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Bag-in-box beats out pails

Porcine peptone products are filled into 5-gal bags by a bag-in-box filler, top. After filling, bags are placed into a corrugated case for shipment. Bags with fitments are supplied in quantities of 250 in corrugated cases, bottom.

Bob Rosenthal, president of DER, Inc., has a growing business marketing liquid porcine peptone products to the Far East. This business began with 55-gal drums and 5-gal pails. While the drum business continues, pail shipments restricted the amount of product that could be loaded into a 20-ft container. "The pails weigh quite a bit, even when they're empty, and we could only fit thirty-six pails on a pallet, which was a very inefficient use of space," says Rosenthal. "We were shipping the product all the way to China, the Philippines and other far-eastern countries, so we had to find ways to reduce these costs."

Peptone is a byproduct of the process for manufacturing heparin, a commonly used blood thinner, from hog intestines. It takes 5,000 lb of intestines to produce 1 lb of heparin, so there is a lot of leftover. The common method of waste disposal was to spread it on the ground, until scientists at the University of Arkansas developed a procedure to dehydrate the leftover to a 50-percent solid, at which point it became a profitable export item for DER, Inc.

Even DER's pail supplier recognized the drawbacks of using pails for this particular application, and recommended that Rosenthal contact Scholle Corp. to see if the product could be handled in bag-in-box containers. Coincidentally, Scholle had just begun offering contract packaging as one of its services.

"We shipped Scholle some product to test-fill last January, and it worked out so well that we've eliminated the pails, and Scholle is now packing all of our product in bags," says Rosenthal. "It was evident from the beginning that Scholle was committed to this project. They came up with a suitable package at a good cost, and worked very hard to make it a success."

Single-head piston filler Scholle is running the product at its manufacturing facility in Northlake, IL, on one of its PortaBIB Systems, which are portable bag-in-box filling units. The PortaBIB filler can be shipped to customers who want to pack product in their own facility without buying a packaging system, but it is also suitable for this operation.

The filler used for the DER application is a Scholle Auto-Fill Model 900 ST single-head bag-filling unit, although dual-head units are also available. The unit is equipped with an integral roller platform that supports the bag during filling. For this product, which is thick and soupy and contains small particulates, the flow rate is measured by a conductivity meter. Other types of fill heads and flow meters could be specified for other types of products.

Product is shipped to Scholle in tank trucks and pumped directly to the filler balance tank through a hose. An air-driven diaphragm pump is used to pump the product from the balance tank to the filler. Single bags with fitments are supplied in quantities of 250 in corrugated boxes.

To start the cycle, the operator takes an empty bag from the box and places the fitment into the filler jaws. He moves a lever that removes the cap, lowers the fill nozzle down into the fitment, and latches it tightly so product will not leak during filling. He then pushes the start button, which opens a valve in the fill line and starts the pump. When the required amount of product, 26.7 kg in this case, has been delivered into the bag, the pump automatically stops. The operator moves the lever back to its starting position, which raises the fill nozzle and replaces the cap onto the bag. He then rolls the filled bag down the roller platform and lowers it into a preformed corrugated case. The case is taped shut, a label is applied, and the case is palletized.

The bag used for the animal feed supplement is a "standard" Scholle bag with a three-layer construction of a polyethylene layer on the inside and outside and a nylon layer in the middle. The fitment is also a standard Scholle design that is typically used for chemicals. It has no inner seal and is easy to open.

"The bag-in-box system is thirty-percent cheaper than pails, and we can put sixty-percent more product on a pallet [60 BIBs compared to 36 pails]. Also, we can put twenty-one tons of BIBs in an intermodal shipping container, compared to fifteen tons of pails, and the BIB makes a nice cube that doesn't need bracing," says Rosenthal. "Our customers really like the BIB because it's so easy to handle and dispose of. The next step is to put the bags in boxes with pour-spouts and handles."

More information is available:

Bags, filler/sealer, contract packaging: Scholle Corp., 708/562-7290. Circle No. 337.

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