19 June 2015 //
by Toni Nigrelli-LaFleur
This case study features a leading processor, marketer and distributor of rice and discusses how keeping their secondary packaging costs low enabled them to make a successful transition from a carton to a premium stand-up bag.
Compared to commodity rice products, which are typically packaged in low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film “pillow” bags, the rice that was part of this project is premium rice. Originally packaged in a printed, stand-up, folded carton, this processor was looking to transition into flexible packaging and accomplish four things:
- Reflect the product’s premium quality
- Visually grab consumers’ attention
- Stand vertically on a shelf
- Maintain the easy-open and reclosable features of a carton
Looking to have the best of both worlds, a stand-up, easy-open, pourable, and easy-close pouch with the cost effectiveness of a vertical form fill-and-seal bag, the processor identified a manufacturer, which designed and built a premium Vertical Form Fill-and-Seal (VFFS) block-bottom LDPE stand-up bagging system. The system, much like a traditional VFFS bag system used for “pillow” bags, can run at high speeds, encompasses a small footprint, and uses LDPE film. Uniquely, the shape and design of the bag produced featured a built-in pour spout with a fold-down flap and resealable tag.
While the processor had found the ideal bagging solution, the primary packaging system did not come without challenges when integrating it into the rest of the line.
The first challenge was its premium cost, especially when compared to a traditional VFFS system. For the entire production line to be cost effective and achieve maximum return on investment, the processor needed an economical secondary packaging solution to balance the cost.
The second challenge was the potential of film adhering to and/or distorting the LDPE primary package, and therefore causing the film to laminate to the rice package when it entered a traditional shrink tunnel. This lamination of the package to the film occurs because of the high level of heat used to “shrink” down the film around a package to create a tight, sturdy bundle.
The third challenge was the orientation of the bags exiting the VFFS system, the limited amount of space between the primary and secondary packaging systems and the speed of the line. Once sealed, the VFFS system ejected the bags close to ground level and in the horizontal position. However, prior to collation the bags needed to pass through a metal detector and be oriented in an upright position.
When approached with the processor’s challenges, EDL recommended a Double Tight Wrap system because it met all of their needs:
- A sturdy, compact bundle of block-bottom bags. The Double Tight Wrap system wraps packages along its two axes (it wraps the packages around once, then turns the package 90 degrees and wraps it again). This unique method uses two independent webs of film and tension-controlling tight wrap technology on both sealing systems is highly effective when looking to support product. In addition the two bands of film provide additional protection of the package along its most critical wear areas – along all edges and corners.
- Cost-effective, total enclosure bundle. The Double Tight Wrap method of total enclosure uses less net film than traditional total enclosure, which requires a wider, heavier gauge film, because it is only overlaps on areas prone to wear. The reduced film consumption contributes to both reduced material costs and lower time loss from film change-over.
- Minimal heat so the primary package is not compromised. Mechanical tension is applied to the film to create a tighter bundle. The two bands of film are then fused together in a low-energy heat tunnel, creating a total enclosure.
- Inspection and proper bag orientation. To accommodate the high run speed, bag orientation, and inspection that needed to take place between the primary and secondary packaging systems, EDL designed an elevating conveyor with a steep incline. After bags are sealed and ejected from the VFFS system, they were conveyed through an integrated metal detector to the secondary packaging systems where they are oriented into a standing position for collation.
- Appearance, features, and primary positioning of a pre-made pouch with savings associated with LDPE pillow bags and bundling. The savings in this case allowed the company to pay for their new premium primary package.
MORE ABOUT THE DOUBLE TIGHT WRAP SYSTEM
Double Tight Wrap systems can be arranged in multiple configurations, and accommodate multiple film widths, up to 38 inches. Systems are available for a wide variety of bags and pouches of any construction and most styles. These systems typically include tailored infeed and collation systems optimized for the particular application.
By looking at the packaging line as a whole, identifying both systems upfront, the associated costs, and how the primary packaging would affect its secondary packaging equipment options, the processor was able to offset the cost of the premium bagging system with the savings it achieved with an EDL Double Tight Wrap System. EDL also worked closely with the VFFS manufacturer to supply and integrate all equipment needed on the new line, further reducing costs and time to production by eliminating the need for a third-party integrator.
Contact EDL today, and let us help you differentiate your product while reducing your secondary packaging costs and environmental footprint.