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Articles from 2017 In September

Frito-Lay's Tostitos Lucky Bags put NFL teams in spotlight

Frito-Lay's Tostitos Lucky Bags put NFL teams in spotlight
For the next couple months, football fans can show their team spirit by buying specially designed bags of Tostitos Original Restaurant Style chips.

Realizing that game-day traditions and superstitions abound among football fans, Frito-Lay has created a collection of NFL “Lucky Bags” for Tostitos tortilla chips. The limited-time food packaging features the logos of 19 National Football League teams, with one team per bag, and the packaging design launched at the start of the 2017 football season.

To add another layer to the Lucky Bags experience, Frito-Lay printed a smartphone-friendly code on the back of each bag. Consumers snap the codes to access tongue-in-cheek videos featuring Tostitos’ Lucky Bags and NFL players like Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys and Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams.

Pat O’Toole, senior director of marketing, Frito-Lay North America, provides further details on the project.

Why create graphics for these 19 teams, out of the 32 in the NFL?

O’Toole: There are so many teams, traditions and rituals in the NFL that it’s difficult to celebrate all of them. For now, Tostitos is working with teams with which PepsiCo has a relationship and will evaluate expanding that list in the future. [Note: PepsiCo is Frito-Lay’s parent company.]

Where will the Lucky Bags be available?

O’Toole: Lucky Bags will be available regionally at retailers in team markets. Additionally, starting next month four teams will be available on Amazon in an NFL Ultimate Tailgate pack. The team-specific boxes for the Cowboys, Steelers, Packers and Patriots feature metallized Tostitos film printed with the team logo, plus a team-customized outer box. Suggested retail price is $22.99.

There's a Lucky Bag inside customized team tailgate boxes along with other Frito-Lay snack products.

How long will Lucky Bags be available?

O’Toole: The bags are available now through October.

Are the Lucky Bags graphics used on just one stock-keeping unit (SKU)? If so, why this SKU?

O’Toole: Tostitos Lucky Bags graphics are being used only on Original Restaurant Style, our most popular variety.

What is the net weight of the Original Restaurant Style bag?

O’Toole: Each bag weighs approximately 13 ounces.

Not everyone who lives in Chicago, for example, is a Bears fan. So who will decide which team bags are sold where: Frito-Lay or retailers?

O’Toole: The bags are being sold regionally, based on the geographic location of the team.

Did Frito-Lay need to make special arrangements with the teams to match their team colors on the bags?

O’Toole: Yes, Frito-Lay worked closely with each of the 19 teams to ensure branding, including colors and graphics, were consistent with team guidelines.

What kind of code is printed on the back of the bags, to link consumers to Tostitos’ Lucky Bags videos?

O’Toole: A Snapchat Snapcode is on the bottom right-hand corner of each bag. The Snapcode brings consumers to a piece of exclusive content for that team, describing their pre-game rituals and superstitions.

Will these bags replace the regular Tostitos packaging or be in addition to it?

O’Toole: These bags will be sold in addition to regular Tostitos packaging.


Learn what it takes to innovate in the packaging space at MinnPack 2017 (Nov. 8-9; Minneapolis). Register today!

Technology-boosted service cuts packaging line downtime

Technology-boosted service cuts packaging line downtime
Microsoft HoloLens shares what the on-siteTTetra Pak service technician sees and hears with the company's engineering experts, wherever they are around the world.

Using Microsoft advanced digital technology, service technicians from Tetra Pak were able to cut downtime on 17 food packaging lines, during a six-month trial, by up to 48 hours for each line. That’s two extra days of production for its customers by preventing failures and by quickly resolving packaging machinery stoppages to return the line to uptime status.

Tetra Pak has invested in two Microsoft technologies to deliver these improvements (watch a video of the services here):

1. Microsoft Azure data mining and analysis for effective predictive maintenance. Using Microsoft Azure for its Condition Monitoring Service, Tetra Pak helps prevent packaging machine failures before they occur. By analyzing performance data from more than 5,000 connected filling machines installed around the world in customers’ food production factories, deviations are quickly identified and can be addressed in a more timely and effective way. According to Tetra Pak, the new service can replace a standardized maintenance process to lower costs related to unexpected failures.

2. Microsoft HoloLens Mixed-Reality smart glasses for fast diagnostics. By outfitting Tetra Pak service technicians with Microsoft HoloLens, the company can quickly diagnose and resolve packaging machinery downtime issues to minimize productivity loss. When on-site in a customer’s facility, the Tetra Pak service engineer is able to tap into the company’s global experts. That expert can see and hear everything in real time, and works “alongside” the on-site technician to quickly fix the problem.

Paul Grainger, Tetra Pak’s technical key account director for the USA and Canada, details how the company’s food packaging customers benefit from this advanced digital technology.


Paul Grainger, technical key account director, USA and Canada, Tetra Pak

How have customers in the pilot been able to reduce downtime by up to 48 hours by using this technology?

Grainger: Unplanned downtime is reduced as we are able to predict failures before they occur. Through the Tetra Pak Condition Monitoring Service, we install sensors in the equipment which send real-time data to our central Performance Management Center where experts analyze and cross-reference the data pattern received against thousands of other connected lines. When a problem is detected, the Performance Management Center sends alerts to the Tetra Pak technician in the field, who plans maintenance together with our customers, avoiding breakdowns.

You say “data that’s gleaned from connected machines gives company technicians an operational snapshot across more than 5,000 Tetra Pak packaging machines in use.” How is Tetra Pak using this data to improve existing operations or new machine design?

Grainger: For several years Tetra Pak’s has been supporting customers to improve their operations leveraging data and deep expertise. But now, through the use of an app, our service engineers are empowered with real-time production facts and can act based on that operational data.

What is the privacy policy regarding this operational data? Can customers opt out?

Grainger: Through the Microsoft Azure cloud, Tetra Pak ensures data protection of operational data collected from the customers’ equipment. Data is not shared externally and Tetra Pak has policies in place that specify data access. Customers are free to opt out should they need to.

Remote monitoring and mobile apps give engineers the data they need to solve production issues.

Can you give specific packaging examples of a service that was performed using HoloLens that sped up a return to production?

Grainger: One of our field service engineers at a dairy producer was struggling to solve a problem with the distribution equipment of one of our filling lines. Using the HoloLens, the service engineer at the customer’s site connected with a specialist, highly knowledgeable about the equipment in question. The HoloLens enabled the expert to be “virtually present” and notice some worn-out and defective parts that service engineer didn’t. The problem was then solved swiftly. With the use of HoloLens, we were able to avoid a longer downtime, as well as an onsite visit from the specialist.

In addition to boosting production efficiency, how will HoloLens technology help customers cut costs and ensure food safety?

Grainger: Armed with Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality headsets, Tetra Pak on-site service engineers are now able to work “alongside” the company’s global experts who specialize in the problem they are trying to resolve. This means that from anywhere in the world, a service engineer can “beam in” the right expert, who then sees and hears everything in real time, and guides the on-site work without ever leaving their desk. This will reduce costs for flying experts in, reduce waiting time and downtime, and with global experts available to guide, ensure food safety is maintained.

When did your six-month pilot of HoloLens take place?

Grainger: Tetra Pak is piloting the service in 2017 with 50 HoloLens devices, in the Greater Middle East, Europe and the Americas, and plans to roll-out to more markets next year.

All food plants?

Grainger: Yes, all in food production plans.

The HoloLens technology is “mixed reality” and augments the real world by bringing holograms into it. This allows users to remain aware of their actual surroundings. Why is that important?

Grainger: As Tetra Pak Service specialists perform maintenance on food production equipment, they must be aware of their surroundings for safety reasons.

HoloLens shares what the on-site service technician sees and hears with engineering experts, wherever they are around the world.

Microsoft describes HoloLens as the first untethered, self-contained holographic computer. Why is it important to be untethered?

Grainger: This is a question that Microsoft would need to answer.

HoloLens allows for collaboration. How has Tetra Pak used the technology to collaborate internally and/or externally with its customers/vendors?

Grainger: With Microsoft HoloLens, Tetra Pak on-site service engineers are now able to collaborate with the company’s global experts who specialize in the problem they are trying to resolve.

What is the cost of this technology for your customers and how does it compare to a typical service call?

Grainger: There are two distinct technologies. HoloLens is used by Tetra Pak service engineers to connect with global experts and expedite problem solving while on a customer’s site.  Predictive maintenance is achieved through the installations of sensors and monitoring of data from those to identify potential issues. Both are offered through Tetra Pak Service Agreements and the price is based on the customer’s needs and what’s included in the agreement.

What was Tetra Pak’s investment in outfitting its service technicians with hundreds of HoloLens devices and training them?

Grainger: Tetra Pak has always been committed to invest in the development of innovations that deliver value to our customers. The launch of this new suite of services, which leverages the latest digital technologies to provide customers reduced costs and enhanced efficiency, is part of that commitment. Like with any other new Tetra Pak product, the deployment of the devices and training of Tetra Pak field force is accounted as part of new product deployment process.

Could customers invest in their own HoloLens device and extend its benefits to packaging machines from other manufacturers?

Grainger: The power of the solution provided by Tetra Pak is the combination of the HoloLens technology with our expertise. HoloLens is a Microsoft product available for purchase but in itself it does not provide any expertise.


See a host of new ideas in packaging machinery, materials and more at MinnPack 2017 (Nov. 8-9; Minneapolis). Register today!

What does a packaging engineer do?

What does a packaging engineer do?
Packaging engineers are a vital part of the operations for an brand, retailer or essentially any company that uses a supply chain.

A packaging engineer identifies the three common industry activities that characterize the regular duties of a packaging engineer in any supply chain in today’s fast-paced market.

When I first transferred into the packaging program at UW-Stout, I’m pretty sure my friends thought I would be packing boxes for a career. Little did they know that packaging engineers have existed for quite some time, and their roles and responsibilities are often multi-faceted as packaging intersects with so many crucial aspects of an organization.

Whether you’re working with consumer packaged goods companies, food or durable consumer goods, the core principles and activities of a packaging engineer are very similar across the board.

To shed a little light on the subject, here’s a look at the three common activities a packaging engineer actually does:

1)     New Product Development (aka, new product introductions)

Let’s face it, those new products that marketing wants to launch aren’t going to pack themselves. Packaging teams often collaborate with various stakeholders from cross-functional teams to ensure all key criteria is achieved in the design and performance of the package.

Common activities within this category include:

▪   Project management and communication with packaging materials vendors;

▪   Packaging design and development;

▪   Collaborative reviews with key stakeholders and executive sponsors;

▪   Sustainability metric evaluation;

▪   Distribution testing;

▪   Specification development; and

▪   Product lifecycle management (PLM).


2)     Cost Savings Initiatives (aka, value engineering or continuous improvement)

Second to new product launches are the cost take-out initiatives. Some products are rushed into the market before thoroughly evaluating their packaging and supply chain effectiveness, sometimes with excessive packaging to ensure of a successful launch. Once—products have been in the market, opportunity often exists to re-evaluate and value engineer costs out of the package and supply chain system. This can range anywhere from a redesign project to harmonizing common packaging components across multiple SKUs to the creation of compliance standards to integrate at a partnership comprised of multiple organizations.

3)     Firefighting and Damage Control

Every job has some level of firefighting. Same goes for packaging engineers.  Often these “fires” can be attributed to addressing equipment downtime, jammed packing/ filling/ assembly lines, or last minute communications with vendors or internal stakeholders.

A bigger bucket concerning firefighting often relates to damage reduction. Some of these challenges are driven by executive directives, while others are along the lines of continuous improvement.

Wrapping it all up

Whether you’re in bricks-and-mortar retail, e-commerce or the medical device packaging industry, a packaging engineer plays a major role in your operations. Packaging engineers address a wide variety of issues and opportunities that have a direct impact upon a business’s bottom line. We aren’t simply seeking a better design (although we absolutely love doing that), we’re searching for cost-saving opportunities and sustainability improvements across the entire supply chain.

I know it was easy for my friends to assume my career would be limited to boxes and tape, but each time they rely on the supply chain to deliver a product, I’ve proven just how valuable a packaging engineer can be.

Rob Kaszubowski is Sr. Packaging Consultant at Chainalytics’ Packaging Optimization where he is focused on reducing product damage and implementing packaging cost reduction initiatives. Rob also contributes to the Packaging Matters blog. Connect with Rob on LinkedIn and on Twitter @KazPack1


Constrained by your current production and supply chain options? Assess new connections in packaging and more during MinnPack in Minneapolis November 8-9. It’s part of a comprehensive all-in-one 6-event plastics and advanced manufacturing exhibition. For more information, visit MinnPack.


Sustainable packaging is more important than ever

Shutterstock images Sustainable-packaging-insights-stock-image

Sustainability in packaging has never been more important. So say 92% of respondents to the 2017 Sustainable Packaging Study. Now in its tenth year, this annual research provides insights into the trends, issues and concerns of the sustainable packaging community. 2017 is no different.

• Whose job is it to educate consumers on sustainable packaging? Brand owners—89% of them—think they are mostly responsible. How does social media play a role? Download our free 34-page report to find out.

• When it comes to packaging materials, brand owners are currently sourcing more fiber than plastic, but they are more interested in sourcing bio-based or post-consumer recycled plastics. Which markets might be ripe for a switch in packaging materials? We tell you in our data-filled report.

• Most companies (74%) put an emphasis on using recycled-content materials for their packaging. That helps fuel the market for recyclables, which, in turn, feeds the demand for recycled content in a positive economic circle. But companies not using recycled content have some pretty good reasons. We share some of their verbatim comments in our comprehensive report.

The report, which you can download for free below, analyzes the full results of the 2017 Sustainable Packaging Study, which is conducted by Packaging Digest in partnership with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.

Each year, we ask questions about general trends in packaging sustainability, which give us year-by-year historical statistics. But we also include questions on current hot topics. For 2017, we asked about Packaging Education, Packaging Sourcing and Recycled-Content Packaging (which corresponds to the three bullet points above).

On Thurs., Sept. 14, Packaging Digest and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) presented highlights of the survey results in a webinar, which you can now view on-demand. The report contains insights from Packaging Digest; watch the webinar to also hear insights from SPC’s associate director Adam Gendell.

Download our free 34-page report below.


Learn about the latest developments in sustainable packaging at MinnPack 2017 (Nov. 8-9; Minneapolis). Register today!

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Compostable ‘crafted’ cartons perform for artisan food brand

Compostable ‘crafted’ cartons perform for artisan food brand
Graphics on the compostable carton feature a bandana-wearing revolutionary chicken—the new mascot of No Evil Foods—along with sustainability facts about the positive environmental impact consumers can make by choosing Plant Meat.

New packaging for No Evil Foods entire line of plant-based meat alternatives is more durable and eye-catching than before—and 100% compostable now to better fit with the company’s environmental vision and make it easy for consumers to dispose of the packaging, even in a home compost.

Previously, the company wrapped its products with butcher paper, which were sealed with pressure-sensitive labels. Jamie Cook, public relations specialist for No Evil Foods, explains, “Our previous package was butcher paper wrapped around the product with a sticker on the front and back, the stickers were not biodegradable and made it difficult to compost the rest of the package.”

Now, there are no stickers or labels on the package that would prevent it from being composted.

The new biodegradable Kraftpak carton board, supplied by KapStone Corp., is unbleached kraft, printed with plant-based ink and sealed with water-soluble adhesives.

The carton’s unique fold-out design re-creates the feeling of unwrapping from the original butcher-paper wrapper. Cook says, “Each of the boxes opens in an origami style to simulate the same unwrapping that took place with our previous packaging.”

The Product Regulatory Compliance Information about this particular cartonboard goes on for six pages. The cartonboard meets the requirements of the European Standard for Packaging EN13432 for biodegradability, recyclability and compostability—giving consumers easy options for environmentally friendly disposal options.

“We are making sure to inform our consumers that the packaging is compostable,” Cook says. “One of the inside flaps carries the 100% Compostable distinction.”

The new packaging is just out in stores now, but it’s already getting recognition. The Comrade Cluck “No-Chicken” design won the NEXTY Award for Best New Packaging Innovation. This awards program for Natural Products Expo East recognizes innovative leaders in the natural products industry.

“Our new design illustrates our commitment to environmental responsibility in a really fun way. [The graphics are] bold and edgy and unlike anything we've seen in the alternative-meat space before, all while showing off our personality as a brand,” says No Evil Foods co-founder Sadrah Schadel.


Learn what it takes to innovate in the packaging space at MinnPack 2017 (Nov. 8-9; Minneapolis). Register today!

Can adaptive machinery help deliver per-patient packages to order?

Can adaptive machinery help deliver per-patient packages to order?
Image source: Shutterstock/Zapp2Photo

Mass customization has been in demand for consumer goods for a few years, and now thanks to personalized medicine as well as serialization, healthcare products, too, are being ‘customized.’ The new category of machinery, the adaptive machine, is emerging to meet such needs, according to a new white paper from B&R Industrial Automation North America.

The adaptive machine is a “game changer,” says John Kowal, director, business development for B&R Industrial Automation Corp. “Consumer demand and especially e-commerce are driving mass customization. Instead of producing to stock, building huge distribution centers, and carrying huge inventory costs, it makes sense to find an economical way to build the elusive batch size one. Build to order, let the customer have exactly what they want, and ship direct from the factory to the consumer.”

Specific trends in pharma and medical packaging are driving this need. “In pharma, the automated hospital and mail-order pharmacies can kit the medications for an individual patient, with less opportunity for human error, in a sterile environment, and with built-in QA and serialization,” says Kowal. And in “medical devices, from surgical kits to catheters and ostomies, to orthotics, to dental implants, to parenterals, the adaptive machine again produces, assembles, doses, and packages to order, per patient, per instance.”

It has been a somewhat slow progression. “In packaging, we talk about Gen3, which started with SIG's announcement for the 1999 interpack show that it was introducing 'third generation packaging machinery' designed from the ground up for servo motion control (aka, mechatronics),” he says. “But batch size one and mass customization have eluded the packaging industry. Rainbow packs, for example, are typically repacked manually at distribution centers.”  

But now, thanks to adaptive machinery, “they can be produced inline with the primary packaging process, and combinations selected by the customer,” says Kowal, offering the following examples in food packaging. “Instead of two each chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, you can select one chocolate, four vanilla, and one strawberry. You can select different portion sizes in the same order. You can order a birthday cake with a customized message in automatically applied icing, then packed in the appropriate sized cake box and shipper, all inline.”
Several advances are making such customization possible, and these are available to pharmaceutical and medical device companies. “Adaptive machine technology, with track technology at its core and enabled by multiple technologies—synchronized robotics, advanced software algorithms, high-speed I/O, predictive maintenance monitoring, networked safety and more—is ideally suited to pharma and medical processing, assembly, testing, and packaging,” Kowal says.

B&R will be showcasing such adaptive technology at Pack Expo Las Vegas. “We have one major pharma manufacturer that has asked us to hold an executive roundtable and invite all its major OEMs to attend during Pack Expo Las Vegas, where we are also demonstrating the technology,” he says.

For more details and to obtain a copy of the white paper, visit B&R at Booth #S-6163.

How to tackle challenges with patient adherence

How to tackle challenges with patient adherence
Image provided by ABI

Package designs that offer more-thorough self-administration instructions could help pharmaceutical companies address patient adherence issues. In a presentation at Healthcare Packaging EXPO (Sept. 25-27; Las Vegas Convention Center), Alan Davies, global design manager, Essentra (Booth #N-540), will discuss how engaging, clever packaging can allow for more effective communication to patients who are controlling their own dosages at home. The session, titled “Why Patient Adherence is the Next Big Challenge for Pharmaceutical Packaging Providers and How They Should Tackle It,” will take place on the Innovation Stage Tuesday, Sept. 26 at noon.

Davies answers a few questions below on better understanding the scope of the challenge and the ways that drug companies can tackle it.

Q: What are some of the most significant challenges to patient adherence beyond the simple mistakes that can happen during self-administration?

Davies: Beyond the mistakes that can occur during self-administration, another factor affecting patient adherence is the sheer number of patients a doctor has to debrief on a daily basis. Misunderstandings can occur at the point of consultation, when doctors advise patients on new medications and proper protocol to follow. Doctors have to keep in mind that patients are often concerned about their health situations in these settings and may not fully absorb instructions. The introduction of patient-centric teams that are dedicated to helping patients and communicating prescription information is helping to address this issue. However, the advent of biosimilars brings additional complications to the drug regimen itself—particularly in clinical trials.     

Q: Which types of drugs have the lowest levels of patient adherence? 

Davies: Drugs using new biologics can pose significant challenges to patient adherence because they require different treatment patterns. Patients injecting themselves with these types of drugs may need to hold them in for a couple of seconds longer than they expect in order to administer the correct dosage. Additionally, drugs that rely on the cold chain can pose additional complexity. For these drugs, exposure beyond their optimum temperature corridors can affect their validity. Inhaler medications can be complicated to administer and require clear instructions. Regardless of how patient adherence issues happen, they can become very expensive in the context of clinical trials or at-home treatments. When a patient in a clinical trial setting does not follow instructions correctly, an entire trial can encounter complications.

Q: What are some important considerations pharmaceutical manufacturers must make when designing a package with this in mind? 

Davies: Both branded Rx companies and generics manufacturers alike should involve package designers as well as packaging and labeling suppliers early on in the production process to develop solutions that encourage patient adherence. User-friendly design, temperature-abuse flags, tamper-evident features, and greater product protection during shipment are essential early considerations. This is especially important for medical device manufacturers, over the counter (OTC) drug manufacturers, and clinical trial markets as these sectors seek differentiation from competition. Particularly for these companies, standardizing packaging and labeling would impede efforts to meet the specific application needs required by certain products.

Q. Can you discuss some important packaging innovations that have already improved the situation?

Davies: Actively engaging the consumer with the package can help improve patient compliance. Patients are able to study and learn about a prescription in different ways, including auditory and visual methods that transfer information from the caregiver to the patient. We see some momentum behind package designs that incorporate these features, whether through digital components or thorough illustrations.

Q: What are your predictions for the evolution of packaging (and the customer/supplier dynamic) as more drug companies take aim at overcoming this challenge?

Davies: We are likely to see more drug manufacturers consider the benefits added by features that foster greater patient adherence in their packaging—especially for applications in the medical device and biologics sectors. These companies generate most of their revenue in the first few months after their products are launched, so initial impressions and differentiation matter. Developing smarter packaging to ensure accurate dosing is a crucial part of the patient experience. The companies that master the art of instruction will empower both patients and doctors as they look to treat often life-altering conditions with the utmost confidence.

To learn more about Essentra’s Innovation Stage presentation, view the full schedule of sessions and register for Healthcare Packaging Expo at The show is produced by PMMI (, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, and co-located with Pack Expo Las Vegas.

Essentra plc is a leading global provider of essential components and solutions. For further information, please visit

7 identification technologies on display

7 identification technologies on display
OPTEL's BottleTracker and NJM Packaging’s TROTTER W. Image courtesy NJM

Coding and labeling expectations for medical devices and pharmaceuticals continue to evolve thanks to Unique Device Identification, the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, and user needs. Several exhibitors at Pack Expo Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging Expo will be highlighting their latest identification solutions September 25-27. Click through our list for a preview.

Serialization and Aggregation from OPTEL and NJM

OPTEL GROUP will be exhibiting an entire serialized line at Booth N-309 featuring OPTEL's BottleTracker integrated with NJM Packaging’s TROTTER W pressure-sensitive labeler (see photo above). The BottleTracker, which prints and inspects a temporary unique identifier on the bottom of a bottle in black or UV ink, will track bottles as they are placed into secondary packages such as bundles or cases. NJM’s TROTTER W wraparound labeler can be equipped with a thermal transfer and/or laser printer to print serialized 2-D bar codes and alphanumeric codes, lot numbers, expiration dates, and more onto preprinted pressure-sensitive labels. Together these two units can achieve complete in-line serialization as well as aggregation on secondary packaging. The demo will showcase various inspections, including the presence and placement of labels, topserts, and sideserts.  

NEXT: OK Sealer's solution for Unique Device Identification 

Sealer Assists with Unique Device Identification 

OK Sealer's Supersealer Medical Band Sealer (MBS) has been enhanced to help medical device packagers with UDI requirements. The company partnered with Code Tech and Keyence to integrate a UDI Thermal Ink Jet coder with the sealer along with a Keyence Reader. All components are run through one HMI, and sealing and coding are done in one step. The Supersealer MBS continuously seals a wide range of medical packaging materials including Plastic, Tyvek, Mylar, PET, Coated Tyvek, paper and plastic, laminated foil, and metalized foil bags. Visit Pack Expo Las Vegas Booth C-2631 for more details.

NEXT: Serialization and Aggregation from MGS Machine

Serialization and Aggregation from MGS Machine

MGS Machine will highlight its new line-level serialization solutions at Pack Expo Las Vegas Booth C-3925. Working with INEL, MGS offers customized turnkey solutions for serialization and aggregation. The system integrates a unit-level packaging machine with software that assigns unique numbers to these units of sale and manages this data on a line level; a printer codes the units while a vision system verifies that the codes are compliant. These serialized units can be aggregated during case packing and palletizing to create child-parent-grandparent relationships. The software tracks all relevant data, managing all the numbers including those associated with products that are rejected, reworked, and reintroduced. These line level systems are designed to easily interface with customers’ site servers and enterprise systems.
Fully automated aggregation systems use an MGS case packer and robotic palletizer while semi-automated solutions use aggregation stations. Both automated and semi-automated systems integrate the line-level software with print-and-apply labelers to generate and affix unique labels to cases and pallets and vision systems to verify the validity of the labels. MGS offers full IQ/OQ validation support.

NEXT: Cloud serialization solution from Adents and Microsoft 

Cloud serialization solution from Adents and Microsoft 

Adents, in collaboration with Microsoft, will highlight the Cloud serialization and traceability solution Adents Prodigi at Healthcare Packaging Expo Booth N-219. The Level 4 traceability solution can centrally manage regulatory requirements mandated in the pharmaceutical industry, Adents reports. In addition, it offers data analysis (including Microsoft Power BI), machine learning tools and additionnal capabilities through third-party solutions such as OEE Tracker and Supplier Portal, each developed by consulting firm Supply Chain Wizard. Adents will also demonstrate Adents Seriza, a fully configurable, standardized serialization software solution that offers levels of flexibility and scalability for Level 2-3 serialization.

NEXT: Hapa's Industry 4.0–ready UV Digital System 

Industry 4.0–ready UV Digital System

Scheduled for demonstration at Pack Expo Las Vegas Booth C-3800Hapa's Web 4.0 is an in-house modular platform for web printing. The UV digital, roll-to-roll system will produce two-color printing on blister foil. The Web 4.0 systems are designed for easy setup, operation, and maintenance, the company reports, and they can be integrated easily onto existing or new packaging lines. 

NEXT: Axicon Auto ID's 2-D bar code verifier

2-D bar code verifier

At Healthcare Packaging Expo Booth N-441, the Axicon 15500 portable 2-D and linear bar code verifier offers a FOV of 95 mm x 70 mm, allowing users to check a wider range of bar code sizes than with any other 1D/2D verifier currently available, the company reports. The Axicon 15500 will check Data Matrix, GS1 DataMatrix, QR Code, and GS1 QR Code, as well as any EAN, UPC, GS1 DataBar, ITF-14 or GS1-128 symbol up to 95 mm wide. The verifier automatically applies the correct parameters for assessing each bar code based on the requirements of the appropriate ISO/IEC or application standard, the company reports. The electronic record (scan file) for each test includes all the codes in the field of view.  The software is switchable between eight different languages (Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, French, Korean, Slovenian, and Spanish), and also includes several options for checking the data content of symbols.

NEXT: Mettler Toledo PCE Manual Serialization Station

Manual Serialization Station

The Mettler Toledo PCE (PharmaControl Electronic) Manual Serialization Station (MSS) offers all the required components for printing and verifying codes on cartons. The desktop MSS consists of a marking unit, a code verification tool, proper product handling for high print accuracy, a software package, and an HMI. An ink-jet printer  is adjustable along the X and Y axes, and the Vision Configuration Unit (VCU) within the HMI is ten inches wide and can be rotated 90 degrees for viewing flexibility. The moving plate with connected encoder facilitates a flexible coding process. Printed codes are easily verified using a Bluetooth hand scanner with a 3-meter USB cable, the company reports. Visit Healthcare Packaging Expo N-306 for a demonstration.

For more information about the show, taking place September 25-27, visit

New material promises faster flow wrapping, easy opening

New material promises faster flow wrapping, easy opening
Two packages made from Autobahn. Image courtesy Rollprint Packaging Products Inc.

If you can seal your packages faster, chances are you can increase your throughput, a goal of many pharmaceutical and medical product manufacturers today.

For flow-wrapping lines, however, the quick-sealing materials have traditionally used sealants with high-elongation properties that interfere with the desired tear open properties, explains Dwane Hahn, vice president of sales and marketing for Rollprint Packaging Products Inc. "This characteristic often manifests itself with the sealant stretching, not tearing in unison with the polyester and aluminum foil layers," he says. This is a concern, he adds, because many flow-wrapped products are meant for patients who have dexterity limitations.

For the last few years, Rollprint has been working on a flow-wrapping alternative that could offer both quick sealing and easy opening. At Pack Expo Las Vegas, Rollprint will be unveiling that alternative: Autobahn, a composite that offers “robust sealability,” yet requires minimum effort to tear open, the company reports. The material features a “new coextrusion-coated sealant layer,” Hahn tells PMP News. “We’ve matched foil and polyester with the sealant for an easy-open, quick-seal product. We’ve worked hard to understand how to put the layers together so we can deliver both.” Hermeticity isn’t sacrificed either, he adds.

“We’ve actually had this in the works for about two years,” Hahn continues. “We’ve learned a lot about running materials fast. We’ve also developed a meaningful understanding of how layers in a composite can work together—or against each other, if you do it wrong.”

Autobahn was developed for a range of flow-wrapping applications such as blow-fill-seal vials, diagnostics devices, IV over wrap, and surgical devices. “For blow-fill-seal vial lines, it is all about how fast you can seal the foil,” Hahn explains. “If you can move from 300 cycles (packages) a minute to 400, that is a high throughput achievement and you can justify new highly automated lines.” Rollprint’s objective for this product in 2018 is “to partner with clients that thrive on technology and are willing to push the perceived boundaries of speed limitations with the goal of hitting the marker of 400 packages per minute,” the company shared in a news release.

Rollprint also shared the following feedback from a product line manager at a major pharmaceutical company packaging blow-fill-seal liquid vials: “You turn the flow wrapper on and this Autobahn material just works. We chose Rollprint because we have multiple product changes per day; starts and stops are part of our business model. A must-have for us in the selection process was a material that allows incredible forgiveness without sacrificing the flow wrappers’ maximum speed capability.”

Hahn adds that Autobahn tears open easily without the use of traditional laser or mechanical scoring, which can reduce operating costs.

Autobahn is available in aluminum foil and ClearFoil barrier options. “For UV sensitivity, foil is typically a better choice,” Hahn says. But “ClearFoil can be customized with a UV additive.”

For more details, visit Rollprint at Pack Expo Las Vegas Booth S-6129.

9 sensory packaging wins and fails

9 sensory packaging wins and fails

Sensorial packaging cues are based in sound, sight and tactile perceptions, but it is important to remember that the impact of these perceptions is emotional and tied to semiotics. In other words, the sensation itself doesn’t have meaning or exist in a vacuum. It is rarely strictly the enjoyment of (or disdain for) what we feel or hear, but rather the meaning that we ascribe to that sensational element that drives our reaction.

Here are nine examples of products that win or lose with consumers based on the sensorial experience they have with the product packaging.

1. Win: Dove Men Care

Through a combination of color and finish, as well as angular edges, Dove bridges the gap between masculinity and skincare.

The layers of sensory cues here intrigue the consumer—especially as a brand extension from a company with a generally female audience. The matte finish and soft edges give the product a luxurious and more mature feel—in contrast to packaging for products like Axe, which target a younger demographic.

The soft finish takes the industrial/ automotive feel away from what we tend to see in men’s products, giving it a more sophisticated feel.

NEXT—Fail: Screw-Cap Wine

2. Fail: Screw-Cap Wine

While it scores high marks for performance and functionality for consumers, the screw-cap alternative to a traditional cork doesn’t have the same auditory experience of opening a corked bottle of wine. Typically, the sound of a cork popping says the moment is special, and with no discernable auditory cue, the value of the opening experience may be lackluster.

NEXT—Win: Nest Thermostat

3. Win: Nest Thermostat

The Nest thermostat touts an “Apple-esque” unboxing experience, with a soft and sleek box full of perfectly paired layers. The sound and feel of the packaging says “home” in a way that others in the category don’t.

The charm and warmth is similar to high-end products, rather than a basic thermostat you would buy off of a hanger in rigid plastic. The way it’s intimately nestled and protected is a strong reflection of the brand identity.

NEXT—Fail: Frozen Meals Category

4. Fail: Frozen Meals Category

While the frozen meal category has taken strides to become more sensorial, it has essentially been a sensorial vacuum for years. The product lives in circumstances that make it difficult to host any sensory cue.

Because of the performance needed by the packaging, it’s often brick-like, clunky, loud and glossy—which portrays a cheap and unhealthy product. Some strides can be seen in regards to windows, design and even scented adhesives (as mentioned previously); that said, though—the category faces quite a few challenges to align performance and perception to increase its shelf value.

NEXT—Win: Bib & Tucker

5. Win: Bib & Tucker

This bottle of Bib & Tucker bourbon whiskey boasts layers and layers of sensory cues—with raised pattern glass, a matte label and corded exposed cork—creating a package that feels old, cared for and thoughtfully hand-crafted.

From its raised glass and intricate detail set at an angle to purposefully rest in your hand, to the raised cork and intentional labor to open—the bottle feels rugged yet refined, a clear association to the product and brand.

NEXT—Fail: Salty Snack Bags

6. Fail: Salty Snack Bags

There’s nothing that today’s consumer associates more with greasy fingers and “foods to avoid” than the high-pitched crinkle of a thin-gauged plastic wrapper. Notably, more premium snacks tend to up-gauge and soft-touch coat their films, which provide a better feeling to the touch, and offer a more muted sound.

While this space is becoming more and more evolved, consumers are starting to differentiate snack quality by way of packaging quality, and the feel and sound of packaging are key cues.

NEXT—Win: Belvedere Night Saber

7. Win: Belvedere Night Saber

The light-up and frosted bottle for Belvedere Night Saber embodies the “special occasion” sensation, bringing an element of festivity to the package, while also eliciting the refreshing and luxurious appeal of a cold and premium beverage. The effect is interesting visually, but also stimulates an emotion—it’s a celebratory product that truly resonates in the moment.

NEXT— Fail: Extremely Light-Weighted Water Bottles

8. Fail: Extremely Light-Weighted Water Bottles

This is a go-to for many experts when considering packaging disappointments—especially in sensory packaging. Lightweight polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is an uncomfortable, cheap and often cringe-worthy sound. Considering the more a consumer uses the product, the more notable the sound becomes, it’s one of the most recognizable and deterring sounds in packaging.

While undoubtedly an efficient design from a sustainability perspective, lightweighting and the associated sound is a detraction in terms of consumer experience.

NEXT—Win: Scented Adhesives

9. Win: Scented Adhesives

Companies like ScentSational Technologies are integrating scent and fragrance into packaging through scented adhesives to elicit an impactful sensory reaction to products where sense of smell may be lost, but would be highly appealing.

For example, frozen food products lose their fragrance by the nature in which they are packaged and stored. However, the aroma of ice cream or pizza would still be appealing if subtly emitted via a scented adhesive. Providing this sensory cue enhances the experience of indulgence for these types of products.

Jill Ahern is the senior director, consulting services, packaging, at HAVI and brings nearly 20 years of experience directing complex business initiatives including product launches, business development teams, corporate events and joint ventures. Since joining HAVI in 2010, Ahern has provided leadership to practice management and key client programs, particularly in the consulting areas of market & consumer insight, innovation and packaging strategy. In her current role, she leads development of packaging consumer and customer insights platforms; develops and guides packaging research methodologies; supports thought leadership on consumer trends and drivers; and provides client program leadership.


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