Flexible Options

Flexible packaging offers considerable value and sustainability benefits.

Ensuring a secure, safe environment is paramount to consumers, retailers and manufacturers alike. Recent developments in packaging technology satisfy these safety concerns while providing a greener footprint. Traditionally, many adhesive and sealant manufacturers have used pails and drums for transporting their products. Although these containers provide many benefits, other products can better satisfy a large gap in the market—sustainability. Flexible packaging offers considerable value and sustainability benefits to manufacturers, retailers and consumers while addressing the many packaging challenges faced by the adhesives and sealants industry.

Multiple Benefits

Residue control is a substantial problem for the adhesives and sealants industry. Various components used to manufacture adhesives and sealants can contaminate a steel drum or pail, making it difficult to reuse, recondition or recycle. Flexible packaging keeps drums and pails clean, eliminating container cleaning costs and resulting in immediate reuse of drums and pails.

Product purity is essential to maintaining product quality and performance; flexible packaging preserves and protects products. In addition, full product recovery is vital for valuable raw materials, and flexible packaging increases product recovery.

Flexible packaging also offers several less obvious benefits that are strong sustainability advantages. Flexible packaging materials weigh significantly less than other packaging formats, and they ship and store flat, so transportation and warehouse efficiency is maximized. Flexible packaging is also manufactured with less energy than rigid packaging and containers. Carbon dioxide emissions are further reduced by the space savings advantage created by using flexible packaging over pails and drums. Flexible packaging also provides important source reduction benefits. Source reduction is the Environmental Protection Agency’s preferred waste management strategy.

Liners

Flexible packaging exists in a number of formats: liners for pails, drums, intermediate bulk containers and bag-in-box systems, and inserts for pails and drums. Liners are heat sealed, include seams and have wall thicknesses ranging from 4-12.8 mil. Liners are available for 5-gal pails; 12-, 16-, 30-, 55- and 85-gal drums; 55- to 300-gal intermediate bulk containers; and 1.25-, 2.5- and 5-gal bag-in-box systems.

Liner types include flat seamed, round bottom, cube shaped and pillow shaped. Flat-seamed and round-bottom liners for pails and drums are designed for easy installation and can be simply twisted and tied off to protect contents. Cube-shaped liners are manufactured to form fit the internal shape of an intermediate bulk container or bag-in-box system. No pockets or folds trap residual product while emptying cube-shaped liners. Pillow-shaped liners for intermediate bulk containers and bag-in-box systems take the form of a pillow when filled. Pillow-shaped liners are typically constructed with two or three plies of linear low-density polyethylene and a barrier film when used for aseptic and oxygen-barrier applications.

Liners are manufactured through a heat-sealing process, where a thin, clear thermoplastic sheet is bonded by heat, time and pressure to form a closure. Heat-sealing technology is simple in concept and provides cost-effective products, but the process is not trivial. Tight tolerances, proven materials, precise timing and temperature control all play key roles in providing products that meet demanding requirements. A variety of films can be heat sealed, including metalized polyester and foil laminates for moisture protection, conductive laminates and anti-static films for volatile materials, nylon and co-extruded films for chemical resistance, polypropylene for high-temperature requirements, and low-density polyethylene for general use.

Inserts

Inserts are vacuum formed or blow molded, seamless and have wall thicknesses ranging from 10-24 mils. Inserts are available for 2- to 6-gal pails and 12-, 16-, 30- and 55-gal drums. The four types of drum inserts include: straight sided, accordion, combination and vented. Straight-sided inserts fit smoothly into new drums and are ideal when using follower plates. Accordion inserts have flexible, pleated side walls that accommodate variations in reconditioned drum heights. Combination inserts combine a straight-sided design with a band of accordion pleats to accommodate both drum height variations and follower plate use. Vented inserts include four holes near the top to vent trapped air during a fill, allowing drums to be filled with the lid on.

Blow molding is the process used to manufacture inserts. Blow molding technology provides extra performance in maintaining package integrity and durability. With this technology, components are typically cylindrical, but square or rectangular shapes can be made.

In extrusion blow molding (EBM), plastic is melted and extruded into a hollow tube (a parison). This parison is then captured by closing it into a cooled metal mold. Air is then blown into the parison, inflating it into the shape of the hollow bottle, container or part. After the plastic has cooled sufficiently, the mold is opened and the part is ejected. EBM processes may be either continuous (constant extrusion of the parison) or intermittent.

Compared to injection molding, blow molding is a low-pressure process, with typical blow air pressures of 25-150 psi. This low-pressure process allows the production of economical low-force clamping stations, while parts can still be produced with textured surface finishes. The resulting low stresses in the molded parts also help make the containers resistant to strain and environmental stress cracking.

Although injection molding is probably the most popular form of plastics processing, it is not conducive to liner manufacturing. In order to form a part as tall as a drum, the walls would have to be much thicker than is needed in thermoforming or blow molding, which would increase the part cost. Thicker parts also mean longer cycle times, which also increases costs. Injection molds are also typically more expensive and generally require more taper than thermoforming molds, so the liner will not fit the drum as well. In addition, inherent stress points at the sprue and gate (injection points) may cause a fracture point and consequently a leak point.

Sustainable Solutions

Flexible packaging offers significant value and sustainability benefits to consumers, retailers and manufacturers by reducing waste, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Flexible packaging is an excellent sustainable choice that satisfies the adhesives and sealants industry’s packaging challenges while providing a greener footprint.

Paper packaging targeted by European sustainability report

A pan-European project that aims to revolutionize paper packaging being coordinated by the UK’s Sheffield Hallam University, has secured EU funding in-excess of €3m. It is expected to result in the development of “NewGenPack'”- the next generation of environmentally friendly paper packaging.

Experts from across Europe are pooling ideas and resources to ‘change the face of paper packaging’ and create innovative sustainable packaging with enhanced properties.

Carol Hammond, head of R&D at Chesapeake, who is one of the research partners, declared that the expertise bought together for the project has the potential to create a new generation of packaging.

“Cardboard products are inherently made from a very sustainable material. If it is enhanced with greater functionality, such as barrier properties to prevent moisture loss or has increased shape flexibility, its use can be extended to a greater number of market applications”, she said. “The team of experts is focused on developing the next generation of environmentally-friendly products that could change the face of paper packaging.”

The group, with specialists from Sweden, Poland, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK, said it will focus on the development of new packaging that is both sustainable and economically viable. The participants are carrying out top level, individual research projects to advance in three major fields: next generation packaging composites; cellulose fibre based active packaging and the effect of packaging production on the environment, the economy and society as a whole.

The initiative has the brief to foster the next generation of research experts equipped with the know-how and multi-disciplinary skills to develop future sustainable packaging solutions.

Project coordinator, Professor Chris Breen, of the University’s Materials and Engineering Research Institute, said, Currently very few researchers are trained to deal with such a broad variety of disciplines, and are therefore insufficiently prepared to assist with the commercial challenges of delivering sustainable packages that are both economically viable and environmentally fit for purpose.”

He added the training aspect of the project was a major part to create the experts, “who will drive continuing progress in sustainable packaging.”

Source: Packaging Digest

10 tips for sustainable package design

For nearly a decade, the biggest buzz in packaging has been the move toward sustainability, or “green” packaging. Driven by retailer requirements, public perception, economic pressures (petroleum, in particular), and government policies, sustainability impacts every aspect of a package-from the source of its raw materials to its end of life-and as such has proven to be an incredibly complex issue.

But over the years of debate and discovery, we have learned some core truths about the topic. First, there is no such thing today as a completely sustainable package. Instead, sustainability is a journey. The goal is to make incremental improvements over time in the sustainability of a package to reduce its overall environmental impact.

Second, in sustainability terms, packaging materials-including glass, plastic, paper, and aluminum-cannot be classified as good or bad. Each has its advantages and shortcomings, depending upon the product application and the goals and mission of the packager. Trade-offs are an inherent part of pursuing sustainability.

And last, packaging must be put into perspective by understanding its role in the full product supply chain. Packaging typically makes up less than 10% of the carbon footprint of a product; raw material production and consumer use often comprise the largest proportion. While packaging’s footprint may be small, its importance cannot be understated. If the package fails in its primary functions-protecting the product through the supply chain, enticing consumers to purchase, and facilitating consumption-all the energy consumed in manufacturing the product is lost when the product is wasted.

With these fundamentals in mind, following are some areas to consider when implementing changes to your packaging for improved sustainability:

1. Take a life-cycle approach to package design. There are many Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools available today to help package designers understand the environmental impacts represented by different packaging options. One is the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s COMPASS® (Comparative Packaging Assessment) online design software, which helps users make more informed material selections and design decisions by providing visual guidance on a common set of environmental indicators. PackageSmart LCA Software, one of several software-based LCA tools from EarthShift,
also allows packaging designers to evaluate the environmental impacts of their design selections.

One caveat, however: Sustainability metrics and standards are still evolving, so pick a program, and stick with it. Using different tools to measure the same package may yield slightly different results. The key is to be consistent and make sure you are moving in the right direction in the core environmental areas that are of greatest concern to your company.

2. Evaluate each component of your package. Ask yourself, “Can changes be made to use less material without compromising product integrity?” One successful example is all-natural sports drink-maker LIV Organic’s move from a traditional PET bottle to one with Amcor’s Groovy finish technology, which uses 31% less resin than a standard 38-mm finish. After LIV implemented the new design, the total weight of its 16.9-oz bottle was reduced 14.6%, from 36.8 g to 31.4 g. The technology also enabled the use of caps with 20% to 25% less resin.

Another example is GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare’s Os-Cal calcium supplement. In 2010, GSK rolled out redesigned packaging that included a high-density polyethylene supplement bottle in a bold, full-body shrink-sleeve label capable of holding all product information. Scrapped were the product’s secondary carton and an insert with outdated graphics. On an annual basis, GSK says the new package saves approximately 208 tons of paper, or 1,440 trees; eliminates nearly 330,000 lb of CO2 emissions (the equivalent of removing 30 cars from the road); and conserves about 2,052 million BTUs, or the energy used by 23 U.S. homes.

Suppliers are continually innovating with containers, caps, labels, and other components that improve the package-to-product ratio, resulting in a smaller footprint, and oftentimes in a smaller price tag, as well.

3. Consider new alternatives for distribution packaging. New machinery and material technologies are enabling packagers to use fewer materials to create multipacks, bundles, and pallets, as well as create shelf-ready packaging that minimizes waste at the retailer level.

For water distributor Unlimited Water Processing, Inc., switching from corrugated cases to new shrink-pack technology for its bottled water bundles was a risk that paid off. The Nested Pack™ from Polypack positions bottles in a staggered-row configuration that results in a sturdy, stable shrink-wrapped bundle that eliminates the need for corrugated trays or pads. After implementing the Nested Pack, Unlimited Water reduced its cost per case from roughly 45 cents to just 10 cents. And, according to company owner Elliott Henry, customers love the new package because it uses fewer materials, is easier to dispose of, and is more attractive.

Several options exist for more sustainable stretch wrapping/palletizing, including machines engineered to optimize film use. Another method is the elimination of stretch wrap and hot melt in favor of removable adhesives, such as those from Lock n’ Pop, that stabilize loads while reducing the footprint of the pallet. In California, artisanal food maker Premier Organics is employing a reusable polypropylene pallet cover that can be used up to 250 times. The company estimates that the system will eliminate 4,500 lb of material annually, or about 40% of its pallet-wrap usage.

4. Look for opportunities to make your packaging reusable—where it makes sense. In Costa Rica, Pizza Hut customers have been introduced to a new pizza box design that allows the box to be broken down into plates and a smaller box for leftovers. In 2010, Kentucky Fried Chicken debuted its Reusable KFC Sides Container. Made of polypropylene, with patented “ventless vent technology” that allows moisture to escape without requiring a hole in the lid, the clear container with red lid is promoted as being reusable, and microwave- and dishwasher-safe.

But reusability is not just for food packaging. PUMA garnered great attention when it introduced its “Clever Little Bag,” an attractive, reusable, red shoe bag used to package its footwear. As a result of the change, PUMA reduced its paper consumption by 65% and estimated it would reduce water, energy, and diesel consumption at the manufacturing level by more than 60% per year.

5. Consider changes in your product. The best example of a product category that has undergone significant change to accommodate more sustainable packaging is household cleaning products. Beginning with laundry detergents and rippling through other cleaner and chemical products, CPGs have turned to concentrated formulas to reduce the amount of water shipped from factory to retail shelf and to enable smaller package sizes. Perhaps the most compact of all: Method’s 8X-concentrated laundry detergent formula can wash 50 loads per 20-oz bottle, and 25 loads per 10-oz bottle. Also popular in the cleaning products industry have been systems that combine concentrated product refills with reusable packaging.

Another lesser-known yet very innovative example of a product modified to affect changes in packaging is General Mills’ Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper. Several years ago, the company reengineered the physical properties of the noodles within the meals to enable the design of a smaller carton size. The change resulted in a savings of 890,000 lb/yr of paper fiber, an 11% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), and the elimination of 500 trucks on the road per year.

6. Whenever possible, design for recyclability. One of the most effective ways to preserve the energy expended in manufacturing packaging materials is through recycling. While many materials, such as paper and PET, may be widely recycled, oftentimes coatings, labels, and other elements added to enhance package functionality or aesthetics may render them unfit for the recycling stream. But new options are emerging.

One promising technology is from Smart Planet Technologies. The company’s EarthCoating can be used as an alternative to 100% polyethylene coatings in high-barrier folding carton applications. EarthCoating’s formulation includes powdered minerals, which reduces the plastic content in the coating, allowing the finished packaging material to be recycled under ISRI recyclability standards.

From PaperWorks Industries, a filmless holographic technology called HoloBrite™ is now being used for packaging to achieve a shimmering holographic appearance without the use of a film lamination. This process results in a package that can be recycled in traditional paperboard recycling streams without contamination from polyester and metal. In 2010, GSK Consumer Healthcare used the decorative process with a metallic coating from Henkel to create eye-catching, recyclable paperboard packaging for its Aquafresh White & Shine toothpaste brand.

Another new recyclable (and recycled-content) package technology that has caused consumers to take a second look is molded-pulp packaging from Ecologic Brands. The most well publicized application of the material is from Seventh Generation, which launched its 4X-concentrated liquid laundry detergent in the package in 2011. The container consists of a molded-pulp outer shell made from 70% recycled cardboard (OCC) and 30% old newspapers (ONP) that can be recycled up to seven times. The package’s inner film pouch with spout has been constructed of polyethylene only, making it suitable for recycling with plastic grocery bags, while the pack’s polypropylene closure is recyclable through Preserve’s Gimme 5 recycling program.

7. Employ packaging strategies that encourage product consumption. Approximately 34 million tons of food waste are generated in the U.S. each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. So packaging that increases the likelihood that the majority of a product is consumed provides a tremendous sustainability advantage. Among the technologies that can be used to help reduce food waste are reclosable features, clearly marked use-by dates, and technologies that assist in evacuating all of a product from its package. Hellmann’s Easy Out! Mayonnaise package employs a nonstick surface on the inside of the container that provides the slip properties needed to get the last bit of mayo from the jar.

And, while bulk packaging may seem a more sustainable alternative than single-serve packages, given its smaller package-to-product ratio, single-serve may prove a more environmentally friendly option if it ensures product consumption.

8. Know where your packaging materials come from. Increasingly, retailers and consumers are looking to CPGs for transparency. It is to your benefit to make sure you are using responsibly sourced packaging materials. For example, toy manufacturer Mattel recently faced very vocal criticism from Greenpeace, which accused Mattel of using paperboard packaging that contained significant amounts of timber from Indonesian rain forests. Since then, Mattel has launched new sustainable sourcing principles to guide its procurement of paper and wood fiber. Hasbro quickly followed suit.

For Stonyfield Farm, the use of non-Genetically Modified (GM) crops is a core value. When it switched to corn-based bioplastic for some of its yogurt cups, it learned its resin supplier could not guarantee the use of non-GMO corn in its feedstock. So Stonyfield became the first major purchaser of offsets through the Working Landscapes Certificates, which ensures that an equivalent amount of corn is grown to sustainable agriculture standards.

9. Evaluate your distribution system for space-saving opportunities. In a presentation at Michigan State University’s second annual Packaging Executives Forum, consultant Kevin Howard of Packnomics, LLC, emphasized the importance of designing packaging “from the outside in, rather than from the inside out,” to minimize distribution logistics costs. “It is vital to understand what is happening in your own environment,” he said. “Some packages that don’t pass ISTM [International Safe Transit Assn.] standards pass real-world tests and vice versa. Walk through your distribution pipeline.”

His message, in “Space…The Final Frontier,” was that wasted space in packaging results in excess materials, transport, handling, and storage. To reduce a package size while maintaining its integrity, he noted that the packager must begin by understanding the known sizing of the transport mode that will be used and then minimizing the package size to hold everything at the lowest possible cost.

Other takeaways: “Space is found around components, inside of boxes, on pallets and between pallets,” “Maximizing load density is vital to minimizing environmental impact,” and “Space costs money… minimize it!”

10. Consider materials made from renewable feedstock. Packaging based on renewable feedstocks-from bioplastics made of corn or sugarcane, to protective packaging constructed of mushroom roots-is a rapidly growing area. But there are many questions still to be answered regarding the viability of some of these technologies and their relative sustainability versus traditional materials.

When evaluating renewable feedstocks for use in packaging materials, as advised above: Use a full life-cycle approach; understand how these materials perform in the recycling stream; know where the raw materials are sourced from; and ensure that the resulting packaging provides the required functionality for your product.

Above all, be very wary of additives and other technologies that promise to make packaging “just disappear.” While it is a very alluring idea, many scientific experts debate the environmental safety of such technologies.

Source: Packaging World

Dole fruit puree in Cheer Pack pouches

Senior business development and sales strategy manager for Dole Packaged Foods Canada, Peter Stewart has a solution for parents whose child’s snack has been smeared across their vehicles backseat. In June 2008, Dole Packaged Foods Canada launched Squish’ems! Squish’ems! is a fruit puree packaged in Cheer Pack spouted pouches manufactured by the CDF Corp. The spout is designed to allow the puree to dispense freely, but also narrow enough to prevent the contents from spilling easily from the package. The pouches are also equipped with a resealable cap.

The Dole team was inspired by similar packaging for pureed foods in Europe. “We saw how successful the product with this format had been in Europe, and we know Europe is ahead of North America with their packaging ideas,” stated Stewart. “We agreed that if we could bring this package to North America, we would be ahead of the curve.”

However, the draw back from being ahead of the curve is not having a clearly defined road map to implement a new product.

“We saw the European packaging about two and half years before we actually ended up launching the product,” Stewart remarks. “It’s been a long, tortured path to the market. When we started this project there were I think two machines in all of North America that could do this.”

The Dole team had discovered a copacker in upstate New York that was equipped to work with the spouted pouches. “But it was a small company, and they eventually went out of business,” recalls Stewart.

During this time, Stephen Fairfield was consulting for a state-of-the-art form/fill/Seal facility in Mississauga, Ontario, which was suffering with poor sales. Fairfield recognized this as an opportunity. Fairfield and an investment partner incorporated Eco Container Corp. (ECC) and together began negotiating the purchase of the business.

ECC began talking with Dole concerning their Squish’Ems! project. In detail, Dole wanted to know if the facility in which ECC was to be purchasing would be able to fill fruit puree into Cheer Pack pouches.

“As it happened, the negotiation for the facility went south,” Fairfield stated. “We had a production contract done and signed with Dole, and no place to put the equipment, and the clock was ticking for the launch target date.”

Dole Canada was eager to get the product to market, they enlisted the help of the packaging manufacturer CDF Corp. “Dole led us to Eco-Container and said, ‘talk to them about doing the copacking and everybody kind of roller up their sleeves and got it done,” recalls Steve Gosling, CDF Corp., director of sales for Cheer Pack North America.

The companies identified the packaging machinery, including CHP40 filler from Gualapack S.p.A, being the best fit for the packaging application. ECC then created a new copacking business model that would ensure that the new operation would be sufficiently capitalized.

“Our business model is to go into an existing facility that has the trained staff and infrastructure, QC, logistics, accounting departments, etc. and we fund and maintain the equipment” Fairfield explained. “The facility’s owner has the advantage of no capital expense or ongoing maintenance costs, and secures better asset utilization. ECC covers the variable cost of running the equipment and provides a simple profit allocation.”

“And the investment bankers like the model as the entry cost is lower, which in turn provides for a competitive costing to the trade-so, it’s a good financial model,” Fairfield complements.

Canadian grown and processed apple cause, being the main ingredient in Squish’Ems! products currently on the market, arrive at the copacking facility in large totes. The apple sauce is mixed with the other fruit-based ingredients in accordance to Dole’s recipes.

After mixing purees, the product is heat-treated in a simple steam injection, tube-in-tube pasteurizer that has been modified with a heat exchanger to control the stream. Quality-control is conducted at a minimum of every half hour; however these checks have been clocked in at being every fifteen minutes.

From the pasteurizer, the purees go into two separate, but synchronized CHP40fillers. “They’re well built; fairly simple in design and solid,” say Fairfield “depending on fill amounts, and pouch capacity, each filler can run between 40 and 44 pouches per minute, with larger pouches easily accommodated with minimal adjustment or downtime. The model is calculated to deliver 83 percent production efficiency on a 24-hour shift, resulting in close to 96,000 pouches of approximately 8,500 kg of puree.”

Fairfield states, “the Gualapack fillers can handle a wide range of viscosities” and that, “fruit piece identity is possible, though it is limited to a fairly small size in order to clear the valving and fit through the pouch’s neck.”

The Cheer-pack pouch is vacuum-checked by the converter prior to its delivery to the packaging operation. The evacuation of the air from the pouch enables the pureed product to enter the pouch faster. Pouches are delivered at the copacking facility preloaded on rails, which are enabled quick loading into the filler’s magazines.

Once the pouches have been filled and sealed, they are on their way to a post-fill steam tunnel in which they receive a second heat treatment to more than 90 degree C to further ensure the integrity of the product. After exiting the steam tunnel the product is dropped into a cooling bath, the temperature ranging between 30 and 35 degree Celsius. Once finished with the cooling bath, the pouches are put into a drying chamber; the cooled pouches are dried by air knives. All the machinery used if from Gualapack.

Each pouch is coded by a Leibinger printer with the date, time and filler information. Once coded and cooled pouches are conveyed to manual pack-out area, where personnel manually shape the package for a smooth looking product. The pouches are then packed into colorfully printed paperboard cartons that are manufactured by Cascades, which also supply the case former and sealer.

Dole considered the flexible packaging an competitive advantage and didn’t want the secondary packaging to take away from any interaction the consumer may have with the product. Stewart states, “We wanted a window so people could poke it and feel it and touch it,” he continues, “the problem is that when you open up a carton, the window allows the product to move around. And it doesn’t present itself well within that window.”

Dole worked with Cascade to develop secondary packaging that would secure the pouch within the carton packaging but would also display the product nicely through the secondary packaging window.

Four pouches are inserted into each carton: two pouches are displayed with caps up and the other two caps down. The packing line personnel then hand-pack 12 Squish’Ems! Cartons into a master shipping case.

The product is engineered to have a 12-month shelf life, the Cheer Pack configuration used for Squish’ems! is a PET outer layer, laminated to aluminum with an inner sealant layer of PE.

The PET layer imparts a high-gloss finish; this enables the eight-color gravure printing done on Cerutti press by CDF partner Hosokawa Yoko.

The laminate structure of the package allows for the product to be stored in a wide range of temperatures. The packages are able to withstand very cold temperatures, with some parents reporting the ability to freeze the product. And yet, the same pouches are hot-filled during the packaging process.

Gualapack has created a safety cap, each pouch is sealed with a large-diameter, screw on cap. “This cap is 32 mm in diameter,” Gosling stated, “This means it won’t pass through the choke tube, therefore its considered to be child-safe.” According to Gosling, the cap meets the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Small Part Regulation, 16 C.F.R. Part 1501 and 1500.50-53.

Stewart continues, stating that even if a child was able to swallow the cap, it’s manufactured with enough venting that it wouldn’t create a total blockage.

Gualapack was awarded U.S. Patent D547, 657 S for the cap design.

Squish’ems! is performing well as  part of Dole Canada’s single serve fruit market, and adding children single serve is a huge component. Plans were made to expand the market in 2010 into two new flavors, grape and cherry.

Other sectors of Dole are considering the product and the reception within the market within their region. The U.S. group plans to develop a product similar to Dole Canada, but the U.S. will cater to a sweeter taste preference that cater to the American preference.

Biodegradation standard in development for plastic additives

The Plastics Environmental Council (PEC) has announced its sponsorship of a research study to product the first specification standards for landfill biodegradation of plastics that have derived from natural gas or petroleum. These plastics have been treated with additives that would enhance the biodegradability of the product. Plastic additives that do not interfere with the performance of the product during use are critical to the reduction of plastic waste in landfills and the PEC is undertaking the development of the biodegradation standards.

Despite consumer awareness concerning the volume of plastics in landfills and separate their consumer plastics such as milk and soda, the majority of plastics simply cannot be recycled for numerous reasons most commonly due to contamination and collection. According to the United States environmental Protection Agency, 13 million tons of plastic containers and packaging find their way to landfills in 2008. The PEC’s sponsorship to develop a landfill biodegradation specification standard is intended to address this issue.

Senator Robert McKnight, PEC chairman stated, “While we already know from various independent laboratory tests that our member companies’ additives are expected to be effective at speeding up the biodegradation of petroleum and natural gas-derived plastics in landfills, this will be the first-of-its-kind study to verify biodegradation rates of plastic waste treated with such additives under both laboratory and field conditions.” He continued, “The new standard will allow us to develop a simple certification seal that will inspire confidence in these additives from businesses, consumers and regulators.”

While most plastics that are derived from hydrocarbons are recyclable, they are simply not biodegradable without the addition of chemical additives. Without the additives they will remain in landfills essentially forever. Many of these chemical additives have been approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), are added to the plastic resins during the manufacturing process and will in no way alter the final product’s integrity, these chemicals are undetectable by the end user, and products containing them can be processed through current recycling methods.

The goals for PEC’s landfill biodegradability certification seal is to be available in approximately 18 months.

For further reading: Plastics Environmental Council/Packaging Digest

CDF Corp liners selected over competitive products after going through NASA’s rigorous testing of material and compatible superiority

One of NASA main and more well-known program,, the Space Transportation System (STS), more commonly known as the Space Shuttle program, had its first launch in 1981 and has practiced 122 missions at an average cost of $450 million per launch, according to NASA. The cost and world-wide attention placed on every mission has placed extreme pressure on every facet and every system used for every flight.

Each shuttle that is produced for NASA is projected to have a lifespan of 100 launches or ten years of operating life. From their beginnings they STS program has been innovative in their abilities to accommodate commercial and classified satellites, astronauts, and service parts for the International Space Station. Each shuttle is manufactured with three main components: the Orbiter Vehicle, the rusted color External Tank, and two Reusable Solid Rocket Motors which propel the shuttle to space.

In 1998, through a $2.4 billion contract with ATK Thiokol, NASA extended the Reusable Solid Rocket Motors (RSRM) program for the production and refurbishment of seventy RSRMs. This addition is the sixth in a series of deals, since 1973, for the design, development, production and refurbishment of Solid Rocket Motors for the Space Shuttle Program and signifies a continued relationship between NASA’s Marshall Space Flight center in Huntsville, Ala., and ATK Thiokol. The current RSRM is one of the largest solid motor ever flown and the first developed for reuse.

In 2005, ATK Thiokol chose CDF Corporation’s 5, 12, 30, and 55 gallon drums and pail liners for the use of the first step of preparing the primer and topcoat paint for the outward portion of the RSRM hardware.

A great success for CDF Corp, their liners were chosen over competitive products after going through NASA’s rigorous testing of material and compatible superiority. “Because we work closely with NASA to build a quality product for safe space missions, we have a rigorous qualification process for the products we use within the RSRM program,” stated ATK Thiokol Program Manager Jeff Chapneys, who took a lead role in ATK-CDF Partnership. “CDF was one of few companies whose product satisfied all of the exacting RSRM requirements” he continued.

Laura Beechwood, the Chief Operating Officer of CDF stated, “CDF is proud to have been chosen as NASA’s liner supplier. It is a testament of our product quality, investment in innovative technology, and talented workforce.”

ATK Thiokol commented on CDF’s product quality stating, “Prevents transferable contamination from pail liner to paint of adhesive which may have a significant negative impact on RSRM quality and performance.”

To elevate the 4.5 million pound shuttle into orbit, there are three space shuttle main engines and the two RSRM which provide nearly 80% of the lift and enough thrust the space craft into space. Each RSRM is nearly the height of the Statue of Liberty but weights nearly three times as much. The thrust that is produced during takeoff from the three millions pounds of propellant accelerates the Space Shuttle to a speed of more than 17,000 mph within the first eight minutes of launch. Once the boosters separate from the Shuttle’s Orbiter Vehicle and lands in the ocean, the product is recovered and disassembled while the motors are returned to ATK Thiokol to begin the refurbishing process for the next NASA mission.

There are four segments that create the motor, with the forward segment holding the igniter. In the manufacturing of the motor, ATK Thiokol determined CDF Corporation’s pail liners, “Provided superior performance for a critical application.” The products integrity is ensured the great attention to quality and performance during the production, the inspection, transportation, and storage of motor components.

In addition to CDF Corporations liners being used in the preparation for primers and topcoats, CDF’s pail liners are used in the preparation for adhesive ChemLok prior to application. Champney commented stating, “For specific Reusable Solid Rocket Motor applications, CDF provided the best quality product at the most competitive price.”

The exterior hardware of the RSRM is painted to protect against corrosion and the internal area of the RSRM hardware is Chemlok coated to form a bonding surface between the steel components and the insulation. Guaranteeing the integrity, purity and maximum performance of the materials was essential to the ATK team, highlighting, “CDF’s attention to detail and focus on quality” as underwriting factor to their partnership.

Quality assurance is the key to a successful mission, from the exterior paint to solid fuel propellant, every fact of the space shuttle process must work in harmony flawlessly. ATK Thiokol and all its partners are committed to creating the most efficient products into the future.

Cheer Pack North America moving operations to W. Bridgewater

Cheer Pack North America LLC, a focused solution provider for brand owners looking at production capabilities for their spouted flexible packaging requirements, is planning to relocate its manufacturing facility from Plymouth, Massachusetts to One United Drive in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts as part of a major capital expansion. The relocation and expansion project will result in the retention of Cheer Pack’s current 35 employees and the addition of 75 new manufacturing jobs resulting in 110 new jobs in the town of West Bridgewater. The company plans to lease 187,500 s.f. in the industrial building, which has a total floor space 315,000 s.f. and has been largely unoccupied for the last couple of years. Cheer Pack develops and manufactures proprietary spouted pouch packaging for the food and beverage industries. According to Steve Gosling, President of Cheer Pack, “The demand for our unique food packaging products has grown tremendously resulting in the need to substantially increase our capacity. It is an exciting opportunity for the company, the town of West Bridgewater, and the entire southeastern Massachusetts region.”

The company plans to make an investment of approximately $23 million over the next five years in building renovations and the purchase and installation of machinery and equipment. According to Mark Kasberg, Treasurer of Cheer Pack, “The building renovations and a significant portion of the machinery and equipment installation will be completed in the first year of the project. We hope to move into the building and commence operations in the second quarter of 2012.” It is expected that all of the 35 employees working in Cheer Pack’s Plymouth facility will continue to work at the new West Bridgewater location, which is 26 miles away.

“There is still a significant amount of work to be done over the next several weeks before the long-term lease is signed and the plan becomes final,” said Rod Jané of New England Expansion Strategies, project consultant for Cheer Pack North America. The company is working with town officials and boards to obtain permits for the project. Additionally, the company and the town are exploring the possibility of Tax Increment Financing, as well as investment tax credits from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through the Economic Development Incentives Program. West Bridgewater joined the Brockton area Economic Target Area in 2004 for the purpose of being able to offer state and local benefits for job creating projects like the Cheer Pack project. “In order to earn these benefits, the company will have to commit to job creation and investment goals and deliver on those goals,” said Jané. He added that “the West Bridgewater town officials and boards have been absolutely great to work with. They have been responsive and very helpful. This is clearly a business friendly town.”

‘Melting pot’ innovations merit high scores

The 2011 fourth-quarter Shelf Impact!/Dragon Rouge survey of innovative packaging awarded products that holistically combined creative concept, design, and execution: a wellness water that uses an active cap to deliver vitamins, a twist on concentrated cleaner packaging, and an appetizing pack design for organic baby food.

With a composite score ranging from 3.5 to 3.7 on a five-point scale, the three packaging innovations that lead our report are Karma Wellness Water, Ella’s Kitchen’s new organic baby food packaging, and SC Johnson’s new Smart Twist all-in-one cleaning system. While all three scored high across the board, they were exceptionally strong with relation to concept idea, structure, and graphics.

Taking the top spot this quarter is a new line of natural, nutrient-enhanced water. Unlike other nutrient-enhanced waters, where the vitamins are premixed with the water, Karma has developed KarmaCap, a proprietary technology that allows the vitamins to be contained in an airtight cap. When you’re ready to open the bottle and release the vitamins, simply peel off the top sticker, push the cap down, and shake! Since vitamins deteriorate in water, premixed drinks lose their strength over time. Karma allows you to enjoy all the vitamins’ benefits at their maximum potency.

With five different varieties, each focusing on a different health benefit, the line differentiates itself on-shelf through its square bottle shape, unique cap, and strong flavor cues. The uniqueness of the active cap technology caters to the idea of fresh convenience, clearly communicating the benefits and value of achieving the maximum vitamin potency when you need it most.

Fresh, on-the-go convenience is also exhibited in the new packaging for Ella’s Kitchen, an organic children and baby food brand in the U.K. The goal of the project was to harmonize and evolve the packaging to bring greater visibility and recognition of the brand mark across the line, provide a clear and simple communications hierarchy, and ensure that designs are appealing and differentiating. The new “at a glance” age-and-stage communication system cuts through the clutter, allowing moms to conveniently identify which product they need without having to invest time deconstructing the information on-pack. The vibrant colors and messaging such as “I’m Organic” further emphasize the freshness of the product.

Following the convenience theme, SC Johnson has introduced a new take on concentrated cleaning solutions with an all-in-one cleaning system. The system, called “Smart Twist,” was created to help consumers clean more efficiently and effectively by enabling them to choose three of their five favorite cleaners to dock at one time in a simple, lightweight sprayer that adds the water. Consumers simply fill the tank of the handheld sprayer with water and snap each of the concentrate containers into place. When they are ready to use the system, they simply twist the carousel to the desired cleaner. The new system is convenient for consumers and also takes up substantially less space than having to store each product individually.

 

‘True innovation’ requires a well-rounded approach
Regardless of average or above-average scores in one category over another, the three products that scored the lowest only further prove that true innovation requires a well-rounded approach—everything matters!

As part of its “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” initiative, nut processor John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Elgin, IL, decided to transition the current packaging for its Fisher Nuts brand from a composite can to a lightweight, clear PET package. The new see-through PET container provides more sustainability as well as a greater perception of freshness and in turn inspired a complete brand makeover. While the materials and production of the new packaging ranked high, the design concept and graphics fell short, as the new logotype and graphics don’t match the new overall contemporary look and feel of the structure and the campaign, “Freshness You Can See.”

Something Natural is a new brand of all-natural flavored sparkling water that blends the healthful and refreshing qualities of sparkling water with delicious fruit flavors. While the Something Natural brand was created to prove that less is more, the liquid and the name may deliver on this promise, but the design does not. Quite simply, the flock of birds design on the front of the bottle clutters up the pack, detracting from the simplicity and elegance of the overall design.

Similarly lacking in concept and graphics, Mountain Dew also falls short with its new bottle. The intent of the new structure and design was to reenergize the brand with a distinctive, new PET bottle design that more fittingly meets its promise of robust, spirited fun, exuberance, and refreshment. The new bottle features a distinctive silhouette that provides the package with a solid shelf presence. A label less than half the size of the brand’s previous label allows the bottle’s shape to be the point of differentiation for the brand. But respondents gave the new design unfavorable reviews, thus overshadowing the bold textural elements meant to add excitement.

 

Tips for 2012 design
As you wrap up 2011 and begin to think about how to create packaging innovation in 2012, try to keep these fundamental guidelines in mind:
• Begin with a solid foundation. If you don’t have an amazing concept, you won’t have anywhere to place a stake in the ground.
• Don’t overthink it! Simplicity and convenience are key… everything else will follow.
• Remember that the whole is greater than the sum of all parts—you can have really great design, a stand-out structure, sustainable materials, etc., but none of that matters if they don’t mesh well as a whole.

The author, Eric Zeitoun, is president of Dragon Rouge USA, an international brand and design consultancy. Contact him at eric@dragonrouge-usa.com or at 212/367-8800.

Source: Packaging World

Growing in Plymouth and around the World

CDF makes about twenty different types of flexible packaging, anything from two ounces to 300 gallons for the chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food and beverage industries. A growing product for CDF is the flexible pouch that has wide mouth straw, currently this product is popular baby food and children’s snacks as well as yogurt and some smoothies. The product is great for travel and “the family on the move,” because the pouches are reclosable and child safe.

Also very popular is the Cheertainer bag-in-box systems, a plastic liner that fits into a corrugated cardboard box, unlike solid steel the Cheertainer design is environmentally friendly and less expensive than other packaging systems.

Getting its start from making liners for steel drums, CDF has stuck to its roots, creating plastic liners ranging from 12 gallons to 55 gallons and an assortment of caps, lids, covers and strainer inserts. The idea behind the liner is to save the drum for reuse.

As a leader in intermediate bulk containers, CDF has led the way in single cube-shaped, form-fit plastic holding up to 330 gallons inside either a reinforced corrugated box that is placed on a wooden pallet or an easily collapsible plastic tote, which saves space. “We definitely go after products that are relatively difficult to manufacture,” explains CDF President Joe Sullivan, “We go after niche markets that are a little too small for big companies to go after, and too small for offshore companies to gear up for.”

CDF is going after the European market; it has launched CDF Europe based in Lugano, Switzerland which is headed by Sullivan’s sister Laura Beechwood and also acquired the majority share of Quadpak which is based in Varnamo, Sweden.

Laura Beechwood, Managing Director of CDF Europe states, “we had been preparing for this European launch for several months, CDF is the leader in the industry in the U.S., and we intend to carry over the quality and expertise into our European division.”

CDF Europe is ready to manufacture and market this line, which is a huge accomplishment for a company that got its start about forty years ago. Joseph Sullivan Sr. made his start selling additives to paint companies in the New England area. The name CDF came from colors, dispersions and finishes. Marcia Sullivan, his wife, handled the books.

The elder Sullivan saw that many of the companies having a difficult time getting rid of 55 gallon drums with paint residue in them, and he had heard of a company in California that made molded drum liners. The liner is easily removed and the drum is recovered. After selling these liners he eventually bought the company. CDF expanded into different sizes and shapes and now occupies three buildings in the Plymouth Industrial Park.

From the beginning, CDF has filled the void in customer’s needs, a practice that has continued to this day. “It’s definitely a hands on business,” explains Joe Sullivan, the second generation company president. “Because we know the business, we see a lot of opportunities. We see when existing products are not meeting customers’ needs. To fill the voids, we buy new equipment, and a lot of time we have to tailor it to our needs.”

The CDF liner carries a wide array of product, from chemical products adhesives, automobile lubricants, beverages, dairy, edible oils, ice cream, juices as well as syrups and sauces. With such a range of product it is of importance to prevent leaks. CDF1 Smart Seal Technology heats the seam to a specific temperature, time and pressure. If these specifications are not met, the machine will shut down.

“The degree of difficulty in the manufacturing is quite high,” Sullivan adds. “And it’s been a team effort. Besides equipment, you have to have really good people. And we have good people. Without good people, you’ve got nothing.”

Capeplymouthbusiness.com –  January 2012