Factors to Consider When Making the Switch from Rigid to Flexible Packaging

The 2016 State of the Flexible Packaging Industry report showed continued, steady growth, making flexible packaging one of the fastest growing segments available in America. The Flexible Packaging Association says flexible materials grew at a rate of about 2.2 percent for $31 billion in sales that year.

Why should that matter to you? Because in the U.S. and around the world, flexible materials are not just growing in popularity, they are becoming one of the most technologically advanced options you can buy.

Chances are, you have at least considered whether or not you should transition from rigid or semi-rigid containers to flexible options. Before you make the switch, here are a few factors to ponder.

Is There a Flexible Solution for Your Product?

Perhaps the most important factor in deciding whether or not to switch to flexible packaging is whether it will work for you. If the product that you manufacture cannot be safely, easily, and affordably contained, the discussion is probably over.

Fortunately, there is an enormous array of flexible packaging solutions for everything from fresh foods to hazardous materials.

  • IBC liners use multiple layers.
  • Metallized polyester creates a safe water vapor and oxygen barrier.
  • LLDPE films offer crack resistance and durability in a general purpose film.
  • Co-extruded nylon is strong and guards against abrasion damage.
  • UN-certified materials protect the product and the environment.

Through laminating technology, you are not limited to one film only. Combining films lets you customize to meet the needs of the product, the filling machinery, handling practices, environmental factors, storage limitations, and end-user preferences.

Flexible packaging

Your transportation partner might love you for switching from heavy, fragile glass to light, durable flexible packaging.

Can Your Supply Chain Handle a New Packaging Material?

Switching to flexible materials affects not just your business but everyone else’s in the supply chain from the transportation company to the end user. If you switch packing to flexible materials, are your supply chain partners equipped to handle the change?

Flexible packaging is usually easier to handle, not more difficult. It is less prone to breakage and it is much more lightweight than glass, metal, or rigid plastics. Because flexible materials hold more with less, the same product volume takes up less space. There are fewer transportation vehicles needed and less space in storage.

Flexible packaging also helps keep costs down for everyone involved. In fact, cost reduction is one of the most attractive and universal benefits. Packaging Strategies reports that over time, the smaller, lighter qualities could translate to big savings in fuel costs, handling, storage, and product loss.

What are Your Green Manufacturing Goals?

Does your business have green goals? Many companies do, but there is a point where you might hit a wall. Rigid containers can only offer so much toward lowering your carbon footprint. Flexible materials are designed for it.

Unfortunately, when some people think “flexible,” they think “plastics that do not degrade.” It is time to put that notion to bed. Flexible materials are incredibly green and Earth-friendly. Here are just a few of the numerous reasons why:

  • Fewer raw materials
  • Significantly less packaging waste
  • Smaller dimensions
  • Fewer transportation vehicles
  • Lower fuel consumption
  • Fewer carbon emissions
  • Smaller storage areas with less reliance on fossil fuels for conditioning
  • Longer shelf life at room temperature
  • Recyclability (in some, but not all, cases)

If there is room to improve your green manufacturing practices, flexible packaging might be the answer for which you are looking.

No matter what product you manufacture, freshness is vital. Dry goods go stale, fresh foods spoil, and food-borne illnesses put everyone at risk. For foods, better freshness protection by way of improved packaging means less food waste and a lower risk of people getting sick.

One of the most relevant examples today is fresh food and water delivery to people who are desperate for it, such as those who have survived a natural disaster and people living in poverty-stricken areas. Some films also go from refrigeration to heat for cooking without the need for a skillet, pot, or utensils.

Flexible materials offer a longer shelf life, protection against contamination, UV resistance, and many other benefits under extreme conditions. Imagine how they can perform for you.

If you are committed to rigid packaging because it is familiar, think of the humble butter wrapper. It is flexible and it has been around for generations. Flexible materials have expanded beyond the feed sacks and sugar bags of 100 years ago because they work and showed great potential. Food manufacturers around the world are moving toward flexible film packaging now because it works better.

If you are on the verge of making the switch from rigid containers to flexible packaging, we can help. Download our Bag-In-Box brochure for more information.

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Top Trends in Flexible Food and Beverage Packaging

Flexible packaging is evolving almost as fast as films roll off the machinery. For the food and beverage industry, this means more choices, more solutions, and packaging that can adapt quickly to the tighter and more ecologically-aware needs of everyone in the supply chain.

Trends in flexible packaging lean toward creating better solutions. What are the current pain points in food manufacturing and how can the industry help solve them? Flexible materials are already known for certain characteristics, such as strength and lighter weight in a comparatively compact size. The horizon promises improvements on those and other fronts.

Advancing Film Technology Works for More Products

Food manufacturers that previously resisted the switch to flexible packaging have more reasons to revisit it. Flexible films and manufacturing technologies are advancing quickly with more and better materials available.

Film packaging manufacturers offer a variety of simple and complex films for different products. For more challenging food products, laminated films combine the benefits of two or more materials, such as oxygen and water vapor barriers. With custom packaging dimensions, you get a solution that is not standard but tailored to the manufacturer’s needs and the product’s requirements. Canadian Packaging says this dynamic nature is what makes flexible packaging poised for more industry growth.

Research and Innovation Make Recyclability a Growing Option

One of the initial concerns about flexible packaging is becoming less of an issue all the time. Recyclability was a stumbling block for some materials and the manufacturers that might have used them. That is changing with a push for more eco-friendly flexible packaging choices and research exploring alternative materials.

In the meantime, recyclability is already happening for non-food products. The flexible packaging that contains jams or dry cereals for a food manufacturer today may contain fertilizer tomorrow. Packaging Digest  notes that recyclability depends in large part on these factors:

  • Designs that make recycling easier
  • Improved recyclable materials collection
  • Better materials sorting
  • More variety in products that use recycled flexible films
  • New technologies
Flexible packaging

Metallized films upgrade flexible packaging to resist moisture, oxygen, and other contaminants.

Better Film Barriers Mean Less Spoilage and Loss

At the consumer level, there is a growing demand for fresh, convenient foods with lighter, stronger, and smaller packaging. Plastics Today suggests that meeting this demand determines whether or not food manufacturers can stay competitive.

With improved films and metalized materials with innovative packaging and filling technology, manufacturers can respond to market demand with packaging that:

  • Resists UV damage
  • Resists oxygen and water vapor infiltration
  • Resists oil transfer
  • Extends room temperature shelf life
  • Resists temperature extremes between freezing, refrigeration, thawing, and cooking

Green Guidelines Become More Attainable

Green practices demand packaging that is less of a burden on the environment. Downsizing with flexible materials helps manufacturers meet stricter guidelines and reduce the carbon footprint of everyone in the supply chain.

Firstly, flexible packaging is smaller than comparable rigid packaging so it needs fewer raw materials. Secondly, manufacturing is much faster so fewer emissions result from the manufacturing process.

Canadian Packaging says, “Manufacturing 780,000 flexible pouches consumes 87 percent less coal, 74 percent less natural gas, and 64 percent less crude oil in comparison to the manufacturing of rigid clamshell packages.”

The green benefits only grow from there:

  • Less storage space required
  • Less transportation space required
  • Lower carbon emissions from fewer trips to transport more product
  • Less product loss from both improved packaging durability and resistance to spoilage
  • Creative packaging design and taps minimize the need to decant into a secondary container
  • Lighter weight requires less heavy equipment to handle and store
  • For hazardous materials, UN-Certified packaging reduces the likelihood of a spill

The flexible packaging industry growth is supported by its versatility and adaptability. If a product changes, flexible packaging can change to keep up with it much more quickly than rigid packaging. If product use or storage conditions change, flexible materials keep up.

Consumer demand might be a driving force behind research, development, and wider implementation in flexible packaging. However, the benefits for the food manufacturing supply chain cannot be overstated. If you are ready to learn more, contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure today!

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6 Reasons Flexible Packaging Market Will Reach $202 Billion within Five Years

New research into the flexible packaging industry shows dramatic growth is still ahead. According to Persistence Market Research, Pvt. Ltd., whose press release was listed at PR Newswire, the global market is projected to experience a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 6.7 percent between 2017 and 2022. That is based on an industry analysis period that ran from 2012 to 2016.

The flexible packaging industry is not just hot in America; it is growing around the world. From sachet and pouches to bags, films, and wraps, flexible materials have come a long way since the advent of gum wrappers and sugar bags.

Here are six reasons behind the recent surge in popularity and its projected growth over the next five years.

#1: Flexible Packaging is Cost-Effective

Perhaps the most often cited reason manufacturers prefer flexible packaging is the cost. It requires fewer raw materials than rigid packaging options and the materials cost less. Manufacturing is quick, there is minimal waste, both during production and after use, and it costs less to produce. Over a million Americans work in the flexible packaging industry, so supporting it helps keep jobs stateside.

#2: There Is Growing Variety in Flexible Film Materials

Do you manufacture an unusual or uncommon product that requires a custom packaging shape, size, and transfer resistance? There is a film for that. Check with your packaging partner to learn what is available. If you gradually incorporate flexible materials into your packaging repertoire, you can monitor its performance and measure it against the rigid containers to which you are accustomed. Flexible packaging films range from general use to high-tech. There is also vapor barrier film and specialty materials that make packaging UN-compliant.

#3: It Helps Prevent Contamination and Extends Product Shelf Life

The threat of food contamination not only puts your business at risk, it also endangers the health and well-being of the end user. Flexible packaging films can block UV rays, air, water vapor, and oil transfer. Packaging seals are strong and machined in a continuous seam. They are inspected regularly, and cutting-edge equipment adds data collection to the mix. If there is ever a problem, you can track it to the moment it happened and make a course-correction. Food stays fresher, even on a shelf with no refrigeration.

Flexible packaging

Flexible packaging has something good for everyone in the supply chain.

#4: Flexible Materials are Lighter, Smaller, and Easier to Store

Glass packaging is notoriously heavy. Metal is not much better and in some cases, it is worse. Flexible packaging weighs a fraction of what rigid containers do for the same storage capacity. That is partly because you can store more in a smaller container without sacrificing durability, and it is partly because flexible films weigh less than the same volume of metal, glass, or rigid plastics.

#5: It Is One of the Most Versatile Packaging Choices on the Market

If your product changes or you decide to store more or less product than before, switching to a new rigid container could take weeks or months of change orders and manufacturing. That is not the case with flexible packaging. The films used in manufacturing are light, thin, and easy to manipulate. By reprogramming with new dimensions, you can change the size and shape of your packaging without significant downtime.

#6: Manufacturers, Retailers, and Consumers Prefer it

There is a lot to be said for making people happy. Flexible packaging does just that. It is the packaging of choice for consumers and retailers for many of the same reasons manufacturers prefer it. Transportation partners also appreciate the benefits. Smaller containers mean more product fits in one shipment than with traditional rigid packaging. Because flexible films are quite durable, there is much less risk of breakage, product loss, and messes to clean up.

The packaging industry is experiencing a revolution. Flexible materials have been around for generations, but modern flexible films take it to places it has never been. With projected growth over the next five years approaching seven percent annually, who knows what possibilities might arrive in the future? There is only one way to find out. Contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure and learn why the market is taking off like a rocket.

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How Do UN Hazardous Transport Regulations Compare to US Shipping Standards?

Whether shipping within the United States or abroad, hazardous materials or HAZMAT goods are a special case. Procedural norms for handling them can be complicated, especially when more than one country is involved.

UN Model Regulations guide the international transport of hazardous goods. While not a global rule of law, they are widely accepted. They also serve as a guide for developing and implementing regulations closer to home.

UN Certified Packaging Brings Continuity to Hazardous Materials Handling

One of the first steps in safely handling hazardous materials is classifying them. Is the material a flammable liquid or solid? Is it a gas or an explosive? The UN Regulation Model for dangerous goods has several classifications and they all require special packaging.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recognizes the same HAZMAT classifications as the UN  requirements. That is due in part to the need for consistency in handling dangerous materials, whether it is a domestic or international shipment. It is also because UN classifications are accurate. There is little reason to overcomplicate matters.

DOT Rules Apply Across Every Regulated Mode of Transportation

In the U.S. and many countries around the world, the predictable rules for hazardous goods are in effect for every regulated mode of materials transport. Lion Technology explains that whether it is by rail, air, vessel, or motor vehicle, hazardous materials transported within, out of, or through America are equally subject to regulation.

Many rules are the same from one American mode to the next, but each one is subject to special rules as well. As for international transportation, standards such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) take precedence. Again, they are all rooted in or very similar to UN Model Regulations.

UN certified packaging

Some HAZMAT containers have an expiration date.

UN Model Rules are Sometimes More Stringent

Just because HAZMAT packaging is safe inside the United States does not mean it is deemed safe for international transport. Daniel Stoehr of Daniels Training Services writes at New Pig that a good example is the plastic drum container.

In some ways, domestic and international regulations are the same. Stoehr offers these as examples:

  • The packaging must be officially authorized for containing the material.
  • The shipper has determined that the packaging meets general HAZMAT packing rules.
  • The packaging must be clearly labeled with its UN standard classification.

For certain HAZMAT packaging, such as plastic drums, additional DOT or UN requirements apply:

  • Suitable materials and strength for its intended use.
  • No recycled materials allowed without explicit permission.
  • UV protection acceptable if it does not compromise packaging integrity.
  • Every point in the packaging must meet strength standards.
  • Acceptable, standard size openings for filling, emptying, and venting.
  • Secure closure for removable head containers.
  • Within the maximum capacity and net mass dimensions.

For international transport, there is another regulation to meet. Packaging for hazardous materials may only be used within five years after the manufacture date.

The UN Model Regulations were developed by the Economic and Social Council’s Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Although they were created and issued as recommendations, the scope of research and level of subject matter expertise of the committee makes the regulations universally valuable. That is why the United States, as well as countries around the world, have created similar domestic rules.

Modeling domestic HAZMAT transport rules after UN specifications brings uniformity to industries that manufacture, package, transport, and store hazardous materials. DOT rules might not be identical in every instance, but they are quite similar.

Remaining compliant with UN-certified packaging standards requires working with a supplier that is innately knowledgeable with product and packaging classifications and the testing required to remain compliant. 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

Exploring the Role of Antimicrobial Agents in Flexible Packaging

Whether it happens on your watch or in the hands of the end user, spoilage is waste. It wastes money, food, and the time that it takes to start over again from scratch. If you want to really dig in, spoilage wastes crops, farm worker labor, packaging materials, and transportation costs. Antimicrobial agents could be a solution.

In flexible packaging, antimicrobial agents help control food waste by preventing the growth of bacteria. That, in turn, extends shelf life. It is an emerging idea that could take product freshness to places you never imagined.

Natural Antimicrobial Agents Help Control Contamination

Flexible packaging already offers a superior barrier that protects fresh foods from contamination. It is strong, so it does not carry the same breakage risks as packaging such as glass. The wide range of film choices on the market gives food manufacturers options for protecting acidic juices, oily salad dressings, and dry goods such as cereals, all of which have properties that can degrade or break some types of packaging.

The addition of natural antimicrobial agents enhances the durable and protective characteristics of flexible packaging. Instead of a barrier that only blocks UV rays and moisture, it also prevents bacteria from ruining the food inside.

Natural antimicrobials fall into the “GRAS” or Generally Recognized as Safe category for food additives. MDPI explains that depending on the packaging and the food it contains, they may include these and other agents:

  • Enzymes
  • Organic acids
  • Bacteriocins
  • Essential oils
Flexible packaging

Antimicrobial agents take shelf life from days or weeks to months or years.

The Benefits of Antimicrobial Agents in Flexible Packaging Go Beyond the Ordinary

Food contamination has a far-reaching effect that puts everyone from the food manufacturer to the consumer at risk. Not only do contaminants threaten the health of the end-user, an outbreak of food-borne illness can destroy the reputation and ultimately the business of the manufacturer.

Food-safe antimicrobial agents keep fresh food fresh longer, but that is really the narrow view. Edition Truth says the combination of flexible materials and antimicrobials could benefit everyone in the supply chain in other ways.

When food is less vulnerable to spoilage, more people have access to healthy foods. In disaster-stricken locations such as post-hurricane Puerto Rico, food delivery is more problematic than anyone predicted. Flexible packaging with antimicrobial agents could put healthier foods into the hands of people who have no ability to shop for it locally.

Here are just a few more benefits:

  • Eliminate or reduce the need for cold storage
  • Protect a vast range of products from pharmaceuticals to juices to ready-to-eat foods
  • Open up a broader range of transportation options through less breakage and smaller containers
  • Make distribution possible to farther-reaching parts of the country and the world where safe food is scarce

Consumers rely on safe, fresh food that will not spoil quickly or cause harm. Antimicrobial agents in flexible packaging are an emerging possibility that help food manufacturers, packers, transportation companies, and others in the supply chain provide it. The more the possibilities are studied and the more that the packaging industry learns, the better you can meet the needs of your company, your workers, and the family who opens a juice container at the breakfast table.

If you need better food packaging options, advancing technology in flexible materials could be the answer. Contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure.

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Ensuring Compliance with UN Transport Standards in the Chemical Industry

UN certified packaging

Anyone who doubts that flexible intermediate bulk containers can safely be used in any kind of application should check out their use for hazardous materials.

Flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs) and bag-in-box packaging are regularly used to ship hazardous materials under United Nations regulations. These regulations set out certain performance standards for various classifications of hazards.

These hazard classifications include:

Class 4.1: Flammable solids, self-reactive substances, and desensitized explosives

Class 4.2: Substances liable to spontaneous combustion

Class 4.3: Substances that emit flammable gases when they come in contact with water

Class 5.1: Substances that oxidize

Class 5.2: Organic Peroxides

Class 6.1: Toxic substances

Class 8: Corrosive substances

Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

According to UN regulations, FIBCs and bag-in-box can only be used for free-flowing solids in designated UN bulk bags. To earn the designation of “UN Bulk Bag,” a flexible bag must meet some rigorous performance standards while filled to 95 percent capacity. These include:

  1. Vibration: 60-minute vibration test
  2. Top Lift: Lifted from top and/or side and maintain 6:1 load for 5 minutes (i.e., a bag must be able to sit atop another bag one-sixth its weight without damaging the lighter bag)
  3. Stacking: 24-hour stacking test with no content loss
  4. Drop: No content loss at three different drop heights
  5. Topple: Toppled on any part of top without content loss
  6. Righting: FIBC on its side, lifted into the upright position, without damage to the bag
  7. Tear resistance: Knife cut cannot spread more than 25 percent of initial length

UN certified packagingThe Reusable Industrial Packaging Association (RIPA) recommends several best practices when FIBCs are used for hazardous materials. They should only be cleaned or subjected to otherwise routine maintenance; repaired or remanufactured FIBCs should not be used for hazardous materials.

“After routine maintenance, it is the recommendation of this Code that reuse for hazardous materials be restricted to the same product and the same prior filler,” RIPA’s guidelines state. “This will help minimize or eliminate concerns about the possible cross-contamination of a lading.”

Using FIBCs and bag-in-box for hazardous materials present many of the same advantages as in any application. Because they can be evacuated faster and more completely than most rigid bulk containers, residue is greatly reduced, which becomes an even bigger concern when hazardous materials are being handled. One-time use of FIBCs and bag-in-box eliminates the danger of cross-contamination. The frames of FIBCs can be folded flat and shipped back up the supply chain, for greater ongoing transport efficiency.

CDF’s UN Certifed Bag-in-Box Options

Bag-in-box is the ideal packaging solution for chemical, food, beverage, and cosmetic applications. CDF offers both form-fit and pillow styles to accommodate your packaging needs.

CDF’s UN-certified bag-in-box meets all UN requirements and is certified by a third-party lab following the Department of Transportation guidelines. Our 20-liter UN certified bag-in-box provides the highest levels of protection for transporting hazardous products requiring class II and III packaging. The 20-liter bag-in-box packaging endured four rigorous performance tests. The tests include drop, stacking, vibration, and cobb water absorption.

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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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.

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