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Automatic paper void-fill system is efficient and sustainable

Automatic paper void-fill system is efficient and sustainable

The FasFil® EZ® Auto system from Sealed Air helps operations and businesses meet their goals for productivity and sustainability. It is designed for small-cell packaging operations. Thanks to an automated cutting system, users can set the system to separate paper materials at pre-programmed and/or continuous lengths. That ensures consistency with less input required.

The FasFil® EZ® Auto system offers a sustainable protective packaging alternative using paper materials that are recyclable, composed completely of recycled content and crimped to create a higher yield per cubic foot.

Other highlights:

  • The materials have achieved Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification;
  • The system is adjustable to a range of customized heights and angles;
  • It’s compatible with standard electrical outlets;
  • It is available in floor or table-top models.

Sealed Air Corp. or

Redesign for snack bag centers on non-GMO messaging

Redesign for snack bag centers on non-GMO messaging
New design switches from white to full-color bags.

Claiming itself as the first non-GMO tortilla chip “Designed for Dipping,” Party-Tizers Dippin Chips from How We Roll LLC, Fairfield, NJ,  is launching a whole new look, with an enhanced brand image and full-color package.

"We've had tremendous success launching this brand into deli sets nationwide achieving distribution in over 50 percent of grocery stores within our first 12 months," says Aldo Zuppichini, Co-Founder. "We pride ourselves in understanding our consumers and have seen an overwhelming amount of support and requests to move to a non-GMO [genetically modified organism] platform. With this launch, enhanced branding and new varieties, we can't wait to see what the second year brings."

According to Sam Kestenbaum, senior VP of marketing, the products’ target audience is people looking for better-for-you snacking with a premium set of ingredients.  “The demographics specifically are women within the age range of 35-60, mainly women because they do most of the food shopping for households,” he tells Packaging Digest.

Kestenbaum says the goal of the redesign was to emphasize the company’s recent project non-GMO verification and the brand name of Party-Tizers.  “We want our customers to associate our brand-name and the consumption of our product with a fun, party atmosphere,” he says.

Versus the previous design, the most dramatic difference is in moving from a simple, white bag, to a full-color bag, unique for each flavor to stand out among others on-shelf. 

“We also have the stamp for Project Non-GMO verified and a more prominent presence of the brand name,” he points out. That’s noted on the bag front via the organization’s signature stamp. “Project Non-GMO was selected because it is the most well-recognized such organization and has the most authority in non-GMO certification—giving our customers full reassurance of the quality of our product.”

The design was handled internally.  “We use an internal design source because of the strong connection it creates between the designer and the products,” Kestenbaum says. “This produces more dedicated work which is paramount to the success of our brand.”

The biggest challenge in the redo was deciding on the hierarchy of the brand.  “We wanted to emphasize on our product, while at the same time giving enough credit to the brand name as well,” Kestenbaum says. “Color selection was also a challenge as we wanted to select colors that pertained to each flavor and its inclusions while also differentiating ourselves from competitors.”

The product comes in four varieties, Veggie, Fiesta Bean, Super Grain and Potato Sea Salt, all made in a nut-free facility.

Patriotic packaging helps Americans celebrate their freedom

Patriotic packaging helps Americans celebrate their freedom
Family, friends and those wishing to support the troops can visit Slim Jim’s Salute the Troops website to write a personalized message that will be printed on Slim Jim wrappers.

From red, white and blue to camouflage green, packages that show their regard for the good ole USA light up American consumers at various times of the year—such as the 4th of July.

Take a look at these five package designs, which celebrate our nation’s birth and support our troops and their families:

1. This July 4th, Slim Jim is sending one million personalized sticks to troops at USO bases around the world. Family, friends and those wishing to support the troops can visit Slim Jim’s Salute the Troops website to write a personalized message that will be printed on Slim Jim wrappers. 

2. Brats and beer are a dynamic duo for backyard barbeques all summer long. For a limited time again this season, Budweiser is dressing up its cans, bottles and cartons in red, white and blue. Additionally, the packaging enables consumers to help families of killed or disabled soldiers. When beer drinkers enter a code inside specially marked packages on, Budweiser will donate $1 to Folds of Honor, an organization that provides scholarships and other assistance to military spouses and children.

3. Pepperidge Farm honored the U.S. Armed Forces with specially-designed Goldfish packaging. Introduced last year, the limited-edition packages sported military-inspired graphics and were sold in military commissaries and exchanges in the U.S. and abroad. The company also donated $25,000 to the Fisher House Foundation for scholarships for military children and displayed the Fisher House logo on these special packs. Read the original article here.

4. Through a packaging initiative started in 2012, Georgia-Pacific, brand owner of Brawny paper towels, has helped raise awareness of the needs of injured soldiers through a partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project. In addition to a generous donation, the company also highlighted stories of wounded servicemen and women on its packaging. Read the original article here.

5. Heinz is another brand owner that has partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project. In 2011, the ketchup king pledged $300,000 to the organization and introduced patriotic-designed labels for Veterans Day. Front label copy on 20-oz ketchup bottles in restaurants says “Our Turn to Serve.” A quick response (QR) code on the back enables restaurant patrons to send a personal “thank you” to veterans. Read the original article here.

Mini camera performs packaging inspections

Mini camera performs packaging inspections
Microscan's Vision MINI Xi smart camera

The Vision MINI Xi is touted as the world’s smallest machine vision smart camera with embedded Ethernet connectivity for ease of programming and data acquisition (in plant or remotely). From Microscan, the industrial vision system fits into confined spaces within packaging machines to perform a variety of inspections, including optical character recognition (OCR), color matching and bar code decoding. It measures just 1 x 1.8 x 2.1 inches (25.4 x 45.7 x 53.3 mm) and weighs just 3.2 oz (91 g). The patented mini design includes a built-in lens, LED lighting, a 24-volt interface and optically isolated I/O. Programming is simple with the company’s easy-to-use AutoVISION machine vision software.

Ecommerce/Supply Chain

How packaging pros can prevent supply chain pitfalls

How packaging pros can prevent supply chain pitfalls

Packaging engineers and designers play a key role in successful supply chains, whether they realize it or not.

In an upcoming workshop, supply chain expert Dan Balan tackles “Mastering the Food & Beverage Supply Chain: How to Drive End-to-End Performance.”

In this high-energy, four-hour immersion into how you impact on your products’ supply chain—and, ultimately, your company’s bottom line—you will learn:

• The objectives, constraints and dynamic conflicts in the ecosystem

• The 10 big pitfalls in any supply chain

• How packaging can improve efficiencies and reduce costs

• How to transform your supply chain from end-to-end—and why

The workshop is scheduled for July 15, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. It is part of Packaging Digest’s 2014 Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit, the leading conference on packaging engineering and innovation for the food and beverage markets. A leader in enterprise business transformation, Balan will also present another topic at the conference: “Transforming the food and beverage industry: The eight business drivers of excellence.”

Teaching about business transformations is his sweet spot. Balan is president of Fastraqq, a management consultancy that advises companies on supply chains, agile innovations and growth strategies. He created Packaging360 Leadership, a unique online educational program to revolutionize the paradigm of the packaging industry, which is available through the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP).

During the workshop, Balan will share case studies—one from a snack-food leader and another from a liquor manufacturer—giving real-world examples of successful execution of these ideas.

Packaging Digest gives you a taste of what you’ll learn by attending the workshop. Register today to be fully satiated—and stay a step ahead of your competition!

What is one of the top 10 pitfalls in any supply chain and what can packaging professionals do to avoid it?

Balan: One of the ways packaging folks can improve the supply chain is by securing the supply chain. That means to design against theft, pilferage, brand authentication and preservation, and then detect any miscreant activity. This process involves a full understanding of the end-to-end supply chain.

What is one of the ways packaging can improve supply chain efficiencies and reduce costs?

Balan: Supply chain costs involve the cost of transportation. By learning how to efficiently use space and understand the transporter's concerns, you help minimize total landed costs.

In this workshop, attendees will learn how to transform their supply chain from end-to-end. Isn't that too much work? Why is it their job to do this? What's the payoff for them?

Balan: Packaging folks need to fully understand the whole supply chain as there are several areas where they can assist other departments. They need to work in concert with suppliers, manufacturing, transporters and senior management. The workshop will give them a clear roadmap to improve the overall supply chain—and, therefore, their very business.

As a bonus for reading to the bottom of the article (thank you!), Balan shares the top reasons for supply chain failure:

1. Lack of supply chain consciousness.

2. Lack of executive leadership that values supply chain.

3. Supply disruption and lack of supplier compliance.

4. Risks in the extended SC are not isolated and mitigated.

5. No common ground for performance. No clear, aligned metrics.

6. Supply chain security is at stake—theft, brand tampering, piracy and shortchanging of goods.

7. Transportation costs are not controlled.

8. Lack of timely, coordinated information flow between stakeholders.

9. Too many tight couplings in the supply chain, leaving no room for recovery in case of rupture.

10. Constraints throughout the extended chain are not visible in a timely manner.

11. No clear costs and times—leading to ballooned total landed cost.

Industrial steel manufacturer eliminates shipping damage and loss

Industrial steel manufacturer eliminates shipping damage and loss
U-shaped channels are cut to length with 2x4 wood blocks added at each end and filled with steel rods for shipping.

Stemcor Special Steels has solved its shipping and product protection challenges by teaming up with its packaging materials distributor and switching to new protective packaging.

Stemcor Special Steels, based in Magnolia, Texas, supplies original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with alloys used to fabricate machinery for the global oil industry.

In most cases, the supplying steel mills send the alloys in the form of round bar, which Stemcor Special Steels cuts to order for its customers. Those orders can include pieces that range from 1 inch to 10 feet, according to John Munger, Stemcor Special Steels operations manager.

In its four years of existence, Stemcor Special Steels has doubled it shipments every year. That kind of super-charged growth has been accompanied by some growing pains, including some pieces being lost or damaged in transit.

“We recognized that we had a problem in packaging the material and delivering it safely to our customers around the globe,” Munger says. “With small parts, we had occasional problems with customers saying they didn’t get all the pieces. Sometimes shipments were damaged or bent.

“We recognized the issues and found a successful alternative,” adds Munger. Stemcor Special Steels switched to UCrate protective packaging from Laminations. “With UCrate, we can cut to any length, package all the material together and ship with confidence by truck or plane,” Munger says.

The UCrate solution came through Mark Mueller of Boomerang Packaging, who made a sales call on Stemcor Special Steels in the spring of 2013. Gary Anderson, Laminations account manager, had shown UCrate during a presentation to Boomerang Packaging and the product came to mind when Mueller called on Stemcor Special Steels.

“I noticed they were packaging some heavy bars in corrugated boxes, and then packing the box with a lot of cushioning materials. Then they would close the box and use what seemed like an excessive amount of tape,” Mueller says.

When he asked why so much tape was used, Mueller was told it was because the filled boxes were so heavy that the a great deal of tape was needed to keep the corrugate intact during shipping to cut down on lost or damaged product.

“At that point, I remembered the presentation on UCrate from Laminations,” Mueller continues. “I showed them a sample and how easy it was to use. It kind of took off from there. John (Munger) saw the potential for significant savings in packing materials, time and labor.”

The solution

Laminations, a part of Great Northern Corp. based in Appleton, WI, is best known for its recyclable paperboard edge protection products such as VBoard, which provides edge protection for palletized loads. In 2008, the company leveraged its VBoard expertise to create a new, engineered solution.

UCrate consists of seamless U–shaped paperboard channels that fit snugly together to create a sturdy, environmentally friendly way to ship long, narrow products such as rods, tubing, window blinds and other products that are fragile or have sensitive finishes.

Compared to other packaging options such as wooden crates and corrugate, UCrate offers a variety of advantages, including savings in time and materials, safety and superior protection. When shipping long, narrow tube or rod-shaped materials, UCrate:

• is lighter than wood, with no bug stamping export issues and no slivers;

• offers better impact resistance and scuff protection than corrugated;

• delivers labor savings with quick and easy top loading of product; and

• provides substantial beam strength without sacrificing shock absorption.

UCrate is made using recyclable laminated paperboard up to 18 inches wide (with symmetrical or asymmetrical legs), caliper options ranging from 0.0800 to 0.6000 inches and standard lengths up to 300 inches with longer lengths also available.

“We never know what we’re going to pack into the UCrates until we receive the material from the mill,’” Munger says. The company also ships some of its long bars directly on pallets with stretch wrapping.

Stemcor Specialty Steels orders UCrate material in a 120-inch length, which it cuts to fit for the shipments. Pre-cut wooden blocks are stapled inside the ends.

“I had about 2,000 pieces of 2x4s cut at 5-1/2 inches that fit inside the UCrates,” says Munger. “We use a pneumatic stapler to staple those ends in. They are rugged and work great.”

Laminations offers customized printing of logos on its UCrate—an option that Stemcor Special Steels uses.

Solving problems together

This Stemcor Special Steels example illustrates how the consultative approach between Laminations and its distributor solved a problem for the end-customer.

“When we educate our distributor partners about our products, it helps them bring solutions to their customers,” Anderson says. This strategy leads to lasting relationships and trust.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Laminations. I would say 20 percent of our customers use a Laminations product,” says Mueller. “We are 100-percent satisfied with Laminations, its products and customer service. And, they are always on time, every time, with our orders.”

As for results, UCrate has eliminated the problems with lost or damaged product. “In the more than a year that we have been using UCrate, I have not had a single customer complaint,” says Munger.


Tom Lyons is a senior public relations manager at Directions Marketing, a full-service marketing and packaging agency based in Neenah, WI.

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Patriotic packaging helps Americans celebrate their freedom: Gallery

Family, friends and those wishing to support the troops can visit Slim Jim’s Salute the Troops website to write a personalized message that will be printed on Slim Jim wrappers.

From red, white and blue to camouflage green, packages that show their regard for the good ole USA light up American consumers at various times of the year—such as the 4th of July.

Take a look at these five package designs, which celebrate our nation’s birth and support our troops and their families.