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Consumers reveal perceptions, and pet peeves, of e-commerce packaging: Gallery

E-commerce packaging pet peeves

As online sales of consumer goods continue to grow, so does demand for packaging that meets the shipping requirements of those goods. A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of cushioning leader Sealed Air examines packaging’s role in online sales.

The 2014 Sealed Air e-Commerce Survey: Packaging for e-Commerce Success explores issues such as e-commerce growth, order-processing speeds, how packaging reflects on retailers, how it conveys the value of shipments, how product damage affects the consumer/retailer relationship, attitudes toward environmentally friendly packaging and consumers’ pet peeves about packaging.

New technologies better enable packaging’s usefulness

New technologies better enable packaging’s usefulness
Integrated systems and robotics were popular at Pack Expo 2014, as shown in this example from Delkor for its LILP-500 case/tray packer.

Doing more—not with less but with some nifty, interactive technologies—marks the main trend seen at the recent Pack Expo International show.

Google Glass, augmented reality and other multimedia technologies headlined at Pack Expo International 2014 (Nov. 2-5; McCormick Place, Chicago) as more areas of packaging go interactive to help make your work life easier.

This simplicity comes with greater functionality and sophistication, though.

On packaging machines, we saw human/machine interfaces (HMIs) touting more functionality and smart sensors designed to help you maximize uptime by keeping a close eye on quality and productivity—and communicating to you via smartphones. It’s “information anywhere,” says one component manufacturer, who adds that “a smartphone can be a mini HMI.”

At the packaging design level, virtual reality lets brands test package concepts before a single prototype is made.

Here’s a specific example of the “simple yet sophisticated” trend: Technical editor Rick Lingle took a deep dive into robotics at the show. He reports that the number of booths showing robots seemed to be about double from the previous show. “Besides standalone robotics systems, there are definitely more robotics integrated into OEM systems,” Lingle says. “Robots are faster, stronger, smarter, more nimble and have an expanded work envelop—they reach further and lift heavier items.

“Improvements in hardware and software also make sophisticated operations simpler,” he adds, noting that advanced technology in the interfaces is making it easier to use robotics. Robots, like the people they collaborate with (or replace), can react better to changes, using sensors and vision to see and understand what’s happening in plants.

This slice of the packaging machinery market illustrates some of the broader trends that we noticed across other product categories. Specifically, integrated systems are combining tasks and/or functions, giving users more value. These double-duty systems help save floor space and can be more affordable than separate machines.

Here are a few more narrower trends:

• X-ray inspection gets the nod more these days because costs have come down—and the systems are more robust and simpler to use now than before. With product safety an imperative, X-ray machines have an advantage in that they are able to detect more contaminants than a straight-forward metal detector. Another example of double duty?

• Several manufacturers touted smaller equipment that didn’t need compressed air, adding to the all-electric trend that we reported at the previous Pack Expo. Plants not only save on a consumable, they also simplify or eliminate complexities involved with delivering high-quality, filtered air.

• 3D printing is showing up in new and unexpected areas: One end-of-line machinery manufacturer made its robotic end effectors on a 3D printer.

• Augmented reality is seeing new life in various areas, including for testing of retail shelf sets; consumer eye tracking for insight into effective graphic designs; and, remarkably, for machinery monitoring/control.

Direct Thermal White Adhesive Paper Data Sheet

Technical data sheet for standard White Direct Thermal 50Lb paper with a permanent adhesive on a 42lb liner.

Thermal Transfer White Adhesive Paper Data Sheet

Technical data sheet for standard White Thermal Transfer 50Lb paper with a permanent adhesive on a 42lb liner.

Small object counter

The D10 Expert small object counter, delivers small object counting for a variety of applicationsThe D10 Expert™ Small Object Counter, delivers small object counting for a variety of applications, including pharmaceutical pill, tablet and gel cap counting, agricultural seed counting, process verification, verifying product flow from the nozzle of a chute. The small object counter consists of a specialized sensor paired with preconfigured PFVCA fiber optic arrays, creating a two-dimensional sensing field in which objects are readily detected upon breaking any point of the array. This arrangement makes alignment easier and object positioning control less critical than with traditional, single-point emitter and receiver fiber optic assemblies, assuring reliable, consistent small object counting with response times as fast as 150-microseconds, the co. says.

Banner Engineering, 888/373-6767.

www.bannerengineering.com

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Flexible's technical triumphs

Bringing flexible packaging developments and converting coups in printing, graphic design, technology and packaging excellence into the 21st century, winners of the 2005 Achievement Awards, given by the Flexible Packaging Assn. (www.flexpack.org) at its annual meeting Feb. 25 in Carlsbad, CA, demonstrate the tremendous impact of flexible packaging in retail, institutional and industrial products applications.

The descriptions that follow detail the Silver award winners in the printing achievement, technical innovation and packaging excellence categories. PD covered many of the winners last month (see PD, March '05, p. 24 and www.packagingdigest.com/info/fpa0503), including a Silver winner for Cryovac's FC 805 Bag for whole chicken broilers (technical innovation); a Silver winner for Printpack's digitally printed standup pouches used for Betty Crocker's Au Gratin and Scalloped Potatoes (printing achievement); and PBM Plastics' Ecolab liner, which won the Environmental Achievement award.

MEMBERS' CHOICE AWARD

The Lin Cube®, a standup bag from converter

Star Packaging Corp (www.starpackagingcorp.com) for Ascot Grass Seed (1), from Cebeco Seeds bv in the Netherlands, won a Silver award for technical innovation as well as the 2005 Members' Choice Award, which is voted the top entry in the FPA's Achievement Awards competition by members attending the FPA annual meeting. The tall, rectangular seed bag is made from film extruded by Tara Plastics Corp. (www.taraplastics.com) that's laminated on equipment from Nordmeccanica N.A. (www.nordmeccanica.com). Made into bags by Linpac, Inc.'s Lin Cube Div. (www.linpac.com), the innovative, pleated-side shape offers numerous advantages. Easy to use, pour and lift by various age groups, the bag minimizes the need for secondary packaging and can lower storage and transportation costs. With its innovative design that allows four full sides of the package to be used for graphics, it can strengthen brand identity.

The bag also won a Silver award for technical innovation. Other suppliers involved in the Lin Cube application include plate mounter J.M. Heaford, Ltd. (www.jmheaford.co.uk) and artwork and plate provider American Color (www.americancolorgraphics.com). The upright bag prominently displays the brand name, probably more effectively than can most layflat bags, says Star. Suitable for retail and institutional applications, the Lin Cube, as its name implies, is cube-efficient, making great use of shelf space and stacking like a rigid box or carton. Tara's proprietary, five-layer film coextrusion includes a blend of substrates that provides vertical stiffness and deadfold stability, which helps keep the bag standing when filled and hold its shape after it's filled. Flexo-printed in eight colors on a central-impression press from Uteco North America, Inc. (www.uteco.com) with hot-air, convection-oven-cured inks from Flint Ink Corp. (www.flintink.com), the bag is a departure in construction for a product often contained in either layflat bags, rigid, corrugated cases, cans or pails. Lin Cube has applications in the seed and petfood markets, Star says. Circle No. 220.

PRINTING ACHIEVEMENT

Tea-lightful 12-pack overwrap

Ferolito, Vultaggio & Sons' AriZona® beverages took on a new package format recently with a high-impact, printed-film shrink wrap for its 12-pack cans of iced tea drink (2). The new package raises AriZona tea to new heights with help from Robbie Mfg. (www.robbiemfg.com). Historically, the 12-pack of 11.5-oz cans of tea has been merchandised in a printed tray-pack overwrapped in clear film. Cincinnati-based FV&S wanted to provide a recognizable package that consumers would be attracted to, so the company decided to replace the clear wrap with a printed version to unitize the 12-pack. The results provide a billboard for the brand, which is helping it gain a competitive edge on-shelf.

Robbie reverse-prints the 2.5-mil, clear polyethylene film overwrap by flexo in an amazing 10 colors (process and spot colors, including transparent inks and two whites for more opacity) using fast-drying, solvent-based inks, computer-to-plate (CTP) digital printing plates and digital proofs. Robbie says its main goal was to color-match the actual printing of the AriZona tea cans. "Color was very critical," says the converter. "The design was printed with both line and process colors blended softly together in the art."

It's not easy to print clear film with this much opacity and with tiny details held on press, such as the graphics of cherry-tree florals and tree limbs on a mint-green background. These elements fade into the print without hard lines or traps. The process had to match the actual metal tea can look, including the can's bronze-colored rim. Robbie says the most difficult challenge was to print graphics of ice cubes to look icy and wet in four-color process, while making the cubes look transparent, water-clear and free of color. "This was especially tricky where the ice reflects the can's green color," the company points out.

Besides being beautiful and eye-catching, the printed film overwrap reduced packaging costs versus the previous packaging components and is instantly recognizable as the AriZona tea brand. Circle No. 221.

Shaped pouches are the cat's meow

It's one thing to create a standup pouch; it's another to come up with a unique pouch shape in the form of a cat. That's why Friskies® soft cat treats from Nestlé Purina in 3-oz, shaped pouches (3) from multiple FPA award-winner Pliant Corp. (www.pliantcorp.com) and converter Bryce Corp. (www.brycecorp.com) are "purrrfect." The intriguing "cat's ears" shape of the pouch top and the material structure have both shelf appeal and pet appeal, which sets the products apart from their competition. Each pouch features uniquely designed ears that coordinate with the shape of the furry felines pictured on the front panels.

Stunning, eight-color, reverse-flexo-printed graphics rival gravure printing. The design is highlighted by the use of metallized polyethylene terephthalate substrates and water-based inks. The sharp, crisp graphics work well with the metallized backgrounds to make the packages reach out a paw for consumers' attention on store shelves. A convenient, resealable feature helps keep the soft treats fresh between uses.

Replacing a two-pass lamination process, the new one-pass, tandem-extrusion-laminated structure, of reverse-printed PET/metallized PET/easy-tear PE sealant, teams three substrates simultaneously, which helps to reduce costs. Low-odor printing inks are used to accommodate cats' high sensitivity to offensive odors that could be associated with adhesive laminations and solvent-based printing processes. The PE sealant allows for the use of two extrusion-lamination film layers that tear open easily, exposing the reclosable feature. Circle No. 222.

Garlic bread bags never looked so good

Glittering bags containing Orlando Baking's Four Cheese Garlic Bread and Italian Garlic Bread (4), converted by American Packaging Corp., are adhesive laminates made of PET/ink/ adhesive/metallized oriented polypropylene. What really makes them sparkle is the printing technology involved in their manufacture. APC reverse-prints the bagstock in eight colors using a new flexo printing plate technology from Phototype (www.phototype.com), Cincinnati, called NuDot. NuDot is an advanced prepress and plating system that APC says offers superior reproduction in a new approach to forming screen dots.

The dot technology prints an X instead of a round dot in certain tonal ranges. When ink is transferred from the X, it redistributes in a well formed, round or diamond-shaped mass with marked improvement over the donut shapes of conventional flexo plate dots. Phototype's print team worked with APC's pressroom operators to prepare to print with NuDot plates. First, they performed a standard press fingerprint test under normal process-color running conditions to establish an optimal shadow point where the most efficient ink coverage would be obtained. Based on that analysis, Phototype created a series of new dot compensation curves specifically for the press.

"Teaming state-of-the-art NuDot equipment with skilled press operators achieves outstanding graphic designs for the garlic bread bags and advances flexographic printing using solvent-based inks," explains APC. When ink is transferred from the surface of a conventional photopolymer flexo plate to the smooth, nonporous surface of a film substrate, it can bead up and form liquid clumps. This can result in printed dots that look like donuts, with solid print areas that are weak and mottled. NuDot helps prevent this by using high-frequency granules to "break down" plate screen dots into smaller units and rearrange the units to form new dot shapes, or shorelines, that exploit the natural beading and "rivering" characteristics of ink on high-holdout film substrates. NuDot plates are available in a choice of photopolymer materials and thicknesses, in plate sizes up to 60380 in. Circle No. 223.

Bag graphics 'pop' for Tabasco

American Packaging won a second Silver award for printing achievement with the metallized OPP bags for Tabasco Cheese Popcorn (5). Available from Houston Harvest, Franklin Park, IL, the 2-oz packs are made of OPP/ink/adhesive/metallized OPP. They present crisp graphics achieved again by the NuDot flexo prepress and plating system from Phototype (see winner above). This technology is said to increase image sharpness and brighten colors and provide higher densities, smoother vignettes and cleaner text. The artwork and superior printing allow the package to capture consumers' attention at point of purchase.

The shiny, metallic OPP film combined with the NuDot technology produced high clarity and cleaner text for the glossy bags. According to APC, NuDot also gives the Tabasco cheese popcorn bags more sales appeal, especially in nontraditional outlets where the use of flexible packaging isn't always seen, and provides excellent print benefits at a lower cost than with conventional plates. Circle No. 223.

Chipper 'chips' bags

The packaging for Safeway, Inc.'s Original and Chunky Treasure Chips chocolate chip cookies earned multiple award winner Printpack, Inc. (www.printpack.com) a Silver for expert printing with digital photopolymer plates (6). Printpack converts the shiny bagstock??a 1.2-mil PP, laminated to 70-ga metallized PP with 10# opaque-white LDPE. Using plates produced by Matthews Intl., (www.matw.com), Pittsburgh, Printpack achieves a crisp look, with tight overall flexo print registration in six colors, and builds in smooth gradations and drop shadows. The scroll-map graphic and cookie vignettes display definition, sharpness, detail and a textural quality that makes them look very realistic, appetizing and ready to eat. Graphics, in either blue or chocolatey-brown color schemes, depending on the chips' flavor variety, were created by Watt Design Group (www.wattinternational.com). Circle No. 224.

Mouth-watering pasta pouches

Printing details of intricate photo vignettes presented on standup, zippered pouches for Seviroli Foods' Four-Cheese Ravioli (7) and Stuffed Shells surely whet the tastebuds. Converted into pouches by Polymer Packaging, Inc (www.polymerpkg.com), the packages start with a glossy, 48-ga PET/ink/adhesive/3-mil opaque-white PE sealant rollstock, laminated and flexo-printed by Mercury Plastics, Inc. (www.mercuryplastics.com), in nine colors on a 10-color Windmoeller & Hoelscher (www.whcorp.com) Novoflex press.

Polymer Packaging uses a Waterline Ritebag gearless pouch machine from Karlville Development Group (www.karlville.com) to premake the pouches. The vibrant, three-dimensional graphics focus on close-up shots of deep-red pasta sauce and melting, shredded cheese, as well as a spoonful of luscious, cream-colored ravioli. Garden City, NY-based Seviroli switched its ravioli products from a plain, white LLDPE bag with a label to the new, reclosable standup pouch in order to enhance shelf presence and convenience. The new packaging is said to have helped Seviroli boost sales enough to begin packaging other pasta items in standup pouches.

According to Polymer Packaging, one of the more challenging aspects of the printing project was to provide quality, in-depth detail showing the red sauce and shredded cheese. The upright pouches also provide technical and functional improvements over the former packaging, such as the reclosable zipper, from Zip-Pak (www.zippak.com), a division of ITW Minigrip, that provides the potential for a longer product shelf life. Circle No. 225.

PACKAGING EXCELLENCE

'Tanfastic' spouted pouch

Multiple award winner Exopack (www.exopack.com) was recognized for packaging excellence for a spouted pouch it provides for the Design Worx Shift Tan Maximizer (8). Replacing a paperboard tube, this 8-oz, reclosable package for three different tanning lotion varieties brings a new structure to a market more often associated with rigid packaging. The pouch's matte-finish, biaxially-oriented PP-based laminate construction gives it a soft feel, while the high-impact graphics, reverse-printed in four-color process, play up the cool, hip identity of the Shift brand. The pouch could be a first in the tanning industry, says Exopack, which adds that the pouch can also offer a significant cost savings over rigid containers. This can't hurt a product facing a sea of competition.

A dramatic, shadowy image on the front panel shows a surreal exclamation point encircled in a black and white bull's-eye motif. The hermetically sealed spout makes the tanning product easier to dispense and also resists leakage. Circle No. 226.

EZO chemical tablet pouch

The Everproe Tab Pouch for deodorizing tablets (9), available from portable sanitation products manufacturer J&J Chemical Co. is a standup package that brings a new flexible format to an industry tied more to paperboard cartons and corrugated cases.

Replacing a paperboard tube, the barrier, metallized polyester laminate pouch is designed to both protect the tablets and provide easy access to them, courtesy of a Slide Ritew slider zipper closure (developed by Pactiv Corp. [www.pactiv.com]). Eye-catching graphics further enhance brand identity. Produced by Exopack, the pouch provides a substantial aroma barrier, keeping the strong scent of the tablets inside the package and also extending product life. Surface-printed flexographically on the metallic surface, the graphics add appealing visuals of a tablet being dropped into water, provide easy-to-read product application instructions and communicate a high-quality message to the end user, though the package is said to cost less than its predecessor, according to Pactiv.

Easy to fill because it eliminates the tedious manual placement of the tablets in a tube, the metallized pouch also has a "top-shelf" image, according to J&J, of Athens, GA. Circle No. 226.

McDowell's toasts pouches

McDowell's Whiskey Pack (10), produced by Flex-America, Inc. (www.flexfilm.com) for McDowell's United Breweries Group's Spirits Div. in India, is a tall, gold pouch with an integral carry handle at the top. Concealing a 1- or 1.5-L whiskey bottle within, the package was launched in July 2004 to rave reviews from consumers. The aesthetically pleasing, metallic gold pouch has reportedly reduced the packaging costs by more than 20 percent and has helped prevent counterfeiting of the brand. Made of 12-micron (approximately 48-ga) PET, dry-laminated to 12-micron (48-ga) metallized PET and 75-micron (approximately 3-mil) LDPE, the pouch is reverse-printed by gravure in eight colors by Flex Industries, a part of the Flex Group, and is punched with a handle hole on the top. Because the pouch is a one-time-use package, tearing it open to access the bottle renders it useless after the bottle is removed, so it helps prevent counterfeiting of the McDowell's brand. The Flex Group began business nearly two decades ago, producing variety of films, laminates, pouches, inks and adhesives. PD learns that the pouch is made on a standup pouchmaking machine manufactured by Flex Engineering Ltd., in India. Circle No. 227.

Laser scores make Sainsbury's single-serves easy to open

The single-serve pouches (11) produced by CLP Industries Ltd.(www.clppackagingsolutions.com) that hold Sainsbury's sandwich filler spreads include easy-opening laser scores. Sainsbury's uses flexible packaging technology to take sandwich fillers in three flavors to new heights in convenience. The spreads offer consumers a tasty range of choices. With a quick tear without scissors or knives and a gentle squeeze to dispense the contents, each member of the family can have a favorite sandwich.

Replacing 150- and 250-g tubs and jars, the lightweight, 75-g, laser-scored, standup pouch is made of a 12-micron (48-ga) PET/60-micron (2.3-mil) PE film laminate that CLP reverse-flexo-prints in four colors with simple and elegant graphics. The laser-scored film is easy to open, and the single portion size reduces waste. The film also has a finish and a sharpness that can be difficult to replicate on direct-printed tubs and paper-labeled jars, according to Linda Zilian at CLP. The gussets in the pouches make display and home storage convenient and attractive.

Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd., London, says that most sandwich spreads packaged in jars or tubs can be heavy and often fragile, and jars can be difficult for children and the elderly to manipulate. That's why it developed its individual-serving pouches, which are lightweight and easy to handle, and keep the products fresh until they're needed.

The standup pouch is filled and sealed by Sainsbury's copacker in the U.K. The cost per package to the consumer is kept relatively low by the packer's skill, and by the convenient, single-serving package size. Circle No. 228.

TECHNICAL INNOVATION

Shrink bag for bone-in meat

Multiple award winner Alcan Packaging (www.alcan.com) may have revolutionized coextrusion technology when it introduced the ClearShield(TM) Shrink Bag for fresh, bone-in meat (12). A game-changer in the world of bone-in meat-packaging materials, the multilayer film is said to offer critical, total perimeter puncture-resistance??even in the sealing area??and superior machinability. Traditionally, says Alcan, hazy, puncture-resistant patches are applied to the standard shrink bag, so that sharp, protruding bones won't puncture the bag and break the hermetic seal, which could compromise the safety and shelf life of the meat. Alcan notes that this can be a time-consuming process that's often less than accurate in a fast-paced meat-packing plant. Unlike patch bags or wraps that use bone caps, ClearShield packs don't need to be oriented so that a patch or film lamination layer covers the bone protruding from the meat.

ClearShield bags allow consumers to easily see the meat and can reduce in-plant leaker rates by more than 50 percent, compared with conventional patch bags. They're said to help keep packaging costs low and have oxygen and moisture barrier protection to extend meat shelf life. They're also glass-clear and can be used with existing packaging equipment.

The result of proprietary coextrusion technology and new polymeric, raw materials from partner suppliers, the ClearShield bags also exhibit outstanding shrink properties and stiffness that allow them to lay flat across a seal bar and seal with fewer pleats. In addition, Alcan says the bags do not involve the use of starch, which can build up on packaging equipment. Circle No. 229.

Printed, peelable and case-ready meat pack

One of the company's two Silver winners for technical innovation (see PD, March '05, p. 24 or our website, www.packagingdigest.com/info/fpa0503), the Cryovac® LID 551P printed, peelable, case-ready lidding film and package (13) from the Cryovac Food Packaging Div. of Sealed Air Corp. (www.sealedair.com) consists of a trap-printed, barrier lidding film sealed to a polystyrene foam tray with a barrier liner. The contents??whole muscle meats, primarily beef and pork??are flushed with a low-oxygen gas mixture, and the LID 551P film is hermetically sealed to the tray, which protects contents and maintains a low-oxygen atmosphere during storage and distribution. The barrier layer can be peeled away at the retail level, to leave a breathable film that allows air to re-enter the package, causing the meat to bloom to the desired bright red color. This easy-peel feature allows retailers to peel and bloom only the products that they need to keep their meat cases filled. According to Cryovac, the ability to better match shelf life to store needs will allow retailers to maximize sales by keeping a meat case full by not having to over stock.

Used by Swift & Co., LID 551P builds on Cryovac's earlier LID 550P film used in low-oxygen, case-ready ground beef packages, with the advantage of accommodating trap printing, so that the print remains on-pack after the barrier layer is peeled away. The lidding film is a 2.2-mil barrier lamination made of several coextruded films, with the printing trapped between two film layers.

LID 551P film demonstrates exceptional sealability and machinability, and anti-fog performance. Its low-oxygen capabilities are maintained until bloom (red color of the meat) is needed. The LID 551P package provides an extended shelf-life option without using a master pouch. In addition, Cryovac notes, the trayed product only goes through one packaging machine rather than two. Circle No. 230.

Laminated bags are on a roll

In late 2003, PPG Industries' Aerospace Div., Glendale, CA, asked LPS Industries' Laminated Div. (www.lpsind.com) to work on re-engineering its existing film/foil/film barrier bags for sealants (14). For more than a decade, LPS had supplied PPG with one-side-printed bags with generic graphics. A thermal-transfer label was applied to differentiate the various sealant products. But PPG decided it wanted to automate the labeling process by feeding an unprinted "roll" of bags onto a printer, which would eliminate the label application. LPS created a laminated-foil bags-on-a-roll concept, which would allow PPG to use the bags with existing thermal-transfer printers.

After a trial period, LPS developed a roll-label product for PPG that it now supplies in boxes containing three rolls of bags and a thermal-transfer ribbon. This allows PPG to transfer all sealant parts to its packaging line in one tidy unit and helped PPG to streamline its packaging operation and inventory and reduced labor and material costs. Circle No. 231.

Insecticide pack can now move outdoors

Moving from a folding carton to a spouted, standup bag for its Ortho Bug-Geta Snail & Slug Killer products (15), the Scotts Company, Marysville, OH, was easily able to move Bug-Geta® from the inside of stores outdoors, into garden centers. The glossy, striking 4-lb package not only improves the shelf appeal of the product but also protects the granular product from moisture and sunlight. Replacing a paperboard folding carton that couldn't be merchandised outdoors, the flexible, spouted bag brings more convenience and dispensing accuracy to consumers while representing a source reduction over most rigid containers. The bag is also space-efficient. Peel Plastic Products Ltd. (www.peelplastics.com) takes center stage for the noteworthy structure, which can be dispensed without the need for a secondary scoop or applicator. The reclosable spout insert is easy to use and prevents leakage. Circle No. 232.

More information is available:

Shipping fragile fossils

How would you safely package and transport a 77-million-year-old, mummified dinosaur? Sealed Air Corp. (www.sealedair.com) knows how to do it, and it answers with a resounding, “very carefully.”



In fact, the job was such an amazing and unusual one, that Sealed Air and its dinonsaur story are the subject of a Discovery Channel television network episode called, “Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy,” which aired on cable television in September.

Leonardo, a duckbilled (Brachylophosaurus Canadensis) dinosaur that roamed the earth all those millions of years ago, was found in 2000 in Montana, almost completely intact. Ninety percent of his body is covered in skin, which meant that a remarkable preservation existed. The fossil hunters know what he ate for his last meal, which consisted largely of leaves, including ferns, magnolias and conifers. A four-legged, three- or four-year-old (when he died), he is also one of the most unexpected and important dinosaur discoveries of this age, they claim.

He was found by a team of amateur geologists and paleontologists who were exploring the town of Malta, MT, and named him Leonardo after seeing some graffiti on a boulder near where he was discovered that read, “Leonard Webb and Geneva Jordan, 1917.”

Encased in rock, the dinosaur fossil was shrink-wrapped in a film and shipped in a foam-cushioned crate.

The crew of more than 25 volunteers, which founded what is now the Judith River Dinosaur Insitute (JRDI), actually discovered what it believes is the first dinosaur mummy with intact digestive tract contents—a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.



Scientists have more than just its skin and bones to fully reconstruct how Leo looked and lived. With fossilized samples of the digested food still inside the viscera, plus its joints, the team of scientists also was able to create a reconstruction of the giant dinosaur, accurately, both inside and out, which they claim is a first.

Suspecting there would be fossilized organs within the dinosaur's torso, the team members agreed that the remains needed to be scanned at the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) in Houston. So Leo, who was incredibly preserved through the eons in rock and weighs two tons, would have to be moved 2,000 miles to NASA's Johnson Space Center where he could be studied further using state-of-the-art equipment.

A member of the science team solicited help from Sealed Air packaging experts to create a protective package that could safely transport Leo. The entire journey was recorded for the Discovery Channel documentary.

You want to ship what?

With a final packaging design strategy, the packing team hand covered the fossil with a shroud of protective film over its exposed surfaces so that if anything dislodged, it could be repaired later.

But flying the specimen's remains to NASA in Houston was out of the question, the team realized. The nearest airport of any size was in Billings, MT, more than 200 miles away.



Such a trip would require multiple handlings on and off vehicles and aircraft, which would have been outside of the team's control. Leo would have to be shipped by truck.

Funded primarily by various donations, sponsorships from industry and other private and public sources, donations of time and materials for the packaging portion of the project and the rights provided to the television production group to create the eventual Discovery Channel program, the packaging portion of the project began taking real shape when Art Anderson, a member of the science team, started to look for a way to package the mummified dinosaur gently enough to withstand truck transportation. 


A shock-insolation system was designed to sustain the 4,000-lb specimen using foam padding on which the entire crate rode.

The packaging request was definitely the most unique that Bill Armstrong, technical development manager at Sealed Air, says he has ever received. “It was a true chance in a lifetime,” he says. “We had use of a specific vehicle and we oversaw all loading and unloading operations. It was felt that shipping the specimen by air would have been too complex and risky for our purposes.”



Armstrong led the packaging end of the project, which included designing, testing and implementing a package to transport the irreplaceable artifact across the country. He assembled a team of packaging experts from Sealed Air, the International Safe Transit Association [ISTA (www.ista.org)], Lansmont Corp. (www.lansmont.com) and the U.S. Navy to create a custom containment design. The team worked throughout 2007 to create a custom solution with the support of Sealed Air's Packaging Dynamics Lab in Danbury, CT. Armstong led the team in planning and made several trips to Malta. The packaging team then traveled there in February 2008 to execute a design it finalized in the Packaging Dynamics Lab.

Rocky but fragile surface

Before the fossil could be shipped, however, the science team spent several days preparing and stabilizing the actual rock surface of the dinosaur. After the time spent exposing the surfaces to the point where further study could be possible, many parts of the actual surface of the specimen were quite exposed and fragile. “The specimen wasn't a solid hunk of granite—it was a soft, sandstone-like composite,” Armstrong remembers. “I recommended that we shrink-wrap by hand a shroud of CorrTuff film over the exposed surfaces so that if any piece or component of the top plane of the specimen were to become dislodged, it could be kept in place for recovery and repair upon arrival, should it so be needed. Luckily, when we arrived [in Houston], we noticed that the CorrTuff served essentially as an insurance policy only.”

The outer surface of the dinisaur specimen wasn't dry bone. Ninety percent of his body was covered in skin, a remarkable preservation.

During their three days on-site, the packaging team assembled a base and a reinforced plywood crate on which the fossil would travel. Made of 4x4- and 6x6-in. lumber to provide a stable lateral support structure for what it now believes was a 4,000-lb fossil load, the wooden crate measured about 12.5-ft-long, approximately 4-ft-high and just a bit less than the width of the trailer used to transport Leo. The team also completed a shock-isolation mounting system on which the wooden crate would ride.



“The shock-isolation system we designed consisted of an external pad using resilient foam on which the entire crate would ride in the trailer,” explains Armstrong. “Consulting with several shock-mount system design engineers at the U.S. Navy Weapons Center at Colts Neck, NJ, we all agreed that for this particular set of challenges, such a system would be preferred for both development and assembly perspectives. Our objective in the shock-mount development, was to provide a design that would have minimum damage potential for the equipment, during the journey, had the product-response characteristics, etcetera.”

Foam, film, foam

After 'Leo' was shrink-wrapped,'he' was blocked and braced in protective PU foam packing, which expands up to 200 times its liquid volume in seconds.

Leonardo was lifted off of its supports in the JRDI field station and mounted onto the base for transport. Next, it was shrink-wrapped in Sealed Air's CorTuff® high-abuse shrink film to stabilize its fragile surface. The shrink film is strong enough to withstand high abuse and is often used with such items as rugs and other textiles and building materials, Sealed Air reports. The film works with a wide range of product shapes, weights and sizes, from large consumer goods to odd-shaped item, so was most suitable for the odd-size artifact pieces in this case. The wrapped fossil was blocked and braced using Instapak® PU foam cushioning and placed in the crate. The Instapak foam-in-place material expands up to 200 times its liquid volume in seconds to form protective cushions.



The packaging team carefully moved the assembled crate to the trailer and mounted it atop a shock-isolation system, layered with 3 in. of Sealed Air's Stratocell® H PE foam. Featuring up to 6 in. of thickness in half-inch increments, Stratocell H foam provides cushioning protection against repeated shock and cushions light or heavy objects.

Packing team leader and Sealed Air's techinical development manager Bill Armstrong stands in front of a replica of Leonardo and behind the actual dinosaur fossil itself.

“The basis for the shock-mount performance was in the use of the Stratocell H foam,” Armstrong explains. “We asked Lansmont if they would support our development through the use of some of their transportation environmental measuring systems in a test-ship program, using the actual tractor/trailer equipment that would be used in the eventual shipment.”



Lansmont agreed, Armstrong tells PD, and the test shipment—750 miles each way from Malta to Ogden, UT, and back—was executed in August, 2007. The information gained from that test was then used to support the design of the ultimate shock-mount assembly.

Development work at the Sealed Air Packaging Dynamics lab included a review of Lansmont's vibration data from the test shipment.

Sealed Air provided the materials, the design, the development and testing for the crate, shock-mount assembly and interior packaging, blocking and bracing as part of its overall sponsorship of the project.

The team then created what Armstrong defines as a transmissibility protocol using what the team felt would be a representative vibration level and composition for the shipment. “We tested several different foam alternatives as far as density and thickness goes, and found that Stratocell H provided the best combination of resilience and vibration performance for these conditions at the required thickness and loading parameters,” he says.

No sand out of place

After the 2,000-mile trip by truck, “not a grain of sand was out of place,” according to one of the scientists. Upon arrival in Houston, the science team began scanning the fossil to determine if any fossilized organs were present. The crate was gently removed from the truck into a NASA hangar where it was finally opened.

Lifted by forklift off of its supports at the Judith River Dinosaur Institute field station.

The scanning took place under strict security, and the findings were revealed when the documentary—being filmed throughout the process—aired worldwide on Sept. 14.



“An opportunity like this is rare,” Armstrong sums up. “Working with a team of experts to transport a 77-million-year-old, irreplaceable item was beyond my wildest dreams.” At that time, the team didn't yet know what the scientists found inside the fossil, Armstrong points out, “but we know nothing was displaced during transit. We had to watch the documentary to find out what was revealed. I would, at best, paraphrase my understanding of what the scanning team and overall science said in the program, but the team seems to have found at least a couple of organs, in addition to a lot of information on the digestive tract of this creature, etcetera. From what I understand, the team feels that they have found the liver and what is very likely to be the heart of the dinosaur, judging by their scans.”

On exhibit

Leo was then mounted onto the transport system system. Stabilized and braced for the long trip, the shipment then headed to NASA without a hitch.

An extraordinary archeological find, the mummified Leonardo, with more than 90 percent of its body covered with fossilized soft tissue, is one of only four existing Brachylophosaurus specimens unearthed to date.



Starting on Sept. 19, 2008, Leonardo went on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in a specially created exhibit.

According to Armstrong, the JDRI was founded to provide the location and resources necessary to continue to develop the science part of the project. The actual discovery site had once been a tire store at one of the main intersections in the middle of Malta.

The facilities also provided tours and visits throughout the summer so that individuals could stop in to see the fossil as working scientists continued to reveal and study what they had unearthed.





More information is available:
Sealed Air Corp, 201/791-7600. www.sealedair.com.
International Safe Transit Assn., 517/333-3437. www.ista.org.
Lansmont Corp., 831/655-6600. www.lansmont.com.



Duplex drug-delivery pouch

Judges in this year's DuPont Awards program granted a total of 11 awards in the nonfood category, due to the record number of nonfood entries. Several of them were designed for medical, pharmaceutical or personal care applications. Here are the rest of the 2003 DuPont Award winners, all in the nonfood category.

Duplex drug-delivery pouch
A twin-compartment package that mixes a drug in one section with a diluent in the other–only when the user activates them–nabbed a gold award for B. Braun Medical's Duplex® drug-delivery system (N). The customizable flexible film intravenous (IV) bag stores a unit dose of diluent in one section and drug powder separately in another section. When the shelf-stable package is squeezed, the seals separating the drug and diluent chambers break sequentially, allowing complete diluent-drug compounding to occur within the closed pouch.

Once a protective cap is removed from the bottom of the pouch, a port made of polypropylene and a Kraton Polymers' thermoplastic elastomer can be spiked, and the drug can then be infused into the patient. This allows IV drugs that aren't stable in solution to be packaged with a diluent in a ready-to-use enclosed format, reducing contamination and potential medication errors.

Tested in June, 2001, and commercially produced beginning in February, 2003, the Duplex bag can hold 50 mL of diluent by volume and 1 g of the drug in powder form and has enough capacity to hold as much as 100 mL of diluent and 2 g of drug powder. It's designed to replace conventional admixture systems that require multiple dispensing/packaging components, such as vials, bags, connecting devices and syringe/needle transfer devices.

Separating the powder portion from the diluent portion is a peelable seal that breaks open when the package is squeezed so that the two product components can be mixed together only when they're needed.

The package's structure is an adhesive lamination that features what Bethlehem, PA-based B. Braun Medical describes as a clear film front panel, made from a blend of PP and thermoplastic elastomer, a back panel comprising a lamination of (from the inside) clear PP film/polyethylene copolymers/foil/polyethylene terephthalate. About a quarter of the way from the bottom of the package is the compartment filled with the powdered drug. That compartment has a peel-off strip of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)/foil/PET over a clear barrier film lamination of PP/silicone oxide-coated (SiOx) PVA/SiOx-coated PET. Overall thickness of the package structure is about 5 mils.

Shari Sandberg, marketing director at B. Braun Medical, says this is thought to be the first dual-compartmented package with liquid in one chamber and power in the other, produced in one line. The pouch materials were chosen for their high moisture and oxygen barriers. The manufacturing process occurs in a controlled environment to minimize particulate matter, control oxygen and moisture and assure sterility. The package can provide up to a two-year shelf life, depending on the drug it contains.

Sandberg points out that the cost-effective package requires no special storage conditions and can be used in automated dispensing machinery, distributed through mail-order of IV antibiotic admixtures and eliminates several mixing steps so reduces mess and waste. The Duplex system also reduces labor requirements for mixing the two components and can be adapted to many multicomponent chemicals, powders or liquids that must be stored separately and combined at time-of-use.

After installing a pilot line, B. Braun soon began producing the portable bags conventionally on a higher-speed line outfitted with custom bagmaking equipment, and is gearing up to add more lines. Sandberg says the company blends its own resins and extrudes its clear films in-house at its pharmaceuticals facility in Irvine, CA, welding ports into the bags and then sterilizing the empty bags in bulk totes using electron-beam radiation. The company also aseptically fills and heat-seals the packages separately of pouchmaking using isolator technology, and says it was one of the first medical/pharmaceutical packagers to use isolators outside of the nuclear industry for aseptic filling purposes.

Sandberg goes on to say that the Duplex package is currently being used by as many as 200 customers and counting, primarily for antibiotic delivery, typically in acute-care settings and for home care. Circle No. 230.

Easy-to-use inhaler offers a sigh of relief
In terms of consumer convenience, GlaxoSmithKline's Diskus® (O) inhaler for Advairw medication for sufferers of asthma is indeed a breath of fresh air. Winning gold in the nonfood category, the unique design incorporates an injection-molded dispenser with a thumb grip on one side and a mouthpiece on the other, in a disk shape that contains 250 mcg (micrograms) of fluticasone propionate and 50 mcg salmeterol dry inhalation powder medication. The easy-to-use device is breath-activated and is molded with a dosage counter on the front that counts down to zero. Administering the inhaler requires following three steps: open the rotary device, click and inhale.

The Advair Diskus offers one-handed opening as the user places a thumb on the thumb grip and pushes the purple cover away as far as it will go until a mouthpiece appears and snaps into position to reveal a lever that is clicked or pushed back. The dose of medication is ready to inhale.

Originally marketed in the U.K. and Europe, the Advair Diskus gained approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August, 2000, and was marketed in the U.S. the following April. Made in England, the dispenser itself is molded by Bespak in the U.K. of PP, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polycarbonate (PC) and acetal and assembled at a GSK facility in Ware, England. There are a total of 14 components, 11 of which the company says are automatically preassembled to form the main subassembly portion of the device. The remaining three components, body top, mouthpiece and outer case, are assembled by GSK in Ware, which also blends the drug, fills the device into blister-strips and packages the device.

The blister-strip contains 28 or 60 doses of medication (for use once or twice a day) in a structure consisting of a cold-forming laminate of (from the outside) nylon/laminating adhesive/ primer/foil/adhesive/vinyl and has a peelable lidding that provides additional protection. The lidding is made of an adhesive lamination comprising SBS/adhesive/biaxially oriented white PET/adhesive/foil/heat-seal lacquer.

The filled strip is automatically cut to length, coiled and inserted into the device as part of the assembly process. A loop is formed on one end of the strip, and a dimple is made on the other to secure the strip into the device. The dispenser is then overwrapped in a purple film/foil pouch that's UV- letterpress-printed with required product information, directions and brand information before the pouch is packed in a tuck-tab carton. A dose is dispensed when the patient actuates the lever, and the lid material is peeled away from the base material of the strip, exposing the powder-filled blister within the device. The product is inhaled through a manifold in the mouthpiece.

According to Robin Gaitens, product communication manager at GSK, the revolutionary Advair Diskus is the only product of its kind that can treat the two main components of asthma–brochoconstriction and inflammation–in a propellant-free format that requires no hand/breath coordination but uses the force of a patient's own breath. Gaitens says patients find the dispenser easy to hold, easy to use and easy to recognize when it's time for a new dispenser. Patients, doctors and pharmacists have been extremely receptive to the device, with 16.8-million prescriptions issued since its launch. She adds that the Advair Diskus is the only device of its kind to include a dose counter that counts down to zero, so that patients know when they're running out of the propellant-free medication. Circle No. 231.

Retractable-cap tube bubbles for shampoo
Also winning a gold in nonfoods is a free-standing tube (P) featuring a screw cap in its recessed base that pops up into a dome shape to give the tube wide marketing appeal. Currently marketed in Latin America for shampoo and conditioners, the Flexa Tube™ squeeze tube is extrusion/blow-molded of LDPE by Graham Packaging. After the successful introduction of the shampoo in Latin America, Graham Packaging says the tube will be available in the U.S. and the rest of the world this summer.

Suitable for a wide range of products, the Flexa Tube made its debut in an 80-mL size last April with Unilever Dominicana's Sedalw shampoo, which when squeezed, exposes a pop-up dome revealing a small, 13-mm-dia threaded cap from a recess in the tube's 38-mm base. The small resealable closure is removed to neatly dispense the shampoo. The dome can be retracted back into the tube base when not in use, so that the container can stand on end.

Since the product is inverted, gravity naturally directs it to the tube opening, where the consumer needs it, for easy dispensing. Depending on the contents, the tube can be made of a monolayer or a multilayer polyolefin structure, says Geoffrey R. Lu, vp of business development at Graham Packaging. "We're bringing a totally new packaging presentation to the marketplace."

York, PA-based Graham indicates that conventional standup tubes often require large caps that act as a base on which to stand. The patent-pending Flexa Tube's one-piece construction has no welds and requires no special overcaps, twist-caps or flip-up closures. The pop-up dome-shaped portion of the tube is actually a living hinge that allows the dome to tuck inside the base, while squeezing the tube pops the dome back out, exposing the simple closure. Sturdy, low-cost and easy to manufacture, according to Graham, Flexa Tube can be made using a variety of resins, and filled and sealed on conventional tube equipment.

Designed jointly by a technical team working in both the U.S. and in Argentina, the Flexa Tube initially was made of LDPE for Unilever's Latin American Sedal haircare product introduction. Lu indicates that the tube has since been marketed in Peru, Uruguay, Columbia, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company, is also using the Flexa Tube as a container for its LuBRax two-cycle oil.

For the U.S., Graham will offer the tube in 40-, 50- and 58-mm dia, with standard continuous-threaded caps or dispensing caps. Decorating options will include pressure-sensitive labeling, screen- and dry-offset printing and heat-transfer graphics. The tube can also be made with a hook or an eyelet so that it can hang on a display rack.

Lu says consumers view the container as user-friendly. The squeezable/retractable action of the one-piece flexible dome gives it an interactive quality. "Consumers think it's fun to play with," Lu says. "Things that can be put into a bottle can also be put into a tube. So this holds the possibility of a new paradigm in the global marketplace."

Beyond shampoo, gel and lubricants, Lu suggests that the tube can be used for creams, lotions, toothpaste, dishwashing liquids, household and chemical products, dressings, condiments, and spreadable foods such as peanut butter. Circle No. 232.

Water-soluble pouch for cleaners
Specialty water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH)-based films from MonoSol can be used for applications such as single-dose pouches containing liquid laundry detergents (Q). They can also be used for powdered detergents, fertilizers and water-treatment chemicals. But just how the water-soluble pouches can contain a liquid is the reason Portage, IN-based MonoSol won a gold award in the nonfood category.

The small pouches offer convenience because they can furnish a premeasured amount of product that dissolves in water, so there's no packaging materials to dispose of, and they eliminate direct contact between the user and the product. MonoSol offers a wide range of the films used for a variety of applications, but the use of the films as an environmentally friendly packaging vehicle has become the most popular, says MonoSol's director of business development, Christian Rath.

"Historically, this type of water-soluble film packaging has been used in agrochemical applications, for pesticides and for powders," he says. "Several years ago, we were asked to conduct studies to find a solution that could contain liquids. Today, we have a group of products that can successfully be used to package liquids such as home care detergents and cleaners and dish and laundry detergents, but not to package water."

MonoSol's customers can utilize the company's in-house product-compatibility testing services and, by working with contract packagers that can convert the film from rollstock, they can ensure they're getting film pouches that dissolve completely, leaving no trace of packaging. Thus, such pouches can potentially eliminate the need for mixing containers.

Dispensing the pouches is fast and easy, and the dissolvable attributes can also represent a source reduction, lowering package weight and volume.

MonoSol uses what it calls a solution-casting process to produce the film. Rath says tests show that the film will usually dissolve in water within 10 seconds. He indicates there is a connection between the temperature of the water and the speed of dissolution. However, he says, the company doesn't recommend heating water to achieve the dissolution effect. Generally, the warmer the temperature, the faster the dissolution time. MonoSol's films come in various widths and thicknesses and can be made into pouches using conventionally available converting equipment. The film, in grade M-8630, is reportedly being used in Europe and in the U.K. for liquid household detergents, Rath says. Circle No. 233.

Pouch with built-in desiccant
A film pouch with a built-in desiccating agent (R) earned Pechiney Plastic Packaging a silver in the nonfood category for its notable barrier properties that can extend the shelf life of the test strip it contains for multiple years.

Answering the call from Johnson & Johnson's Lifescan Company, Milpitas, CA, Pechiney designed a single-use pouch for Lifescan's patented Harmony single-use diagnostic test strips, which are administered by patients or healthcare professionals to test blood coagulation. The pouch has enhanced moisture barriers in a tear-open, flexible format. Conventional foil laminations didn't guarantee the long shelf life Lifescan was after, and the company wanted a flexible structure with enhanced moisture barriers that could still fit within its budget.

Pechiney points to a revolutionary new sealant film with a proprietary desiccating agent extruded into it that substantially extends product shelf life and inhibits moisture damage to medical devices. Pechiney says it worked with a resin manufacturer to develop the desiccating agent. The technology took about a year to develop, explains Rick Merical, director of product development at Pechiney. "What's unique about the film is that the desiccating agent is built into the sealant film itself. The chemical-based desiccating agent blocks any potential ingress points for moisture through the edges of the film. It also acts to fill in any defects in the lamination itself that might occur through pinholes in a foil pouch."

The package comprises a structure, overall just more than 4.25 mils thick, with a 2.5-mil-thick desiccating sealant film. From the outside, it's described as a 48-ga reverse-printed PET, white LDPE/ethylene acrylic acid (EAA) coextrusion lamination/foil/LDPE/EAA coextrusion lamination/patent-pending desiccating sealant. The white LDPE is there to provide opacity for the graphics, Merical tells PD. The sealant film incorporating the desiccant is what he says keeps the internal relative humidity of the package low for many years and could be the first on the market for this type of medical product.

Lifescan has been packaging the test strips in HDPE vials sealed with twist-caps, the latter of which incorporated a molecular sieve desiccant. Marketed to patients and healthcare professionals for the measurement of prothrombin (PT) in whole blood, the diagnostic test strips are sensitive to exposure to humidity. But as long as the bottles were resealed quickly after removal of each strip, the container was effective. But it was also more costly than Lifescan might've liked, and the potential was there for the user to inadvertently forget to recap the bottle, which could result in test-strip spoilage.

Individually wrapped in the Desiccating High Barrier Pouch with an easy-open, slit-style tear notch, the test strips stay fresh while the pouch reduces packaging costs and eliminates any risk of contamination. In addition, says Lifescan's Brian Earp, senior marketing manager for new products, packaging costs are likely to save 60 percent of the cost of a rigid container.

To convert the pouches as well as to package the test strips, Lifescan enlisted the help of Doyen Medipharm, which currently contract-packs the pouches on its Model 4SS, a conventional high-volume four-side-seal pouching system. Doyen also employs an in-process quality assurance test that determines seal integrity. Earp says Lifescan has just completed its clinical trials, stability tests and other tests on the new pouch and hopes to be marketing the tests in the pouch by fourth quarter, 2003. Lifescan also credits packaging consultant David Thysen of Thysen Consulting, Portola Valley, CA, with coordinating the packaging design and specifications among the suppliers involved.

Earp says his firm considered the pouch to have significant benefits, not to mention being an alternative to adding a desiccant sachet to a container that could accidentally be mistaken for a capsule and be ingested.

"This cuts packaging costs substantially, though the savings versus opening a vial and exposing the strips is even more considerable," says Earp.

Pechiney says the desiccating lamination streamlines the packaging process, adding that the technology could extend to a next-generation leap in moisture-barrier packaging that addresses concerns related to foil pinholes, fractures and moisture ingress from the edges of heat-sealable films. Circle No. 234.

Space-saving, inflatable bubbles
Another nonfood silver winner is the inflatable Bubble Wrap® system from Sealed Air Corp. (S), which automatically inflates and dispenses Bubble Wrap air cellular cushioning material on-site and on-demand, with optimum flexibility. The system operates with pre-perforated, 3/4-in.-H barrier bubble material. A series of bubbles in each row is interconnected to a main channel for inflation and seal together at selected areas to create bubbles. A portable inflation system fills the material and seals each row at the user level. Made using proprietary barrier technology that's designed to retain the air in the bubbles longer than other materials, the wrap can be shipped flat to end-users for void-fill and other cushioning applications. The cushioning protects items ranging from china to electronics and replacement parts. Said to require less material to pack the same items versus competitive cushioning, the barrier bubble material can be replenished automatically from the sensor-equipped dispensing system's portable bin.

Sealed Air says the system can cut downtime during production and reduce the amount of space needed to store packing materials. About 32 rolls of the uninflated cushioning material (two pallets) are equivalent to a tractor trailer-full of some conventional packing materials, Sealed Air estimates, which can also lower freight costs. The portable machine requires no shop air and is easy to operate. Plugging into a standard 110-v electrical outlet, the system inflates rolls of bubble cushioning material up to 12 in. wide. Circle No. 235.

Fiber-free peel for medical devices
A multilayer polyolefin coextrusion film employed in Rexam Healthcare Flexibles' patented Core-Peel™ (T) technology is crucial to achieving a fiber-free peel of sealed pouches incorporating DuPont™ Tyvek®. Rexam explains that the separate seal and peel layers of the technology produce a clean peel in a pouch and a visible seal transfer for confirmation of seal integrity. The force needed to open the package is independent of the sealing conditions used to form the pouch. The technology won a silver award in nonfoods.

Sterilizable and easy to peel, chevron-style pouches utilizing Core-Peel film technology are currently produced by Rexam's Mundelein, IL, facility using proprietary equipment and Core-Peel rollstock made in the company's Madison, WI, facility. Developed along with Rexam Healthcare's Research Group in Bristol, England, the pouch structure includes 48-ga PET/2.7-mil Core-Peel three-layer coextrusion coating/DuPont Tyvek nonwoven spunbonded polyolefin. The Tyvek layer can be flexo-printed.

The coex-coated polyester can be sealed to one of two uncoated Tyvek grades–1073-B or 1059-B–depending on the basis weight and strength required for the medical device product, explains Ken Sprain, a Rexam Healthcare Flexibles product development engineer who drove the development of the Core-Peel laminate. The Core-Peel package offers consistent opening strength and a clean, low-particulate pouch opening. Sprain describes the patented, proprietary Core-Peel coex coating as being primarily a PE-based multilayer material that's new and unique. "It provides a unique separation of the functions of the peel and seal, which provides for a cleaner-peeling product," he says.

Suitable for medical devices and other applications where cleanliness and patient safety are critical, the pouch structure is compatible with medical device sterilization by radiation, ethylene oxide and plasma methods and can compete with coated and uncoated Tyvek pouches.

Karen Allenstein, director of marketing services, and Sprain emphasize that the peeling action is critical to ensuring that a Core-Peel pouch is truly free of emitting any fibers into a sterile environment, such as during surgery. The fiber-free peelability of a Core-Peel pouch, together with the force needed to open it, are completely independent of the sealing function that occurs when the pouch is formed. "The peeling [of the package] doesn't take place between the Core-Peel polyester [web] and the Tyvek [web]–it takes place within the Core-Peel, which is very different from most other packages, and that's why we say it's truly a clean, fiber-free peel," says Allenstein. "That's typically not the case with other packages, which involve the peeling action taking place between top and bottom webs."

Sprain says that while no specific figures on particulate levels have been gathered in regard to opening Core-Peel pouches, steps are taken to keep particulate levels are extremely low. "The nature of the peel mechanism keeps the peel clean, and because that peel mechanism is a separate layer, you actually have a wider sealing window than with other uncoated Tyvek pouches. The sealing window is maybe as much as twenty degrees, versus a five- to ten-degree window with many polyester/polyethylenes."

Seal integrity is obviously an important factor, adds Allenstein. "You want a package that's properly sealed all around, without any tearing of fibers. If medical personnel see fibers in a package, they're supposed to throw the package away. So fiber tear upon peeling and seal integrity are highly critical in an aseptic environment where a package is aseptically presented on a back table in an operating room."

Commercialized in February, 2003, the Core-Peel pouch has been promoted in North and South America as well as in Europe, though Rexam Healthcare Flexibles says users are confidential. Allenstein tells PD that Core-Peel can be supplied as both a premade pouch incorporating uncoated Tyvek and in a range of different Core-Peel rollstocks, including versions featuring nylon, or polyester or paper/foil.

To make Core-Peel pouches, Rexam Healthcare made an $11-million investment in the Core-Peel technology, installing proprietary pouchmaking equipment in its Mundelein facility, as well as a newly added positive-pressure production area the company calls a "white room," which maintains a high degree of cleanliness. There, web cleaners are used in the production of the pouch to also ensure cleanliness prior to package opening. In Madison, Rexam also added extensive coating/laminating equipment and a new coex line from Black Clawson (see related story in this issue on p. 98) that applies the Core-Peel onto the carrier web. Another advantage Allenstein refers to is the elimination of converting steps, which helps to cut the costs of coating Tyvek during the manufacture of the pouch components, as well as in making the film web in one step. The latter is accomplished by coex-coating a multilayer polymer directly onto PET, instead of laminating the PET to a blown or cast film. The Core-Peel material was in development for about three to four years. Circle No. 236.

Peelable coex for catheters
A peelable coextruded polyester sealant puts an improved spin on the packaging for a sterile medical catheter (U) from Taut, Inc., Geneva, IL. Provided by Rollprint Packaging, the film verifies that the chevron-sealed package for cholangiogram catheters has been hermetically sealed. Made using DuPont Tyvek 1073-B spunbonded, nonwoven polyolefin as an uncoated top web and a bottom web of 8-ga oriented polyester, extrusion-coated with Allegro Tw proprietary easy-peel sealant (to read more about the package, see the feature article on p. 68), the new package has a premium look, provides necessary moisture barriers and provides visual verification of a hermetic seal. When peeled, Allegro T splits cohesively, leaving a bright white seal indicator. End-users in the medical field can quickly and easily see if the sterility of the pouch has been compromised.

Suitable for radiation sterilization, the material, when peeled, has the look and feel of a seal made with a coated product. Taut was thus able to address the aesthetics of the coating transfer and inhibit the yellowing effects associated with catheter packs, and prevent fiber tear. The package won a silver award in the nonfood category. Circle No. 237.

Doser for heavy-duty creams
Winning a special citation in the nonfood category is the Del Pouch (V), Pechiney Plastic Packaging's single-dose applicator with a frangible (readily or easily broken) seal. The package structure is a hybrid, as the majority of the structure is considered an adhesive lamination, but has an outer layer of polyester produced in a single-pass extrusion process to achieve heat-resistance. Incorporating a protective layer of PET that has a frangible barrier sealant film, the Del Pouch is used by healthcare products provider Cardinal Health, Philadelphia, for difficult-to-contain ointments. The pouch can also be used for products such as alcohol and iodine and pharmaceutical creams. Launched earlier this year, the one-time/single-use applicator pouch is convenient to squeeze, which causes the seal to burst open, allowing the user to dispense the product onto a foam applicator pad.

Overall about 5.25 mils thick, the pouch structure is described as (from the outside) PET/ink/white PE extrudate/foil/adhesive/PET/adhesive/2-mil frangible sealant film. Pechiney's product development engineer, James Sikorsky, explains that temperature can be used to control the opening of the seal. "The type of sealant is peelable and is what we call a contamination peel, made with specific additives in order to promote incompatability between the materials, so that when we seal them together, we can control the peel force and get incompatibilities there using seal temperature. Three of the seals are made at a high temperature to lock up or weld the seals, while the fourth is sealed at a rather low temperature, which allows it to be peelable."

The purpose of the sealant film is twofold. First, the barrier layer allows Cardinal Health to package hard-to-hold ointments with confidence. The second purpose of the sealant film is to offer the frangible opening feature, which is key to overall package performance, Sikorsky reports.

"A frangible seal was needed in Cardinal's case to break under pressure, but yet is able to contain aggressive products," Sikorsky says. "The sealant layer also allows the pouch to be filled and sealed with no loss of product. Once the contents are used, the empty pouch can be discarded; the user never has to touch the product contents."

In a market dominated by flexible tubes, rigid vials and plastic bottles, the single-dose flexible pouch offers similar shelf-life requirements, Sikorsky says, and is an excellent example of the marriage between cutting-edge machine and film technology. Cardinal has enlisted custom machinery built by Harro Höefliger to die-cut the pouches, seal the sides and fill the unique frangible laminated-film rollstock. The filling process meters exact amounts of product, and injects the product into the pouch opening. In the final stage, a foam applicator pad is heat-sealed by the Höefliger machine to the pouch, producing a single-use applicator. The pouch may be gravure-, flexo- or screen-printed with very fine type.

The small size of the pouch, which, in the case of the Cardinal ointment, contains about 1 oz of product, allows it to travel well. The potential for reducing germ transfer is considerable, Sikorsky says. Cuts and burns can be treated with a single dose, and then the empty package can be discarded. Circle No. 238.

More information is available:

Awards: DuPont Packaging and Industrial Polymers, 302/992-6678. Circle No. 239.

Click here to read about the DuPont food winners.

Flavored whisky uses iconography to stand out among competition

Flavored whisky uses iconography to stand out among competition

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, thoughts of warm apple pie fresh out of the oven and maybe even a pecan pie come to mind. Now with your dessert you can enjoy an after dinner drink with Piehole—a scrumptious blend of Canadian Whiskey and pie-flavored liqueur.

It seems Diageo is right on trend by entering the burgeoning flavored whisky market. Last year, according to Nielsen research, flavored North American whiskey grew 63% with all other market signs pointing toward more room to grow.

The packaging depicts eye-catching Americana imagery that evokes an era fondly remembered by just about anyone who has enjoyed their Grandma's homemade and delicious pies. The bottles feature bold colors of blue, green and red to highlight each fun pie flavor. Each new offering will available this month at a suggested retail price of $14.99 for a 750 mL bottle.

Lauren Kremin, senior innovation manager of Beam Suntory, who made a presentation at Packaging Digest’s Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit in July discussing brand distinction and how to stand out among a sea of other whiskeys mentioned how packaging is now loaded with strong visual tie-ins “using form, color, iconography, collaboration and construct stories to bring brands to life.” And Diageo is doing just that.

Best served up as a shot or small serving, the pie-flavored libation comes in three different offerings: Apple Pie, Cherry Pie and Pecan Pie.