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Articles from 2014 In June

Alarm system secures product and package together

Alarm system secures product and package together

On first look, I’d thought that this invention was a stretch from a practical standpoint, until I saw that it was filed by a prominent packaging vendor, MeadWestvaco, Richmond, VA, which gives it instant credibility.

The patent relates to a security mechanism for high-value items that allows the packaged products to be prominently merchandised in a normal manner while being made theft proof using a tether/security loop or “smart label” as an alternative to Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) tags and other means.

The ability to alarm a packaged product without the need for an EAS infrastructure is a major plus.

The way it works is that a security loop applied to or in the package can be formed from conductive printed ink, conductive ribbon, conductive foil and/or conductive wire. An audio, visual or electronic alert is activated when removal of the product or package contents breaks the conductive connection. This “security module” can also detect a breach of the package.

The filing even references the downside of MWV’s own NATRALOCK packaging, a tear-resistant polymer laminated to recyclable paperboard combined with an APET or RPET thermoform that requires the use of a scissors to open. This present invention cuts out the need to use a tool to open a package while addressing a way to make the package theft proof.

Among other options in this detailed document, one method identifies the security module applied over an easy-open feature such as a nick so that the package can be opened after removal of the security module.

This seems another take on Smart Packaging by using it as a robust, theft-deterrent technology.

Source: Fresh Patents

Packaging vendor uses 3D printing as an engine for growth

Packaging vendor uses 3D printing as an engine for growth
Company currently uses two desktop 3D printers including this one.

AllenField, which prints parts for packaging using two 3D printers and aims to do more by 2015, shares its experience and advice.

My report on 3D printing seen and heard at the TexasPack event in early May centered on notes from presentations and informal observations in walking the exhibition aisles. The latter included covertly alluding to a particular packaging vendor that I had visited as follows: “in one packaging supplier’s booth, I was surprised to learn that a number of the samples on display were created using the company’s 3D printer. Appropriately enough, they were made of polylactic acid, or PLA, a common polymer used in packaging targeted toward sustainable packaging solutions. I will aim to present further details on that vendor’s experience in a future article.”

I can follow through on that commitment now that packaging component provider AllenField (, Brightwaters, NY, has agreed to provide a few comments about its use of 3D printing. The company uses 3D desktop printers from MakerBot (shown; the website is AllenField’s packaging products include plastic handles, connecting clips for corrugated boxes, Point-of-Purchase (POP) display aids and more. Here’s my Q&A with AllenField business development manager Rob Ahearn:

What’s your company’s experience in using 3D printing?

Ahearn: We had always sent our 3D files out to be produced by a third party. About two years ago, we purchased our first machine. It gave us so much freedom to experiment with ideas. Since then, we have purchased a second machine. It has become an engine for growth.

Why was this particular 3D printer selected?

Ahearn: We needed something that was affordable, durable and easy to learn and maintain. It also had to be able to meet our requirement for part size.

What benefits have you seen using the technology?

Ahearn: Quick turnaround on concepts to customers and an ability to “test” the part before going into production. Because of the material used, we can’t use it on about 10 percent of the work. And some larger parts need to be produced in sections.

What’s been your best experience so far?

Ahearn: We discussed a concept with a client on a Monday and had a part on his desk on Thursday. Wow factor was a 10.  

What’s been the most challenging?

Ahearn: Living hinges are the most challenging.

What’s next?

Ahearn: We expect to add two more machines by 2015.  The printers will help us develop proprietary and custom parts that provide solutions to the packaging industry.

What advice do you have?

Ahearn: Understand that there is a learning curve, use tech support as needed. Don’t forget about the upfront engineering that a part might need before it is printed.

Square Bag offers barrier, easy fill and shelf appeal

Square Bag offers barrier, easy fill and shelf appeal
Square Bag fits into a number of markets from food to motor oil.

Square Bag, a new patented flexible packaging solution that incorporates advanced packaging films with a variety of spouts, closures and handles, is now available from Mondi Americas. It is applicable for numerous packaging markets including food, wine, laundry detergent, pet food and motor oil. The Square Bag securely packages powders and granular materials weighing up to 10 lb and liquids up to 1.5 gallons.

Key benefits:

  • Graphics and product information across six panels;
  • Different panels can be constructed using up to 3 different films;
  • Can be fitted with a spout, zipper, slider or hook and loop opening, with label handles on different panels;
  • Adapts to all common filling lines;
  • Filling is done through a spout or extended lips on the bag’s top or bottom;
  • Bag is lighter and less bulky than conventional packaging materials;
  • Package uses less space on pallets and trucks.

Mondi Americas

A Natural Fit

Refresh moves Eden BodyWorks' packaging closer to its brand identity.

Overnight Labels Helps Build Cutler Nutrition's Brand Identity

When asked to print the labels for dietary supplements promoted by four-time Mr. Olympia and three-time Arnold Classic Champion bodybuilder Jay Cutler and Cutler Nutrition, ordinary just wouldn’t do. Overnight Labels, Inc., Deer Park, NY, rose to the challenge...

PLC Integrated Robots: The Case for Unified Architecture

It is often observed that CPG manufacturers find robotics a necessary evil, primarily because for them, “owning” a robotics system is a myth. This paper focuses on how robotics can be a friend on the floor and how manufacturers can really own their robotics systems.

Mrs. Dash reduces PET container weight by 25%

Mrs. Dash reduces PET container weight by 25%
Mrs. Dash lightweights its container.

During a recent packaging redesign, Mrs. Dash brand owner B&G Foods improved profits (by a double-digit percentage), cut its container weight by 25% and saved in excess of 200,000 pounds of PET resin per year. The company realized these results by adjusting the package’s weight-bearing performance to optimize its top-load capacity.

It was a seamless change, in one important respect. Marty Schoch, director of B&G Foods’ global procurement, touts, “Despite a complete packaging overhaul, the bottle is not noticeably different to the consumer.”

Blow molder Meredith-Springfield Associates Inc. is able to produce more than 100,000 containers in a 24-hour production period for the Mrs. Dash product line. During development of the new Mrs. Dash container, the supplier created pilot molds and tried out different designs before coming up with the final structure.

The new extrusion blow-molded container is produced in one energy-efficient step, instead of the typical two-step preform-to-bottle blow molding operation. According to president/CEO of Meredith-Springfield, Mel O’Leary, Jr., “Our technology is the most energy-efficient method available. It goes from plastic pellets to finished bottles on one machine.”

How to achieve better results with sustainable packaging

How to achieve better results with sustainable packaging
Albe Zakes, vp of communication, TerraCycle Inc.

The Global Food & Beverage Summit returns to Chicago on July 15-17, 2014 where it will be held at the Chicago Hyatt Regency.  This year the event is rolling out two dynamic learning tracks that offer high quality learning to those in the food & beverage sector—Strategies for Marketing & Brand Differentiation plus Technical Intelligence to Enhance Production & Engineering.

Packaging Digest had the opportunity to connect with Albe Zakes, vp of communication, TerraCycle Inc., who will be speaking at the event. His background includes playing an integral role in the transformation of TerraCycle from a small start-up selling liquefied worm poop in reused soda bottles into a successful and highly visible recycling innovator that runs pre- and post-consumer packaging reclamation programs for major manufacturers such as Kraft Foods, Frito-Lay, L’Oreal, 3M, Kimberly-Clark, Proctor & Gamble and Newell Rubbermaid.

For companies that are looking to increase their triple bottom line, what are some key practice points for developing a successful sustainability program?

Zakes: Unfortunately, sustainability and social responsibility programs don't come in a "one-size-fits-all" so any company looking to improve their triple bottom line, must first understand where their issues and opportunities exist. A good way to start this process is review each major step of your supply chain individually.

Start with the "low-hanging" fruit, your own offices and employees. For environmental improvement, look to see how you can reduce waste and increase recycling or reuse. Naming an "eco-champion" for the office helps to provide a more defined sense of responsibility. Then look at all the ways you can reduce waste, without affecting productivity. Do you have a double-sided printing policy? Are recycling bins clearly labelled and widely available? Do you provide reusable coffee mugs and dish ware? Consider a small "reward" for those who bike or carpool to work. Then consider gamifying the whole process. Have internal contests about which department/floor/section can reduce, reuse and recycle the most. Have a leader board and watch the competition heat up while helping to reduce your company's eco-impact. Then for social impact there are fun easy ways to get your employees involved and actually increase their positivity and commitment. Consider local volunteer days, bonus time off for running in charity races, setting up clothing, shoe or can food drives in the office. Every little bit helps and most employees will be glad to participate. 

Then look at your transportation and manufacturing, a trickier place to improve, but with bigger pay off if done correctly. After all, yours is a for-profit business and making sure you keep your costs controlled is vital. Consider renewable energies in your manufacturing or whether alternative transportation is viable, be it electric cars or using simply using freight train versus trucking. Many investments in sustainable energy can become cost-saving measures, but often have very long horizons before that is the case. At TerraCycle, we leased our roofs to a solar company, who then installed solar panels on our factories and offices. We recoup serious energy savings, the solar company sells the left over credits and in 20 years we will own the panels outright. All at no cost to the company! Try to balance a few long-term investments and with a few smaller, easy and less costly to implement ideas. Look at reducing your post-industrial waste as an easy cost saving solutions. More and more companies are providing free or low-cost recycling solution for trim or off-spec materials, reducing your impact and tipping fees.

Triple bottom line efforts don't have to detract from the fiscal bottom line. Start with smaller, easy projects like increased recycling options, updating company policies and running intern drives and charity efforts. Then you can get a sense of your stakeholders’ willingness to tackle the bigger issues.

How can companies increase consumer engagement to purchase sustainably and ethically-packaged products?

Zakes: Education, education, education. Consumers can't be expected to pay a premium of any size or make a brand-switch simply because they are told your package is more sustainable or ethical. They need to know why the issue you are addressing matters and what eco/social impact the less responsible choice is creating. Further, they need to how why your package is better, not just have faith that you’re telling the truth. 

Getting that message across is not easy but can be delivered with honest, straight-forward marketing. Bring the issue to life visually through images, infographics and third party endorsements from reputable figures. Use these talking points and images on your package, POP materials, social media and your website. Consumers trust what they see and information from respected authorities. Use these channels to educate and inspire consumers on why the issue matters and why they should make the better choice. Ask for feedback and give your consumers a voice. Today's social media driven world is a 2-way conversation with consumer like never before. Don't just tell your consumer that your package is more responsible; ask them for their help on a journey to a better package. Take pride in the improvements you've already made and ask them for their opinion on how to make it even better. Consumers feel a much stronger affinity to a product they feel they've helped to build or improved and are far more loyal to a company they think is actually interested in their opinion. 

How can an organization maximize its impact on the community and ensure its future sustainability?

Zakes: The key is combining long-term and short-term goals into a strategy that can have both an immediate and long-lasting affect. Start with smaller ways to engage the local communities around your offices and facilities. This can take the form of the aforementioned charity drives, mentorship programs, local clean-up efforts or donations to local non-profits. While there are some small costs to these efforts they can also create shared value through PR, Social Media and general impact consumer awareness and opinion.

Once you've started to develop these relationships with the local community, use the experience to create templates for how these events can make both social impact and help your business, then decide which to continue or make into annual or recurring events. As your view turns towards a longer horizon think about adding to these annual outreach efforts by setting up a local scholarship fund or mounter/fellowship program. Work with the recyclers and waste management companies in your area to understand how you can work together better to reduce waste. Talk with local government to see who you can support their beautification or environmental initiatives. Host a community "town hall" to discuss and understand the impacts—both positive and negative—that your business and others in the area have on the community. While that type of public transparency might seem risky or intimidating at first, you will gain invaluable insight and massive respect from consumers simply for your willingness to listen.

How do you see the sustainable packaging industry evolving? Future trends and innovations?

Zakes: Sustainable packaging has a very bright future. Innovation is taking place across the board and has the buy in from all stakeholders from manufacturers to purchasers to consumers to governments. Tactics like designed for re-use are being explored by giants like Coca-Cola. Compostable, bio-based plastics are becoming more affordable and applicable to a wider range of packaging formats. Post-consumer recycling opportunities for packaging falsely labelled "non-recyclable" are booming lead by TerraCycle, Aveda, Crayola and otherwise. Ways to reduce the energy or materials required to manufacturer packaging are blossoming and more and more decreasing the carbon impact of shipping—through lighter weight packaging or items that stack better—is becoming the norm.

Packaging will forever be a part of modern consumerism, but the day when packaging is celebrated—not vilified—for its environmental impact grows ever closer.

Albe will be presenting on July 16, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. To find out more about the event, please visit For more information about how to register for the summit and pre-conference workshop, visit or call 310-445-8535.

Customizable packaging options for beauty and personal care

 Customizable packaging options for beauty and personal care

Two new customizable packaging options have been launched into the beauty and personal care industries by World Wide Packaging (WWP). One of the tubes is square and features a masculine design designed for men’s products such as creams, lotions and gels. There are multiple options for closure choices because of its highly flexible mold capabilities.

The second package option—Lipvue—is a stylish lipstick case that has a mirror and is suitable for a variety of lip care products. In Lipvue, WWP has decorated what appears to be a standard lipstick case with a valuable added feature that, for lipstick manufacturers, is an exciting value proposition. 

World Wide Packaging, 973-805-6500

Anti-fog shrink film protects and presents produce

Anti-fog shrink film protects and presents produce
Anti-fog produce shrink film

Created for fresh produce packaging, the new CT-311 shrink film from Sealed Air is touted as the first micro-layered anti-fog film that is also one of the thinnest—at 35-gauge. Among its sustainable benefits, the clear film qualifies for recyclability under the How2Recycle label program from the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. It can be dropped off at local stores at numerous nationwide locations. It is also being positioned as an alternative to PVC film for cold-chain produce applications. Compared to the 60-gauge PVC film often used in these situations, CT-311 saves up to 20% of material usage and up to 67% of material weight for a typical 8-oz package.

In addition, the film promotes food safety benefits by giving produce packers a cost-effective packaging option. And fresh produce that is packed at a central location and then distributed to retailers minimizes the risk of cross-contamination during packaging at the store level.

Reid Kennedy, marketing director, shrink packaging solutions for Sealed Air’s Product Care Div., states, “CT-311’s combination of excellent optics, increased performance and microwave compatibility delivers the most complete shrink material available for fresh produce, all while enabling packagers to reduce their material usage.”