at the request of one of its commercial customers. Packaging now comprises 35% of its product mix, and VP Scott Cotten expects to see that number increase.

This package was made using 15 mil clear PETG and 18-pt. C1S SBS, printed digitally on an Inca Onset Q40i wide-format press. Image courtesy of Color Ink.

This package was made using 15 mil clear PETG and 18-pt. C1S SBS, printed digitally on an Inca Onset Q40i wide-format press. Image courtesy of Color Ink.

Cotten reveals that one of the biggest challenges the company faced initally was finding packaging expertise to bring in-house. Coming from the commercial world, BP Solutions Group did not anticipate the additional knowledge required to produce packaging.

“The cost of the equipment was the first thing we considered when looking for equipment but, looking back, the first thing we should have considered was the knowledge and experience needed to produce the packaging,” he recalls. “There’s an awful lot of knowledge and experience that goes into diecutting and folding and gluing that is not immediately apparent to a commercial printer when you’re getting into the business.”

At first, heid was using a standard commercial press for packaging but, as it took on additional packaging work, the company found that the press was prone to marking when printing heavy-weight board stocks. So the company installed a Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 74 press that’s designed to run heavy-weight paper board. A Xerox iGen 4 digital press is used to create prototypes.

Cotten advises that when first entering the packaging market, try to network with companies that are already experienced in the space. As long as they’re not competing directly, many package printers will be happy to spread their knowledge to the commercial world.

“The easiest way I’ve found to do that the past couple years is to attend the annual Digital Packaging Summit in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.,” Cotten says. “I’ve made friends with several printers from across the U.S. who would never compete with us. They’ve even asked if I would like to visit their facilities to learn how they handle package printing production.”

Written By: Julie Greenbaum

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New, High Performance Binder for Lamination Inks

The flexible packaging industry is growing in complexity: as the variety of substrates widens and they become increasingly sophisticated, printing inks need to meet numerous, ever more demanding requirements. Inks for laminations have to withstand the lamination process and deliver the bond strength necessary for the respective application. They must also allow high speed printing and ensure excellent graphic quality.

Binders are a crucial component of lamination printing inks. HI-THANE™ A-890K from SONGWON is an aliphatic, solvent based polyurethane ink binder for use in the manufacture of gravure printing inks for a variety of laminates.

This new binder is distinguished by its exceptionally high lamination bonding strength on various plastic films, especially PET, nylon and OPP. Its outstanding heat resistance makes it suitable for use in both retortable and non-retortable flexible packaging laminates. With its very high re-solubility, HI-THANE™ A-890K counteracts scale formation in gravure printing cells, improving print quality and reducing machine maintenance. Thanks to its low viscosity, this versatile binder helps to boost the color strength of inks, promoting top quality printing results.

HI-THANE™ A-890K is suitable for use in pigment grinding to help achieve the required rheological properties and the smaller particle sizes that increase the color strength of prints. It can be used on its own or together with other binders, such as vinyl chloride vinyl acetate and polyvinyl butyral copolymers.

SONGWON will be giving a technical paper at the NPIRI Fall Technical Conference 2017, the venue for technical training, information exchange and professional networking in the graphic arts disciplines. The Conference takes place from October 10-12 at the Hilton Chicago Oak Brook Hills Resort and Conference Center.

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Original Date: October 9 2017


Uflex Develops Flexible Packaging Material with Antimicrobial Properties

After a rigorous application-oriented R&D of almost two years Uflex has developed flexible packaging material with anti-microbial properties. The special properties of the FDA approved packaging material keep the pouch active by scavenging microbial growth thereby enhancing the shelf life of the cooked food packed inside. 

Talking about the new flexible packaging material with anti-microbial properties, Mr. Jeevaraj Pillai, Joint President, Packaging and New Product Development, Uflex Limited said, “In this flexible packaging material the sealant layer is specially compounded with anti-microbial properties.  In fact this is Active Antimicrobial Packaging and is used to actively modify the internal environment by continuous interaction with the food over the stipulated shelf-life. Active packaging can be defined as a system that modifies the environment inside the food package thereby altering the state of the packaged food system and its headspace to enhance its quality by extension of shelf-life, enhancement of sensory qualities, and maintenance of microbial safety.

In a trial that we recently conducted at room temperature (without refrigeration or any temperature control), the sandwich packed in normal pouch was spoiled after 3-4 days as opposed to the one that was packed in the new flexible packaging material that could keep it protected from microbial growth for almost 8-9 days. Bread has active yeast therefore the real challenge for the packaging was to curb the yeast from outgrowing. In fact the most effective or let’s say the litmus test of this anti-microbial pouch is for bread because of its active yeast which in ripe temperature goes foul in about 48 hours if kept un-protected.”

Mr. Pillai further explained, “The pouch remains dormant till it is empty and swings into action only when it comes in contact with food. We also conducted trials on stuffed Indian bread (known as Paranthas) and the results have been very encouraging. In a tropical weather like we have in India this packaging solution can be very helpful in stopping the growth of fungi and other microbes that spoil food. Trials for other varieties of perishable food products like those with high fat content and for meat and poultry products are on at the moment. We are very hopeful that the results will be equally stellar. In fact using this technology the content of preservatives used by processed food industry can actually be reduced. That is quite a feat in its own right.”

Explaining further about the utility of this packaging, Mr. Pillai said, “Uncooked rice as you would know is susceptible to infestation by weaver mites. The specially compounded sealant layer with anti-microbial properties can also be used to extend the shelf life of uncooked rice in the retail big bags. We are studying the extent of benefit in terms of shelf life extension to this effect. Further this specialized sealant layer if incorporated in a Zip-Pouch can actually redefine its sales trajectory. While an ordinary two ply Zip-Pouch only protects the food items from the environment to keep the aroma intact or let’s say protect it from dust etc. This product will actually work one step ahead and prevent the food from decay over a defined period of time thereby extending its shelf life even at room temperature without any refrigeration/ cold chain for that matter.”

Talking about the latest development, Mr. Anup Kansal, President, Packaging Business Uflex said, “This new innovation from Uflex sits well with our existing range of Zip – Pouch Brand. This product is a great value to our consumers by securing their food at room temperature over extended periods. It is a boon to people who want to stick to home food while on their daily commute or travelling away from home.”

Original Source:

Original Date: September 14 2017


Beech-Nut completes redesign of infant cereal canisters

Beech-Nut infant cereal has undergone a packaging transformation driven by consumer needs. Gone is the paperboard carton wielded by moms and dads for generations, and in its place is a sleek co-extrusion blow molded newcomer whose two key benefits are listed prominently on the front of its full-body shrink sleeve label: easy-pour spout & measuring cap.

“Parents are very focused on measuring the amount they’re giving their baby, and that was a package feature not found in the category,” says Andy Dahlen, Vice President of Marketing at Beech-Nut. “So we set out to create a package that would provide that first-in-category benefit.” Also designed into the threaded injection-molded polypropylene closure is a spout that makes it easier to control product flow during dispensing. Dahlen sums up the relaunch this way: “Measurability, pourability, and portability—those were the drivers.”

First shipments of the new container, which holds the same 8 oz. as its paperboard predecessor, started reaching stores in February, and now the container is available nationwide. Secondary packaging, done on three pieces of equipment supplied by Delkor, is notable, too. But we begin with the primary pack.

The container itself, coextrusion blow molded by Silgan Plastics, weighs 43 g. A layer of EVOH serves as oxygen barrier, as some of the products can have their shelf life shortened if residual oxygen levels are not kept low. The other components of the package are

• an induction-sealed foil closure supplied by Constantia

• a threaded closure with dispensing feature injection molded of polypropylene by Mold-Rite Plastics

• an injection-molded PP snap-fit overcap that goes over the threaded closure and doubles as a measuring cup, supplied by Silgan

• a full-body shrink-sleeve label supplied by Hammer Packaging

When asked about the relative cost of the new package, Dahlen says it costs more than the previous package. He adds that the consumer pays a slight premium, too, “though relative to the competition we’re nearly at parity.”

All new packaging equipment
Predictably enough, a whole new packaging line was required for the new package, and it’s an impressive assembly of equipment to say the least. It begins with a Busse depalletizer from Arrowhead Systems that feeds containers into the Morrison infeed timing screw of a Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery continuous-motion auger filler. This machine has 18 pockets on its turret, and each container occupies one of these pockets. So as the turret rotates, the containers pass beneath two dispensing spouts fed by multiple augers. The rotational speed of the turret combined with the RPM of the auger delivers the requisite 8 oz. of product into each container. The filler is rated to run at 100/min.

According to Spee-Dee Vice President of Sales and Marketing Timm Johnson, because the cereal itself is quite fragile, some of the tooling had to be modified so that the product could be handled more gently. Another piece of customization involved the vibration used to settle products whose densities are quite dissimilar.

“A typical rice cereal has a density considerably lighter than an oatmeal-based cereal,” says Johnson. “So the design of the machine permits the operator at the control panel to pick from a menu of different vibration set points depending on the product. In addition, there’s even some variation within a single product being run. So we included one of our checkweighers at the discharge of the filler that provides continuous feedback to the filler. This lets us automatically vary the RPM of the auger—and consequently the amount of product being discharged with each cycle—based on that feedback.” Facilitating all of this machine-to-machine communication is the fact that the Spee-Dee checkweigher is controlled by the same Rockwell PLC that controls the Spee-Dee servo-driven auger filler.

Chris Darling, Director of Engineering at Beech-Nut, adds that ease of cleaning was another driver in making the Spee-Dee filler such a good fit in the new line. “The other big thing that we were after was that we had an extremely aggressive timeline as the new container was developed,” says Darling. “So when it came to picking a filling machinery supplier, we wanted partners with experience handling similar products. Spee-Dee was not only a good partner for us but had many partnership relationships with the other machinery suppliers whose components are integrated with the actual filler itself, which helped streamline the process.”

There are three important pieces of equipment integrated with the filler. One is the Fords aluminum closure press. This machine punches skirted foil closures from roll-fed aluminum and sends them through a chute that leads to the discharge starwheel of the Spee-Dee filler. So as each filled container exits the filler, it receives a skirted foil closure.

The other equipment integrated with the filler is the R.A. Jones MAP Systems gas flushing system. Just before containers enter the filler, a MAP Systems overhead gas rail nitrogen flushing system drives out ambient air. This overhead gas flushing continues as containers move through the filler and then through a Fords Linear Belt Sealer. This machine uses a top belt to apply pressure on the foil cap as it passes an induction field, securing the foil cap to the container. The induction field is generated by an Enercon induction unit that is fully integrated into and controlled by the Fords machine.

Ink jet and capping
Shortly after the Spee-Dee checkweigher, a Markem-Imaje ink-jet printer puts lot and date code on the bottom of each container. Next comes a pair of Arol rotary cappers each with eight stations. The first applies the threaded dispensing closure and torques it down while the second snaps on the overcap/measuring cup. “We chose Arol because of their depth of experience with this kind of application and they offered the monoblock configuration we wanted,” says Darling.

Next in line is the application of the full-body shrink-sleeve label on an applicator and shrink tunnel supplied by American Fuji Seal Inc. Made of PETG, the label is printed flexo in 10 colors by label converter Hammer Packaging.

At this point it’s on to secondary packaging, executed by three pieces of equipment from Delkor Systems. First a Trayfecta S Series erects corrugated trays from flat blanks and accumulates them side by side on a feed conveyor leading into the Delkor Flex Loader’s flighted conveyor, which runs parallel to the conveyor on which filled containers are conveyed. A servo cross-push mechanism sends two trays at a time off at a right angle and into the flights of the Flex Loader’s transport conveyor. A gantry pick-and-place device with a dual split head end effector mechanically picks 12 containers and fills four three-count trays per cycle.

Once the trays are loaded with canisters, trays are then fed into a shrink bundler where the two display trays become a single shipping package. Between the Flex Loader and shrink bundler is an integrated top-pad placer. For many packages, this top pad is critical to unitize the two (or more) trays together as a stable shipping unit. This is a patented Delkor package solution called the Turbo Case, and it was a key factor in Beech-Nut’s decision to choose Delkor for the secondary packaging solution. The machine also has the capability to do Spot-pak in the future.

“It’s really an ideal on-shelf format,” says Darling. “Store personnel can quickly remove the shrink wrap and place the trays on the shelf or they can remove canisters and place individual units on the shelf. Sustainability was also a factor in our selection as the secondary package provides us with a reduction in corrugated vs the original package that was in a full wraparound case.” The final step of the process ends with another Markem-Imaje Case Coder.

Palletizing is currently done manually. “Automatic palletizing will be looked at in the future,” says Darling.

Original Source:

Original Author: Pat Reynolds

Original Date: September 5 2017