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.

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.

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.

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.

3 Reasons to Transition to Flexible Packaging

Flexible packaging is no longer the curious cousin of rigid containers. Over the past few decades, flexible materials have proven their mettle in an industry filled with legacy giants such as aluminum, glass, and rigid plastics. As a result, more brands are making the switch for foods, beverages, and many other products. Are you ready to make the change?

If you wonder what is in it for you, here is the short answer:

  • Lower costs
  • Higher sales
  • Better overall performance
  • Greater sustainability and more eco-friendly options
  • Happy users throughout the supply chain

Here is how flexible packaging can help your brand meet the demands of a changing world while getting a stronger foothold in your market.

#1: Store More Product in Less Space

Storage is prime real estate in nearly every business. Whether it is in your processing plant, your warehouse, or with your supply chain partners, the more you can store in a small space, the better. Flexible packaging takes up considerably less space than more traditional rigid and some semi-rigid containers without compromising product quality. The space-saving nature of flexible materials also translates to fewer trips in a transport truck and lower carbon emissions.

That said, maximizing storage is a trade-off if you cannot access the product conveniently. That is another area where flexible materials excel. With a tap, the user can dispense only what is needed without moving the container or putting the freshness of the remaining product at risk.

#2: Reduce Hard and Soft Costs While Meeting Environmental Goals

One of the most challenging accomplishments in any business is balancing environmental goals with meaningful cost reductions. Flexible packaging merges the two in a product that is better than rigid containers. It is a win/win scenario.

Pack World VP Editor, Pat Reynolds, lists some interesting facts about how other businesses are meeting their goals with flexible packaging. Here are just a few of those stats:

  • Production costs drop by nearly 50 percent.
  • Transportation and shipping efficiencies improve by 45 percent.
  • 55 percent of brands that switched to flexible packaging saw better sales figures.
Flexible packaging

Wines and even beers (decarbonated for packing) stay fresh, and so do a host of other products.

#3: Flexible Packaging Works for a Wide Range of Foods and Beverages

“Flexible” does not just describe the physical nature of film packaging. It is also flexible in regard to the types of products it can safely and conveniently contain. Wines in bulk, dry goods such as grains, chemicals, paint, cosmetics, and many other products can all fit conveniently in flexible packaging without worrying about migration, breakage, or contamination.

Flexible packaging is “innovative,” says David Marinac, host of Ditch the Box, at LinkedIn. In consumer-faciing applications, it gives food manufacturers the freedom to design packages that suit the product. However, even when used solely for internal food manufacturing and processing, the variety of ways in which food manufacturers can put flexible packaging to use are astounding.

Nearly every set of statistics reveals the same pattern. Manufacturing and processing brands are switching to flexible packaging because it does a better job on virtually every front. It is customizable, which gives your product better protection against breakage and migration.

It is lightweight and stores more in less space, which maximizes your storage space and transportation budget. It is tough, smart, safe and ecologically sound as well. If your brand wants to step away from the ordinary and into the future with flexible packaging, contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure.

How Do FSMA Regulations Impact Your Packaging Choices?

From food growers to packaging companies and transportation providers, everyone in the American food industry is subject to the Food Safety Modernization Act or FSMA. Signed into law in 2011, there is no aspect of getting food to the end user’s table that is not affected in some way. With tighter, more comprehensive regulations designed to protect food from contamination being the new norm, flexible packaging helps you stay compliant proactively.

Test Packaging on the Front End to Help Control Contamination Risks

One of the most prominent features of the FSMA is prevention. It removes food safety risks before they have a chance to materialize. With flexible materials, you have access to rigorous testing before putting any material into your production line. Testing reveals how a flexible packaging film will perform for a specific food product under numerous conditions, from filling to refrigeration (and including heating in the case of cook/chill films).

Understanding the distinct strengths and weaknesses of the material lets you proactively address risks that could result in migration and contamination. It also helps clarify which films react best under certain transportation conditions. Testing helps you select the most appropriate food packaging material or combination of materials and guides other decisions such as refrigeration requirements.

Testing aligns with the partnership and shared responsibility approach of the FSMA. Not only does the act tighten bonds between national and international food safety agencies at every level, it encourages collaboration between food production, packaging, transportation, and retail stores. For example, your choice of packaging helps transportation companies meet their own FSMA Sanitary Transportation of Food (STF) goals.

Flexible packaging

Data from flexible packaging testing reveals the right materials for every individual food product.

Customize Packaging for Unique Foods

Recalling contaminated foods is within the government’s reach, but you know the old saying about an ounce of prevention.  At the packaging level, a customized container is better at preventing food contamination than something that is more of a one-size-fits-most solution. According to Packaging Strategies, flexible packaging design can directly affect contamination risks in a positive way.

Customization is difficult to achieve with some materials. For example, it is costly to produce a unique glass container for several different food products. Flexible packaging offers a choice between numerous films in a nearly limitless range of dimensions and packaging configurations. Packaging production has a faster turn-around time, and it is also more cost-effective.

Flexible materials can easily be designed from the ground up to prevent contamination. There is nothing more proactive than that. Package dimensions, barrier coatings, dispensing taps, and many other choices are possible in large or smaller production runs. The same choices are possible for an enormous range of foods and beverages.

Store in Bulk, Dispense Without Introducing Contaminants

Bulk packaging, such as for oils used in restaurants, trims packaging waste, but it introduces a food safety concern. Once it is opened, air, bacteria, and other contaminants can filter in. Smaller packaging could help, but you would lose the convenience and cost efficiency of storing in bulk. With flexible packaging, you can remain FSMA compliant and still enjoy the cost-saving and efficient nature of bulk packaging.

A dispensing tap transforms a bulk package into a storage plus daily use container without compromising freshness or introducing air, bacteria, or other contaminants. Sauces, beverages, and more viscous foods such as jams can arrive in bulk, dispense on demand, and guard against contamination with a consistent barrier.

One of the smartest iterations of flexible bulk packaging uses an air chamber that expands as the product is dispensed. It helps eliminate product waste. Thick or syrupy foods dispense as easily as liquids because the air chamber forces product through the tap.

The Food Safety Modernization Act takes the onus off one party and distributes evenly across everyone who handles food products in your supply chain. At each level, preventative measures cut contamination risks for fewer incidents of food-borne illnesses and product recalls.

Food packaging has a serious job. It has to contain food without breakage in the warehouse, on a pallet, in transport, and in service with the end user. Each step of the way, there is some potential for contamination that packaging must address. Flexible packaging manages every point of that journey. It is durable, compatible with new sanitizable filling machines, and offers numerous choices in protective films that keep food fresher longer.

To learn more about how flexible food packaging can help you meet FSMA compliance goals, contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure.

3 Flexible Packaging Myths Busted

Think you know all about flexible plastics? A lot of myths revolve around plastics, their uses, the effects on the environment and how they stack up against other packaging materials. What you do not know might surprise you.

In the interest of putting a few misconceptions about flexible plastics to rest, read on.

Myth #1: Plastics Leach Dangerous Chemicals into Foods and Beverages

Maybe you have seen one of the chain email hoaxes that have circulated for years. The details vary, but all of them claim that plastic containers, flexible and otherwise, contain DEHA and leach dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals into foods and beverages.

There are several myths rolled into the hoax, says the Canadian Plastics Industry Association  (CPIA).  DEHA is di(2-ethylhexyl) adipate, which is an FDA-approved plasticizer sometimes used in plastic wraps and other food-safe, flexible and semi-rigid plastic products. DEHA is not diethylhydroxylamine, says CPIA, which can be harmful in contact with food. Further, there is no evidence of a human health risk of using approved plastic food packaging that contains DEHA.

To add another layer of confusion, DHEA (not DEHA) is used in some flexible films such as food wraps. While fatty foods can absorb some DHEA, the International Agency for Research on Cancer says there is virtually no evidence that it is a health risk.

Myth #2: All Substrate Films Perform as a Migration Barrier

There are lots of variables in flexible food packaging and its ability to act as a migration barrier. According to Food Manufacturing, not every polymeric film performs as a barrier, and not every barrier works the same under every condition.

LLPDE or linear low-density polyethylene, for example, is a common barrier film, they explain. While it performs well as a barrier in some conditions, it performs poorly in others. Metallized films might give the illusion of barrier performance, but the reality might be more aesthetic than practical in some applications.

The truth is, the only way to know if any flexible food packaging film will perform as needed is through migration testing that accounts for the food product contained, environmental issues, and other variables.

Flexible packaging

Scientific testing reveals the conditions where any given flexible packaging film performs best.

Myth #3: Performance and Migration Testing is One-Size-Fits-All

A barrier film must be put through its paces under every known condition that it could endure. Only then can you know the strengths and weaknesses of any film used to contain a specific food product.

As an example, Food Manufacturing says the FDA has several factors for testing temperature conditions, some of which include:

  • High-temp at 121 degrees Celsius/250 Fahrenheit
  • Boiling water temperature
  • Hot filled at 66 degrees Celsius/150 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Room-temperature fill and storage
  • Frozen
  • Frozen or refrigerated storage for reheating in the same package
  • Irradiation
  • Cooking at 121 degrees Celsius/250 degrees Fahrenheit

Other migration tests may include the character of the food, such as whether it is fatty, alcoholic, acidic, liquid, or dry. Only after testing a film for its intended use can you know its limitations.

Flexible packaging materials can protect food against spoilage, damage, and migration. They are not perfect and there is no single, broad-spectrum solution, but FDA-approved plastics do not put human health at risk, either.

LLPDE might be exactly what is needed for one food packaging film. For another, HDPE or high-density polyethylene might do the trick. The key is learning the facts about what flexible plastic food packaging contains, how it resists migration, and whether it performs as needed under its intended use conditions. That is why testing is a critical part of choosing the right film for the job.

If your business needs flexible packaging that you can count on for safety and effectiveness, contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure today.

Why UN Certified Packaging Matters

Just like people, packaging needs a passport if it is to travel internationally. In the case of packaging, that passport is a UN number.

The United Nations has standards for packaging that is intended to transport hazardous material, especially across international boundaries. These are carefully calibrated to encompass the standards of major countries and international organizations, like the United States and the European Union. They rate the potential danger of the material being packaged, from extreme (level I) to medium (level II) to less (III). They also take into account factors such as the means of transportation, the distances involved, and loading methods.

UN numbers for packages carrying hazardous material are assigned by certification agencies duly authorized by the United Nations, which apply tests described in Chapter 6.1 of the UN Model Regulations. Individual nations have differing standards for how long they will accept a UN number. In England and France, the duration is five years; in Belgium and Holland, it is unlimited.

Whose Responsibility?

Generally speaking, the manufacturer/shipper of hazardous materials is responsible for transporting them safely. However, in most cases, manufacturers will assign their bulk packaging suppliers the responsibility of conducting the tests required to get a UN license and shipping number. These tests include stacking strength, drop impact, vibration resistance, and water absorption.

Most food products are not considered hazardous materials, but there are exceptions. For instance, bulk powdered products can present a risk of explosion, especially when the material is of high electrical resistance (which allows static electricity to build up). Certain types of edible oils can catch fire if exposed to high temperatures. Even without the question of hazards, meeting UN specs can help assure end users of bulk products, such as food manufacturers, of a package’s strength and integrity.

CDF and UN Packaging 

CDF Corp. has UN certification for its intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) with flexible interiors and its bag-in-box containers, as well as its drum and pail liners. CDF engaged Ten-E Packaging Services, an agency authorized to grant UN numbers as well as certification from the U.S. Department of Transportation, for the testing.

CDF’s bag-in-box and IBCs passed tests for the highest levels of protection for packaging that combines a fiberboard box with a plastic bag. The tests included dropping packages from 47.2 inches on their tops, bottoms, sides, and a corner; stacking them for 24 hours while filled with 669 pounds worth of product; and vibration at 4.1 Hz for one hour. The tests certified that the packages are allowed to carry Levels II and III hazardous material under UN regulations.

Want to know more about UN packaging from CDF? Contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure.