3 Benefits of High-Barrier Foil IBC Liners

High-barrier flexible film packaging offers one of the most sophisticated levels of protection against moisture and oxygen infiltration available. It keeps foods, pharmaceuticals, and other sensitive products safe and fresh for years, not just weeks or months.

For products that require an impenetrable barrier against contamination and the longest possible shelf life, foil lamination and metallized high-barrier films are a top choice. Why?

#1: Enhanced Product Purity

When product purity is critical, high-barrier foil liners offer important benefits over traditional films. Moisture and oxygen barrier liners keep environmentally sensitive or perishable products fresh for at least two years, which is significantly longer than flexible packaging without high-barrier protection.

Different flexible packaging resins and foil or metallized polyester are used in multi-layer combinations. Metallization was considered a foil replacement product in early flexible film packaging, according to the Multilayer Films 2005 International Conference proceedings.  However, it grew into an important material on its own for its flexibility, availability, and performance as a barrier material.

The innermost layer in high-barrier films, which is closest to the product, is FDA-approved. Combined, these features make high-barrier metallized films especially suitable for foods such as dry breads, cereals, nuts, and pharmaceutical products.

Watch this video that explains how CDF Corporation manufactures high-barrier IBC liners.

#2: Increased Heat Tolerance and Strength

Flexible packaging for heat processed foods has a few more challenges to meet. Heat can weaken the integrity of manufactured seals and cause degradation in certain film packaging materials.

Poly lactic acid or PLA films, for example, can soften at approximately 140˚ Fahrenheit. Certain high-barrier films with increased heat tolerance can resist 220˚ and more without risking the integrity of the packaging or the purity of the product inside.

High-barrier films offer excellent resistance to cracks and leaks. Using precision sealing technology, seams are continually monitored for strength and consistency.

#3: Faster Machining Capabilities

With metallized resins, machining speed for high-barrier flexible films is greatly enhanced. Improved laminating technology and equipment reduces the likelihood of errors and improves the quality of the packaging at faster speeds as well.

Paired with superior quality raw materials, high-barrier flexible film packaging has reliable quality with impermeable protection. The first liner that comes off the production run has the same superior quality as the last. Because flexible films are flexible in theory as well as practice, they lend themselves easily to a wide range of custom designs.

Flexible film packaging is not one, but many, different types of lightweight, cost-effective materials with almost limitless configuration potential. Bag-in-box packaging, for example, offers a convenient way to store more in less space without risking product integrity. A choice of fitments and taps work with the fill equipment in your facility. Air-assist liners store large volumes of product and let you extract every drop, for less product waste.

For products that are more sensitive and need better protection against moisture and oxygen, IBC high-barrier foil liners set the bar. Contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure to learn more.

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Achieving Sustainability a High Priority throughout the Packaging Process

Seeing your life flash before your eyes may be a cliché, but it points up an underlying truth. It is not just how you die that counts, but how you have lived your life.

That is true for packaging too.

In assessing the ecological impact of packaging, there is a widespread tendency to look solely at “end of life”—what happens to it once it is emptied. Reuse or recycling are the two most acceptable endings from an ecological standpoint.

Unfortunately, that can lead to a belief that if a packaging material is not routinely reused or recycled, it must therefore be ecologically harmful. That is a mistake, says Kim Holmes, vice president of sustainability for the Plastics Industry Association.

“End-of-life is a very important piece of all of this for our industry, especially because it’s the piece that I think consumers pay most attention to,” Holmes told Plastics News. “But if you look at the lifecycle impact of our products in our industry, there are many other areas where we can create huge environmental benefits that can be greater than just the end-of-life piece.” That is part of the reason Holmes’ title was changed from senior director for recycling and diversion; the association wanted to move the focus away from recycling.

The principle of looking at the totality of life, not just the end, of packaging materials extends to bag-in-box and flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs), which are increasingly used to deliver liquid, powered, and bulk-solid ingredients to food processing plants.

Flexible packagingFIBCs and bag-in-box usually can be evacuated more completely than rigid containers, especially with viscous ingredients. This has the advantage of not wasting the feed, water, or other resources that were used to produce the residual product. They also are lighter and easier to transport, saving fuel. With bag-in-box, there is no return trip; with FIBCs, only the collapsible metal frames are returned, which is much more fuel-efficient than returning empty tanks.

Even at the end of their lives, flexible bulk containers have untapped “green” potential. Most flexible film gets landfilled, not because it is inherently unrecyclable, but because segregating it by polymer and delivering it to facilities that can handle it is too hard for most recycling systems. However, industrial customers like food plants can exercise much greater control over their recycling chain than any household collection service, putting together homogenous loads that could easily be recycled.

In addition, potential exists for plastics suppliers to build biodegradability into their products, says Mark McClure, vice president of operations at International Plastics.

“Companies can offer additives to their manufacturing processes and address the end-of-life sequence from the beginning,” McClure says. “The appropriate additive enables discarded plastics to biodegrade in an anaerobic environment and convert into clean energy.”

Reuse and recycling get most of the attention in assessing the ecological impact of packaging. However, it is just as important to take into account all aspects of a packaging material’s life, not just the end.

Want to learn more about environmentally-friendly packaging choices? Contact us for a free sample and download our Air-Assist brochure.

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Will Flexible Packaging and Robotics Revolutionize the Food Supply Chain?

They do not get sick or slack off (unless something needs fixing), their job performance is always consistent, and they can almost always work faster than humans. That is why robotics are at the leading edge of the automation revolution that is increasing productivity across all sectors of American manufacturing. Read more

Food Safety at Every Step of the Packaging Process: What You Should Know

Food safety is not just a manufacturing concern. At every step of the packaging process, there is an opportunity to support or unwittingly undermine product freshness and safety for consumers. An error or miscalculation can ripple throughout the company and ultimately echo across the industry, putting manufacturers, suppliers, transportation providers, and consumers at risk.

While it is impossible to predict every potential food safety hazard, your diligent efforts can make a difference for everyone in the chain, including the end user. For every packaged food, there is a safe solution with the lowest level of risk. Through close examination of your processes and  collaboration with your supply chain partners, you can identify it.

Food Packaging as a Potential Ingredient 

Packaging and the food that it contains are not really separate entities. Contact with food makes packaging a potential food additive, which is why the FDA regulates all materials that contact food.

According to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act,  a food additive is “any substance” that may become a component of food or alter the characteristics of food. As it applies to packaging, the scope of the Act includes coatings, plastics, adhesives, colorants, and any other packaging component.

Food ingredients, preparation methods, packing and storage temperatures, and a host of other factors can affect the integrity of food packaging in numerous ways. For example, fatty foods can cause delamination of certain packaging materials, says Food Safety magazine. If compromised packaging then contacts a moldy surface, you could have a new and unpleasant food ingredient.

Flexible Film Packaging Offers Various Options for a Range of Food Products

No single packaging material can be all things to all types of food. Take the oily food example. With the right material to help prevent fat migration, packaging retains its integrity and food keeps a predictable level of freshness.

Foods that require pasteurization need packaging that resists high heat. Acidic foods, dry goods such as grains, and even water introduce risks when the wrong packaging material is selected. With flexible materials, you can customize the package to the food and other factors in the process. Food transportation is another consideration, and so are the conditions where packaged food is stored.

Flexible materials provide a range of choices plus a level of data collection and tracking that is unique in the food packaging industry. Every film, seal, seam, pouch, bag, and liner is testable for regulatory compliance. If a problem emerges, there is a chain of data to track it and identify the source so you can correct it.

Flexible packaging

It takes a team effort to identify and nip food safety hazards in the bud.

Ongoing Testing Helps Control the Risk of Food Safety Hazards

Working collaboratively with a flexible food packaging manufacturer helps you choose the right materials, but that is just the beginning. Strict and continual monitoring help you stay on top of packaging performance because nothing is really static in food manufacturing.

Manufacturing conditions may change. A new food ingredient may be introduced, such as a different oil. A new transportation provider might land your contract. The government could introduce new standards for residential microwave ovens. When any part of the process changes, including at the end-user level, monitoring and testing help you understand the scope of its effect.

Process audits, chemical migration testing, end-user considerations, and letters of compliance are just a few measures that Trace Grains recommends for controlling food safety issues before they emerge. Flexible food packaging enables a high level of data and testing for compliance in an industry that is increasingly complicated.

Every step of the packaging process can affect food safety in a positive or negative way. Although myriad factors can develop along the chain before the product reaches the end user, food manufacturers are ultimately responsible. Fortunately, flexible materials help you work proactively, not reactively, making course corrections in time to prevent a widespread food safety hazard.

If you are searching for a better food packaging solution, we have answers that can help. Contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure today.

How to Choose the Right Flexible Packaging Material

Who would have imagined 30 years ago that thin, lightweight packaging could give so many other materials a run for their money? Flexible packaging is the fastest growing segment in the market, and for good reason.

Flexible materials are not one thing, but many different things that can safely contain a wide range of products. More than just a pouch or a bag, they offer numerous container possibilities. From beverages and fresh foods to sauces and dry goods, there is probably a flexible film that can handle your job better than its closest competitor.

Here is how to fine-tune the right selection for your application.

From How Many Different Types of Film Can You Choose?

Flexible film packaging is plastic broadly, but with lots of variations. For example, polyethylene (PE) is one of the most versatile, popular, and widely-used flexible films. Polypropylene (PP) is another, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is another common material. Some packaging uses foil laminates and others combine semi-rigid plastics with flexible films for a custom container.

These are some of the numerous flexible packaging options available:

  • Low-density polyethylene
  • Linear low-density polyethylene
  • High-barrier foil
  • Oriented nylon
  • Co-extruded nylon/EVOH

Each film has inherent properties and performs better in some applications than in others. Your choice of film or film combinations lets you fine-tune the material to the product and supply chain. Whether you need top-lidding films, pail liners or bag-in-box solutions, there’s probably a flexible film that can work for you.

Flexible packaging

Improvement for one link in the supply chain could create an issue for another, so think broadly.

What Does Each Link in Your Supply Chain Need?

Does your product require sterilization? Does it need support for enhanced shelf life? Is there significant transportation time involved? What are the storage limitations at each level? Can you, or should you, invest in new filling equipment? The flexible film liner you choose must answer these questions and many others, as packaging is a much broader topic than just containing a product.

Switching to flexible packaging affects storage and transportation. While transportation costs are typically lower, stacking and storage must be considered if the materials vary greatly from your existing packaging.

These are just a few issues to think about when selecting your next flexible film packaging:

  • Cost effectiveness, including hidden costs such as new filling equipment, at all levels of the supply chain
  • Green initiatives at every level
  • Enhancing product shelf life through barrier films and tamper resistance
  • Reducing product waste with better filling, dispensing, opening, and resealing options

How Quickly Can Your Choice Go from Concept to Production?

Perhaps one of the most flexible aspects of flexible film packaging is its ability to quickly adapt to your needs. Switching from one glass or aluminum container to another requires significant planning and ample lead time. The effects of the change ripple out to every link in the supply chain, all the way to the end user. Switching to a new flexible film liner is much quicker and often results in lower costs.

Some flexible materials are produced quickly and lend themselves to customization virtually on the line. For example, one film may cut to numerous different dimensions, depending on what you need, and ship without any significant production delay. With rigid materials, you would encounter a whole new design and fabrication process that requires weeks or months to fulfill.

Flexible films are changing the way that the world approaches packaging. Comparatively thin, lightweight, strong, and versatile plastics can create protective bin liners, bag-in-box systems, and a host of solutions for your food manufacturing business.

At CDF Corporation, we offer numerous choices in films and protective barriers that help keep costs low, improve product freshness, and support the efforts of production, transportation, storage, and, ultimately, the end user. Contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure today.

Reduce Hazards with Anti-Stat Drum and Pail Liner Choices

Static electricity is not just the annoyance that zaps your finger, makes your hair stand on end, and makes your clothes cling. It can be a killer.

Static electricity is the precipitating agent in many industrial accidents caused by improper handling of liquids, powders, and bulk solids. Such products can build up electrostatic charges as they are being conveyed, filled, discharged, or otherwise put in motion. If the equipment and the bulk packaging that handles the material is not properly designed, and safety procedures like grounding are not followed, a spark caused by static electricity can ignite an explosion which could have deadly consequences.

Most industrial accidents caused by static electricity occur in facilities that handle plastics, fuel, solvents, paints, and other highly flammable materials. However, food manufacturing plants are by no means immune. According to Health and Safety Executive, sugar, flour, custard powder, instant coffee, dried milk, potato powder, soup powder, and other powdered or bulk solid foods have the potential for static electricity explosions. One of the worst such accidents in modern history occurred in 2008 at the Imperial Sugar refinery near Savannah, Georgia, killing 14 people and injuring 42 more.

“Unfortunately, these hazards are generally not as well recognized as they should be, but they constitute a serious safety concern for manufacturers and their employees,” Caitlin Lucia, a senior process engineer at Campbell Soup Co., told Food Manufacturing magazine. “They can also be a potential hazard for the communities surrounding production facilities.”

Understanding Conductivity

One of the most important factors in static electricity explosions is the conductivity of equipment and packaging. Materials with low conductivity (i.e., high electrical resistance) constitute a greater danger, because they allow the buildup of electrons on their surfaces, raising the potential of sparking. The risk of explosion rises with finely ground product, and when flammable materials like edible oils, solvents, or cleaning chemicals are used close to potential sources of electrostatic sparks.

Drum and pail linersFood plants often use plastic liners with steel drums and pails for improved sanitation and evacuation efficiency. Unfortunately, plastic is an inherently non-conductive material, which, as noted above, raises the risk of sparking. However, specially treated plastic can greatly reduce that risk. CDF Corp. offers antistatic drum and pail liners that dissipate electrostatic charges before they can build up and cause sparking.

These liners are available in both military-specification (mil-spec) and NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards. The difference is basically in the parameters of the tests that the materials must pass to meet the standards. Differentiating factors include how long it takes a surface static charge to decay, at what temperature and humidity. (Generally speaking, the MIL standard is stricter.)

Anti-stat liners have benefits beyond reducing the risk of sparks. They reduce clinging dust for improved sanitation and appearance; they provide protection against drum and pail corrosion; and they protect drums and pails for longer life.

To learn more about all the anti-stat products offered by CDF, contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure today.