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Articles from 2018 In January

Take our Medical Packaging Innovation Tour in Anaheim
Image courtesy of ATEQ

Take our Medical Packaging Innovation Tour in Anaheim

With WestPack and Medical Design & Manufacturing West 2018 shows taking place together in Anaheim February 6-8, medical device packaging professionals will have much to see and learn. 

To help attendees find the newest ideas in medical packaging, we have organized a show-floor tour of some of the latest innovations. Our tour will take place Thursday, February 8 at 11:00am - 12:00pm. Please meet PMP News Editor Daphne Allen at Booth #313 where you'll be given a headset and tour map. Be advised that you should arrive at least 5 minutes before the tour starts.

You will see innovations from the following companies:

  • ATEQ #1889
  • Atlas Vac Machine #1872
  • Berry Global #2359
  • Formost Fuji #4947
  • Rollprint Packaging Products #5425 

Click through below for previews of each technology. We hope to see you February 8!

Leak testing from ATEQ

ATEQ will demonstrate the Hydra, a four-channel pressure decay leak tester designed for R&D, semi-automated, and fully automated lines to automatically detect leaks. ATEQ's leak testing instruments are widely used on applications in all manufacturing industries such as medical, automotive, appliances, electronics, and packaging. 

At the show, ATEQ will be hosting a leak testing demo/game in which smartphones are connected to the company's custom testing fixture that itself is connected to the four-channel Hydra leak tester. (Please see above image.) Heidi Franklin, ATEQ’s Marketing Coordinator, explains that “the contestants have to guess which phone does not have a leak. The phone they select is then put in the center of the fixture to be tested. When pulling the test lever, the Hydra pumps compressed air through the connected tubes into four potential leak zones (headphone jack, charging port, speaker port, and microphone), measures the pressure in each compartment, then sees if there is a pressure drop, which signifies a leak. Those who guess the correct air-tight phone are entered in a contest to win a grand prize!”

Please join us to visit ATEQ at Booth #1889

NEXT: Heat sealers with standard and custom UDI audit trail or printing from Atlas Vac Machine

Heat sealers with standard and custom UDI audit trail or printing from Atlas Vac Machine

To support Unique Device Identification requirements, Atlas Vac can add to its heat-sealing systems (including to many existing units in the field) complete data logging of not only the dynamic sealing cycle data but also bar codes, operator IDs and passwords, sign-ins, recipe changes, alarms, date, time, and odometer reading. "Scanning in lot codes and UDI information becomes easy and accurate," the company reports on its Web site. All generated data is included in the audit trail database and can be transmitted to a label printer, all without a PC. All units are industrial PLC based.

Such data can help answer questions such as when a product with a specific UDI was packaged and under what exact parameters, by what operator; when the last cycle alarm was; whether any parameters have been violated; and more, Atlas Vac reports on its Web site. 

Please join us to visit Atlas Vac Machine at Booth #1872 

NEXT: Two new medical packaging options from Berry Global Inc.

New medical packaging options from Berry Global Inc.

Berry Global Inc. will be highlighting two new medical packaging solutions, DuraMed and DirectSeal.

DuraMed (see above) is Berry’s solution for form-fill-seal packages, header bags, and peel pouches offering breathability, barrier, clean peel, high resistance to tear and puncture, and tamper-evident uniformity of the packaging seal. DirectSeal is a film with sealant technology that eliminates the need for a matching coated substrate for applications including form-fill-seal, header bags, and peel pouches. DirectSeal provides a consistent seal across temperatures with uncoated paper and flash-spun HDPE, Berry reports in a press release. 

“We’re really excited to bring these new solutions to MD&M West. With the additions of DuraMed and DirectSeal, our innovative healthcare offering has been strengthened in protecting drugs, devices, patients, and medical professionals,” said Allan Houston, Berry’s director of product marketing, healthcare – Americas, in the press release. “These products underscore not only our commitment to our mission of, ‘Always advancing to protect what’s important,’ but also are in direct alignment with our commitment to being a Partner of Choice by delivering performance, quality, and cost-value propositions to our customers.”

Please join us to visit Berry Global at Booth #2359.

NEXT: The Alpha 8 Horizontal Wrapper from Formost Fuji
The Alpha 8 Horizontal Wrapper from Formost Fuji
Formost Fuji will be showcasing the new Alpha 8 Horizontal Wrapper. The Alpha 8 wrapper features improvements to the operation panel for safety, security, and ease of use, the company reports. The system has been designed with a stronger, simpler, and more accessible end seal system, intended to be quieter and more reliable with higher sealing pressure.

The Alpha 8 uses the Fuji Vision System (FVS), which has been improved with an “auto-teaching” feature for auto detection of film registration allowing for easier setup and product change. 

Please join us to visit Formost Fuji at Booth #4947.

NEXT: Propapeel STM steam-sterilizable flexible packaging from Rollprint Packaging Products

Propapeel STM steam-sterilizable flexible packaging from Rollprint Packaging Products

Rollprint will be introducing a new kind of flexible packaging capable of withstanding sterilization by steam. “Propapeel STM was engineered for those in the medical device and life sciences industries who would like to benefit from the ease, safety, and economics of steam sterilization,” says Dwane Hahn, vice president of sales and marketing for Rollprint. “PropaPeel STM doesn't stick to your product and peels easily from Tyvek for steam sterilizable pouches free of fiber-tear. Your product stays safe, clean, and sterile with PropaPeel STM.”

Please join us to visit Rollprint at Booth #5425 for details about the steam sterilizable material as well as other flexible packaging.

Our Medical Packaging Innovation Tour takes place Thursday, February 8 at 11:00am - 12:00pm. Meet PMP News Editor Daphne Allen at Booth #313 where you'll be given a headset and tour map. Be advised that you should arrive at least 5 minutes before the tour starts. Click here to register for the show.

The tour is free for registered attendees.

Meat processor upgrades shipping case for superior performance
Chicago Meat Authority's new shipping case has better edge-crush performance, along with new handles.

Meat processor upgrades shipping case for superior performance

Custom-cut meat supplier Chicago Meat Authority has recently switched to a new crush-resistant shipping case that also has built-in handles that make it easier to manually palletize.

The company replaced its previous flap-sealed box—which did not have handles—with a partial-overlap container from Veritiv that has a 32 edge-crush test specification. Additionally, the medium was upgraded to a 33-pound standard. Kyle Richard, evp of sales and marketing for Chicago Meat Authority (CMA), says the company estimates the new boxes will have 10% more stacking strength.

“We changed because it is important to pack our superior product in superior packaging,” Richard says. “The old boxes didn’t showcase our product to its best advantage. This box is the most ideal packaging for broadline distributors.”

The 0.98 cubic feet corrugated case measures 16-1/2 x 11-5/8 x 6-13/16 inches and will hold approximately 30 pounds of product. The products are individually sleeved or cases are poly-lined. CMA will use the new boxes for most of its products—including pork ribs, steaks, ground chuck and ground pork, brisket bones, turkey and pork bacon, and raw meatloaf mix—sold to foodservice operations, meat purveyors, regional and national chains, grinding operations, deli manufacturers and the meat snacks market.

Although the new case costs “a bit more,” CMA will not be passing on the added cost to customers. “In our continuing quest to be the preferred supplier of our customers, we are shipping certain products in our new crush-resistant boxes with built-in handles,” says Richard. “Our superior product now will be shipped in superior packaging.”

The company did not need a new case erector even though the box style changed.

Top of new partial-overlap container (POC) case style.

New handle makes the case easiser to lift, carry and palletize.

The bottom provides information on box strength and disposal.


A magic kingdom of packaging solutions: For packaging engineers, executives and designers—WestPack 2018 (Feb. 6-8; Anaheim, CA) delivers leading technologies, free educational presentations, hands-on demonstrations, exceptional networking opportunities and expert-led Innovation Tours. Click here to register now!

Lamb Weston unveils sustainably optimized food packaging
Tite-Pak packaging has the potential to annually divert up to 30-million pounds of material from landfills to the recycling stream.

Lamb Weston unveils sustainably optimized food packaging

Kraft paper bags of frozen french fries distributed through institutional markets that are now certified recyclable have the potential to annually divert up to 30-million pounds of packaging material from landfills to the recycling stream.

A successful partnership between Lamb Weston, Eagle, ID, and vendor Graphic Packaging Intl. Inc., yields sustainable packaging benefits that are no small potatoes.

They do, however, literally involve small fries, as in french fries and its packaging destined for foodservice and institutional markets. The fries are distributed in environmentally-friendly Tite-Pak packaging, which is now recyclable in established Old Corrugated Container (OCC) and mixed paper recycling streams.

“We’re committed to finding new and innovative ways to help our operators reduce waste, cut costs and ensure everyone is doing their part to protect the environment,” says Deb Dihel, vp innovation for Lamb Weston. “The optimized Tite-Pak packaging will reduce the environmental impacts of our product packaging by enabling the diversion of this material to be recycled in an already established recycling stream, with no increased cost to the operator.”

Lamb Weston’s packaging engineering team has been working to help customers meet their sustainability goals, and fry bags were identified as a primary target for reducing waste going to landfills.

When implemented at full capacity, Lamb Weston officials say the new Tite-Pak recyclable institutional french fries bag packaging initiative has the potential to divert up to 30-million pounds of packaging material from the landfill to the recycling stream annually.

 “The opportunity to remark with confidence that our Tite-Pak packaging can actually be recycled at the operator level sets the tone for a new standard of sustainability focused initiatives across our organization and the industry,” says Dihel.

Working alongside GPI, Lamb Weston developed, qualified and optimized recyclable Tite-Pak (Kraft) institutional french fry bag material. The process included material qualification at Lamb Weston plants, Fibre Box Association (FBA) certification for repulpability, OCC batch digester testing at GPI Santa Clara, continuous digester testing at KapStone Longview, and laboratory testing at International Paper to qualify Tite-Pak repulpability in the mixed paper stream.

Upon completion, Tite-Pak exceeded FBA’s repulpability standard (80% recoverable fiber), with an 89% recoverable fiber content. Pilot studies at Michigan State University and Washington State Universities proved the application practical on a small scale.

Kim Williams, director project management, research and development, responds to Packaging Digest’s questions about the optimized packaging.

How important is sustainable packaging to the company?

Williams: Lamb Weston’s mission is to create solutions that inspire and serve our consumers with a food they love and trust. Packaging and sustainability are critical components in our ability to deliver on this mission.

We have a sustainable packaging goal to develop packaging specifications that protect product integrity through the supply chain, and minimize environmental impacts, while remaining fiscally responsible. One of the methods Lamb Weston has pursued is an increased use of sustainable packaging technologies. As far as project ranking for overall company initiatives, this is one of the most exciting sustainable packaging developments Lamb Weston has achieved thus far. This effort was recognized with a top award in our internal Sustainability Awards program in 2017.

What’s the project’s timing?

Williams:  We completed the work in two phases. Phase 1 was material development and trial in our manufacturing plants when we started using the new Tite-Pak package material.

Phase 2 included confirming recyclability, obtaining certification, testing in recycling plants and completing case studies.

The idea of a recyclable version of the Tite-Pak material dates back to 2010, when Lamb Weston first approached GPI about developing and introducing a more sustainable version of this packaging material. During this time frame we had some small successes, although the package came at a premium cost and was not the most efficient material for GPI to make or Lamb Weston to use. These two obstacles, combined with a less mature recycle infrastructure, kept us from gaining traction on the project at the time.

However, as with most things related to sustainable development, persistence and patience paid off as GPI and Lamb Weston continued to seek innovative ways to continuously improve this important packaging component. In the summer of 2015 a reformulated version of Tite-Pak packaging passed the Fibre Box Association’s definition for repulpability/fiber recovery.

Commercial testing of the package occurred between late 2015 and early 2016. Tests were conducted in collaboration with GPI and KapStone Container and covered repulpability of the material in both a batch and continuous digester.

University pilots began in January 2017, and ran for six months. This methodical approach to testing and use of pilot programs helped ensure this new-to-recycle stream material was thoroughly vetted before entering the market.

What was the specific packaging format before and what was its end of life?

Williams: The paper has always been recyclable, but in the previous package format the poly coating did not easily and completely separate from the paper, which made it non-recyclable. The key change has been the optimization. The poly coating now separates completely from the paper, making fiber recovery in the re-pulping process possible.

Tite-Pak is natural Kraft paper from virgin fibers with a polyethylene blend coating on the inside, which easily separates from the paper during the recycle process. Tite-Pak has 88.7% recoverable natural kraft fibers, which is a high-quality material.

There has been no change to the weight or volume of the packaging materials.

What’s the current status system-wide for the packaging?

Williams: The packaging is used for customers around the world. That said, we have not vetted recycle infrastructure in all areas where this package is currently used.

What was the toughest decision to make?

Williams: Because recycling is not standardized regarding what is or is not recyclable, and because the logistics and markets change from location to location, it was not an easy decision to make.

Any differences in cost or performance?

Williams: There is no cost impact to customers. The packaging is made of Kraft paper bags, so they tear open easily.

Were any packaging production changes needed?

Williams: Our manufacturing facilities run this material regularly and the new film has not required any operational modification, nor were there any changes to primary or secondary packaging specifications.

What more can you say about the relationship with GPI?

Williams: GPI and Lamb Weston’s relationship dates back more than 30 years. The longevity of this partnership translates to GPI being well versed in the frozen potato packaging space and also having a keen understanding of Lamb Weston’s focus on continuous improvement and sustainable packaging. This factor, combined with GPI’s technical expertise, made our partnership a natural fit to bring this development to fruition.

Customer-University comments

“Michigan State University Surplus Store and Recycling Center has a goal of increasing our waste diversion rate to 70 percent by the end of 2017,” says Carla Iansiti, Residential and Hospitality Services Sustainability Officer at Michigan State University. “Incorporating the fry bag into our existing recycling stream allows us to reduce the amount of material sent to the landfill, which results in increased diversion and recycling rates.”

“Lamb Weston and Graphic Packaging are bringing us one step closer to our goal by creating a product that with minimal effort allows Washington State University to divert an item traditionally headed to the landfill to the recycling stream,” said Jason Sampson, Assistant Director, Environmental Health & Safety at Washington State University.

New investment opportunity to fund other packaging recycling
For the first time, the general public can buy stock in the privately-held upcycler TerraCycle.

New investment opportunity to fund other packaging recycling

Not all packages can be recycled through the established infrastructure and options are limited for hard-to-recycle items. That’s one of the reasons the unique business strategy of upcycler TerraCycle has been so successful—that and the innovative vision of entrepreneur and founder Tom Szaky. But now, anyone can capitalize on that success.

On Jan. 17, 2018, TerraCycle US Inc. announced that, for the first time, the general public can buy stock in this privately-held company, which is known for “recycling the unrecyclable.” As qualified by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), this Regulation A investment opportunity will raise capital to fuel the organization’s growth—by increasing the staff or through acquisitions, for example.

Acquisitions would be strategic and of “related” companies. For example, the company recently acquired Chicago-based Air Cycle Corp., a leader in universal waste recycling that provides solutions for mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs, battery, ballast and electronic waste disposal.

Company CEO Szaky explains more in this exclusive Packaging Digest interview.

Why do this Reg A offering now?

Szaky: TerraCycle US Inc. has 10 years of track record with the current business model, is profitable, growing and ready to acquire companies. We are raising growth capital. We have had inquiries from many of the millions of participants in our programs if they can invest, but until now, investment in TerraCycle has been limited to “accredited investors” (Regulation D). We haven’t accepted capital into the parent or U.S. company since 2010, but now that we’re open to investment, we decided to take an approach that is open to all investors, small and large.

On the website, it says Reg A+. What’s the difference between Reg A and Reg A+?)

Szaky: “A+” is actually a nickname for Regulation A, which is its formal name. People use A+ to refer to Regulation A upon its amendment (and improvement) in 2015.

How has the company raised capital in the past?

Szaky: TerraCycle Inc., the parent company, initially raised funds through a Reg D offering in 2003 and subsequently completed additional rounds of Reg D capital raises to accredited investors between 2004 and 2010.

What might Reg A investments in TerraCycle mean for the recycling markets, which are struggling in today’s challenged environment for recyclables?

Szaky: Very little. First, we don’t do traditional recycling and wouldn’t be buying traditional recycling companies. Second, if we complete our Reg A target raise of $25 million, we’d devote approximately $15 million to acquiring other companies, perhaps up to double that number taking into consideration debt and stock. But $30 million of acquisitions wouldn’t impact recycling markets, even if we were doing a roll-up of traditional recyclers.

Why would the public want to invest in TerraCycle?

Szaky: For two reasons:

First, for the same reasons the public would to invest in any company. We are growing, intend to pay annual dividends (we’re committed to a minimum dividend of 50% of after-tax profits), and ultimately, we expect investors to generate a good return upon the sale of their investment.

Second, with TerraCycle US, investors can grow their capital while financing a company that is uniquely tackling the waste issue in a business context. Many of the country’s largest consumer products manufacturers are our customers. We are changing options for how people discard of their products and packaging. For many investors, there is a focus on both a financial and social/environmental bottom line. We meet both criteria, and on top of that, we’re award winning and highly entrepreneurial.

The TerraCycle office reuses many recovered materials, including soda bottles and woods, as decoration.

Reg A sounds like a risk-free way of raising money for a company.

Szaky: No more, and indeed, a lot less, risk free than Reg D. Reg A is regulated by the SEC; it’s quasi-public. All financial statements are audited by independent auditors, and those audits are also reviewed by the SEC. One has to be a lot more cautious in Reg A than in a fully exempt offering to accredited investors, and there are consequences for misstatements or non-compliance with a range of (reasonable) SEC requirements that don’t exist with Reg D.

What’s the benefit for the investor? What do TerraCycle’s Reg A investors get from their investment besides annual dividends and preferred stock?

Szaky: On the surface, that’s it. But that’s all one would get in Reg D, except that, generally, a company doesn’t commit to a minimum percentage dividend, which we are doing in this offering. The stock should increase in value as the company grows top and bottom line, so there are the potential capital gains from the sale of that stock in the future.

What happens to these Reg A investors if TerraCycle does a public offering in the future?

Szaky: If TerraCycle US does a public offering in the future, the preferred shares convert to common and participate in the offering. If TerraCycle US’s parent company TerraCycle Inc. does a public offering in the future, the likely outcome is that the investment bank would require that the parent company own 100% of the U.S. subsidiary. Under those circumstances (only), the parent company has a call on the U.S. subsidiary shares at a valuation determined by the investment bank, taking into account market practices.

In other words, if TerraCycle US’s parent company does a public offering in the future, it could potentially create an exit for TerraCycle US stockholders. They could, but would not be obligated to, invest those proceeds into the parent company’s IPO [initial public offering].

Among the plans are for TerraCycle to acquire related companies and increase staff with the money raised. What happens to the company if the offering doesn’t generate the expected $25 million?

Szaky: The Offering Circular specifically provides for uses of proceeds, and allocation among various uses, for different amounts of capital raised.

Reg A allows companies to remain private, become public or list their shares on an exchange. TerraCycle US Inc. intends to remain a private company. Why?

Szaky: We intend to remain a private company for the foreseeable future. It’s premature for TerraCycle US or its parent company to consider going public. We will consider all options after the company has grown to a more meaningful size.

Does being a Reg A investor entitle people to know more about the private company’s business than non-investors?

Szaky: No, the general public can access the same information that is available to the investors (which is filed with the SEC). The SEC requires that we produce two detailed reports a year, as well as to supply them (and the SEC) with audited financials.

Learn more about investing in TerraCycle US Inc. at


A magic kingdom of packaging solutions: For packaging engineers, executives and designers—WestPack 2018 (Feb. 6-8; Anaheim, CA) delivers leading technologies, free educational presentations, hands-on demonstrations, exceptional networking opportunities and expert-led Innovation Tours. Click here to register now!

Novel tea steeped in packaging innovation
Tea of a Kind's "Eco 4-Pack” may be the most unusual multipack of tea or any beverage: It has one bottle and three refill caps.

Novel tea steeped in packaging innovation

Tea of a Kind bottles available in a unique one-bottle four-pack are capped by the pressurized Vessl closure and delivery device that preserves the functional ingredients and actively disperses the contents.

Tea is both a product and a beverage steeped in history and traditions both ancient and new.

And while it traces its roots back to more than a millennia BC, creative and entrepreneurial types continue to reinvent it for a new generation of devotees using exclusive sources, unusual flavors and of course novel packaging. Exemplary of the latter is a new packaged format from Vessl, Inc. Tempe, AZ, when its Tea of a Kind (TOAK) brand introduced a one-of-a-kind “Eco 4-Pack” that may be the most unusual multipack of tea or any beverage that you’ve seen: It doesn’t have four bottles.

Instead, it’s a one-bottle four-pack that delivers four 16-oz servings.

How is that possible?

The single water-filled bottle is sealed with a patented, pressurized “Vessl” cap that contains liquid ingredients comprising all-natural flavors, real brewed tea and powerful antioxidants. The concentrated liquid is preserved inside an oxygen depleted, nitrogen-flushed and pressurized Vessl cap that’s sealed to protect the freshly brewed tea against UV light and oxidation that typically degrade flavor, color, aroma and antioxidants’ potency in traditional ready-to-drink bottled teas.

Unlike other ingredient containing specialty caps that require an extra step to open, the consumer twists the Vessl cap off as any normal cap. That motion opens a valve inside to release the ingredients directly into the bottle filled with 16oz of purified water. “Releases” is an understatement, the ingredients literally jet under 100 psi of nitrogen pressure, injecting a strong dose of product and consumer interaction into the highly visual process. You can view videos of the dramatic, instant blending process at the company's homepage found below.

The cap comprises two subassemblies that telescope into each other; the cap reservoir has a 5.4mL capacity, but only 3.7mL is required for the teas according to Walter Apodaca, Vessl founder and CEO. That extra space allows volume for the nitrogen gas propellant.

Versus a true 4-bottle multipack, the space-saving Eco 4-pack carton contains a single capped PET bottle and three Vessl cap refills (bundled and sealed together with clear film) that all fit into less than half the space of two bottles. There’s also two clear plastic sleeves to keep the components’ looking neat and tidy. After use, consumers refill the bottle with water and screw on a new cap for a fresh serving. Vessl, Inc. has the global licensing and use rights to the Vessl technology.

At press time Vessl was rolling out new label graphics as seen in the image above.

"It was refreshed to more clearly communicate key messaging around calories, flavor and other benefits," says Apodaca. "We had not updated the packaging for a couple years and it was due.  We also added the new flavor, Yerba Mate , so the timing made sense."

Sustainability benefits

"Launching the recyclable Eco 4-Pack is a key milestone on our path to utilizing the Vessl closure and delivery device to challenge the disposable bottle paradigm,” states Apodaca. “This package aligns our values with retailers and consumers that share our concern for health and the environment."

The Tea of a Kind Eco 4-Pack was launched last year at select stores in Arizona, selling for $6.99 compared to a single bottles priced at round $2.29 each.  It offers die-cut windows protected by clear plastic inserts. Although marked for a two-year shelf life per government restrictions the products have tested viable for a 5-year shelf life, according to Apodaca. That’s impressive longevity for antioxidants.

The multipack follows the introduction of the award-winning TOAK single bottles, launched in 2013 and distributed in 10 western states. The bottles' innovation were recognized by awards from InterBev and U.S. Tea Assn. The uniquely packaged products were also winning in the market: According to Nielsen data for the current distribution territory that was shared by Apodaca, TOAK is the 19th largest of 300 tea brands and 4th among top 20 fastest-growing tea brands. Not bad for a four-year old.

Besides beverages, other Vessl forms introduced include Phyto2Go, a turnkey manufactured product for Amway’s line of Nutrilite nutraceutical beverages packed with Vitamin C and Zinc for extra immune support that were launched into 32 countries in a reusable bottle and refill caps. Apodaca views Vessl as a technology platform springboard across a number of product categories from dairy to household, garden and more.  And as of 2018 “more” includes a drinkable 10mg cannabis dose.


New markets, new products and marijuana

That new product, Kalvara, was introduced in late 2017 and takes Vessl-driven packaging into yet another arena: cannabis in a drinkable form to be sold in states where marijuana is legalized.

Apodaca believes the Vessl delivery system offers a couple of crucial advantages over conventional edible forms.

“The problem with edibles is that due to slow onset and imprecise dosing, users don’t know exactly how much THC they are actually getting,” he explains. “Many people are scared after a first try and don’t return to the product, but this delivery format solves those concerns.  Kalvara is produced using a unique nanoemulsion of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, that allows for rapid onset and higher bioavailability. ”

While details remain limited, here’s what Apodaca told Packaging Digest about the unique offering that…

  • Reduces the cost of delivery, the cost per dose and cost per unit;
  • Does not need to be refrigerated;
  • Overcomes legal challenges in the market;
  • Provides barriers to heat, oxygen and ultraviolet light;
  • Delivers a precise amount and dosing level;
  • Offers rapid onset and high bio-availability that makes the THC readily available to the body.

Want to learn more? The innovative cannabis packaging will be the subject of a conference session Wednesday February 7 during WestPack 2018 (Feb. 6-8; Anaheim, CA) on Beyond the Baggie: The Future of Cannabis Containers. For more information, visit the WestPack site.

As a brainstorming entrepreneur, Apodaca sees no shortage of options that leverage Vessl’s broad-based utility across product markets, identifying Next-Generation Vessl designs that include a dual-chamber option, sport cap solution and a unique hair coloring application.

For more information, visit Vessl Inc.

Mobile robots are adaptable packaging line workers
Mobile collaborative robots adapt easily to changes in production, making them a go-to solution for many manufacturers.

Mobile robots are adaptable packaging line workers

Move over automated guided vehicles (AGVs). Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are taking over for packaging line replenishment and other manufacturing tasks because of their easy adaptability to ever-present changes in production. Here’s what you need to know before adding them to your team.

In a recent Design News article “Boom in Robot Advances Expected Over Next Three Years,” analysts from research firm IDC report on a number of trends in robot development and deployment. For one, mobile robots are gaining traction over their stationary siblings, partly because of their ability to adjust as needed.

“The most interesting development is the growth of the mobile platform robot with the capability to attach a variety of components. These are service robots for warehouse and fulfillment centers,” John Santagate, research director of service robotics at IDC Manufacturing Insights tells Design News.

A player in the area, Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) has experienced this growth up close. In 2017, MiR saw revenues from its AMRs triple, fueled by the company’s spring 2017 launch of the MiR200. This AMR can lift 200 kilograms (about 440 pounds), pull 500kg (more than 1,000 pounds), is approved for electro-static discharge (ESD) and certified for cleanrooms. MiR CEO Thomas Visti says in a press release that another factor in the revenue spike is the company’s new user-friendly robot interface.

The Danish robotics manufacturer expects its progress to continue in 2018 and is gearing up for it. It plans to open a new office in San Diego, CA, on April 1, and has expanded its leadership team by hiring former PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and LEGO Education International managing director René Tristan Lydiksen as chief commercial officer (CCO). And Danfoss research and development director Søren Nielsen comes in as chief technology officer (CTO) for MiR, replacing Niels Juls Jacobson who moves to chief strategy officer (CSO).

According to the ROBO Global LLC benchmark index, which tracks the global robotics and automation markets, MiR now has more robots maneuvering through plants all across the world than any other manufacturer, with 25% of its sales in the United States.

Ed Mullen, MiR’s vp of sales in North America, answers key questions about these collaborative flex-workers.

How are autonomous mobile industrial robots different from automated guided vehicles?

Mullen: Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are quite different from traditional AGVs. Both AMRs and AGVs transport items from A to B, but this is where the similarities cease.

The way AMRs navigate is very different from the navigation of AGVs. An AGV can only obey simple programming instructions because it has minimum onboard intelligence. It can only follow fixed routes and, to navigate, it needs to be guided by sensors, magnetic stripes or wires, which often requires facilities to undergo extensive and expensive modifications. If the facility layout changes, which it often does in agile businesses, it is usually quite expensive to change the AGV guidance.

The AMR, on the other hand, navigates via maps that its software constructs on-site or via pre-loaded facility drawings. The AMR uses data from cameras, built-in sensors and laser scanners, as well as sophisticated software, to detect its surroundings and choose the most efficient route to the target. Navigating this way makes the AMR easy and cost-efficient to implement in even dynamic facilities because it only needs a map.

As a result, an AMR can be deployed in just a few hours. It works completely autonomously and if obstacles like people, pallets or forklifts occur in front of it, the AMR will safely maneuver around them, using the best alternative route. This optimizes productivity by ensuring that material flow stays on schedule.

AMRs are crucial for modern manufacturing environments that require agility and flexibility if there is a need for modifications to products or the production line. AMRs are highly adaptable for agile production in any size facility. If production cells are moved or new cells or processes are added, a new map of the building can be quickly and easily uploaded or the AMR can re-map onsite, so it can be used immediately for new tasks. This capability gives organizations full ownership of the robot and its functions rather than being constrained by inflexible AGV infrastructure.

The autonomous operation also makes an AMR far more flexible than an AGV. Being limited to following a strict route that is integrated into the facility means applications for AGVs are limited and an AGV performs the same delivery task throughout its service life. Changes are simply too expensive and disruptive to be cost-effective.

The AMR only needs simple software adjustments to change its missions, so the same robot can perform a variety of tasks at different locations, automatically making adjustments to meet changing environments and production requirements.

How are the company’s mobile robots used in packaging?

Mullen: Mobile robots from MiR can be deployed with a collaborative robotic arm on top, and as a result, can be used as a mobile packing station in warehouse environments, for example.

However, mobile robots are mostly used to transport the items that need to be packed, such as from end-of-line production or a warehouse to the packing station, and then again, handle the in-house transportation of the packed goods to a loading central or warehouse. With the MiRHook solution, the mobile robots are able to tow carts or even a pallet fork, so they can carry full pallets or many packages at the same time.

Why do manufacturers want to use mobile robotic solutions for local deliveries within their facilities instead of humans or towing/pulling?

Mullen: Spending time pushing carts or towing pallet forks is not a very valuable task. The mobile robots free humans from all in-house transportation tasks in production, warehouse or packaging environments, and can therefore be redeployed for more valuable tasks than moving goods from one place to another. So, it optimizes the workflows to have mobile robots.

Because the robots are collaborative, they can work as partners with their human counterparts to boost productivity levels. For example, companies avoid bottlenecks from production to packaging with the mobile robots. Usually, when humans are handling the in-house transportation, the products are batched for a few pick-times per shift because the transportation needs to be done effectively—but this way impacts the production and packaging flow. Because the robots can run deliveries 24/7 and do not need breaks, the in-house transportation can be done on demand, which boosts productivity and efficiency of operations.

What about safety? How do mobile robots react around people and things in a plant?

Mullen: Putting together a safe platform that can navigate through a changing, dynamic environment has tremendous value in the industry and it is our main priority that our collaborative mobile robots are completely safe.

In case of an inattentive human stumbling in front of the MiR robot, a laser vision scanning system will interpret the obstruction fast enough to either reroute or stop to prevent a collision. We are a Category Three, Performance Level D safety system, and we use safety laser scanners, safety PLCs and safety relays to feed data into our planning algorithm. We can recognize obstacles out up to 50 feet and plan to go around them, or make a safe stop to not bump into or hurt someone. 

What is the speed range of a mobile robot? Does it depend on what it is transporting?

Mullen: The MiR100 can drive up to 5 feet per second and the MiR200 3.6 feet per second. The reason why the MiR200 is slower is because of the gearing has been changed due to the higher payload, so no, it does not depend on the items being transported—the mobile robots are always able to run with the same speed. The end-user can, however, define the speed: If the robot is driving in high traffic areas, for example, the user can define an area on the robot’s map where it is not allowed to drive fast and then it can speed up again once it leaves that area. Our interface also allows for customer speeds, accelerations and decelerations.

Why does the company think the market for mobile robots will explode in the next one to two years?

Mullen: There is a big market need for smart automation of in-house transportation. Many companies have highly automated productions, and now they are ready to take the next step: to automate material transportation to reduce production bottlenecks and deploy valuable human workers effectively. They need the flexible, collaborative and autonomous features of mobile robots because this is the only in-house transportation method that is suitable for today’s agile businesses. 

We see a clear trend where large, multinational corporations have started deploying more and more collaborative mobile robots into their facilities all over the world. Many are still testing various applications, and the more robots they get into a facility, the more applications they often see.

Figures from IFR estimates that the sale of AMRs and AGVs in manufacturing environments will increase by 333% until 2020, and we expect that the figures for AMRs are by far the highest.  

How does the adaptability of mobile robots bring more value than a conveyor belt?

Mullen: A conveyor belt is even more fixed and inflexible than the AGV’s. Conveyor belts are for sure still effectively used in production and packaging lines. Today, however, companies often have high-mix characterized productions, which means they need to produce and package flexibly, and they need to be able to move things around.

For example, a production line might need to be connected to one packaging line one week and another the next week, and it is too time consuming to move conveyor belts around. With the mobile robots, companies avoid costly downtime when changing facility layout.

How did the company triple revenues in 2017? Was this attributed to volume, price increases, something else, multiple reasons?

Mullen: This was only attributed to volume. We get a higher demand for our mobile robots every month and volume increased continuously during 2017. 

Why is the U.S. growing at 25% for MiR? Is this the company’s largest market?

Mullen: For now, the U.S. is our largest market, and there are several reasons for this. The U.S. market is a bit more mature for automation in general, and many early adaptors of our robots have been American. The U.S. has been one of our core markets since the beginning, and we established our first not-Danish office in New York in the beginning of 2016. So, it is a good market for automation, and we have had a great focus on this market with skilled people in sales and technical support.

Why does the company anticipate to nearly triple sales in the U.S. for 2018?

Mullen: We have many exciting projects going on, and many companies with facilities around the U.S. have started seeing the potential of our robots. We have a great number of customers that, after a period of testing, are starting to re-purchase more robots, so we have a positive pipeline both in new sales and resale.

We will more than double our number of employees in the U.S. during 2018, and being able to support our distributors and end-users even better locally will hopefully be a good investment in achieving this target.


A magic kingdom of packaging solutions: For packaging engineers, executives and designers—WestPack 2018 (Feb. 6-8; Anaheim, CA) delivers leading technologies, free educational presentations, hands-on demonstrations, exceptional networking opportunities and expert-led Innovation Tours. Click here to register now!

5 tips on how to write a purposeful packaging design brief
Before you get creative in developing a package, make sure your packaging design brief lays out all the details needed to guide the designers in the right direction without stiffling their ideas.

5 tips on how to write a purposeful packaging design brief

When it comes to product packaging design, one critical step is creating and writing up the creative brief. During this vital stage, you’ll have the opportunity to plan all the ins and outs of your packaging design which will, in turn, become the foundation of the product.

However, the ins and outs of the design brief itself are debatable. Should it be a page long, or 200 pages long? What do you need to include and what information should be left open to a meeting?

To help you get started, here are five essential tips that you need to know when it comes to writing the perfect packaging design brief for your next project.

1. Know the brand

Before you even sit down and start to write anything, you need to make sure that you know the brand that you’re producing the brief for—inside and out. “Within this research stage, you need to find out what the brand is, what its morals are and, of course, its values and culture,” explains Marilyn Johnson, marketing manager at Best British Essays.

This will help you to formulate an accurate purpose and feeling for what the packaging should look like, helping you to create a comprehensive brief that succeeds.

2. Research the audience

Once you have the brand’s information in mind, turn your attention to the second half of the packaging’s audience; the customer. Once again, before you even start writing anything, conduct heavy research into the target market.

Be sure to ask certain demographic questions, such as the age of your buyers, the gender, the location and perhaps even the income scale. The more information you have, the better and more complete your design brief can be.

When gathering information for the audience and the brand, you can use professional business writing tools, such as Academized. These types of services can help you to organise your research data so it’s readable, understandable and ready to use.

3. Determine your production methods and materials

With all the information listed above in your mind, it’s time to start focusing on how you’re going to create the product. Of course, one of the most important factors you need to consider is the brand’s budget.

Find out exactly how much the brand is willing to spend per box or piece of packaging, more commonly known as a cost per unit. You’ll also need to know how many units to order as a total or for the first order since this will help you choose suitable suppliers.

The final aspect you need to consider is where you’re going to package the product. Will it be in-house or will you need to outsource the work? Whichever option you’re going to use, you need to make sure it fits the budget and is recorded and noted in the design brief.

In some cases, you may need to continue to return to the brief to make changes, depending on what the brand wants or what its requirements are, which are subject to change. When this happens, you can use editing services such as Academadvisor or Eliteassignmenthelp to make professional brief edits.

4. Focus on design

With all the “logistical” information in place, you can now start to draw your attention to the actual aesthetics of the packaging. Before you start designing, it can be extremely beneficial if you request that the brand manager shows you three or four designs or existing products that he/she likes the look of.

This helps you to piece together a sample or design that they are looking for and helps you head in the right direction early in the project. During this stage, you’re going to want details about the brand, such as logos, professional photos and any key data or legal language or icons that need to be on the packaging.

5. Finalize the brief

Once you have gone through your brief and included all the information that is needed, it’s time to finalize everything and make sure that it’s correct. For this, you’ll need to check through your work to make sure all the legal information, specs and bar codes are accounted for.

When it comes to finalizing your brief, you need to make sure you only include the facts of what the packaging is going to be based on. Any decisions or open-ended questions, such as the deadline of the project, the budget for the project and any of the information listed above needs to be discussed first with your collaborators.

After the brief has been finalized, any edits to the brief will need to be confirmed by the team as early as possible. The more detail you can fit into the initial draft of the brief, the less likely the chance that edits will need to be made and less errors will be made further down the line. This will save you from having to pay for edits or wasting parts of your budget on unusable product.

You’ll also want to check the spelling, grammar and punctuation of the copy. These aspects can be checked using tools like Write my paper and Resumention. Typically, mistakes stand out like a blue rose, especially to the brand manager, so be sure to double check everything to ensure it’s the highest quality possible.

As you know, a ton of work and resources can go into making a success packaging design brief, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Simply take your time, follow these tips and always put the customer first.

Gloria Kopp is a digital marketer and a public relations manager at Revieweal. She is a regular contributor at Huffingtonpost and Gradeonfire blogs. Kopp is an author and editor of Assignment help educational community for international students.


A magic kingdom of packaging solutions: For packaging engineers, executives and designers—WestPack 2018 (Feb. 6-8; Anaheim, CA) delivers leading technologies, free educational presentations, hands-on demonstrations, exceptional networking opportunities and expert-led Innovation Tours. Click here to register now!

Once upon a time: Why brands should tell their sustainability story
What's your sustainability story and how can your package communicate it?

Once upon a time: Why brands should tell their sustainability story

Like many brand owners these days, you embrace sustainability and leverage it in your marketing strategy to appeal to eco-minded consumers. So how can you extend that halo, as it’s called, through to your packaging?

Packaging authority and consultant Robert (Bob) Lilienfeld will share his sustainable storytelling tips in a free, one-hour presentation on Wed., Feb. 7, at 10:30 a.m., at WestPack 2018 in Anaheim, Calif. He’ll give his presentation “Strategically Communicating Your Sustainability Story” in the new WestPack Hub in Booth 5297.

Lilienfeld has been involved with packaging environmental issues since the early 1990s when he helped establish a plastics recycling program of the City of Chicago’s outdoor festivals and sports stadiums. At that time, Lilienfeld also started the ULS Report (ULS=Use Less Stuff), which has gone on to become a highly read and respected newsletter. He has also been actively involved with Walmart’s sustainability initiative, serving on the Corporate Sustainability Index advisory team, the Food/Agriculture Sustainable Value Network and Waste SVN. Currently, Lilienfeld writes for a variety of packaging- and sustainability-related magazines, including Packaging Digest, PlasticsToday and Environmental Leader.

Lilienfeld gives us a glimpse of what you’ll hear during his WestPack 2018 presentation.

Why should telling the sustainability story be part of a brand’s strategy?

Lilienfeld: I just read an article about Millennials hoping to make a difference when spending and investing their money. Having a good sustainability story is an important part of their decision making process. This is especially true for legacy brands, which Millennials don’t hold in the high regard that previous generations held them. The basic assumption going forward for Millennials is that companies such as Amazon act as regulators, ensuring that whatever they sell will do the functional job and that price is therefore the most important factor in purchase decisions. Being able to add a compelling sustainability message can help rebuild the differentiation and brand equity that would otherwise be lost.

What is the best way for a brand to communicate its sustainability story and why?

Lilienfeld: By solving a problem that’s important or personally relevant to its target audience. And doing this in a credible, sincere manner. For example, people who eat tuna would naturally be concerned about the sustainability of the tuna population from two perspectives: sound harvesting/population management, and healthy oceans free of debris. Working with, and investing in, non-profits that specialize in these activities are therefore natural collaborations for the brand to list on-package.

Can you give us an example?

Lilienfeld: Problem: You want your kids to take healthy snacks to school and actually eat them. Solution: A single-serve package of carrots from a package that holds many of them. At first glance, this might seem wasteful. But here are some things to consider:

First, the package delivers the right portion, so that food isn’t wasted. Second, it’s so convenient that parents don’t have to work hard to give their children something nutritious, healthy and great tasting. That means the parent can reach for the carrots, not (just) the cookies. Third, single-serve bags mean that the container is only opened at the point of consumption, keeping the other carrots in their separate bags fresh as well.

Here, the sustainability story is two-fold: The food, and all of the resources it took to produce it, are used effectively and efficiently while not being wasted. Plus, there’s the strong social sustainability story related to ensuring healthy kids. The packaging can tell that story rather simply: “By delivering portion control, this package helps provide the goodness and nutrition you want for your children.”

What is the worst way and why?

Lilienfeld: To me, the worst solutions are those that are both purely packaging related and of no real environmental value. Think of terms like “Earth Friendly,” “Green” and “Good for the Planet.” These are hollow platitudes with no real substance in terms of the ecological value that they provide. In fact, they may not be in conformance with published guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or the agency’s current thinking on the subject of environmental marketing claims. Thus, they may lead consumers to believe they are making sustainable choices, when in fact there is little to no proof that they are actually doing so.

WestPack 2018 debuts new edutainment sessions, demos
Come learn something new, and have fun doing it too.

WestPack 2018 debuts new edutainment sessions, demos

Fun, engaging and educational packaging sessions at the upcoming WestPack 2018 event (Feb. 6-8; Anaheim, CA) will be centered at the new WestPack Hub in Booth #5297. Sustainability, career advice and packaging for cannabis are among the hot topics we’ll explore.

At the WestPack Hub and throughout the event, Packaging Digest, Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News and UBM will deliver engaging and extensive packaging-related live content across all three days. Some of the “can’t miss” packaging activities scheduled for WestPack 2018 are:

The Recycling Challenge: Available for attendees to play throughout the three-day show, The Recycling Challenge was designed by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition to help packaging professionals realize just how hard it is for consumers to correctly sort empty packages for proper disposal. Is the package recyclable or not? Come take the challenge yourself—it’s free and fun!—at the WestPack Hub Booth #5297.

Educational presentations: Engaging presentations on some of today’s hottest topics and emerging trends will keep you up to date and help inspire ideas you can take back to your team. Find out why you need to be a great sustainability storyteller or what changes in California’s Proposition 65 law will mean to packaging professionals. Click here to see the full agenda of free presentations at the WestPack Hub Booth #5297.

Live demos: Among the WestPack Hub presentations that include live demonstrations is “Just How Hard Is It to Open a Medical Package Aseptically?” Scheduled for Tues., Feb. 6, from 11:15 a.m. to noon, this session will show what happens when healthcare professionals try to open packages—and will track any contamination. Join speaker Laura Bix, associate director of the School of Packaging at Michigan State University, for her presentation and live demo in Booth #5297.

Innovation Hour: Rapid-fire presentations on new products or technologies from leading suppliers and event exhibitors will be slightly longer than an elevator pitch—just enough for you to determine an interest. If so, you can follow up directly with the company in their booth. Free for attendees, the Innovation Hour for Packaging is Wed., Feb. 7, 3:30-4:30 p.m. at the WestPack Hub Booth #5297.

Smart Manufacturing Conference: This paid conference program explores emerging and expanding technologies of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, collaborative robots and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). See a list of the sessions here.

3D Printing Innovation Summit: This full conference program is dedicated to deep-dive sessions on how 3D printing is shaping the future of manufacturing. View the schedule for this paid 3D printing conference here.

Center Stage: Located across from Booth #450, Center Stage presents topics and experts across a range of markets, designed to appeal to attendees from all our co-located shows in Anaheim: WestPack, ATX West (Automation Technology), MD&M (Medical Design & Manufacturing), Plastec West and Pacific Design & Manufacturing Expo. Interested in Smart Manufacturing? Trends in robotics? Want to know how 3D printing brought the Demogorgon from the hit Netflix’s show “Stranger Things” to life? See the full schedule for Center Stage here. Center Stage is free to all event attendees.

Innovation Tours: Led by executive editors Lisa McTigue Pierce and Daphne Allen, these free one-hour expeditions will show you a handful of the most interesting packaging-related exhibits in Anaheim this year. Our three packaging-related tours are scheduled for Tues., Feb. 6, at noon, for Wed., Feb. 7, at noon; and for Thurs., Feb. 8, at 11:00 a.m. Meet in Booth #313 a few minutes before the tours to get your tour plan and headset. More details to come soon on these packaging tours. See the full schedule of Innovation Tours here, which are free for attendees for all co-located events.

New! Attendee-to-Exhibitor Matchmaking: This opportunity to find new business partners offers one-on-one meetings where attendees and exhibitors are matched according to areas of interest and products/services offered. These meetings will happen each afternoon from 2:00 to 3:15 p.m. in the Connection Corner in Hall E at Booth #184. Learn more about the free Attendee-to-Exhibitor Matchmaking here.

Click here for more information about WestPack 2018. Register now to take advantage of all these extra activities.

Maty’s pharmaceutical packaging radiates ‘home remedy’
New packaging design for Maty's organic and all-natural product lines looks more like it belongs in a kitchen cabinet rather than a medicine cabinet.

Maty’s pharmaceutical packaging radiates ‘home remedy’

This cold-and-flu season, a new packaging design for Maty’s natural and organic remedies, featuring full-body labeling and food-centric graphics, is turning shoppers’ heads. Made with “whole-food ingredients”—the kind found in traditional home remedies—Maty’s over-the-counter pharmaceutical products are formulated to calm or prevent maladies ranging from coughs to diaper rash.

The redesigned packaging helps shoppers easily distinguish between two of Maty’s product lines: Organic Cough Syrup and All Natural Cough Syrup. Both product lines use a custom square bottle made from recycled plastic, a matte-finish shrink-sleeve label and a continuous-thread closure. There the similarity ends.

The All Natural Cough Syrup bottle’s label is white, and its closure is plastic. In contrast, the Organic Cough Syrup package has a tan label and a custom aluminum closure “inspired by Mason jar lids,” according to Jeff Berg, creative director at Haberman, the agency Maty’s worked with on the redesign.

“The previous packaging included brown, plastic stock bottles that lived inside rectangular boxes,” Berg adds. “For environmental reasons, we stepped away from the outer box they had originally. This dictated the shape of our bottle, because we had to make room for all of the information that originally lived on the box.”

Maty’s ointments and rubs remain in their original tubes and tubs. But, as with the rest of the product line, these packages benefitted from redesigned graphics that include artful illustrations of ingredients like cinnamon and nutmeg.

Berg answers a few questions about the package redesign, which launched in September 2017.

Why did you use an aluminum closure for Maty’s Organic Cough Syrup?

Berg: We chose to use the metal cap on the Organic line to further distinguish it from the All Natural line.

How does the new packaging communicate “kitchen cabinet” rather than “medicine cabinet”?

Berg: The packaging is food first. The recipes for Maty’s are an evolution of recipes our great grandmothers might have made from scratch. By illustrating the ingredients, we convey an all-natural but also a folk-like aesthetic. It highlights the food ingredients in each bottle. This look and feel really pops next to the bold reds, blues and oranges of the traditional medicine-aisle shelves.

Why is that so important?

Berg: The design has everything to do with appealing to those consumers. Over-the-counter medicines, as products, have lived in this clean, clinical—even sterile—aesthetic for a long time. But Maty’s is made with ingredients you can find in your kitchen. And consumers who want real foods and natural products buy things that look natural. So it made sense to us to match Maty’s outside—its packaging—with what’s inside.

Who supplies the packaging components?

Berg: Berlin Packaging in New Jersey created the custom bottle and cap. Consolidated Label in Florida printed the bottle labels.

How have consumers reacted to the new packaging?

Berg: The feedback has been resoundingly positive. Good impact, easy to understand and very differentiated.


A magic kingdom of packaging solutions: For packaging engineers, executives and designers—WestPack 2018 (Feb. 6-8; Anaheim, CA) delivers leading technologies, free educational presentations, hands-on demonstrations, exceptional networking opportunities and expert-led Innovation Tours. Click here to register now!