5 Factors to Consider When Choosing a UN Packaging Supplier

UN-certified packaging is a world apart from other packaging materials. It might look the same in many ways, but the UN-Certified label indicates that there is much more happening under the surface. Certification is not a one-and-done solution. For every hazardous product, there are many factors that are tested for compliance with the most recent UN regulations.

If you are looking for your first UN-certified packaging supplier or want to find a better one, here are five important factors to consider.

#1: Does the Packaging Supplier Have Appropriate Certifications and Experience?

Ultimately, the responsibility for selecting and implementing UN-certified packaging lies with the product manufacturer. It is in your best interest to choose a packaging supplier whose certifications and experience combined give you the highest likelihood of being compliant with regulations and staying that way.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) explains that it is easy to take safety for granted. Certifications matter because they prove fitness of the packaging materials for their purpose. However, experience with UN-certified packaging is as important as any document.

#2: Is the Packaging UN-Specified, Tested and Certified?

UN-certified packaging has several classifications, which mirror the product classifications for materials that the packaging can safely contain. IATA says product classification is “critical to choosing the right packaging system.” That is because there is no standard or one-size-fits-all solution, even within the same product class.

Not only is the packaging required to have little or no interaction with the contents, it must also perform safely and dependably under numerous conditions. Falls, stacking, and atmospheric conditions are a few of the factors about which you should be concerned.

UN certified packaging

Un-certified packaging is only as good as the weakest link in packing, storage, and transportation.

#3: Can the Packaging Stand up to Packing, Storage, and Transportation Conditions?

There is no way to account for every imaginable risk. However, you can account for the most likely risks as well as those with the highest potential for compromising the packaging and product and putting the public at risk of exposure. Testing and pairing the product with the right packaging classification helps ensure the UN-certified system you choose can withstand the unique conditions throughout the whole supply chain.

Maybe the packaging performs as expected during filling, but what if there is a machinery malfunction? Stacking and storage practices might complement the packaging materials, but if a forklift tips over, a pallet breaks or there is a vehicle accident during transportation, what happens then? Performance Oriented Packaging or POP, says IATA, is critical for safely filling, containing, transporting, and storing hazardous materials.

#4: Does the Packaging Supplier Perform Ongoing Production Checks?

Initial testing results are only a baseline. They cannot guarantee future performance because there are so many factors, including the people who handle it, that can affect the effectiveness of UN-certified packaging.

Ongoing performance for UN-certified packaging depends heavily on continual testing and production checks. If there is a weak link in the chain, production checks can find it before it compromises the packaging, your business, and the public.

#5: Does the Supplier Stay Current on All Existing Laws and New Regulations?

UN-certified packaging that is manufactured today might differ a great deal from what is manufactured in the future. Legislation changes frequently, about every two years. As the UN system of certification advances, new regulations may change the types of flexible films, liners, taps, and seals that are built into the product.

New regulations could create a ripple effect that alters the way you pack, transport, and store hazardous materials tomorrow. If your packaging supplier stays in tune with the industry, you are all set. Updated legislation in the future will be factored into materials manufacture as well as baseline testing and production checks, which protect your company and the public.

Products that put the public and the environment at risk are ever present. The UN standards for safe packaging were developed to minimize the risk of exposure as much as possible using the materials and technology available today. Because technology marches on, expect regulations to change and evolve.

Having passed rigorous testing, CDF’s UN-certified bag-in-box allows you to transport a wide array of goods domestically and internationally. Download this data sheet to learn more about CDF’s UN-certified bag-in-box packaging and how it will help you keep your business moving.

Yes! Read the UN-Certified Bag-in-Box Data Sheet

Top Trends in Transparent Barrier Films for Flexible Packaging

Generally speaking, flexible bulk packaging for industrial-use food ingredients has not been known for transparency, for a couple of reasons.

The technical reason is that, until recently, it was hard (if not impossible) to make flexible film with the right barrier qualities. The marketing reason is that there was no marketing reason, at least when it came to bulk ingredient deliveries to food plants.

Treating Food Manufacturers Like Consumers

The appeal of flexible packaging for consumer applications is that it allows consumers to see the product while they make up their minds whether to buy. That obviously is not a factor in bulk ingredients that get purchased sight unseen and shipped to a plant in a flexible intermediate bulk container or bag-in-box.

Flexible packagingHowever, industry suppliers and players are seeing through the conventional thinking on transparency, so to speak. It turns out that technical advances in film construction can give transparent flexible film the barrier qualities and recyclability needed to rival opaque film. When that is the case, why not treat food plant personnel like consumers? Why not give them the reassurance and satisfaction of being able to eyeball bulk ingredients coming into the food plant to confirm visually that they have the right color and internal consistency?

Transparent Food Packaging Films Market Anticipating Growth

Overall, sales of transparent food packaging films will grow by about 6 percent a year, according to market research firm Technavio. Such film protects food as well as rigid packaging while letting consumers see it, without the expense, weight, and fragility of glass.

Film producers are using polymer additives that allow them to maintain transparency while achieving barrier properties as good as those of aluminum foil, Technavio analyst Shakti Jakhar told Packaging Strategies.

“Many manufacturers are adding additive agents in polymers to get more moisture and vapor resistance,” Jakhar says. “By doing so, they can replace the requirement of aluminum foil to some extent, which can bring some percentage of sustainability in their business divisions.”

One of the traditional ways to achieve high barrier properties in transparent films has been to use chlorine-based additives. However, this adds to carbon emissions during manufacturing and compromises the film’s recyclability. Innovations in film composition have led to the development of high-barrier transparent film without chlorine, while other innovations in recycling have allowed for eco-friendly disposal of chlorine-added films.

For instance, Enval, a waste-handling firm based in England, has developed a disposal process that involves burning chlorine-laden film in an oxygen-deprived chamber. The resulting residue of liquid carbon and carbon gas can then be used as fuel.

Advantages for Transparency in Bulk Containers

Why would food suppliers consider using transparent packaging for shipment of bulk ingredients to food plants? The answer is simple. Using transparent film for bulk ingredient packaging can help ingredient suppliers show their food plant customers that they have nothing to hide. This small psychological boost may constitute an edge in a highly competitive environment where every edge counts.

Download our Bag-In-Box brochure to learn more about CDF’s fully recyclable bag-in-box options.

Preference for Flexible Food Packaging Drives Form-fill-seal Machine Market Growth

What is behind the steady growth in flexible packaging and form-fill-seal machinery? Manufacturer demand, in part. Customer demand plays an important role, as well. For food and beverage manufacturers, bag and pouch flexible packaging is the future.

Whether your business is only beginning to transition to flexible packing or you need to upgrade, here are four considerations for form/fill/seam machines and the films that make flexible packaging a reality.

#1: Form/Fill/Seal Equipment Should Improve on Every Need

Bag and pouch manufacturing accounts for over 43 percent of the global form-fill-seal machine market, according to Transparency Market Research.  With sustained demand for flexible packaging and a predicted increase in the coming years, the industry is entering a phase of quality improvements on all possible fronts.

Flexible packaging affects every link in the supply chain in one way or another. For end-users, freshness and convenience matter. Food manufacturers have more concerns. Machine speed, packaging quality, and cost effectiveness rank high. When one area, such as quality or cost, slips, the whole packaging initiative can suffer.

#2: Smart Machines Extract Data and Make it Accessible 

Today, smart machines do much more than produce a reliable product quickly. Food Processing explains that with the right software, manufacturers can capture valuable data that not only improves packaging quality, but also helps make processes faster with fewer errors.

Flexible packaging

Working with a flexible film manufacturer keeps you tuned into newer materials that can help machines perform better.

Smart machines can track and monitor data from seam seals to RFID tags. Additionally, they make the information available on demand from a smartphone or a computer.

#3: Flexible Films Can Maximize Machine Output and Enhance Packaging Qualify

Cutting-edge machines are only part of the equation for better products, performance, and costs. The flexible films that you choose work in tandem with form-fill-seal machines to help them perform as intended and produce the results that you need.

Better films and machines produce better seals, fewer wrinkles, a cleaner appearance, and ultimately a longer shelf life, says Food Processing. With technological advances in films, you could reduce costs and improve packaging quality at the same time.

#4: New Advances in Flexible Films and Machinery Promote a Stronger Industry

Flexible packaging and form-fill-seal machines are entering a new phase. With the growth trajectory of flexible materials continuing upward and consumer demand increasing, it is not a matter for many food manufacturers of whether to adopt form-fill-seal machinery, but how the next improvements will make business better.

Smart machines are a good indicator of a maturing industry. A larger available variety of flexible films is another. Now, food manufacturers can choose from more machine sizes to handle large and small packaging demands. Machine quality is improving, as well, with less downtime, fewer glitches, and less frequent repairs.

Flexible packaging and form-fill-seal machinery improve on so many food manufacturing pain points, it is no wonder the industry is experiencing consistent and relatively rapid growth. From manufacturer to end user, costs are lower, packing is better, and the quality of food is better longer.

If the array of films has you puzzled, work with a manufacturer who knows the industry now as well as what is on the horizon. Contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure to learn more about your options.

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