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The barbecue ready meal

Barbecue Ready Meal

A 'BARBECUE ready meal' packaging solution could revolutionize the way retailers offer 'barbecue' food for sale when the sun comes out.

The Sira-Cook Supreme bag has been developed by Sirane, Europe's leading packaging development-to-manufacturing company, and is a cooking bag perfect for both oven and barbecue, as well as hot-plate or griddle, and can be fully heat-sealed allowing it to be the perfect retail solution.

Jeremy Haydn-Davies, sales director, says: "It might be turning cold in the UK, but many retailers will very soon be turning their thoughts to next summer. This bag is the perfect summer solution for retailers—it can be filled, heat-sealed and shipped as a ready meal that can go straight on the barbecue.

"But the Sira-Cook Supreme bag is also ovenable—which might be a real bonus with the unreliable British climate. The bag's versatility could be a distinct advantage.

"Imagine a retailer being able to sell a steak with a sauce inside a bag that the user will be able to cook directly on a barbecue—with a second bag alongside it with mixed veg in a sauce for the vegetarian in the family on the same barbecue—that's what the Sira-Cook Supreme bag will offer.

"The same bags would also allow over-the-counter sales of ready-to-barbecue packs which if heat-sealed behind the counter are leak-proof. Or retailers could simply sell the bags alongside their products—users would simply need to put in the ingredients, fold over the ends and cook - genuine versatility in one product."

The bag is available in a number of sizes and in a standard and non-stick version. It comes with a clear top panel - so users can see the contents as they cook.

It will also be added to the Thinking-Cooking portfolio—Sirane's retail kitchen and cooking range—allowing the bags to be stocked as a stand-alone product.

Source: Sirane


Stretch hood unitizer is fast and efficient

Stretch hood unitizer is fast and efficient

The stretch hood A machine from BEUMER optimizes the unitized bundling of pallet loads through a newly engineered design that maximizes the function, arrangements, safety and ergonomics.

System highlights include:

  • An intuitive, pictogram-driven menu system on a soft-touch HMI panel;
  • System is controlled by a Siemens SIMATIC S7-300;
  • Floor-level, maintenance-friendly access is made without a platform or steps;
  • Innovative, material-friendly film transport system feeds the previously created film hood into the system;
  • Design eliminates the need for time-consuming, energy-intensive cooling unit;
  • Shorter cycle time for hooding thus reduces idle times and energy consumption;
  • U-shaped frame design permits easy integration to existing conveyors;
  • eLearning program on a USB stick allows employees to train themselves.

Energy-saving motors and low compressed air requirements that have been dramatically reduced from the previous model ensure a favorable energy usage.

The system is intended for companies in the chemical, food and beverage or construction material industries.

BEUMER Group of BEUMER Corp.


Automated cement packaging delivers faster speeds, cleaner operation

Automated cement packaging delivers faster speeds, cleaner operation

While manual cement packaging operations remain very common, more and more producers of cement, crushed stone and gravel and other cementitious materials are converting to fully automated packaging lines. The reasons include higher speeds, greater filling accuracy, cleaner bags, reduced labor requirements and more economical work environments. 

Automated packaging operations depend primarily on advanced multispout filling machines in tandem with high-performance valve bags. When planning a changeover to automated packaging, consult early with filling machine and industrial bag suppliers. They can help you avoid potential problems and make a smooth transition to a fully automated operation.   

Manual versus automated

Manual cement packaging lines are labor-intensive, relatively slow and often entail manual calibration of weighing scales when switching to a different bag size or product type. Typically, the packaging operator sits close to the filling spouts and is exposed to airborne dust and debris, requiring the use of goggles and a dust mask. Nearby workers also must wear protective gear. 

The speed of manual operations is limited. During packaging, the operator reaches for an empty bag and places the bag onto a filling spout. The task is tiring and repetitive, and operators are usually rotated out after a two-hour shift.   

Automated filling machines, in contrast, operate at a much faster rate and exert precise control over the bag-filling process. The automated fillers come as inline or rotary systems with multiple filling spouts and are equipped with electronic weighing systems. Depending on the material, a rotary packer can fill up to 6,000 bags per hour.

The fillers are controlled from a PLC. Centralized servers manage each step of the filling process and monitor and record the amount of product going into each bag, along with the dispensing rate.   

Rotary fillers have as many as 16 spouts, and operate as follows: The desired bag weight is entered into the PLC before startup. During operation the rotary machine’s bag placer feeds the bags sequentially onto the filling spouts as they rotate into position.

Each filling spout is equipped with a slide gate controlled by the centralized server. Once a bag is in place, the gate opens and releases material into the bag. When the bag is nearly filled to the preset weight, the server partially closes the gate, restricting the flow to a fine feed. The flow is stopped when the bag is completely filled. The controlled feed rate reduces the amount of dust that escapes, improving workplace air quality, as well as overall cleanliness.

Cement producer upgrades to an eight-spout

In a recent case, a Portland cement and masonry supplier upgraded to automated operation by installing an eight-spout Haver ROTOCLASSIC Packer. The company’s manual bagging operation had proved inefficient and failed to keep pace with increasing product demand.      

After the upgrade to an automated operation, the company was able to reduce labor costs on the line. Filling accuracy also improved, with the eight-spout packer demonstrating an accuracy of +5.3 ounces for a 50-pound bag. In addition, the packaging operation became much cleaner.

Stronger valve bags

The performance of automatic filling machines is optimized with the use of high-performance valve bags, such as Mondi Americas’ Airstream valve bags, which, in tandem with automated equipment, improve the filling process. High-performance bags are made of high-grade Kraft paper, which is exceptionally porous and allows air to easily pass through. The high-quality paper also exhibits greater tensile energy absorption (TEA) than lesser paper grades. It can stretch as much as 8-10 percent, compared with only 1 percent for standard paper.   

It’s easy to demonstrate a high-performance valve bag’s strength advantage. Fill a high-performance bag and a standard bag with a cement material, and then drop the two bags flat from a height of 8-10 feet onto a hard surface. The standard bag will rupture, spilling its contents. The high-performance bag is likely to remain intact. Stronger bags mean less breakage during handling and shipping, lower costs for bag returns and a more satisfied customer.

Another benefit of high-performance bags is their two-ply construction. Compared with three- or four-ply standard bags, they take up less space per bag, allowing converters to fit more high-performance bags on a pallet, thus saving weight and making empty bag storage space more efficient.

Optimal integration

In automated cement packaging applications, various system components must be successfully integrated for optimal performance. Filling machine and high-performance bag suppliers can be called in at the design and implementation stages to recommend system design, product features and the positioning and integration of components. Properly designed systems will help avert costly downtime. 

A bag’s valve size, for example, is a key consideration. Ideally, the bag’s valve opening and the filling spouts need to be closely matched. If the valve is slightly larger than the filling spout, the bag might still be usable, but some dispensed material will escape into the air. If the valve is smaller than the spout, the bag cannot be used. 

Small adjustments before production begins can make a big difference. In one case, a bag manufacturer’s technical expert viewed a newly installed packaging system and spotted that bags were folded the wrong way when loaded into the bag magazine. Changing how the bags were folded solved the problem.  

A final note: In the U.S., environmental regulations governing the packaging of bulk powders, particularly state standards, are becoming increasingly strict. In Mexico, SEMARNAT regulations are prompting producers of cementitious materials to invest in equipment that collects dust during production process. Look to your filling machine and high-performance bag suppliers for help in minimizing airborne particles and complying with today’s tighter air-quality standards.   

 Contributors to this story and their contact information:

Haver Filling Systems, Inc. 

Markus Lackman, sales manager, USA & Canada

[email protected]                

Mondi Americas Industrial

Mike Wilson, sales manager

[email protected]     

Mondi Americas Industrial Bags

Carlos Schleske, managing director, Mexico

[email protected]

Bob Giuliano is a journalist serving the B2B market sector. Based in Springfield, PA, he can be reached at 610-328-105 or by email at [email protected] His website is

Senior-friendly, child-proof closure is ambidextrous

Senior-friendly, child-proof closure is ambidextrous
Ball and socket design makes it ambidextrous.

Inventor Gregory Adamczak has quite a range of patents in his stable, including one for a baby pacifier, another for a tennis racket and another for a closure for an eyedropper bottle that he claims, at 12mm in diameter, is the smallest closure available in the U.S.

He has turned his creative mind back again to packaging in another invention, and it appears he got it right when it comes to his patented closure—and he got it left, too, for that matter: The invention is for a child-proof closure design that can be opened—or closed—by twisting it to the right or to the left to address the approximately 10 percent of the population that is left handed. “And it is senior-friendly,” he adds.

Adamczak says that he specializes in left-handed inventions. The closure uses gripping “fingers” within the cap that allow it to be ambidextrous and permit the packager to a custom-set the opening torque to address different markets and target consumers.

It’s a very ‘hip’ design

He discloses that at the heart of the concept is that the closure works as a “ball and socket” joint that can tilt and rotate like a human hip joint. This aspect enables other elements such as tamper evidence and for the desired torque to be set by users.

“The tilt and rotate operation facilitates the left or right engagement,” he points out. Adamczak acknowledges that the unique operation would require explanatory text on the label. 

“The standard for the last 20 years has been a child-proof closure that must be pushed down and rotated to remove it,” he explains. “That’s uncomfortable for many people. My design can save pain and trouble for a lot of hands. By the way, the biggest problem people face with child-proof caps is closing it, not opening it.”

His invention is available for licensing and is applicable for medicines or any bottle or container, he claims, noting it is on a cost manufacturing parity with traditional closures. It can be made in the same materials as standard closures, either polypropylene or high-density polyethylene.

The published patent for “Child proof closure cap for containers having a curved skirt” can be viewed here.

A related patent of his, for a child-proof closure cap for container with spring and tamper elements, can be viewed here.

You can contact Gregory Adamczak of Adaxam, LLC, Stamford, CT, by email [email protected] or by phone 203-667-4283.

MAP beverage container permits material reduction

MAP beverage container permits material reduction
Functional insert (dark portion) contains a gas.

“Thin is in” has long been a part of sustainable packaging—and usually cost savings—in the form of source reduction. However, that tactic can be problematic for perishable products in PET bottles that are filled and capped at elevated temperatures because the containers can deform as the product cools. Bottles can be thick-walled to withstand this temperature-induced deformation, but that runs counter to everything that is green…and counter to cost-effectiveness due to the need for additional polymer or other material for container strengthening.

A proven solution to the above for aseptically and hot-filled products are PET containers that have (a) flexible panel(s) or a base designed to offset the deformation and keep the package looking good.

Now there’s another solution, from BASF Corp., that addresses this problem in a unique way using modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). The patent filing centers on an insert at the top of the bottle or container—described as a “storage vessel pressurization component”—that both absorbs and releases gas in the headspace in a manner that lowers the vapor pressure and thereby the deformation.

The patent identifies several storage vessel materials including one or more of carbon, activated carbon, a zeolite and a metal organic framework (MOF) composition. This structure stores a gas such as nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, other gas or mixtures of gases, according to the patent, which details 28 “embodiments” or different ways that the intended pressure control can be accomplished using these materials. The intended benefit is a package that requires less material to reduce costs while improving the sustainability of the package.

Applicable packaging includes bottles, cans, pouches and other containers.

You can find the full patent here at

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