Repackaging the impact of food waste

As consumer awareness of the magnitude of food waste grows, Sealed Air’s Ron Cotterman says the time for retailers to implement more effective preventive measures is now.

Across the globe, one-third of the food we produce is wasted each year. That equates to some 1.3 billion tonnes of food, causing both economic losses and significant damage to the environment, according to the United Nations.

Where and how that food is wasted differs from country to country. In developing nations, most of the food waste occurs during the production phase (due to lack of sufficient refrigeration and poor infrastructure), with very little waste on the consumer side. More developed countries are very efficient at moving food to the point of processing and retailing, but large amounts of waste is occurring at the consumer side.

To highlight this growing issue of food waste, and to explore the opportunities that using innovative packaging can bring to retailers and consumers, leading packaging company Sealed Air recently released a report, Taking Action to Tackle Food Waste Challenges, as part of its commitment to reducing food waste.

The report highlighted the current impact of food waste in Australia and New Zealand, which currently stands at 8.3 million tonnes annually, at a retail value of $9.5 billion. In the average Australian and New Zealand household, consumers are essentially throwing $1000 worth of food in the bin each year.

The leading cause of consumer and retail food waste, according to Sealed Air’s vice president of sustainability Ron Cotterman, is the increasing amount of fresh foods demanded by consumers and their inherently perishable nature. “When you look at fresh food there is more wastage because a portion of the food will typically spoil or expire before it can be consumed,” he said. “So when it comes to opportunities to reduce food waste, [one solution] is actually to protect food so that it stays fresh for longer.

“In other words, increase the shelf life or the freshness of that food that otherwise might spoil. If you could make that last a week, two weeks or even longer, and maintain that freshness, you have a greater chance of reducing the amount of food that gets wasted across the supply chain. That is either in retail or food service but also increasing the amount of food that gets consumed in our households.”

According to Sealed Air’s study, 83 per cent of retailers in Australia and 90 per cent of retailers in New Zealand believe shelf life is critical to reducing shrink. When it comes to an increase in profits by controlling shrink, Australian retailers forecast this to be four per cent, while retailers in New Zealand forecast six per cent.

Sealed Air is taking action to address this is by offering food processors and retailers packaging solutions that extend shelf life, improve food safety and consequently lower costs. One example of this is Cryovac Darfresh; a vacuum packaging that provides a unique combination of longer shelf life and more dramatic product presentation. In this innovative package, the food product itself enables the finished package to have a smooth, skin-tight appearance that appeals to consumers while also giving them more time to enjoy the fresh product.

But packaging is just one solution to the food waste problem. Today, most retailers respond to the crisis when products are close to expiration and need to be consumed or donated in some way. However, Cotterman said alternative action can be taken. “We are seeing a number of retailers participating with organisations to donate food so that it doesn’t end up going to a landfill or disposed of in another way, but there is another action that retailers can take,” he said.

“That action is to look at the food they are wasting and prevent that waste in the first place. In other words, better analytics, better inventory management to know what food categories are spoiling and why, and to then work to extend shelf life so that food ultimately does not need to be donated,” he said.

Darfresh on Tray by Sealed Air.
Darfresh on Tray by Sealed Air.

 

 

“The ability to be ahead is key to extending shelf life, labelling food properly and then informing the consumer about the best ways to store and use that food.”

Traditionally, Sealed Air has focused on its state-of-the-art methods of extending the shelf life of foods through packaging solutions. But more recently, it has been trying to understand how data from the supply chain can be utilised and what kind of data and measurements it can make within its customers’ facilities. Ultimately this will flow through to retail, and hopefully in the future to consumers to ensure transparency in the entire supply chain.

“We talk a lot about the Internet of Things (IoT) and data, but let’s apply that very specifically to the amount of food that is being wasted,” said Cotterman. “Let’s use the techniques that are available in other market sectors and apply them to the food industry to manage one of our most valuable resources:  fresh, nutritious food.”

“The retail supply chain will have a key role in reducing food waste; predominantly that’s through data management. So, understanding the sources of food waste across the supply chain and the interventions that can occur across those points is going to be absolutely key.”

When it comes to the role of consumers in reducing food waste, education is pivotal in helping them recognise the problem and to consequently drive behaviour that will result in less waste. As part of this effort, Sealed Air is investigating how it can address consumer misconceptions around packaging and its effect on the environment.

The company conducted a Harris Poll that revealed nine out of 10 consumers view packaging to be worse for the environment than food waste. In reality, said Cotterman, the opposite is true.

“If you do a very analytical study and look at the environmental impact of food waste, and compare that to the environmental impact of packaging, you can show that food waste is significantly worse, almost an order of magnitude greater than the environmental impact of the packaging used to protect it. So we have been looking how we can use information on the packaging that informs the consumer why certain products are packaged the way they are.”

“We think that by educating the consumer on the value of increasing the shelf life and providing extra time and convenience in the use of that food, will ultimately give them the ability to reduce the amount of food that they waste,” he said.

Confusion over labelling is also a big contributor to food waste. Terms such as ‘use by’, ‘sell by’ and ‘best by’ are used interchangeably by processers, and create a lot of confusion, causing consumers to throw food away before it is actually spoiling.

One solution being addressed today by governments and industry experts is standardising and clarifying food date labelling.  As a result the two standards occurring globally now are ‘best if used by’ and ‘expires on’. The first is used for food that reaches a maximum freshness by a certain time period but is still safe to consume for some period after that date.  The second tells the consumer that after that date, the food may no longer be safe to eat and consequently should be discarded.

The driving message around food waste, concludes Cotterman, is that no single company or country is capable of tackling the issue alone. Governments, businesses and organisations need to collaborate to ensure a more sustainable future.

“We are seeing large groups forming and coming together to try and determine where and why food is being wasted across the supply chain. [They are looking at] what sort of interventions, what sort innovations and what sort of technologies can be applied to the food waste they are identifying, how this can be prevented and how more food can flow through that system to the consumer,” he said.

“Innovation, education and collaboration.  By aligning efforts to prevent food waste, we can work together across the supply chain to come up with methods to reduce the amount of waste and its impacts.  This is good news for consumers, for the environment and for business.”

IoT has a role to play in reducing food waste.
IoT has a role to play in reducing food waste.

The food factory of the future will be smart, connected and collaborative

Smart factories with efficient and fully connected supply chains are critical to manufacturing innovation.

Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution – has opened new market possibilities and enabled manufacturers to be more responsive to customer driven trends.

Manufacturing is undergoing a digital transformation.

Significant advances in technology, including big data and analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and additive manufacturing, are changing manufacturing operations globally.

“It’s all about collecting and analyzing data to improve efficiency,” says Chris Probst, Omron’s Automation Technology Product Manager.

“The amount of data doesn’t matter – it’s what you do with the data that counts,” he says.

This was one of the key messages from Omron’s Food & Packaging Seminar “Smart Factory Solutions with IoT Technology” held in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane last week.

At the seminars Omron, a global leader in automation, unveiled its latest smart factory solutions encompassing Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

This included the latest applications in robotics, machine vision, safety, big data, traceability, PackML and IO link.

Omron’s team of experts showed how the new technologies can increase productivity and improve profitability in the Food & Packaging sectors.

Mr Probst said many Australian companies are now talking about the Internet of Things (IoT) technical revolution, but not many are prepared for it.

“Companies that embrace new technologies will be better positioned to adapt to changing marketing conditions and customer needs,” Mr Probst said.

They can also boost productivity by up to 30 percent.

“This is the next generation of manufacturing where people and machines work together,” said Mr Probst.

Mr Probst has no doubt collecting data – and using it to measure performance – holds the key to the future for Australian manufacturers.

Hal Varian, professor of information sciences, business, and economics at the University of California at Berkeley and Google’s Chief Economist agrees.

“The ability to take data – to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualise it, to communicate it – that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decade,” he says.

Mr Wei-Jian Ong, product manager for Omron’s Sysmac controllers based in Singapore, said data collection and analysis can help manufacturers streamline their operations.

“The collection of data is now vital for industry,” Mr Ong told guests at the Sydney seminar.

“The Internet of Things (IoT) is basically a network of devices with network connectivity for the collection and exchange of data.

“With IoT you can Monitor, Analyse and Act – you can coordinate and monitor your production line. All machines work together to perform at optimum level.”

An estimated 13.5 billion devices will be connected by 2020 worldwide.

Programs such as PackML, or Packaging Machine Language, are now being widely adopted by industry globally, Mr Ong said.

PackML is a universal programming standard defined by the Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC) and by the International Society of Automation’s Technical Report 88 which defines a common approach, or machine language, for automated machines.

The factory of the future will be smart_Omron smart factory2

The primary goals are to encourage a common “look and feel” across a plant floor and to enable and encourage industry innovation.

Omron PLCs can work seamlessly with databases such as SQL, which is the standard language allowing manufacturers to communicate with a database. The SQL database can collect huge amounts of data (Big Data), that can be used to measure the performance of each machine and increase yield.

With Omron’s NJ SQL version controllers you can send the OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) data from machine to database and then use that data with MES and ERP systems.

“Smart factories need to be more efficient and fully connected to their supply chains,” says Mr Probst.

“Omron offers the industry’s first complete and fully integrated robotic automation solution.

“All of the components are designed to work together.

“Our solutions are developed with Omron’s unified concept – to develop connected, smart, collaborative factories.”

And this is how the concept helps to boost productivity:

  • The Connected Factory – seamlessly integrating machine automation and corporate IT to generate, collect and exchange relevant data
  • The Smart Factory – intelligent data analysis and evaluation to predict maintenance issues and implement improvements to reduce resources, energy and waste
  • The Collaborative Factory – enhancing the interaction between humans and machines.

Omron’s automation solution oversees the entire packaging line, with horizontal and vertical integration, ensuring line coordination and monitoring.

To improve efficiency and improve productivity more factories now turning to robotics – using fixed (Articulated, SCARA and Parallel robots) and mobile robots (AIVs – Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles).

Omron AIV mobile robots use laser scanners and other advanced technologies that allow them to determine their own path, avoid obstacles and be re-tasked quickly.

They are now being used in a wide variety of applications across warehouses, distribution centres, manufacturing, automotive, food & beverage, hospitality, logistics, health & medical and other challenging environments.

“AIVs not only save on labour costs, they can increase operational efficiency,” says Mr Probst.

“Mobile robots are easy to deploy, with no facility modifications required.

“They work safely around people and can operate 24/7.”

Mr Probst said Smart Factories were also helping to significantly improve workplace safety.

And with improved safety employers can minimise worker injuries, machinery downtime and loss of production.

They can also save on worker’s compensation payouts, compliance fines, court costs and legal and insurance fees.

“The Smart Factory of the future will improve workplace safety, improve yield and traceability, drive down production costs and eliminate errors, says Mr Probst.

“This will enable a ‘flexible’ manufacturing revolution.”

The factory of the future will be smart_Omron-smart factory mobile-robot

Packaging company Ecolean opens Australian sales office

Over the past three years, Ecolean has rapidly expanded its global reach with several new offices around the world. In order to cover the important and dynamic markets in Australia and New Zealand, Ecolean now opens a regional sales office in Sydney.

Even though Ecolean has been present on the Australian market for the last ten years, as the packaging supplier for Bannister Downs Dairy Farm’s successful range of dairy products, the new office in Sydney is Ecolean’s first on the continent.

“It’s really amazing how well our complete offering fits these markets. Both the strong domestic market and the expanding export of dairy and beverages from Australia and New Zealand are searching for unique and innovative packaging solutions such as ours. Solutions that offers a comprehensive range of sizes for both chilled and ambient distribution, but also meet many important customer demands – such as differentiation and convenience,” said Johnny Sajland, Regional Director Asia North & Oceania.

The packaging industry in Australia is expected to grow from approximately 28 billion units in 2016 to 31.3 billion units in 2021, according to data and insights solution provider GlobalData. And both Australia and New Zealand are markets characterised by packaging that enhances the utility of the products such as on-the-go packages, sustainable packages and stand-out packages.

“Lots of consumers and the food service industry in Australia and New Zealand are keen on moving away from buying products in packages that don’t support a sustainable lifestyle. They realise that having your favourite dairy product or beverage in a package that is lightweight and takes up less space in the waste bin simply makes more sense,” said Sajland.

Ecolean’s packages are available in a comprehensive range of sizes, from 200ml to 1500ml for chilled distribution and from 125ml to 1000ml for ambient distribution.

High volume, high speed stretch wrappers

Food manufacturers looking for pallet wrappers that deliver speed, reliability, economy and safety need look no further than the Octopus Ring Pallet Wrapper from Signode.

The last step of many food manufacturing processes, pallet wrapping helps ensure products are not only secure and ready for shipping but also that they arrive at their final destination in good condition.

Businesses which use pallet wrappers want the process to be completed with a minimum of fuss and without putting staff in physical danger. In summary, they are looking for machines that are reliable, accurate, fast and safe.

Haloila, a member of the Signode Industrial Group, has been manufacturing the Octopus automatic rotary ring stretch wrapper for over 30 years. With over 6,000 units installed world-wide, these high speed systems are capable of wrapping up to 135 pallets an hour.

“Businesses which use the Octopus want to achieve a higher level of reliability, whether to cope with their current demand, or due to increased production necessitating a faster solution,” Andre de Wet from Signode (the exclusive suppliers of the Octopus range in Australia and New Zealand) told Food & Beverage Industry News.

Fully automatic, the machines employ the “Octopus ring method”, whereby the wrapping film reel is suspended from a ring and it revolves around the pallet. The ring is raised and lowered according to the wrapping program.

Because the pallet remains stationary throughout the process, the system can easily handle unstable or lightweight products. There are no centrifugal forces to cause stress or strain on the load or equipment.

As the ring can be accurately positioned in the vertical direction, wrapping can be started and finished at any height required. In addition, the Octopus provides optimal load containment while optimising film usage.

“We have a range of different Octopus machines, in various sizes to cover different sizes of operation,” said de Wet.

“We can spec a machine to particular needs, by modifying the ring diameter to match the ring size and different rotation speeds and/or dual film application to match required production output.”

Reliability

De Wet warns against businesses opting for cheap pallet wrappers. “If people are driven purely by price they will get what they pay for,” he said. “Very often we go into a facility and see that the company has invested in a machine that is not delivering – at some point in time someone has convinced them that the cheaper alternative will do the job when actually it doesn’t.”

Reliable pallet wrapping is important because it sits at the end of the production line. “If it fails, if this area stops, or is slow, everything behind it is limited. Because if you can’t get it out, there’s no point in producing it,” he said.

Features of the Octopus Ring Pallet Wrapper include a load stabiliser to ensure unstable loads remain intact throughout the wrapping operation and an integrated top sheet dispenser which provides automatic weather-proofing without taking up floor space.

Optional add-ons include the “Logowrap System” which automatically inserts printed stretch film to a pallet load during the normal wrapping cycle and the “Octomax” performance monitoring system which is designed to reduce film costs, eliminate downtime and simplify maintenance.

Safety and service

“Safety is a big thing in Australia. When I came here I was truly impressed by the attitude to it,” said de Wet. “Octopus includes multiple features, such as the RCS automatic reel change system, that keep the operator away from the machine during operation without hampering production.  We also have locking mechanisms that ensure safety during maintenance and easy access to motors by driving the ring down to a comfortable working height.”

As part of the installation process, Signode provides training for operators and in-house maintenance staff. This includes direction in the safe use and proper care for the equipment.

De Wet pointed out that service is an important part of the equation. “The fact that we have a local presence across Australia and New Zealand also assures that we fully understand the customer’s requirements when setting up the machine’s specifications,” he said.

Another recent development in this is “Octoface”, a solution that allows the company’s experts to interact with an Octopus machine anywhere in the world over a secure Ethernet connection.

“The way the world deals with data and interacts with equipment has changed significantly in recent years,” said de Wet. “Octoface allows our customers to monitor their machines wherever they may be located, allowing access to useful information about the wrapper’s efficiencies and production rates.”

Fully automatic, the machines employ the "Octopus ring method", whereby the wrapping film reel is suspended from a ring and it revolves around the pallet.
Fully automatic, the machines employ the “Octopus ring method”, whereby the wrapping film reel is suspended from a ring and it revolves around the pallet.

 

 

 

Accuracy

Increasingly, food and beverage products are being delivered to retailers in “shelf ready” packaging. Spices, sauces, potato chips and so forth are packed by the manufacturer in branded cartons which are opened by supermarket staff, then placed directly on shelves for display.

“We just completed an install for a company in the food industry where the problem was damage to cartons,” said de Wet.

“The problem was that when the stretch wrapper was applying the film to the pallet, it was applying it too tightly and was corrupting the edges of the carton. They couldn’t find a happy medium between relaxing the film pressure, and still maintaining a safe product/secure pallet.”

Octopus machines were able to solve the problem by changing both prestretch of the film and lay on force. By getting both variables right, they were able to keep a stable pallet without damaging the cartons.

“What’s special about our machine is we can control that lay on force within a load, so we can start high and reduce and increase within one single pallet wrap. Our prestretch is very accurate,” said de Wet.

2018 AIP National Conference calls for speakers

The Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) is inviting potential speakers to submit abstracts for consideration for its 2018 National Conference to be held in Surfers Paradise in May.

The deadline for abstract submissions is 17 November and the theme is Packaging Globalisation. The application can be downloaded here along with a list of topic areas for consideration.

Following a number of successful conferences the 2018 AIP National Conference, which will take place at the Marriott Resort, Surfers Paradise on May 2 – 3, will deliver a two-day educational program that will cover a broad range of topics relating to this theme.

The AIP National Conference is designed for packaging designers, technologists, engineers, sales and marketing people and is the largest packaging and processing conference of its kind in Australia and New Zealand.

Run by industry for industry the AIP National Conference has been leading the way in professional and personal development for decades and is a part of the annual Packaging & Processing Week.

The AIP has announced that, in 2018, it will also be hosting the 2018 WorldStar Packaging Awards, the 2018 Packaging & Processing Innovation & Design (PIDA) Awards and the 2018 World Packaging Organisation Board Meetings all alongside of the AIP National Conference; making it a truly international packaging event.

It is anticipated that over 25 countries will be represented during the week’s activities which will ensure that your brand, company and solutions will be promoted on a global scale. The exhibition area for the 2018 AIP National Conference will be the direct catering area for all of the activities during the week; including the pre-dinner drinks for the gala awards event on the 2nd of May.

 

HMPS wins SA globalisation award

Manufacturer of automated packaging machinery HMPS has been named winner at the Impact Awards 2017, which recognise South Australian companies with global potential.

HMPS was among a group of eight finalists out of a group of forty entries who had been judged by international business leaders to determine who would best represents South Australia’s future for globalisation. HMPS is recognised as having the capability to have a significant impact on global markets and generate high value opportunities for South Australia’s economy.

The judges were impressed by the year on year growth, advancement and ambition of HMPS.

In accepting the award, Mark Emmett (pictured left), Executive Chairman for HMPS praised the team and said that his vision for the company was always to provide jobs and a future for the young people of South Australia. Today the company employs 55 people from its head office and main production facility in Adelaide.

HMPS provides customised packaging solutions which are based on highly advanced robotic systems for manufacturing companies who must compete globally. “The technology also recognises that to truly compete against lower cost manufacturers, product quality and production line efficiency must also feature strongly. Their mission is to help manufacturing companies in high cost economies remain competitive and indeed thrive against low cost economies,” said Emmett.

“As HMPS grows, our requirements for highly skilled engineers, technicians and other qualified people will provide a boost for the local economy. There are significant opportunities for the company to take on new markets and generate prosperity for its own health, customers and for the good of South Australia.”

The award comes on the back of HMPS being named as one of the Top 100 companies in South Australia. According to Emmett, the company is focused on growing HMPS and the manufacturing sector of South Australia.

The Impact Awards are driven to assist with the globalisation of the South Australian economy, by focusing on companies with the greatest global potential to increase their impact on world markets.

HMPS appoints new CEO

Manufacturer of automated packaging machinery, HMPS has appointed Shaun Westcott as its new CEO.

Westcott is an experienced CEO who has developed and implemented strategies for growth in both commercial and operational roles. He brings with him a wealth of experience in leadership and development of multi-disciplined business and project teams utilising significant interpersonal and business skills to achieve outstanding performance in meeting business objectives.

His past roles have included senior management and executive positions in renewable energy, forestry, mining and beverage manufacturing. He has a keen understanding of lean manufacturing and developing an integrated value chain

“As our company keeps growing, we have identified a need for more systems and quality requirements which need to be met” said Mark Emmett, now Executive Chairman of HMPS.

“Shaun’s knowledge of operational procedures and his keen understanding of lean manufacturing is assisting us in streamlining our internal processes and offering customers a slicker and even more professional HMPS experience.”.

Emmett, previously Managing Director of HMPS, has now assumed the role of Executive Chairman and will still be fully involved with the business.

“I look forward to this new opportunity and the challenges it may bring as we continue to grow HMPS and our market share,” said Westcott.

Packaging companies Propac, IPG announce merger

Packaging manufacturer Pro-Pac has agreed to a $177.5 million transformational merger with Integrated Packaging Group (IPG).

IPG is Australia’s largest specialist manufacturer in flexibles, film and wrap – and operates five manufacturing facilities across Australia and New Zealand.

“The combination of Pro-Pac and IPG provides many exciting opportunities in the growing Australian flexibles packaging market,” said Pro-Pac CEO Grant Harrod.

“Pro-Pac’s expanded capacity to manufacture and distribute high-quality products will delight our customer base and provide us with a one-stop-shop offering.

“Pro-Pac will be a world class manufacturer without geographic constraints as we increase our offerings in key areas such as food service and agriculture film.”

The merger will also see Rupert Harrington, Advent’s executive chairman, appointed to Pro-Pac’s senior management team, bringing to the table experience in manufacturing, services, health and technology.

IPG’s CEO, John Cerini, will also be appointed to lead Pro-Pac’s Industrial and Flexible Division.

“The acquisition of IPG represents a significant milestone in the realisation of Pro-Pac’s vision to become the pre-eminent flexible and industrial packaging manufacturer and distributer in Australia,” said Pro-Pac chairman Ahmed Fahour.

“The opportunity to combine two very complementary businesses will deliver significant long-term value to Pro-Pac shareholders.”

Chep seals APCO Sustainable Packaging Award

Chep Australia won the 2017 Packaging Manufacturer Award at the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation annual Sustainable Packaging Awards last week.

The award recognizes Chep’s leading role in supporting sustainable circular economies with its share and reuse business model.

According to Lachlan Feggans senior manager sustainability at CHEP, the company’s core business objectives are directly linked to its 2020 Sustainability Goals and the company’s programs support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

“Aligning our sustainability goals to the United Nations’ SDG connects our business with global sustainable development priorities and provides a common platform to collaborate with key stakeholders on critical sustainability issues,” said Feggans.

“At CHEP we optimise the flow of goods through the supply chain, reducing waste and supporting the world to trade more efficiently and sustainably. It’s a unique example of a virtuous cycle because the more our customers share and reuse our platforms, the greater the efficiencies and environmental benefits of our networks.”

“When customers use our Reusable Plastic Containers, Bins and Pallets, over single use products, they are reducing their environmental footprint and supporting a sustainable future.”

According to Brooke Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Packaging Covenant, because the spotlight is firmly on waste and recycling there has never been a better time for Australian businesses to consciously reduce their environmental footprint.

“To effectively minimise waste going to landfill, sustainable packaging and supply chains are crucial. While there is no denying that much work still needs to be done – I feel it’s also important to acknowledge that there are great steps already being taken,” she said.

“APCO’s annual awards celebrate some truly amazing work being done to minimise the environmental impact of their packaging. CHEP has been recognised for achieving a 100% diversion from landfill rate for timber and plastic.

CHEP is a signatory to APCO in an effort to change the culture of business to design more sustainable packaging, increase recycling rates and support a sustainable circular economy. CHEP aims to assist customers to meet their sustainable packaging objectives under the new APCO reporting framework, due for release in November 2017.

Image: Meghan Jaspers (Account Manager, Retail) and Lachlan Feggans (Senior Manager, Sustainability) accepting the award on behalf of CHEP.

Ultra-high-speed case packer for food makers

tna has launched the tna ropac 5, an ultra-high-speed case packer for flexible bags that is capable of industry-leading speeds of up to 300 bags per minute.

Part of the company’s performance 5.0 packaging system, the new case packer is the first and only side-load case packer in the world that uses the company’s unique, patented semi-rotary bag stacking technology to quickly and efficiently pack small to medium, pillow-style snack bags into secondary containers.

With its innovative, highly compact design, the new case packer doubles the industry’s average case packing speeds, offering snack food manufacturers high throughput, equipment reliability and one of the smallest machine footprints.

Unlike the majority of case packers that employ vacuum pick and drop technology, the tna ropac is based on the company’s own semi-rotary bag stacking motion. Using continuously revolving horizontal platforms that can accommodate multiple rows of bags, the proprietary system is able to quickly and efficiently form, lower and side-load vertical stacks of bags into a secondary container such as a box.

As a result of this highly innovative, ultra-high-speed stacking technology, the case packer is capable of packaging up to 300bpm, making it the world’s fastest case packer for flexible bags. The semi-rotary bag stacking system also avoids bags being gripped and dropped by vacuum heads, ensuring that each bag is handled with the utmost care, minimising the risk of product breakage and missed bags.

In addition, the case packer features semi-automatic, tool-less changeovers that take less than 10 minutes to complete, offering manufacturers complete flexibility over bag and case size. Together with the overall simplicity in design of the case packer featuring a low number of moving parts compared to competitor models, the company’s innovative technology ensures that there is less wear and tear of the equipment’s components for superior equipment reliability, ultimate ease of maintenance and complete investment security.

The case packer also requires minimal power and air due to the low amount of pneumatic actuators and the semi-rotary action that avoids reciprocating motion. As a result, operating costs are reduced significantly and manufacturers are able to achieve a much more sustainable production.

Designed to use the minimum amount of factory footprint, the case packer is one of the most compact side-loading case packers in the industry and can be seamlessly integrated with any upstream and downstream equipment, including check weighers, case erectors and top sealers. With a width of only 1220mm, the tna ropac 5 was specifically built to fit in line of the VFFS system, enabling manufacturers to place a case packer after every single bagger.

It even allows for the installation of two case packers in twin configuration for the most efficient use of factory floor space. In addition, the case packer only measures 2120mm in height, opening up the possibility to add a case erector on a mezzanine floor level above the case packer, further maximising the use of the space available.

Packaging as part of the food waste solution

While there are clear humanitarian, environmental and economic reasons to reduce food waste, the solutions to the problem are not as clear. We spoke to Karl Deily, President of Sealed Air Food Care to hear his views on how to best address this problem.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that one third of all food produced globally each year is wasted.

Food waste also has major environmental implications. According to the World Resources Institute, if global food wastage were a country, it would rank only behind China and the US as the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter.

In Australia, according to the Federal Government, consumers waste 20 per cent of food they buy, while the commercial and industrial sectors waste around three million tonnes of food annually. All this is estimated to cost the Australian economy $20 billion a year.

The Federal Government has committed to reducing Australia’s food waste by 50 per cent by 2030. It will hold a National Food Waste summit involving government, industry, academia and the not-for-profit sector in November this year. The government has flagged the possibility of introducing incentives to reduce the amount of food ending up as landfill.

In other words, there has never been a better time than now for industry to address the problem. With this in mind, Food & Beverage Industry News caught up with Karl Deily, President of Sealed Air Food Care (pictured below) to hear his views.

Karl_Deily-4720

Where and why?

First off, Deily explained that food loss and food waste are two distinct things. The former includes food that is lost during harvesting, while the latter covers waste by the processor, retailer or consumer.

While food loss is still a significant problem in the developing world, Deily explained that it is not as significant in developed economies. “In modern economies around the world most of the food is lost at the retailer and consumer level,” he said. “At the retailer it can be as high as 12 – 15 per cent, with some produce items as high as 30 per cent on a weight basis. When you look at calories wasted, dairy and meat products are significant contributors.”

There are a number of causes for the food waste problem. At the consumer level, much of it comes down to a lack of awareness.

According to Deily, while Australia ranks relatively highly in this regard, globally “most consumers don’t feel that they’re responsible for food waste, or its not high on their agenda but they feel they contribute to it.”

In actual fact, throwing out food has a significant impact.

“If a consumer throws away 2kg of meat they’re not just throwing away the meat. They’re also throwing away over 2,000 litres of water, 1kg of grain, 23kg of CO2 emission that it took to produce the product, process it distribute it and get it to the consumer,” said Deily.

At the retail level, the causes of food waste are more complex. The issue of “ugly produce” or food that does not meet the cosmetic standards of retailers (or consumers) is one important factor. According to Deily, shelf life is another. Too often, supermarkets find themselves having to either mark down prices as products approach their “best by” dates or, worse still, throw away food that has passed this date.

“Everyone is grappling with the difference between best before date, use buy date, sell by date, etc. These can all be very confusing,” said Deily. “They’re based on a statistical model, [whereby] if you have a sell by date and the food is thrown away, 50 per cent of the food you are throwing away is perfectly good because you have to determine an average life for the product.”

He pointed to a proposal to simplify the system by introducing a clear “Expires On” date which would only be used for foods such as meat where food safety can’t be compromised.

Other foods, like yoghurt, would carry only a “Best if used by” date. Consumers would be encouraged to use their discretion (and senses) to work out if such foods are still okay.

Solutions

According to Deily, reducing food waste requires an end-to-end approach.

“We have to have logistics that protect the product through transportation. We have to have technologies that enable the retailer to merchandise the product in a way that minimises waste. Then we have to come up with labelling and information that resonates with the consumer,” he said.

According to Deily, packaging can be part of the solution.

“If you show consumers a cucumer unwrapped then show them one wrapped, they’ll say they want the unpackaged product because plastic has got to be bad for the environment,” he said.

However, what they don’t factor in is the fact that the packaged item lasts two to three times longer than the unpackaged item. Therefore it is more likely to make it to the consumer and less likely to end up as landfill where it will rot and produce methane (a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2).

Deily added that in the case of meat, when the whole supply chain is considered, the carbon foot print of the product may be up to 300-400 times larger than that of its packaging. “So we look at what technologies can we use to extend the life of the product as long as possible,” he said.

Emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) will play an important role in reducing food waste.

According to Deily, IoT can help with tracking product, monitoring product temperature, and even with inventory and management control.

“IoT through connectivity and Quick Response (QR) or bar coding can ensure the oldest product is shipped and consumed first. And that there is better coordination between what is sold at retail and what is needed to be produced for replenishment of stock,” he said.

This technology can even help the consumer.

“We’re working on some QSR code technologies through the IoT which will drive an improved engagement with the consumer and the products they buy. This will enable the consumer to better understand how to use it, how to cook it and whether it’s okay to freeze at the end of its shelf-life,” said Deily.

Benefits for businesses

Apart from its humanitarian and environmental costs, food waste makes bad business sense.

“Globally, it’s estimated that 1.2 billion kg of meat is thrown out at retail every year… Businesses are throwing away over US$9b of product that they don’t sell,” said Deily.

The good news is that cost and waste reduction go hand-in-hand.

To illustrate the pointed Deily pointed to a study Sealed Air did for a UK retailer. By changing the package format in just one food category the retailer was able to reduce the amount of food they were throwing away by 350,000kg and provide a new package format that appealed to the consumer. This equated to an increase of value of US$19m from reduced food waste and increased product sales.

“We have data to show that every dollar you invest to minimise food waste there is about a $14 return on investment,” said Deily. “This is why prevention is preferred over strategies that either recycle or recover food that is about to become waste.”

Sealed Air

Deily pointed out that Sealed Air, predominantly a plastic packaging supplier, is judged by some as part of the problem. But he maintains the company is part of the solution.

For example, the company’s award winning Cryovac Darfresh on Tray more than doubles the shelf life of red meat when compared to the standard Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) process. In addition, it produces no film scrap and up to 40 per cent less material waste.

Another product, the Cryovac Freshness Plus film includes components which absorb oxygen before it reaches the product thereby enabling significant shelf life extension of products such as avocado and bakery goods.

Food waste at the manufacturing level can be effectively managed through improved process technology. Deily explained that this is because the sector operates in a closed environment and can therefore ensure that all processes are monitored and controlled.

Pork producers, for example, make it their business to market and merchandise almost every part of the animal. Apart from food for human consumption, they produce animal food and can even make fertiliser through blood recovery techniques.

“A lot of the loss for processors is just losing some of the economic value, so we work a lot with customers on making sure they maintain the highest value of their product by improving the yields and operational efficiency,” said Deily.

For example, Sealed Air has implemented technologies for deboning a turkey breast as thoroughly and efficiently as possible. The company works in processing plants to help in ways that (directly or indirectly) help reduce waste.

Finally, Deily mentioned Sealed Air’s efforts to reduce food waste by smarter portioning. “We look to deliver product that can be portioned in smaller portions, in a manner that is good for the whole value chain.”

Around the world Sealed Air’s new packaging solutions and technologies are being recognised. Closer to home in Australia and New Zealand, Cryovac Darfresh for fresh pork and Cryovac Freshness Plus for fresh avocado won the votes of the judging panel at the 2016 and 2017 ANZ Save Food Packaging Awards. Each solution was able to significantly extend the shelf life, enable wider food distribution and access, all while reducing food waste.

Darfresh On Tray.
Darfresh On Tray.

 

 

Detmold acquires Heshan Innopak business in China

Australian owned packaging company, Detmold Group has reached agreement with United States based Novolex to purchase the Heshan Innopak assets and business. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of August.

Innopak is a subsidiary of the Burrows Paper Corporation which was acquired by Novolex in December 2016. Innopak manufactures a range of food wraps, paper takeaway, carry and industrial bags and food cartons in its facility in Heshan, Guangdong, China.

Detmold Group has been successfully operating in China for over 20 years, employing over 800 people and operating a substantial manufacturing facility in the Heshan, China area. Detmold Group will take over the Innopak operations and continue to manufacture at both sites ensuring all customers receive a seamless transition. All Innopak staff will be offered employment by Detmold on comparable terms, including local Innopak management.

“We are pleased to announce this acquisition, which is an important step in our continued growth in the China market. Detmold Group’s global customers will also benefit from the additional capacity and capability that this manufacturing expansion brings to our organization,” said Detmold Group Chief Executive Officer, Alf Ianniello.

“We hope that all of Innopak’s 120 staff take up our offer to continue their careers with the Detmold Group.”

Packaging for the meat industry: industry dinner

The Australian Institute of Packaging Victoria (AIP VIC) is running a joint technical dinner with the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), which will cover the latest innovations in packaging for the meat industry.

The speakers:

  • Madapusi Srinivasan (Associate Dean, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, RMIT University, Melbourne) will present a paper on ‘Polymers, Plastics and Packaging for a Sustainable Future’.
  • Alan Adams MAIP (Market Manager – Retail, Case ready Meat, Poultry and Seafood Sealed Air) will be discuss ‘Consumer insights into packaging vs food waste and behaviours that are driving change in retail pack formats in the Australian meat case. A review of pack attributes that can capitalise on these changing consumer demands.’
  • Michael Lee MAIP (Manager, High Value Food Frontiers, Meat & Livestock Australia) will be speaking about ‘the latest innovations, trends and opportunities in the meat industry’.
  • Stuart Shaw (Red Meat Business Manager, Scott Automation + Robotics) will provide an overview of current developments and innovative technologies being Implemented by Scott in the meat processing industry.

All of industry is invited to attend. The event takes place on September 6 at Box Hill Golf Club.

AIP to host the 2018 WorldStar Awards for packaging

The World Packaging Organisation (WPO) has announced that The Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) will host the 2018 WorldStar Awards.

The awards, which are the pre-eminent international packaging awards, will run as a part of the biennial AIP National Conference which will be held from 2 – 3 May at the Marriott Hotel, in Surfers Paradise.

According to AIP, WorldStar illustrates the continual advancement of the state of packaging design and technology and creates a standard of international packaging excellence from which others may learn.

The awards are presented only to those packs which, having already won recognition in a national or regional competitions, are compared by an expert panel of judges to similar packs from around the world.

APPMA to host Australian Pavilion at Propak Asia

The Australian Packaging & Processing Machinery Association (APPMA) will host an Australian Pavilion at ProPak Asia 2017, which runs from the 14-17th June in Bangkok.

The APPMA developed the pavilion as a way to assist Australian packaging and processing manufacturers and distributors to showcase their products and companies to the Asian market. ProPak Asia is considered Asia’s major international processing and packaging trade event for the food, drink and pharmaceutical industries.

Exhibiting in the Australian Pavilion is HMPS, Inox-Australia, OFS, Woolcool Australia, the APPMA and the Australian Institute of Packaging. BBC Technologies will also be exhibiting in the same area and APPMA Member companies Fibre King, Heat & Control and tna will be exhibiting on their own stands.

BBC Technologies will showcase the CURO-16 (pictured), which is the company’s innovative 16 heads filling system.

The Australian Pavilion will be located in Hall 99 at ProPak Asia 2017.

PE bags giving powder-type food makers a competitive edge

Twelve years ago, packaging with Polyethylene (PE) bags was only possible for coarse particle food products. In 2005, the introduction of new technology gave manufacturers of powder-type foods the opportunity to take advantage of this excellent packaging material.

PE bags are waterproof, UV resistant and clean. As such, companies that use this packaging material using Form, Fill and Seal (FFS) with powder-type food stuffs stand to gain a competitive edge.

Consequently, more manufacturers of products such as proteins, dextrose, flakes, icing sugar, cacao powder, starch and other powdered foods are packing their goods into this material.

Waterproof, UV resistant and clean

Depending on the requirements, the value-adding advantages of PE packaging are immense.

First and foremost, it offers durability, more security during extended storage and greater cleanliness throughout the logistical chain.

PE’s high level of water-tightness and resistance to frost make it possible to store products outdoors year-round, and in all weather conditions. This allows filling plants to produce at constant capacity over the entire year and to secure sales turnover during peak periods.

Manufacturers and end-customers gain more stock space and are better able to utilise storage space. The overall protection and high UV-resistance of PE means quality remains steadily high over long periods so end-customers are able to take on larger quantities without having to sacrifice quality.

Less transport and storage damage also result. Depending on the climate, storage and transportation conditions, up to 10 per cent of products packed in conventional bags might not reach the end-consumer in a proper condition because of bag breakage and humidity.

Powder-type foodstuffs-2

At the point of sale, bag cleanliness and uniform product quality add to increased customer satisfaction and thus lead to stronger sales. Attractive and customised packaging designs can enhance the manufacturer’s brand.

In this respect PE offers a number of possibilities. Plastic bags can be printed over the entire surface and in multiple colours with photo-quality images, product information and barcodes.

And that’s not all that PE bags have to offer. With options of using smooth or rough bags, or those with easy-to-tear PE material, water solubility, carry handles, re-sealable openings or the possibility to mix directly in the bag, there is a PE solution for almost any manufacturer. And when it comes to sustainability, PE bags can be made from renewable, compostable and biodegradable raw material and recyclable PE.

The path to advanced PE packing technology for powder-type products

Advanced PE packing technology offers a high performance system with a universal spectrum of applications and product-specific dosing and compaction systems. Machines are compact in size and require very little film because of the efficient compaction function, saving significant costs on the packaging itself.

The impetus for developing PE packing technology for powder-type products started when a customer of Haver & Boecker, a developer and supplier of innovative processing and packing technologies, expressed the wish to pack powder product into plastic bags.

Finding a solution was no easy task, but using the given requirements the company’s technical experts developed a completely new bag and filling concept in a compact design. Vibrating bottles and vibrating table or bottom vibrators provided the needed compaction.

In 2005 the first ever Haver & Boecker Adams packing machine went into production and quickly established itself on the market. Today over 100 machines are in operation in 18 countries worldwide.

Before companies opt for this technology, they can test their own products on the machine together with their own packaging.

A comprehensive support service, including training, is provided during the installation and start-up phases, and also later for maintenance and repairs.

Adams packing systems are available with the common performance spectrum of up to 2000 bags/hr and for a weight range of 1-10kg, 5-30kg and 15-50kg. With a steplessly selectable bag weight, the filling of pre-made bags from side-gusset tubular film, regular bags or flat film bags is possible.

The new standard

The packing of powder products into PE bags is seeing an even higher degree of acceptance by the market. End-buyers are opting for products filled in PE packaging or even directly requesting it because of their attractive store shelf appearance and other clear advantages like cleanliness and protection from the weather elements. It is becoming the new standard for packing powder-type products.

 

Alan Arbotante is Haver & Boecker Australia’s Manager – Packing Solutions

Data, food packaging and revolution

The relationship between machine suppliers and food makers has always more or less ended post sale. In the future, as Haver & Boecker’s Reinhold Festge tells us, Industry 4.0 will allow these relationships to become deeper and endure longer.

When the subject turns to Industry 4.0, conversations tend to focus on things like quality control, improved efficiency, labour market changes and food safety.

Haver & Boeker Germany’s CEO, Dr Reinhold Festge has a unique take on the coming revolution. “Through automation and Industry 4.0 we can now sneak into other companies,” he told Food & Beverage Industry News, with his tounge firmly in his cheek.

“We can stay with our machines. We can control how they work. We can optimise the function of our machines, provide wonderful advantages to our customers and help them be more effective,” he added.

“So I think the customers will like the change. We will know better what they are doing and how. And that is a big advantage.”

Festge explained that for packaging the first step was to automate the production line.

“We have a packaging machine, an automated back placer, an automated palletiser, and we have an automated shrink hooder. So we have the line completely automated,” he said.

In the years ahead, he added, manufacturers like Haver & Boeker will be able to access information from their machines, located in their customers’ plants. And the customers, themselves, we will be able to answer questions like ‘What do we have in this aisle?’, ‘When do we have to order new bags or new film for packaging?”, and ‘When do you have to order the trucks for loading?’.

“We will have a complete process that is very effective and very positive for both of us. That is a clear win/win situation,” said Festge.

How long will the revolution take?

“It is a development… a technical revolution. In our understanding in Germany, for instance, we have a time horizon of ten to twenty years.

“There are major developments still necessary to interlink all the components of machines, of one supplier with machines of different suppliers.”

In other words, all machines, whoever makes them, will need to be able to understand each other.

Haver1
Haver & Boeker Germany’s CEO, Dr Reinhold Festge.

 

In addition, the revolution will require the development of things wireless sensors that produce energy for themselves.

“There are many, many things to do still and we are just at the beginning, we are scratching on the surface,” said Festge. “We have not solved the problem yet.”

Filling & packaging technologies

Haver & Boeker develops and manufactures processing and packing technology for the food stuffs, minerals, chemicals and building materials industries.

The company has a suite of seven technology brands including Behn+Bates, a specialist in the foodstuffs sector which provides filling and packaging technology for food, animal feed and pet food makers.

Another of its brands, Fiege Filling, is a specialist for liquids including uncritical, foaming, explosive or flammable products. It provides customers with appropriate filling technologies for container sizes ranging from 0.5kg to 3,000kg.

Behn + Bates recently unveiled the Roto-Packer Adams Care-Line, its new hygienic form, fill seal (FFS) polyethylene (PE) packing concept for powder-type products.

“This is the first machine that can pack powdery products into water-tight plastic bags,” said Festge.

“We resolved the infeed of the product, the deaeration of the product.

“Before people could do it only in paper bags, for example, because the paper bag can breathe and deaerate through the wall.”

Using the Adams Care-Line, it is possible to achieve much better print quality than can be achieved with a paper bag. Display properties can therefore be enhanced and sales can be improved.

According to Festge, Industry 4.0 will ensure an exciting future for technology such as this and the packaging industry in general.

“Industry 4.0 will stabilise the future because it gives us the opportunity to graft the mechanical together with the digital,” said Festge said. “So we can graft smarter solutions for our processes.”

The complete package

Sydney-based Jet Technologies combines experience with international expertise to deliver complete packaging solutions. We spoke to the company’s founder and Managing Director, Albert Malki.

In 1967, a then 19-year-old Albert Malki began working in his family’s packaging business in Italy. A decade or so later, in 1981, he moved to Sydney to try his luck in the Australian packaging industry.

“I tried to act as a bridge between the industry in Italy and Australia,” Malki, Managing Director of Jet Technologies told Food & Beverage Industry News.

“I started with importing plastic raw materials for packaging as well as machinery for processing, such as extruders, printing presses, bag sealing machines, thermal forming lines and so on.”

In the early days, the business was a “one-man show”, operating out of a 60sqm room in Bondi Junction.

Since then Jet Technologies has grown significantly. “Today we employ 48 people all over Australia – most in Sydney, but we also have staff in Melbourne and Adelaide, as well as New Zealand,” said Malki.

Recently, the company opened a branch in Indonesia which employs 16 staff. “We pretty much copied the success of what we’ve achieved in Australia and New Zealand,” he added.

Apart from packaging, the company now also has printing and manufacturing divisions which are run by Malki’s sons, Jack Malki and Daniel Malki respectively.

The packaging division offers both consumables and machinery. It focuses a lot of energy on food packaging, particularly for the meat, coffee and dairy sectors.

Its product range include adhesives, smooth wall aluminium trays, filling and sealing machinery, degassing valves, die-cutting and roll fed lidding, coffee bags with valves, vertical form fill seal machinery, manual tray sealing machines with gas flushing twist-off closures, and tray seal machinery.

Forging key partnerships

According to Malki, there has been a major transformation in the Australian packaging over the past 30 years. In the 80s a lot of products, such as bottles, flexible packaging, and caps were made in Australia.

“Many of these manufacturers have either been taken over or merged with others,” he explained. “Or in some cases they have moved their factories overseas or in other cases they have simply disappeared.”

“I remember when there were around 50 [manufacturers] in each state. Now they could be counted on the fingers of one hand.”

During the 80s and 90s, Jet Technologies capitalised on this transformation by establishing partnerships with several major international suppliers.

_DSC2989 (2)
Albert Malki, Managing Director of Jet Technologies (centre), pictured with Jack Malki (left) and Daniel Malki.

 

“For example, when Amcor stopped producing twist-top caps to closures, we started importing them. And the same thing happened with lidding. That comes from the world’s largest manufacturer, the closure which I use for jars of tomato sauces, juice, and so on,” said Malki.

Today the company’s partners include Crown (a leader in metal packaging technology), Constantia Flexibles (part of Constantia Packaging AG), Italian packaging giant Goglio and others.

According to Malki, being associated with such heavy weights gives Jet Technologies a significant advantage over competitors.

“When you deal with big boys it really puts you in a situation where you can go with confidence to the market and if there is a problem you know they will always back you up,” he said. “That has always been my mantra.”

Complete solution

Jet Technologies offers complete packaging solutions.

“We take a look at clients, then supply them all the machinery and consumables they need – everything except the food itself!” said Malki.

“In contrast, there are many packaging providers that supply only the machines or only the case packer. Or maybe they supply only the filling machine or VFFS machines or some film.

Then, sometimes if they supply the film they don’t supply the aluminium or the paper.”

On top of that is the expertise that comes with 50 years’ experience.

According to Malki, clients regularly encounter technical problems. For example, they may not know the correct film structure for a particular application or may be unsure how to solve a problem of sealability when hot filling at high temperatures.

“Maybe they’re going to be sterilising the product after heating and that creates issues on the production line. They need to know how to cool off the product quickly after it was heated to 120 degrees celcius,” he said.

“It’s not that straight forward for someone who sells packaging to know the answers to all these points. It’s called experience at the end.”

The company offers extensive technical support. “Particularly in Sydney and Melbourne we have a very good setup where the technicians are local and can service the clients very quickly,” said Malki.

Packaging trends

Malki said that barrier film, which extends the shelf-life of food products and helps open export markets, is an important product at the moment.

“We are offering more in cups and also lidding. Generally, it all goes in the direction of barrier,” he said.

Freshness is also very important right now.

“For example, for pre-cooked meals, we see more and more aluminium being used in trays rather than plastic. It’s a very good way to maintain the freshness of the product, plus it can be cooked or heated in the oven. Few people know that an aluminium tray can be used in microwave ovens,” he said.

“In UK supermarkets, they typically have three or four aisles of pre-cooked meals, while in Australia at the moment it is just in a small corner. We feel this is an industry that can grow more and more.”

Malki expects the demand for packaging to double in coming years. Expansion is therefore very much on the agenda for Jet Technologies.

“We’re hiring new people to make this a reality. I have this vision on both the consumables and the materials,” he said. “We feel they have a lot of potential and they can save a lot of money and expand the horizon of our clients.”

 

 

Bag sealer validation application

Manufacturers undertaking pouch sealing operations can monitor and intercept faults, and therefore ensure the integrity of seals.

They can do this by utilising a pair of FUTEK LLB130 load cells to monitor the force applied to pouches during the sealing process.

This is important because tears and partially broken seals are not always apparent and can result in spoilage and unusable products. Therefore, verification of the heat sealing force is critical, as over or under applied sealing force can cause premature failure of the seal.

How it Works:

As pictured, a pair of Subminiature Button Load Cells are placed so the force exerted on the heater bars by the packaging can be measured.

As the pouch moves through the heater bars for sealing, the bars are forced outward, resulting in the load cell buttons measuring the applied force.

Utilising two load cells ensures that the heater bars are spread apart evenly and functioning correctly mechanically.

The resulting load cell output is then amplified by the IAA series analog amplifiers for input into the PLC allowing for fault monitoring and pouch seal validation.

The products used in this application include FUTEK’s Subminiature Button Load Cell (LLB Series) paired with the IAA Series analog amplifier for feedback into a PLC.

FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology, Inc. is represented in Australia and New Zealand by Metromatics.

 

RPC Group purchases Amber Plastics

RPC Group, a global plastic product design and engineering company for both packaging and selected non-packaging markets, has purchased Amber Plastics for an undisclosed sum.

Established in 2012, Amber is a leading supplier of injection-moulded plastic packaging containers to the dairy and food industry in Australia.

It will form part of the RPC Superfos Division and thereby take advantage of the readily available extensive product portfolio specifically designed to serve both the Food and Non-food end-markets.

“The acquisition represents an opportunity for RPC, as part of its Vision 2020 growth strategy, to capitalise on opportunities in growing markets outside of Europe,” a RPC spokesman said.

The Amber acquisition is the second within four months by RPC in Australia.

The sale of Amber was managed by Transworld Business Advisors (Mergers & Acquisitions) in Melbourne.

Image: Amber Plastics

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