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A blog with a different twist on packaging and plant operations, equipment and developments - past, present and on the horizon.
Packaging lines bring out the speed drivers in all of us. Eons ago, back when I was a project engineer at Kraft Foods (as it was known then), our objective for every packaging line was to increase output. And the obvious way to do that was to run the line faster. Unfortunately, at some point, as you increase operating speed, production actually decreases, because you lose more product to problems ...... Read MoreComments (7)
This is certainly an overworked phrase, but occasionally you run into a situation where it seems particularly relevant. On a recent trip to the Los Angeles area, I had the opportunity to visit a state-of-the-art PET recycling facility that, in my opinion, qualifies. Owned by Global P.E.T Inc., the plant, which is located in Perris, CA, recycles 60 million lbs of PET bottles/year. All are sourced f ...... Read MoreComments (1)
I was visiting the Black Bear Bottling Group plant in Oak Creek WI a few weeks ago to get information for this month’s story in Packaging Digest, and president Pete Caruso was telling me about their efforts in sustainability. We were walking through their warehouse, and he pointed up to what I thought were electric lights, and he explained these were really solar units. It turned out that h ...... Read MoreComments (4)
My main job at Packaging Digest is writing packaging line stories, most of which I get first hand by visiting plants. A short time ago, a person told me what a great job King Juice, Milwaukee, WI, was doing as a contract packer for one of its specialty juice products. Adding to the allure was the fact that King Juice had just installed a new bottling line, so this week I paid them a visit. (You ...... Read MoreComments (6)
Bar codes and RFID are now common elements in packaging operations, as well as in many everyday situations. A recent article in Popular Mechanics magazine describes how they are being used as part of the security and surveillance operations at casinos. According to the article, Las Vegas’s gaming industry invests in the best surveillance and behavioral monitoring technology in the world, so ...... Read MoreComments (3)
I read an interesting article recently regarding soda cans. Dr. Lane F. Donnelly, radiologist-in-chief at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, has found that kids, mainly teenagers, are swallowing the pull tabs on the tops of soda cans. Pull tabs for cans were introduced in 1963 and were first used for soft-drink cans by the Royal Crown Cola Co. However, the tabs detached easily ...... Read MoreComments (12)
This has been a traumatic two weeks for me. As anyone who knows me knows, I am not the world’s most accomplished internet person. I’ve managed to adopt to some of the developments, but it’s not been without a fight. One thing I never learned was the (to me) esoteric process called “posting to the web,” which is making something available on our web site. I would ...... Read MoreComments (3)
It seems to me that the number of unopenable plastic packages has ballooned in recent years. In the past I would just swear a little, use them when I had to and not give them any more thought. Now, either there are more of them, or I’m noticing them more. One that I find very annoying is a new package that Folgers is using for the coffee they supply for our company coffee service. Previous ...... Read MoreComments (3)
As I think of all of the great people I’ve worked with in my 50 years of (mostly) fun, I realize that it’s the screwballs and worse that make the biggest impressions. The first of these, and maybe the weirdest, was at my first job out of college, which was with the U.S. Steel research center outside of Pittsburgh. Actually, I was assigned to a pilot plant they had established at Sou ...... Read MoreComments (1)
I was walking through our office the other day, and saw some individually wrapped York peppermint patties in a bowl. I love these things, so I picked up a couple. However, on my way back to my desk, one of my co-workers said, "Watch out! I ate a few of those yesterday, and I was in the bathroom half the night." That prompted me to take a closer look, and it turned out that there is a banner proc ...... Read MoreComments (1)
As I have mentioned previously, I am a potato chip fanatic, so when my daughter asked me why potato-chip manufacturers don’t put zippers on their bags of chips, I didn’t have an answer. Personally, it doesn’t cause me a great of discomfort, because I go through a bag of chips before it has time to get stale. My daughter has much more self discipline than I, so she can eat a h ...... Read MoreComments (2)
When I started working at Kraft in 1963, part of my orientation was a visit to its research center in Glenview, IL. Since I’m a potato-chip junkie, one project that I thought was really neat was a small pilot operation producing potato-chip look-alike products that tasted wonderful. Of course, they were right out of the hot oil, when just about anything would taste wonderful. The pr ...... Read MoreComments (1)