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Top 10 trends in automation for 2014

Top 10 trends in automation for 2014

Here are the most well-read articles on automation posted since January 1 which includes topics from Google Glass, automation advances and robotics.

Use the red View Gallery button above to launch the slideshow.

10. Internet and automation merge at Pack Expo

9. Will big data bring a new age of enablement to packaging lines?

8. AS/RS technology delivers the ultimate in warehouse automation

7. Are robotics the key to open spectacular packaging automation advances?

6. How to scale packaging line automation around the world

5. New technologies better enable packaging’s usefulness

4. 6 packaging solutions seen at EastPack

3. What will the plant of the future look like?

2. 4 packaging machinery technologies to scope out at Pack Expo 2014

The top article for 2014 was by far the winner in the automation category. Read here to see why.

Top 10 trends in automation for 2014: Gallery

10. Some of you techies may be familiar with the new Google Glass, a type of wearable technology that comes with an optical head-mounted display which shows information like a smartphone – hands free with voice commands. Now, the “wearable computing” can be actuality in an industrial environment. At Pack Expo, Beckhoff and Matrix Packaging Machinery partnered up for technology study where Matrix connected Google Glass to a vertical/form/fill/seal machine in the Matrix booth.

Here are the most well-read articles on automation posted since January 1 which includes topics from Google Glass, automation advances and robotics.

Use the red View Gallery button above to launch the slideshow.

10. Internet and automation merge at Pack Expo

9. Will big data bring a new age of enablement to packaging lines?

8. AS/RS technology delivers the ultimate in warehouse automation

7. Are robotics the key to open spectacular packaging automation advances?

6. How to scale packaging line automation around the world

5. New technologies better enable packaging’s usefulness

4. 6 packaging solutions seen at EastPack

3. What will the plant of the future look like?

2. 4 packaging machinery technologies to scope out at Pack Expo 2014

The top article for 2014 was by far the winner in the automation category. Read here to see why.

Shrink-sleeve labels hide unique code for tracking and more

Shrink-sleeve labels hide unique code for tracking and more
Shrink-sleeve label is printed on the inside with a unique code.

Most shrink-sleeve labels gain attention because of the full-body graphics on the outside. These labels do that and more.

For competitions, traceability or anti-counterfeiting, each of these labels can be printed on the inside with an individual code, made of a unique series of numbers and characters, using an innovative printing technique. The code remains unseen and is only revealed when the label is peeled back.

The manufacturer, Clondalkin Flexible Packaging Bury, developed this technique for its line of pre-cut lids and, partly due to its success in this area, has extended the offering to its shrink-sleeve labeling business.

According to sales and marketing director Martin Hardman, “We're very pleased with this latest innovation as it will provide customers with added value for very little extra cost. Customers are always looking for new ways to market their products and differentiate them from the competition and this new technology will enable them to do so.”

Top 10 flexible packaging articles of 2014: Gallery

10. Flexible packaging—and specifically pouches and sachets—are currying favor among diverse global consumers. By offering unique shapes, functional components and general conveniences that address use-occasion, demographic and even geographic need states, pouches are literally and figuratively bending over backwards to find new applications and pleasing a growing consumer constituency.

Flexible packaging has seen a lot of activity and growth in the last year. New product categories, expanded functionality, sustainability improvements and a focus on shelf impact vaulted these articles to the top of our list.

10. Growth and fragmentation in flexibles gives brands food for thought

9. Authentication technology materializes for flexibles

8. Recloseable, lidded flexible container is stackable

7. Square Bag offers barrier, easy fill and shelf appeal

6. Trendy foods packed in a pair of pouches

5. Micro-pancakery shakes up breakfast category with innovative packaging

4. P&G’s novel flexible container

3. Flexible packages are in it to win it

2. Super-barrier nanofilm stretches packaging applications

1. Is 100% recyclable flexible packaging possible?

Will there be a run on bio-based packaging materials soon?

Will there be a run on bio-based packaging materials soon?
More than two-fifths of respondents to our exclusive survey say they plan to use bio-based packaging materials in the near future.

We’ve seen quite a bit of activity and interest in bio-based packaging materials recently. We wanted to gauge their current use and expected growth within the packaging community, so we included a series of focused questions in our annual survey of packaging and sustainability.

Less than a third (31%) of respondents to Packaging Digest’s 2014 Sustainable Packaging Study are currently using bio-based packaging materials. But looking three to five years down the road, 43% say they plan to use them. (See chart 1 in the Gallery above.) That’s an expected increase of 27%—respectable, but not as high as I would have thought, based on the flurry of developments we’ve been seeing.

Why go there? Survey takers who use bio materials say it’s for the following reasons:

• The materials help minimize one or more environmental impacts—57%;

• The materials add a positive component to the company’s marketing message—57%;

• Consumers expect them—46%;

• The company has a sustainability goal involving use of bio-based materials—44%.

Not many respondents wrote in “Other” reasons, but these three caught my eye for making a good point:

“Consumers 'want' them rather than 'expect'.”

We currently use PLA [polylactic acid] shrink materials around some of our paper-based packaging, but are planning to discontinue because it raises toxicity concerns.” (Really?!)

“We have these options available for customers when they require sustainable options. BUT these are generally DOUBLE the price of standard materials. Kind of messed up, don't you think?” That seems to be what a lot of packaging people think.

What do we mean by “bio-based” materials? We asked if you (1) had heard about or (2) were interested in using non-petroleum-based polymers, wood / cellulose (other than conventional wood fiber in paper and paperboard applications), bamboo, other fibrous materials, sugar cane bagasse, mushrooms, wheat straw and algae (see chart 2 in the Gallery). The “interest in using” a material follows the same order as “heard about” except in one instance: mushrooms. The interest in using dips a bit, which is surprising because, when given the chance later in the survey to tell us what packaging application(s) using a bio-based material got their attention in the last year, mushrooms showed up a lot in the replies in a positive light.

When asked “Why are you interested in those materials?”, respondents answered generally as well as specifically:

“Drop in. No adverse impact onto recycling and recovery. Does not compete with food.”

“Because they are mainly using non-edible and wasted raw material.”

“Easily manufactured in huge quantity.”

“Closest substitute to existing material.”

“They are not plastic.”

“Polymers, if environmentally effective, have the greatest chance of success as ‘drop-in’ products, which will make them easier to implement.”

“I think that at some point our PVC-based blister will become ‘illegal’ to use.”

“They are readily available, can be grown/produced in many markets and are rapidly renewable or the by-product of something else.”

"Renewable sources with better end recovery potential.”

“Alternative fibers that are faster growing would be a huge help in preserving forests.”

“Necessary for closed-loop sustainable packaging.”

“We need to find more/better eco-friendly packaging solutions. Period.”

A switch to bio-based packaging materials is not without challenges, though. Respondents say they are most hesitant because:

• They are too expensive—53%

• They don’t perform as well as the conventional material—31%

• They are not readily available—37%

• None of our supply chain customers are asking for them—31%

• Consumers do not expect them—17%

Some “Other” (17%) replies point out more specific considerations:

“Cost, performance and availability are not long term. Barriers—will improve with adoption.”

“Changing any packaging materials requires extension validation testing to satisfy FDA requirements.”

“It is not clear the ‘bio based’ versus ‘petroleum based’ is truly more sustainable given that there are limitations on bio-based raw material sources as well.”

“They not only do not perform well, they do not meet minimum needs for barriers for food preservation.”

“Largest challenge is non GMO.” [GMO is genetically modified organism]

“They are a farce and worse for the environment. Compostable plastic and bio-plastic are just plastic with white-washed names.”

“Many technologies can't be applied to existing packaging equipment. It is difficult to find or convince packaging manufacturers to use new materials on their lines.”

“Finding suitable outlets for disposal is the problem. They get mixed up with conventional materials and then ruin their recycling. Or they go to landfill where they do more harm than good and don't effectively biodegrade.”

If a switch to a bio-material is imminent, where might it show up? We asked, “Where do you think the most potential exists for bio-based materials to replace conventional packaging materials?” Conventional plastics are the most vulnerable; glass and metal the least. (See chart 3 in the Gallery).

We also asked “What packaging application(s) using a bio-based material got your attention in the last year and why?” Bamboo and mushrooms showed up a lot in the replies: “Bamboo is super trendy right now.” “Bamboo: I was very impressed how they can make the paper-like, molded material to be waterproof.” And “mushrooms, who would've thought?”

On the brand-owner side, memorable developments were Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle (by name and by description) and Dell’s use of mushroom cushioning. “Coke bottle. Heavy publicity.”  “Bio-based beverage containers gained interest because the effort seems to be growing and permanent rather than a fad.” And “Dell's carbon-negative AirCarbon material because 'carbon-negative'!” “Dell's Packaging for its computers as they are on the cutting edge of sustainable packaging.”

On the supplier side, Braskem, Sealed Air and TetraPak were mentioned multiple times as known and responsible suppliers of eco-friendly materials.

While most of the answers were positive, a couple people did cite the loud SunChips compostable bag as a negative: “The SunChips noisy film debacle (it was unexpected).”

Here are some other interesting and/or insightful replies regarding noteworthy packaging applications of bio-based materials in 2014:

“Sugar based—price of sugar went up substantially.”

“Bio ink. As most of the currently used inks are hazardous materials.”

“Bio plastics from fish scales and shrimp. Promising, but concerned about supply stream.”

“None, really. My industry is high volume, low-mid cost consumer goods. We don't explore much in areas without established, reliable supply streams of proven quality and low price volatility.”

“Earthbottle used by Gaia Herbs. Is a modified PLA that has better performance characteristics than straight PLA.”

“Soya coating as an alternative to wax coatings—huge potential for oil savings, increases recyclability, renewable resource, just as effective.”

Will there be a run on bio-based packaging materials soon? Gallery

Less than a third (31%) of respondents are currently using bio-based packaging materials. But looking three to five years down the road, 43% say they plan to use them. That’s an expected increase of 27%—respectable, but not as high as I would have thought, based on the flurry of developments we’ve been seeing.

We’ve seen quite a bit of activity and interest in bio-based packaging materials recently. We wanted to gauge their current use and expected growth within the packaging community, so we included a series of focused questions in our annual survey of packaging and sustainability.

FTC continues to challenge claims for biodegradable plastics

FTC continues to challenge claims for biodegradable plastics
Claims for biodegradable plastics receive scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has written to 15 producers of plastic bags warning that “oxodegradable” and “oxo-biodegradable” claims may be deceptive and asking that the claims be withdrawn or that competent and reliable scientific evidence supporting the claims be provided. This is a continuation of FTC’s campaign to crackdown on what it alleges to be misleading and unsubstantiated environmental marketing claims made by manufacturers of plastic bags and other plastic products.

While this most recent FTC action against unsubstantiated degradability claims is aimed at trash bags, earlier actions involved other products, including food containers, plastic grocery bags and additives for plastics. FTC announced six enforcement actions in October 2013, five of which—for the first time—addressed biodegradability claims for plastic products. All of the cases are part of an FTC program to ensure industry adherence to its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (Green Guides), which were revised in 2012.

The stories you are about to hear are true

Several of the earlier enforcement actions have been settled and provide a good map on what others caught up in the FTC dragnet can expect. For example, in one final order, a manufacturer of plastic shopping bags is prohibited from making unqualified biodegradability claims about any product unless it has evidence that the entire bag will completely decompose into elements found in nature within one year after customary disposal, the outside timeframe within which FTC says that consumers expect a degradable item to decompose.

The order goes on to state that an ASTM standard on biodegradability cannot be used to substantiate unqualified claims or claims that go beyond the results and parameters of the test, and that any testing protocol used to substantiate degradable claims must simulate the conditions found in the disposal environment. Further, to make qualified claims, the company must provide information on the rate and extent of degradation in a landfill or other disposal facility.

Another settlement involved $450,000 in civil penalties since FTC had previously challenged that company’s green claims as misleading.

B2B claims are scrutinized as well

And it is not only claims for consumer products that the agency is going after. One FTC enforcement action targeted a company that markets an additive used in the manufacture of plastics that it claims makes plastic products biodegradable. The company claims that “plastic products made with [its] additives will breakdown in approximately nine months to five years in nearly all landfills or wherever else they may end up.” The FTC complaint alleges that these purportedly biodegradable plastics do not, in fact, biodegrade within a reasonably short period of time after disposal in a landfill. That case has not been settled yet.

FTC has shown that it strongly disfavors degradability claims, arguing that most items are customarily disposed of in sanitary landfills, incineration facilities or recycling facilities, which, in the case of the former, precludes the possibility of complete decomposition within one year and, in the latter two, make such claims by-and-large irrelevant.

FTC pointedly announced that others who may be making “oxodegradable” and “oxo-biodegradable” claims, and did not receive the Agency’s missive, should not assume that they are in the clear. It is also safe to assume that the FTC’s targets will not be limited to trash bag manufacturers, but to the manufacturers of any products making such claims. The FTC’s enforcement history suggests that degradability claims will continue to be a focus of the agency, for which it has set a high bar.

Author George Misko is a partner at Keller and Heckman. Founded in 1962, the respected law firm has a broad practice in the areas of regulatory law, litigation and business transactions, serving both domestic and international clients. Reach him at misko@khlaw.com.

How packaging designs deliver brand before beauty

How packaging designs deliver brand before beauty

Packaging designers know that, with just five seconds to entice consumers at the shelf, looks are critical. But they are not, and should not be, the only selling feature.

I’m constantly struck by the plethora of beautiful consumer product packaging on retail shelves. Much of it is artistic, some over the top or conversely, minimalistic, whimsical and even witty. It’s admirable if packaging was all about “art for art’s sake,” but it isn’t, is it? Yet, artsy packaging lights up the blogosphere among designers, marketers and brand managers. Some of it even wins awards.

There’s nothing wrong with admiring beauty but that doesn’t necessarily translate to selling branded product. To understand what I mean, go into a food store, toy store, body care shop or any store for that matter and step back from the shelves in any aisle. Look at the packaging. Focus on one that you find particularly attractive. Can you tell what the product is at a glance? Can you identify the brand? Next, can you distinguish what makes this branded product more desirable than its neighbors on the shelf?

About five years ago, I wrote an article titled “20 Seconds to Live or Die.” It referred to consumers’ average scans of 20 seconds at the retail shelf and how crucial it was and is to develop effective brand packaging. The prettiest consumer product packaging that sits on the shelf and doesn’t sell does more harm than good to a brand; it signifies wasted marketing dollars and lost opportunities to connect with the customer.

Fast forward: a recent article in Packaging Digest disclosed that research shows consumer decision making is down to five seconds at the retail shelf. Five seconds! This is hardly surprising given the explosion of verbal and visual bombardment of consumers 24/7. Consumers have become very adept at blocking out most of these stimuli. So how much more urgent is it for packaging to sell product and brand given consumers’ shorter attention spans now?

Marketers need to find the balance between developing attractive packaging and connecting consumers to the product in a convincing manner by sharing the unique attributes of the brand. Isn’t that what packaging should do when fully leveraged?

Consider how a new product could be effectively packaged to get its chief points of differentiation across in a crowded category where commoditization happens quickly, like kids’ juices. Colorful packaging featuring labels filled with characters play across retail shelves, but run together in spite of the fact that some brands feature unique package structures. Good2grow juice is a clear stand-out from all of the noise on the shelf. Co-branding with kids’ favorite entertainment properties is often done, but these characters don’t appear on packaging labels. They appear as thermoformed, whimsical drinking spouts atop juice lids—Sippa Tops—making it easy for toddlers and young children to consume the beverages. New, licensed characters continue to appear and kids are urged to collect them: Hello Kitty, Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora the Explorer, The Hulk, Disney Princess Sofia the First, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Phineas and Ferb, Barbie, Captain America and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crown bottles of good2grow juices.

Wraparound labels depict colorful, fresh fruit with limited verbal brand communication: “100%” fruit and “No sugar added”—important to moms and dads. Multipacks of refills are available so that parents can simply reattach the Sippa Tops to new bottles of juice. Terrific brand packaging!

How to announce break-out packaging? Even though the brand sets the bar high for its branded products, Method exceeds customer expectations with its constant rethinking of packaging, disrupting in every category in which it positions products. Reinforcing its corporate message of sustainability, Method’s Dish + Hand soaps appear in droplet-shaped packaging partially made from recovered ocean plastic, as well as post-consumer recycled plastic, a boon to the environment. Molded “water droplets” are part of the unique package structure and reinforce the brand communication, as do neck tags depicting a fish and the words: “Bottle made with ocean plastic”. Simple, yet profound; a stand-out on the retail shelf.

How about packaging for disruptive products in new categories? Hasbro points the way to a new generation of action toys—for girls—with its Nerf Rebelle line, a sub-brand of the Nerf brand for boys. Whether building on the fame of recent heroines like Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games fame, or urging girls to “rebel” against their male friends and siblings for past Nerf blaster sneak attacks by being empowered with their own Nerf weapons, Hasbro has a hit on its hands with the Rebelle line of blasters.

Packaging appeals in hues of pink, red and purple but it is far from “girly” in the traditional sense. This isn’t an attempt at creating a “softer” version of a boys’ brand to appeal to girls. In fact, it embraces the aggressive attitude of the Nerf brand perfectly in its product styling, branding and approach to graphics, along with spirited product names like Heartbreaker, Pink Crush and Sweet Revenge. Unique to Nerf Rebelle: the darts come in different colors and designs (they’re collectible,) and there’s a Nerf Rebelle app that allows girls to interact with each other as a team during blaster battles. Brand communication exhorts girls to “Step up. Stand out.” Hence, the message of empowerment. Expect more toy brands to follow Hasbro’s lead in this exciting new category.

Simple packaging: Is it effective?  It’s all the rage but simple packaging is charged to do more with less. Regardless that it uses fewer visual and verbal cues, it still has to sell product and brand. Packaging has to get the point across quickly, otherwise it will fail to make the sale. Incase is one brand that gets this. The company is known for its iPhone and iPad accessories and it recently got into the competitive headphone category for client Apple’s retail stores so it has to do simple packaging well to meet Apple standards.  

Project specs for the new Apple packaging were tight: It had to fit a specific footprint in their retail stores regardless of the width of the headphones. Package design budget was half that of the industry norm and it had to arrive at the factory in four weeks rather than the usual eight week minimum time frame. Not only did components arrive at the factory one week early, but the packaging came in at just under four weeks, as well. 

The solution: The headphones were turned sideways inside the packaging to fit properly. The package design meets the high expectations of Apple retail. With special finishes and added colors on press, as well as the “unboxing” reveal—a hallmark of Apple products—an upscale look and feel was accomplished with the package design. Simple and elegant, it features the headphone choices in high tech black against a gray backdrop with one shot of color on the ear buds. The Incase brand identity appears in the upper left-hand corner of the front panel as well as vertically on side panels. The visual of well-made, padded headphones promise comfort as well as performance. Brand communication is limited to “over ear” or “on ear” product designations. On the bottom lower right-hand side of packaging, the product compatibility with the iPad, iPod or iPhone is noted. This is packaging that aligns the Incase and Apple brands perfectly.

There are endless choices in every category so how can packaging be artistic and yet still be commercially viable? How can it still proclaim the desirability of one brand over all of the others in five seconds flat? Beauty should never come before brand—the brand is all and packaging as well as every other marketing initiative must make it stand out for the person that really matters—the consumer.

Ted Mininni is president of Design Force Inc., the leading package and licensing program design consultancy to the consumer product and entertainment industries. He can be reached at 856-810-2277. Mininni blogs about package and licensing program design at www.designforceinc.com.

How packaging designs deliver brand before beauty: Gallery

Whimsical drinking spouts on containers of good2grow juices add a unique co-branding opportunity with popular licensed characters that goes beyond just colorful design. They stand out on shelf and encourage kids to collect their favorites.

Marketers need to find the balance between developing attractive packaging and connecting consumers to the product in a convincing manner by sharing the unique attributes of the brand. Isn’t that what packaging should do when fully leveraged?

Inventive pouch is a springboard for source reduction, reuse and growth

Inventive pouch is a springboard for source reduction, reuse and growth
Squeasy Pouch debuted this summer as a 3oz concentrate attached to a ready-to-use 24oz bottle for a 5-product line of cleaners. The patent-pending pouch-within-a-pouch makes the refill process mess-free and convenient as shown.

The first-of-its-kind Squeasy Pouch is a launch pad for EcoSierra’s line of bottled cleaning products and doubles as a springboard to other packaging-driven product innovations.

When start-up company EcoSierra, Madison, WI, enlisted MaxPax LLC as its contract packager, it got much more than outsourced production for its cleaning products. As part of its newfound relationship, EcoSierra was soon presented with a patent-pending invention for a new kind of pouch that the brand owner quickly embraced: The Squeasy Pouch.

That flexible package was fundamental to the June 2014 launch of EcoSierra’s line of five ready-to-spray cleaners in 24-oz PET bottles. Attached to the bottle neck, the Squeasy Pouch contains 3-oz of concentrated cleaner, providing consumers an additional 24-oz of product when they add the contents to water and dilute to volume. Effectively totaling 48-oz of product, the cleaners sell online for $4.49 per bottle. The products are sold through small stores including co-ops in the southern Wisconsin region, though most of its sales are online.

The Squeasy Pouch this isn’t your typical pouch or tube. It’s a unique structure that adds a large dose of convenience to what can be a messy proposition: Transferring a liquid from a pouch into a narrow neck bottle.

With the Squeasy Pouch, users snip the pouch tip and insert it into a spray bottle then squeeze the pouch to rupture the frangible inner portion of what is essentially a pouch-in-a-pouch.

What the pouch does as a package and what it has done for the company as a value-add-on are remarkable, but the plans EcoSierra has for this little pouch are even more amazing. Less than six months from the launch of the products, EcoSierra is shifting its entire business going forward to the utility and flexibility offered by the Squeasy Pouch.

“We wanted to make this more than just a green product that was useful in the home,” says Jon Klahr, EcoSierra marketing director. “We wanted a product that leaves a smaller [carbon] footprint behind and is cost-effective, too.  Along the way, MaxPax steered us toward this Squeasy Pouch development, which fits the sustainable mold of the things we set out to achieve.”

Interestingly, it wasn’t until EcoSierra was made aware of the Squeasy Pouch concept that it even considered the use of concentrates attached to the primary containers. Klahr feels that the pouch eliminates the flaws seen in previous launches from competitors that, in his opinion, unsuccessfully tried to achieve the same results. “Ours is totally different in what it does,” he points out. “I’ve seen this demonstrated and used many times and I have never seen a drop leak out yet.” The pouch also provides a source-reduced alternative to bottled concentrates.

It’s that kind of lean, green and forward-thinking flexibility that characterizes EcoSierra, a company formed to make a difference for the environment through eco-friendly cleaning products that not only work, but cost less than the competitors.

The company sells refills for its hand soaps and hand sanitizers, but those were standard, stand-up pouches with screw-cap resealable pour spouts. Squeasy Pouch concentrates for those products are already in development along with other products that leverage the pouch.

A distinguishing convenience

Klahr says the on-bottle Squeasy Pouch is “very appealing to potential customers in terms of the overall weight, the reduced storage and transportation costs and the shelf requirements. The concentrate in a Squeasy Pouch is one of our strongest selling points and something that sets us apart from other cleaners.

“Our big push right now is most of the bigger stores that look at spring for new products that come in and who they’re considering. We’re talking to them right now so that we can get our foot in the door.”

Klahr says one of the company’s challenges is consumer education. Detailed on-pouch graphics explain what the Squeasy Pouch is all about, which is why the refill instructions are printed with clear directions in text and visuals in six steps on the pouch front (see image).

“When you ‘burst’ it into the bottle because of the inner membrane, the product it doesn’t spill, dribble or anything,” Klahr explains. “If everyone realized how it worked, I think we would see a lot of new customers. This is not a gimmick and this is not just a typical pouch. The patented part of it is so basic and simple and yet it works great.”

The new line of cleaners and its packaging are front and center at the company’s website that features cleaners and related products that are formulated with natural, plant-based ingredients and packaged in materials that are environmentally responsible, including flexible or recyclable packaging.

Yet, it’s the products with the on-package pouch that “have really taken off and are already our primary revenue source,” says Klahr. “Our customers lean towards the environmentally conscious and they instantly see the pouched concentrate concept as environmentally favorable.

“We’d be happy if they just buy the concentrate pouches,” he adds, which are available for $1.89 each at the website.

Brand-expanding platform

It was the Squeasy Pouch concept that led the company to consider concentrates rather than the other way around—and now EcoSierra sees it as a brand-expanding packaging platform.

“We had nothing in play for a concentrate until the Squeasy Pouch came along,” Klahr says. “Now we’re looking at all kinds of applications for it. I have the feeling that, two years down the road, this pouch is going to be our primary product. I can see where we evolve into dealing almost exclusively with this type of concept because the applications for it are numerous.”

Several of those are in development starting with a 5- or 6-pack carton of concentrated cleaners to be available by Christmas for retail and sold directly to consumers online. Klahr feels those pouch multipacks will also be attractive for consumers who have their own spray bottles.

“We’re looking at things—like that—that are pretty exciting,” says Klahr. Another idea that literally expands on the concept uses a large outer pouch with an inner concentrate in a Squeasy Pouch. “The user fills the outer pouch with water and then bursts the inner pouch to dilute it to the proper amount, he explains. “We’re also looking at opportunities in private label and in industrial markets. There’s just so much upside for us with this going forward.”

Who knew that a pouch could be so, well, flexible?

MaxPax LLC, 262-275-3484