Packaging World September 2022

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SEP2022 58 Beam ChangepartsStreamlinesSuntory 100 Nivea ReplacesRecycles,Reuses,Reducesand REPORTSPECIAL168 Cobots and EOATs and AI, Oh My! 192 RevolutionTubeToothpasteRecyclableP.70P.220P.12 Tipping Point for Multipacks?Paperboard 138 PACK ShowMostPreviewingInternational:EXPOthePowerfultoDate Visit us at PACK InternationalEXPO Booth #S2130

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Automating Cannabis Pre-Rolls Supercharges Production

Plant-based shrimp producer Good2Go Veggie switches to adhesive squares applied with a handheld device to address issues of cartons coming unsealed during cold storage and transport.


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58 New Approach to Changeparts, Changeover, has Beam Suntory in High Spirits

Automated Cartoner Allows Craft Company to Thrive

An enterprise-wide refocusing on sustainability pushed Bumble Bee Seafood to reinvent multipacking in a more readily recyclable paperboard format. The total secondary packaging substrate change was a Herculean engineering effort, centered around a “Rolls Royce” of a cartoner that could handle the speed and volume.

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Where legal, the cannabis market is entering the steepest phase of its growth curve, and producers are forced to become more sophisticated just to keep up. Nature’s Grace and Wellness took the pre-roll automation route to vault from 5,000 to 100,000 pre-rolls per week with the addition of a single monobloc machine, and signi cantly reduced labor in doing so.

Nivea Pursues Circular Packaging from Every Angle




Branded and private-label snack producer Snak King installs 16 robotic palletizers and three intelligent automated vehicles to address labor shortages and resulting labor costs, as well as streamline its operations.



Zenni’s New Robot Trims Five Human Tasks to Two Packaging operations at popular D2C brand and platform Zenni Optical are getting a boost from a six-axis robotic arm designed to pack eyeglass cases into poly bag mailers in the place of repetitive labor, cutting human operator tasks by more than half.


Several iconic brands known for multipacks, including Coca-Cola, Corona, and Bumble Bee Seafood, are pivoting from 6-packs or shrink bundles using plastic packaging, to printed paperboard multipacks. Each new packaging system has its own unique suite of attendant factors, like application machinery, supply chain characteristics, shelf presence, functional performance, and recyclability pro le.

Beiersdorf uses the 4R approach—Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, and Replace—to develop a number of industry- rst packages for its agship personal care brand, Nivea, to support its sustainability goals and a circular economy.

‘Queen Bee’ Cartoner Ushers Brand Out of Plastic Shrink, Into Paperboard Multipacks

End-of-Line Automation Reduces Snack Maker’s Labor Pains

New Adhesive Solves Startup’s Carton-Sealing Problems

By centralizing changeparts storage and management, tasking individuals to be responsible for changeparts inventory and maintenance, and rethinking changeover practices to be leaner and more ef cient, operators at Beam Suntory are enjoying signi cantly reduced scrap and downtime.


Mother Earth Brewing Company is increasing throughput and improving quality with an automated cartoner, which is also helping them reach production goals amid labor shortages and pandemic woes.

Make customers happy with reliable silicone release liners and save up to 30 % on adhesives in packaging production. Find out more on our website or visit us at PACK EXPO International 2022 to see the new coating head Vivo 18. AS EASY AS THIS OCT 23–26, N-5217STAND2022



192 Recyclable Toothpaste Tube Prevents 3,000 Tons of Land ll Waste

Energy Drink Meets Skyrocketing Demand Through Digital Thread

Fascinating new developments in heavy-payload collaborative robots, end-of-arm tools, and Arti cial Intelligence among others allow robots to take on increasingly complex packaging tasks while offering simplicity of use.

PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, announces the Class of 2022 Inductees.

Innovation Stage Schedule


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These innovative packaging solutions bring uncanny and never-before-seen solutions to food and beverage, health and hygiene, agriculture, and other industries.

Fresh Food Accelerates its D2C Transformation:



Check out these 30-minute sessions to discover coming trends and technologies that need to be on your team’s radar.

After designing a new animal tranquilizer dart free from the problems with those already on the market, this deer farmer then revisited the secondary issue with existing darts: a poor user-experience with packaging.


In an era when subservient, racially charged mascots are being shown the door, Moor’s Brewing ushers in a royal depiction of the untold story of Africa’s massive contribution to current craft brew culture.


PACK InternationalEXPO Returns with More Features than Ever Before

Dow Award Finalists Reduce Waste, Increase Recyclability

Sustainability remains a primary packaging innovation driver, but function, user-friendliness, aesthetics, and convenience don’t take a back seat in this year’s crop of award winners.


Four Ways Forward for Sustainable Pet Food Packaging

Pet owners seek sustainable pet food packaging, but packagers nd meeting their wishes isn’t easy.

IoPP’s AmeriStar Awards Highlight 2022 Packaging Achievements


The PlantPAX control system from Rockwell Automation is enabling Amway to achieve greater operator ef ciency, real-time troubleshooting, simpli ed data analysis, and increased manufacturing exibility, among other improvements, through increased connectivity.

China multinational NICE Group collaborates with Dow and Amcor in APAC to develop a recyclable, all-plastic toothpaste tube for its extensive portfolio of toothpaste brands.

Black-Owned Brewing Co. Opens Up Underserved Market

A Tale of Two Bakeries


212 Thermoformer Lets Farmer Grab the Buck by the Horns


Packaging & Processing Hall of Fame Welcomes Four Members

Cobots and EOATs and AI, Oh My!

See an unmatched breadth of new technologies up close and in person.


Fresh food, including baked products, has lagged other CPG categories in e-comm adoption for obvious shelf life- and cold chain-related reasons. But increased consumer willingness to use the channel after the onset of the pandemic has bakeries doubling down on D2C programs, and packaging optimization naturally follows.

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That’s why we waited until May of 2022, after the machine had been up and running for a few months and was achieving its promised metrics, for me to regroup with Brett Butler, GM/VP of the Bumble Bee Sante Fe Springs facility; Joe Carney, Bumble Bee’s Engineering Manager on the project; and Patrick Costello, Director, Strategic Systems Engineering. Just as equipment acquisition takes months or years from your initial research until you’re finally packaging your widgets in a machine at speed, so did getting to print with the full story.

But here’s an angle that I didn’t expect. The whole Bumble Bee enterprise is getting employee engagement mileage out of the new flagship machinery. After installation, commissioning, and four weeks of training with R.A Jones, the supervisory and management groups at Bumble Bee wanted to show the company their engineering feat in the custom Meridian XR MPS-300.

At that time, the equipment still had a long way to physically go, from the PACK EXPO Las Vegas show floor, back to R.A Jones in Covington, Ky., for further factory acceptance testing (FAT), and finally to the Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Bumble Bee Seafood facility. And once it was finally on-site in January of 2022, it needed to be installed, tested (SAT), commissioned, and eased into its full production capacity. It took some time for operators to train and work their way up to the machine’s promised changeover times, 97% OEE and 99.75% salable product efficiency, as the equipment proved it could handle in the Covington FATs.

“We’re Bumble Bee, and this facility is our hive of tuna operations,” Diaz said at the machine dedication over cake. “This is our Queen Bee.” PW

I first got wind of this project nearly two years ago, when Jason Stover at R.A Jones floated a vague outline of a possible story, with more details to come. After the project progressed sufficiently, I finally got a look at the equipment in person at PACK EXPO Las Vegas in September of last year in the R.A Jones booth. That’s when Bumble Bee Foods Seafood Company held a ribbon cutting on what’s called its Meridian XR MPS-300 cartoning equipment, and I recorded a brief machine walk-through video with R.A Jones’ CTO Jeff Wintring (view it by scanning a QR code on page 82 with your phone). I also sat down to interview former Bumble Bee CEO Jan Tharp, former Bumble Bee SVP, Global Corporate Responsibility, Leslie Hushka, and Jonathon Titterton, CEO of Coesia Americas, the parent company of R.A Jones. If I had a quorum of stakeholder viewpoints about the machine a year ago, why wait until now to publish the story?

“We realized that we’ve got this nice, Rolls Royce type of unit here on this line, we should make a big deal out of it, and get our employees involved,” Butler says.

We wanted to wait until the operators knew enough about the machine to be able to tell us about it, relate some real experiences with it, and describe any hurdles they had to overcome in getting the most out of it. Spoiler alert: it grew on them quite a bit, to the point that they affectionately nicknamed it the “Queen Bee” (get it? Bumble Bee?).

So the management teams surveyed the whole company looking to come up with a name for the equipment. They ended up with quite a few options—including some really strange ones— but landed on Queen Bee as the favorite. The moniker was submitted by Miguel Diaz, the forklift driver on that packaging line. The company held a dedication ceremony with both shifts at hand, and a Queen Bee cake marked the occasion. The submitter of the winning name cut the cake and even made a speech.

9 ÀȌ˛ȁƮȌɐ ǿȌ Ƶة ƵƵ ɩɩɩخ ǿǞDzɯȌ ȌخƧȌǿ Ȍ ǏȌ ȌɩȌɐ mǞȁDzƵƮXȁ ƊǐƵ ɩɩɩخ ǞȁDzƵƮǞȁخƧȌǿشƧȌǿ Ɗȁɯش ǿǞDzɯȌ Ȍ COME AND SEE IT AT PACK EXPO 2022 •Robotic top load with a designcompact • RǞǐǘƵǏ˛ƧǞƵȁƧɯ with quick and ƵƊ ɯǿƊǞȁ ƵȁƊȁƧƵ and •Simplechangeoverintegrationforawiderangeofproducts:stand-uppouches,bags,bottles,jars,andmore! KTB-100CASEPACKERNEW

On page 70, I take a close look at the selection, installation, use, and impact of a new paperboard multipack cartoning system at iconic brand Bumble Bee Seafood. From a big picture perspective, the story is yet another data point on a trend line pointing toward more major brands—like fellow icons Coca-Cola and Corona joining it on the cover of this issue—making a sustainability-minded plastic-to-paperboard multipack switch. It’s also an interesting snapshot of how decisions made at the top ripple outward over an organization, and particularly how they reverberate across a company’s operations and engineering. But this story took a long time to tell. Patience can be a virtue in this packaging journalism game.

Covering a LongDeveloping Cover Story


The move to 100% rPET is just the latest sustainable packaging innova tion by the water brand, shares the company. Over the last decade, Dasani has unveiled a steady stream of what it describes as “footprint-reducing packaging breakthroughs,” including the PlantBottle; the HybridBottle, which fused rPET, PlantBottle plant-based plastic material, and virgin PET; aluminum cans and bottles; Dasani PureFill package-less wa ter dispensers; and its bottle caps made from recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, an industry rst, according to the Coca-Cola.Alsothis past summer, Aug. 1, 2022, to be exact, Sprite shifted all its PET packaging from the brand’s signature green color to clear plastic. Explains Coca-Cola, although green PET is recyclable, the recycled material is more often converted into single-use items like clothing and carpeting that cannot be recycled into new PET bottles. During the sorting process, green and other colored PET is separated from clear mate rial to avoid discoloring recycled food-grade packaging required to make new PET bottles.

“Taking colors out of bottles improves the quality of the recycled ma terial,” says Julian Ochoa, CEO, R3CYCLE, which is working with Coca-Cola Consolidated to enable bottle-to-bottle recycling across the largest U.S. bottler’s 14 state-territory. “This transition will help increase availability of food-grade rPET. When recycled, clear PET Sprite bottles can be remade into bottles, helping drive a circular economy for plastic.”

Adds Vallette, “Sprite’s move to clear will help us introduce more 100% rPET bottles like Dasani is launching and keep more bottles in the circular economy.”Inaddition to transitioning to clear bottles, Sprite is introducing a new visual identity system featuring a revamped logo and packaging design to provide a consistent look and voice around the world. Sprite’s packag ing graphics will retain the brand’s recognizable green hue and include prominent “Recycle Me” messaging.

this by working with communities to boost PET recycling and collection, collaborating with recycling partners, and, nally, securing rPET to help ensure the material for our bottles is used again and again.”

The Coca-Cola Company has made signi cant changes to two of its biggest North American brands in support of its World Without Waste sustainable packaging goals. The rst, Dasani water, involves the rollout of a new bottle made from 100% recycled PET, excluding the cap and label. Mean while, its carbonated lemon-lime soft drink Sprite has transitioned from green to clear plastic to increase the material’s likelihood of being remade into new beverage bottles.

“Demand for rPET currently exceeds supply, so the rst step to scaling up use of 100% rPET across our portfolio is building a sustainable pipe line of high-quality material,” says Chris Vallette, Senior Vice President of Technical Innovation and Stewardship, Coca-Cola North America. “We do

The introduction of the Dasani bottles commenced this past summer, when Coca-Cola began offering a majority of its Dasani bottles in the U.S.—including 20-oz and 1.5-L singles and 10- and 12-oz multipacks—in 100% recycled plastic. In Canada, this innovation spanned all Dasani bottles. Says the company, the shift supports both Dasani’s pledge to remove the equivalent of 2 billion virgin plastic bottles from production by 2027 compared to 2021 levels and Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste goal to use at least 50% recycled material in its bottles and cans by 2030.

Sprite is just the rst of Coca-Cola’s green-bottle beverage brands to make the switch. In October, Fresca, Seagram’s, and Mello Yello will also convert from green to clear plastic. —Anne Marie Mohan

Dasani Transitions to 100% rPET, Sprite Switches from Green to Clear Plastic

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The Dasani announcement follows the successful launch of 100% re cycled plastic bottles in New York, California, and Texas, which also in cluded Coca-Cola Trademark 20-oz bottles. According to the company, the launch helped it to identify the best-quality sources of rPET and ne-tune the production processes needed to make 100% recycled plastic bottles.

The initial launch helped drive consumer awareness through the onpack “100% Recycled Bottle” and “Recycle Me Again” calls-to-action, which were also used on retail signage and other communications. Dasani bot tles will continue to feature this messaging. “We saw how much the 100% recycled PET message truly resonates with our customers and consumers, particularly Dasani fans whose sustainability expectations are especially high,” notes Vallette.

The brand’s transition to 100% recycled plastic is projected to save more than 20 million pounds of new plastic, the equivalent of 552 mil lion bottles, compared to 2019, and cut more than 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2023. Explains Coca-Cola, because it takes less energy and resources to create a bottle from recycled plastic, for every pound of recycled rPET material used (in lieu of new PET), GHGs will be reduced by 65%. The end result will be the equivalent of taking 6,629 cars off the road for one year, it adds.

Yaskawa America, Inc. Motoman Robotics Division |

Coca-Cola Bottler Unveils ‘U.S. First’ Paperboard Multipack to Replace Plastic Rings

“Liberty is thrilled to be the rst bottler in the United States to implement this innovative packaging system,” Paul Mulligan, co-owner of Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages, says. “We know that the most valuable change to reduce plastic waste occurs when bottlers and packaging producers work together in partnership. We look forward to partnering with Graphic Packaging on sharing this sustainable packaging in our local communities for years to come.”

“Addressing plastic waste requires collective and collaborative thinking and action,” says Kurt Ritter, General Manager and Vice President of Sustainability, Coca-Cola North America. “Liberty’s on-going commitment to sustainability is evident with the implementation of KeelClip, which is another demonstration of our system’s dedication to delivering our World Without Waste goals.”

Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages in August unveiled a paperboard packaging system that replaces the plastic ring can handles on can multipacks, the rst of its kind in the United States according to the company. Liberty, the local Coca-Cola bottler, has partnered with ber-based consumer packaging leader, Graphic Packing International to manufacture the new packaging format, called the KeelClip, and use multiupack carton application equipment. It will soon be delivering this pack format for its 7.5-oz minicans to stores across the Philadelphia market.

The KeelClip packaging implementation is the latest effort Liberty is taking to advance its sustainability efforts. In the summer of 2021, Liberty became the rst local Coca-Cola bottler to produce and distribute bottles made from 100% recycled material in the U.S. —Matt Reynolds

KeelClip equipment is a sustainable packaging system for cans that has already been successfully implemented and distributed through other local Coca-Cola bottlers in Europe. It is estimated that the transition will remove 75,000 lb of plastic packaging per year from the supply chain for approximately 3.1 million cases across Liberty’s service area, which includes Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York City, and parts of Connecticut and Delaware.

Liberty is utilizing the technology to improve sustainability across its entire distribution footprint. The installation of the Keel Clip 1600 machinery means the sustainable ber-based packaging is manufactured at one of Liberty’s production facilities located in New York and is being distributed across its entire footprint.

& beverage packaging at Graphic Packaging. “This technology has seen incredible success wherever it has been used, winning 10 industry awards and becoming the gold standard for can multipacks in over 20 countries. Most importantly, it’s proven to help our commercial partners reduce their reliance on plastics for a more sustainable future.”

Adds Bret Arnone, vice president, commercial operations

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Aquapak’s Hydropol polyvinyl alcohol technology resin ticked all those boxes. PVOH, also known by the acronym PVA, is a naturally water-soluble thermoplastic that is fully biocompatible and non-toxic. One drawback for packaging applications, however, is its thermal instability—an issue that Aquapak says it’s overcome with Hydropol.

On its website, the company advises its customers, “If you’re wonder ing how to safely dispose of your Leave No Trace bag, all you’ll need is a kettle and your sink. The material breaks down quickly and harmlessly in water temperatures above 70ºC. Should your bag end up in land ll, it will biodegrade naturally and Leave No Trace.”

“The key to the exploitation of this known and highly functional polymer is in the processing and the additive chemistry, which enables thermally processible Hydropol to be produced, unlike historical PVOH systems that were very limited in their application potential because of their thermal instability,” shares Dr. John Williams, Chief Technology Of cer for Aquapak. “This stable processability has opened up the functionality—strength, bar rier, end of life—to the mainstream packaging industry, thereby allowing the development of packaging constructions that are both functional and recyclable/biodegradable. The careful choice of proprietary additive tech

According to Dr. Williams, Finisterre’s requirements for the new mate rial were that it be marine safe, clear, printable, and strong, as well as able to be processed on existing converting equipment. The development process for the Hydropol-based garment bag spanned nearly a year and involved tailoring the solubility of the resin to meet the application.

“In less sophisticated waste-handling facilities, the use of hot water wash enables Hydropol to be taken into solution. Once in solution, the polymer can either be recovered, or the solution is allowed to go to normal wastewater treatment or anaerobic digestion.”

According to Aquapak, Hydropol is completely dissolvable in warm and hot water, without leaving residue; is UV-resistant; provides a barrier against oil, fat, grease, gas, and petrochemicals; is breathable to mois ture; provides an oxygen barrier; is strong and puncture-resistant; and is marine safe, completely biodegrading in marine environments, where it is safe to both marine plant and wildlife. In addition, the standardized pellet form of Hydropol’s resin means it can be directly integrated into existing manufacturing processes.

Outdoor Clothier is First with Water-Soluble Garment Bag

Despite the fact that the use of Hydropol has signi cantly impacted the cost of Finisterre’s packaging—in the case of the garment bag, up to four to ve times more than the cost of PE— O’Laoighre said the increase is one the company is willing to bear. “As a company committed to doing business better, it is a very important project, and one we believe in,” she says. “We were incredibly proud to be the rst clothing company in the world to use this packaging technology, and we’re offering it open source to other brands that want to use it, because together we can make a big ger difference.”

Finisterre is located on the cliffs of St Agnes in Cornwall, England, over looking the Atlantic. Its products, including technical outerwear and builtfor-purpose products that are made to last, such as knitwear, insulation, waterproof clothing, and base layers, is “built for adventure and inspires a love of the sea.” That’s according to Niamh O’Laoighre, Head of Product Development & Technical for Finisterre, who adds that it’s in the compa ny’s DNA to strive for innovation. “And that doesn’t end in our clothing,” she shares. “It extends to all areas of the business, including packaging.”

“Lining our mailbags with this new material reduces bag weight by 50% while increasing paper strength by 44%, all with fewer materials,” it adds. “That means less resources used both in production and transportation.”

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A new garment bag from U.K. outdoor clothing brand Finisterre is said to literally “Leave No Trace.” The company, which was the rst in its market to be named a B Corp business—a certi cation that measures a com pany’s entire social and environmental impact—has been, since its begin ning in 2003, committed to the belief that it can make a truly exceptional product in a more responsible and sustainable way.

In 2018, when Finisterre gained B Corp certi cation, it made a com mitment to eradicate single-use, non-biodegradable plastics from its sup ply chain. “Plastic is everywhere,” says O’Laoighre. “It’s an incredibly use ful material in its lifecycle, but its end of life is a bit of a problem. There are an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic going to our oceans every year. And it’s thought that there’s now more microplastic in the seas

“Using 70% less paper than our old mailbags, this new packaging combines lightweight paper laminated with our water-soluble Leave No Trace material, to create a sturdy mailbag that can be safely added to your household paper recycling and dissolves in the pulping process of paper recycling,” says the company.

nology retains the property of biodegradability in water.”

When the company learned of biodegradable and compostable plas tics supplier Aquapak, O’Laoighre says it had been looking for a solution that could replace its polyethylene garment bags for some time. “But we couldn’t nd quite the right one to tick all our boxes,” she explains. “We needed something with multiple end-of-life solutions that were accessible to everyone—consumer, retailer, manufacturer—and crucially, some thing that, should it leach into the natural environment, would break down completely and leave no microplastics.”

The bags can also be recycled, the company adds. “The material can be readily identi ed by sorting methods such as infrared and laser sorting and can therefore be separated and reprocessed,” it explains.

—Anne Marie Mohan

The resulting bag, branded by Finisterre as its Leave No Trace bag, is made from Aquapak’s Hydropol 30164P monolayer blown lm. Copy on the clear bag explains that it is “water soluble, ocean safe, and biodegrad able, breaking down harmlessly into non-toxic biomass in soil and sea.”

Following on the heels of its Leave No Trace garment bags, Finisterre introduced a new and notably lighter mailer to re place the heavyweight kraft bag it had been using to mail its products. The bag was developed by Finisterre in partnership with Aquapak and converter EP Group. Now known as the Flexi-Kraft mailer bag, the package features a layer of Hydropol 33104P coextruded blown lm laminated to kraft paper using a solvent-free adhesive. The Hydropol layer is said to give the bags strength and exibility as well as tear resistance. The PVOH layer also enables the bags to be much lighter than pure paper mailers and to be heat sealed for a stronger seal.

Working with Mondi, Diamant switched from the plastic bubble wrap it was using to wrap the handlebars of its Trek and Diamant brand bicycles during transportation to Mondi’s recyclable Protector Bags. The exible bags are made of multiple layers of renewable kraft paper and have been designed to wrap bulky, sensitive, or irregularly shaped items. With this change from plastic to paper, Diamant has reduced its use of plastic by 16 metric tons per year—around 85% of its previous consumption—and has seen a notable savings in its logistics and transportation costs as well.

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In terms of storage and logistics, because the packaging is delivered at, more bags can be carried on a pallet, providing more cost-ef cient stacking compared to plastic bubble-wrap reels, which transport excess air. Transportation distances have also been reduced, as Mondi produces the paper bags at its Trebsen plant in Germany, which is only an hour from Diamant’s factory. Diamant’s previous bubble-wrap alternative was sourced abroad.

—Anne Marie Mohan

Among the advantages of the Protector Bags listed by Mondi

Says the company, “We believe the bicycle is a simple solution to many of the world’s most complex problems—from climate change to traf c congestion, equitable mobility, and more. That’s why we’re committed to supporting organizations and causes that use bikes as a force of good for our planet and every person on it.”

Among its sustainable strategies, Diamant is a founding partner of advocacy group PeopleForBikes, is a partner in World Bicycle Relief, and runs a bike-share system, among other activities. Recently, the company turned its attention to the sustainability of its bicycle packaging, signi cantly reducing its use of plastic in the process.

Diamant has been manufacturing elegant city bicycles in Germany since the late 19th century when a pair of craft-minded brothers, Friedrich and Wilhelm Nevoigt, who produced sinkers for knitting machines, turned their attention to two-wheeled transportation. After 100-plus years in business, the company, now owned by Trek Bicycle Corp., continues to develop new technologies that make city riding more accessible—and sustainable—for cyclists throughout Europe.

Says Geoffrey Ziegahn, Senior Engineer at Diamant, “Our development team worked very closely with Mondi to create these uniquely tailored bags, which will provide increased protection for the handlebars of all mountain and trekking bikes of our brands Trek and Diamant during transportation. This is a major step towards our sustainability goals: We aim to only use recyclable packaging by the end of this year and replace all plastic and bubble wrap with paper-based solutions. Mondi’s careful and thorough approach to the challenge has demonstrated how we can achieve this—we are saving transportation costs and storage space and are contributing to a better world by making this big change.”

Bike Brand is Riding High with an 85% Drop in Plastic Wrap

is that they’re easy to use: The packaging is premade and features a tailored adhesive closure strip developed speci cally for the bicycle industry. Mondi adds that multiple layers of kraft paper ensure the bags are strong, exible, and puncture-proof, and a softer, friction-resistant interior glaze helps protect the bikes during storage and transport. Due to the air permeability of paper, the bags are also breathable—a valuable feature for bicycle packaging, as handlebar grips made of rubber can emit moisture or gas. And, because they’re made from renewable materials, the bags are also 100% curbside recyclable.

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After consumers nish the products, they can return the empty containers to a Return Point at Giant. Loop then sanitizes the containers and sends them to brands to be re lled and restocked on store shelves. Loop partnered with cleaning and hygiene solutions leader Ecolab Inc. to ensure advanced cleaning and sanitization processes for the containers.

Watch Loop’s Tom Szaky and Seventh Generation Senior Packaging Engineer Kelly Murosky Discuss Returnable and Reusable Packaging.

“Giant is committed to taking sustainable actions that reduce plastic waste from our land lls and improve our environment,”

Giant Food and Loop to Bring Circular Reuse Platform to D.C. Metro Area

“As everyone knows, we are loud and proud about our forward-thinking ideas and commitment to plastic-free packaging across our products,” says Mark Armstrong, Packaging Specialist at Iceland. “We previously worked with Parkside in a successful bid to reduce food waste via a lidding lm solution in 2017. But we know we can do more. As consumer sentiment continues to grow for circular solutions, it is the perfect time to collaborate once again in a bid to reduce unnecessary plastic in our packaging.”

“It has been a huge privilege for us to work on this project with Mark and his team. Until recently, achieving a high level of grease and oil resistance and heat seal ability for frozen food has been extremely challenging,” adds Mark Shaw, Sales Account Manager at Parkside. “Typically, a plastic layer such as polyethylene would need to be extruded or laminated to the paper, which would then need to be removed when recycling post-consumer use. Our leading technology removes the need for the plastic and gives a truly recyclable paper solution with the added bene t of high-barrier functionality.”

Beginning this fall, customers in the D.C. metro area will be able to purchase a variety of products in durable, reusable containers found in Loop-branded displays in participating Giant stores, according to a Loop press release.

“With world-class retailers like Giant bringing Loop to their physical brick and mortar locations, we are giving consumers what they’ve been asking for since Loop was introduced in 2019–the ability to purchase the products they use every day in durable, reusable containers, with the convenience of shopping at their local market,” Szaky said.

Iceland’s Northcoast products were previously packed in an low-density polyethylene (LDPE) bag. They are now packed in a specially developed recyclable paper pouch with excellent grease and oil resistance.

Loop’s rst expansion in the U.S. came in February 2022, with an in-store launch at Kroger-owned Fred Meyer stores in the Portland metro area. The platform’s in-store retail model launched December, 2020 at Carrefour in Paris, France. It also launched in-store at AEON in Japan and in the U.K.-based Tesco in 2021, before making its U.S. debut.

The company has also partnered with McDonald’s in the U.K. and select Burger King restaurants in the U.S. to launch reusable food and beverage containers. —Casey Flanagan

Developed by recycling company TerraCycle, Loop’s goal is to scale the process globally, according to founder and CEO Tom Szaky.

‘World- rst’ Recyclable Paper Pack for Frozen Food

Giant Food shoppers in the D.C. metro area will soon have a fresh path to sustainability, as the grocery chain is circular reuse platform Loop’s newest retail partner.

Diane Couchman, Giant Food Vice President Category Management, Non-Perishables, said in the release. “We are excited to partner with Loop, a global leader in eliminating waste, to offer our customers a program that allows them to shop their favorite products and help our environment.”

Iceland says the packaging solution is a signi cant milestone, both for its own pursuit of plastic-free packaging, and for the frozen food sector in general since it represents one of the rst successful applications of exible paper packaging for frozen food.

The heat-sealable paper solution was designed to withstand the rigors of frost and moisture in a freezer environment for prolonged periods of time. This was achieved by creating high-performing heat seal-ability, and by using a range of water-based coatings with high barrier performance, which are designed to break down when re-pulped in the paper recyclingArmstrongprocess.continued: “Bag sealing was a challenge, as was ensuring the material had the necessary barrier properties. We also wanted the print to match the existing LDPE bag and therefore a lot of time was spent in artwork and repro to give us the best possible result.”

Seafood producer Iceland collaborated with sustainable, exible packaging specialist Parkside to deliver one of the world’s rst paper recyclable packaging solutions for frozen food. The pack format has been designed for the supermarket’s Northcoast range of frozen seafood.

—Matt Reynolds

Says Nanda, oral care has been in his DNA since he founded Dr. Fresh, an oral care company that he sold in 2012. After a hiatus from the business world during which time he learned about and taught yoga and holistic living, Nanda returned to the market with a new perspective on oral care products.

The mouthwash is available in one variety, Wild Mint, that’s formulated with what GuruNanda says are seven purpose-driven, sustainably harvested, pure and natural essential oils. These are peppermint, spearmint, tea tree, oregano, clove, cardamom, and fennel. The mouthwash contains no alcohol, uoride, preservatives, gluten, or toxic chemicals, and is not tested on animals.

“You just add a few drops [four, to be exact] to water in a cup and rinse,” Nanda explains. “The formulation was done in such a way that it dissolves immediately in water and gives a natural, minty clean that doesn’t harm your natural mouth microbiome even after giving you all the major bene ts of a regular mouthwash.”

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Founded by Puneet Nanda, a certi ed expert in Ayurvedic medicine and a yoga instructor, GuruNanda is “devoted to helping people lead productive and stress-free lives through aromatherapy and Ayurvedic principles.” Among its offerings are bath, beauty, and oral care products formulated with essential aromatherapy oils.

Watch a video concentratedGuruNanda’sonmouthwash.

Tiny Bottle for Concentrated Mouthwash Replaces 10 16-oz Plastic Bottles

Ever since the early to mid-2000s when household cleaning brands began rolling out concentrated liquid laundry detergent products in an effort to reduce the size of their packaging, companies in a range of markets have adopted this tactic to reduce the environmental footprint of both their products and their packaging. One recent example is GuruNanda, a Buena Park, Calif.-based company that recently introduced a concentrated mouthwash product that eliminates 98% of the water and 99% of the plastic used for a traditional oral rinse product, while at the same time removing all the “nasties” from the product’s formula as well.

The tiny bottle holds 300 doses, which is equivalent to 160 oz of non-concentrated mouthwash, resulting in the elimination of 10 16-oz plastic bottles. “That means fewer packaging materials, less shipping, and a smaller carbon footprint,” says the company. “Good for you, good for the planet.” According to Nanda, glass packaging was selected for the concentrate due to the material’s sustainability and because the product’s essential oils stay stable in amber glass.

“I learned that most plastic is wasted in big bottles of mouthwash transported across the nation, which are 98% lled with water and a small quantity of arti cial avor, color, saccharin, and menthol alongside either alcohol or any other bactericide,” he says. With that in mind, Nanda decided to marry sustainable packaging with a natural mouthwash formula, creating a concentrated, essential oils-based rinse packaged in a 2-oz amber glass bottle with dropper.

According to Nanda, when the product was initially introduced, it was not widely received by consumers. “But then we changed the packaging to be see-through, which has been very helpful and has communicated our message better,” he explains. “We also implemented a free sampling program of 50,000 bottles, which helped make people more aware of the product.”

GuruNanda’s Wild Mint Concentrated Mouthwash in a 2-oz bottle is available through the company’s website for $12.78 for a one-time purchase and for $11.50 on a subscription basis. The product is also sold at Walmart and on Amazon. —Anne Marie Mohan

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Earth & Wheat was launched in 2021 to address food waste, and in particular, bread. According to the company, in the U.K. alone, 24 million pieces bread are wasted each day. Earth & Wheat’s wonky bread boxes, which are said to be the rst and only such products in the country, are available to D2C customers throughout England, Wales, the Isle of Wight, and Scotland (with some exceptions) on a subscription basis. The company works directly with bakeries, rescuing bread immediately after baking that would otherwise have gone to waste. It then ships its customers 2-kg boxes of the fresh, but wonky, bread directly from the bakery overnight, donating a meal to charity for every box sold.

Bio-basedCompostable,Bag Fits Wonky Bread’s Eco-Friendly Ethos

In terms of compostability, the C-Bag is certi ed by TUV as OK Home Compostable. This certi cation was developed to guarantee complete biodegradability in garden compost heaps and other slowerpaced processes. According to Treetop, when the C-Bag is properly disposed of, it will disintegrate in a compost heap and then biodegrade into CO2, water, and biomass, leaving no harmful residue behind.

Chie y a British slang term, “wonky” is used to describe something that is crooked, off-center, or askew. Thus, U.K.-based direct-to-consumer company Earth & Wheat chose the moniker “wonky bread boxes” for its products, which consist of cases of mixed varieties of fresh bakery bread, among them products as varied as pita, rolls, pancakes, buns, and wraps, as well as many others, that would otherwise have been wasted due to appearance standards or overproduction.

To address the disconnect, Earth & Wheat switched to a home-compostable, bio-based bag, the C-Bag from KM Packaging, as the primary package for its bread. The C-Bag was developed by KM in partnership with Treetop Biopak and is made from renewable resources such as cornstarch and other biopolymers. The lm is said to have similar properties to petroleum-based plastic, including impact, puncture, and water resistance, and provides a comparable look and feel.

The sustainability stats for the rescued bread program are impressive: Every box saves 3,240 liters of fresh water and 3,053 grams of CO2 from going to waste. Until recently, however, the company felt its packaging was not optimal from an envioronmental standpoint. While its wonky bread box is made from recyclable corrugated, the primary packaging consisted of a plastic bag—a format that was incompatible with the brand’s values.

For Earth & Wheat, the C-Bag also ticked two other boxes as well: The material is printable for branding purposes, and it’s compatible with the company’s automated bagging equipment. Shares Earth & Wheat, the printing on the bags has strengthened the brand, generating more interest and increased customer subscriptions. In addition, the artwork contains a QR code that leads consumers to information about the packaging and how to dispose of it.

Says company founder James Eid, “Our mission is to reduce food waste in the U.K., and we’re always looking at innovative ways to become even more sustainable. By using home-compostable bags in our bread boxes, we have found a great alternative to using plastic.” —Anne Marie Mohan

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“In addition to pricing, we are making full use of other levers, such as strategic revenue management, ef ciencies and disciplined cost management, product mix, as well as portfolio management. For example, in terms of ef ciencies, we expect to generate signi cant savings in 2022 through SKU optimization, recipe and packaging harmonization as well as the development of new technologies.”


“Demand for recycled polypropylene has consistently outpaced the supply of those containers available to recycle. Plastic recyclers have always supported including PP. Since PET, HDPE and PP containers comprise 81% of consumer facing plastic packaging, it simply makes sense to ensure that those three material types at a minimum are included in local programs.”

The number of aluminum cans that are recycled each minute in the U.S., 93% of which are turned into new cans



The value of the global market for track-and-trace packaging in 2022, representing a growth of more than 76% since 2017


–François-Xavier Roger, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Of cer for Nestlé Global, in an article from, “Nestlé highlights ‘key challenge’ of food insecurity as it hikes prices 6.5%”

–Mike Parson, Governor of Missouri, as quoted in a press release from the American Chemistry Council (ACC), “Missouri Becomes Milestone 20th State to Pass Advanced Recycling Legislation”


“This legislation will help reduce plastic waste and allow more used plastic to become valuable new products—all while creating jobs and encouraging investment in our state. Companies all over the country are investing billions in these type of [advanced] recycling facilities. With this new law on the books, they will know Missouri is open for business, and our citizens will know we are serious about a clean, sustainable Missouri.”

–Steve Alexander, President and CEO of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), in an article from Plastics Recycling Update, “How2Recycle returns PP to ‘widely recycled’ level”

The amount of mixed-material bubble mailers Amazon has replaced with recyclable paper padded mailers in the U.S., according to its 2021 sustainability report

–Andy Thomas-Emans, Strategic Director of the Tarsus Labels & Packaging Group, in an article, “Digital Embellishment Trail Announced for Labelexpo Americas 2022,” from Labelexpo Americas 2022

“After digital printing, digital embellishment will be the next big game changer for label converters and package printers. Digital embellishment means replacing analog coating, decoration and converting processes with digital. This can range from simply replacing a exo varnish plate with an inkjet-applied spot varnish, to digital foiling, digitally applied tactile effects, simulated embossing/debossing and laser diecutting—all fully variable with on-the- y job change and no tooling.”

The number of products in the global marketplace that are now using plastics made from advanced recycling

Essentially, we’re asking for simplicity. We would like for all of the complexity to be under the hood, and we would like an operator interface that’s very simple, that’s easy to understand, and that our younger employees are able to interface with via some type of video screens. We also look for set-up procedures that are built into the operator screen. And we’d love it if they could help with training our operators to do that, also.

You cited that 40% of your workforce is of an age that could potentially retire at any time. Given a tightening labor market (and it’s only getting tighter), what are you asking of your machine builder and OEM partners in terms of how they design their machinery, and how accessible they make their machinery?

Ken VonderHaar:

One is to make the current operation more sustainable and more energy efficient. And we absolutely need our equipment suppliers to come in and help us figure out how to minimize compressed air usage, how to reduce gas usage, and how to limit electricity usage. That is the first step.

But to your point, we are approaching our new projects with earlier involvement with the suppliers and more of a partnering mindset than we have in the past. Back then, it was really a lump sum, competitive bid type of operation. And we still will do some of


Packaging World:

When do you bring your machine builder partners into the internal conversations about sustainability, whether it’s energy efficient machines or new materials?

There are two efforts that we’re undertaking with regards to energy ef ciency and sustainability.

You do both a high volume in glass and a high volume of cans. How do you balance the mix?

Ken VonderHaar, Global Director, Can Division at AnheuserBusch, works closely with OEM and machine builder partners. Packaging World visited Anheuser-Busch headquarters recently as part of PMMI’s Roadshow Series, hosted by nearby Barry-Wehmiller, and sat down with VonderHaar at the Budweiser brewery to talk packaging over an ice-cold beer.

Would you allow your machine builder to remotely manage your equipment on the plant floor?

It’s always a challenge with our IT team to remote into anything in the brewery. And that’s just because of the risk. I think the trend is there, and we have to gure out how to do that. And at the end of the day, yes, we want to do that. We need to gure out how to do that safely and try to do it in a manner that doesn’t put our operations at risk. We [currently] do that on some of our equipment, but it’s very limited, and it is on equipment that it’s not accessible to the whole network. So, we will have to gure out how to do that more with the packaging machinery providers.

Bud Talks Multipacks, OEM Payment Terms, and Can/Bottle Mix

The mix shifted a lot during COVID-19, where we had about 40% glass and 60% cans, and some percentage was kegs. And of course, during pandemic, all the bars and venues shut down, so a lot more people were taking their 30-packs of cans home. That shifted the mix a little bit more, to higher than 60% cans, but predominantly cans are the higher volume. Cans are continuing to trend up in volume. They were even before the pandemic, and COVID-19 accelerated that. It looks like cans are going to be the biggest growth package for us moving forward.

that. But in some of the more complex jobs, we will start choosing partners to deal with and then start figuring out what those machines look like to maximize flexibility, minimize complexity, have the training documentation in place, and, again, make the machine as simple as possible.

We’ve installed two lines now that will make a variety pack. And, of course, a variety pack translates to a lot of SKUs that we have to run. We spent years studying what’s the right way to try to install a variety pack line. Do you depalletize, or palletize, a bunch of product for days and days? And you only make a brand change every three or four days on the ller, and then you mix it together?

We decide, for example, do we put [Pneumatic Scale] Angelus seamer in this training center or a Ferrum seamer? We decide that on a couple

And that’s always in competition with just getting high-volume brands out the door. You can run our high-volume brands—say, Bud Light—for a week. And the question is always a balance between how much of that do I want to do? How much do I want to let co-packers manage that complexity segment, versus how much do we want to do it in-house? And it really comes down to what is the cost of co-packing. And in some areas, the cost is fairly high, and it allows us to make a pretty significant investment in-house and make a good economic return ourselves. And in some other areas, it will not.

The answer, we found out, was that wasn’t really the right solution from an economics perspective. What we’ve chosen to do is make lines with large, full-can accumulation systems on them. About every four hours, we will convert from Flavor A to Flavor B, and C, and D. And then once we’re running Flavor D, we will merge the other three flavors together into the packer and put them together into a variety pack.


You mentioned that you are doing some new things with rainbow packs or variety packs. Tell us about your early experiences, cutting your teeth with new multipack lines, and what the balance of that will look like going forward, between doing it yourself, versus hiring it out to contract packing.

We have two operations that do that. We have two different design concepts on how that is done. And as with anything, there are pros and cons to each design concept. But essentially, it’s fullcan accumulation, and then we’re running it to the packer. What we have found, of course, is that adds great complexity. It increases our changeover time, and it reduces our yield for the line because we’re constantly changing to the new flavor.

In the current labor environment, training is key, and you’ve made an investment in a bricks-and-mortar training facility. But with so many production facilities, each with so many lines, and so many different pieces of equipment across your enterprise, how do you select what equipment to purchase and install in the training facility?

Anheuser Busch has both can-making and bottle-making operations and capabilities. But only about a third of your total output for beer ends up using these in-house suppliers. Why is that? What’s your relationship with traditional suppliers of bottles and cans, given you could be your own supplier? We want to have a robust vertical operation primarily to control cost and quality from our other suppliers. When our metal container division was established in the early 1970s, it was primarily to control the quality of the product. We were not getting good quality from our external suppliers, and we wanted to do it ourselves. But it also gave us insight into the cost to make the product, and we learned what kind of margins should be on that product.

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Once the consumer recycles the can, it’ll go back to the smelter. And the turnaround time with these operators is very short, or at least it can be very short. It’s at the point where smelters can turn that [recycled can] into a coil in just a matter of days, and

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which means if there’s a machine that we have more of, we will tend to pick that one, since that one creates the most risk of downtime.

of factors. Number one, how many Angelus machines do I have versus Ferrum machines? And in this particular case, I have a lot of Angelus machines and only a few Ferrums. But it also depends on risk—if we’re having a lot of problems on a Ferrum because our people don’t know how to work on the machine, we will make a decision to put

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Our vertical operations not only give us surety of supply for some of the commodities that are in tight supply—like cans or bottles right now—but more importantly, they give us the ability to manage our contract costs when we buy from other folks. The whole business model with vertical operations is not to grow that as fast as the beer company grows. It’s to grow that with enough critical mass, such that the other suppliers would say, “Hey, I need to be cost competitive on this. Otherwise, Anheuser-Busch will build their own.”

What’s the speed of recycling and circularity with your bottles and cans, as it relates to making your own or buying them from suppliers?

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We have a lot of new innovation that’s primarily around the package and the exibility around the different types of packages. You will see us introducing, say in the next say year or so, a completely new package for a machine that was developed in-house by Anheuser-Busch.

Payment terms, especially extended payment terms, are often a sore spot at the intersection of OEM and CPG, especially with large CPGs. How do Anheuser-Busch and Budweiser packaging operations approach their equipment vendor relationships with regards to extended payment terms?

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a few days later get that coil back to us. And if we make a can in our can plant down in Arnold, Mo., 30 miles south of us in St. Louis, we will typically ll it [with beer] within a day of it being made. And then it’ll be on the market within a couple of days after that. Obviously, it depends on the aluminum supplier and when he wants to try to put recycled product into his work stream there, but it can be a very quick turnaround, and it’s in nitely reusable.

So what’s the next big thing coming out of Budweiser on the packaging side of things? I wish I knew. We have the aluminum bottle, which was a nice, innovative package. It sells a lot, but it’s not high-volume seller. We have a lot of new innovation that’s primarily around the package and the exibility around the different types of packages. You will see us introducing, say in the next say year or so, a completely new package for a machine that was developed in-house by Anheuser-Busch. It will be introduced into the market for some secondary packaging for bottles. —Matt Reynolds APPLICATIONFORSCALEANY APPLICATION

We have certain targets around weighted average payment terms that are set by our Board of Directors. And we understand that long payment terms are not popular with our suppliers and really, quite honestly, we’re not trying to make things tough for our suppliers. We recognize that that is a burden there. But what we will try to do is work with the suppliers to try to perhaps change our progress payments, to try to get money earlier into the process. Or, generally speaking, try to partner with them a little bit more to work with better overall terms and conditions. Maybe not necessarily the payment terms, but, say, liability terms and that type of thing. Then we can work with them to make it an easier contract for them to sign.

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Seltzers were a recent big trend for beverage manufacturers small and large. Will we see them keep growing, or give way to something new? It’s hard to say what the next trend is because the consumer de nes the next trend. We think that the seltzer market still has more legs to it—more avors and that type of thing—but our innovations team is constantly working on all kinds of different brands and all kinds of different varieties to try to gure out what the next big thing is going to be. We’ll test market that and see what sticks.

By Eric F. Greenberg, Attorney-at-law

He issued a statement saying in part, “The FDA is failing to uphold its most basic food safety responsibility: inspecting facilities. Over the past decade, the number of inspections it performs has fallen by nearly 60 percent.” And, he notes, just 11 years ago Congress was supposed to have goosed FDA’s food safety program with passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act “that instructed the FDA to increase the number of inspections it performs.” He lamented further that “Even when the FDA performs an inspection—and identifies a threat to public health—it doesn’t take timely action.”

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has been an advocate of one or another version of FDA food safety reform for many years. This most recent effort, however, was especially inspired for him by the death of an Illinois woman who ate contaminated ice cream in Florida. He believes FDA’s inspections of food facilities have been a big part of the problem.

As you may know, the job of overseeing food safety in the U.S. is, right now, divided between the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates about 80% of our food supply, including packaging in contact with foods, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates most of the rest via its oversight of meat and poultry businesses. Also, depending on how you count, there are a dozen or more other federal agencies with a hand in food safety, including for example the Environmental Protection Agency via its regulation of pesticides and water purity, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which investigates foodborne illness outbreaks.

34 PW SEP2022

Today, let’s discuss regulators and how to organize them. These days, sometimes it seems that all you ever hear or read about regulatory of cials is that they are evil people who are knowingly conspiring together to ruin your life or your business, for what reason no one ever seems to specify. The theory is not merely that the effects of their actions burden you, but that that’s their speci c goal.

This is, to use the formal legal term, crap. The regulators that I have encountered are generally people of good faith doing their best to implement the programs and instructions that Congress or state legislatures give them, sometimes under the duress of inadequate or uncertain budgets. They are often too slow to act, and sometimes act in ways that are irrational or needlessly burdensome to business. But they are no more or no less likely than people in private companies to be lazy, incompetent, or the least bit conspiratorial.

First, I, along with FDA, am in the habit of reminding companies of this reality essentially every day: As a packager, it’s YOUR job to assure your products and processes are safe, with regulators looking over your shoulder. That won’t change even if FDA gets more focused on food safety via this law change or otherwise.

Two final thoughts as we watch the debate over these new ideas aimed at regulating food safety:

Noodling on How to Arrange Regulators

Legislators regularly float suggested remedies to this odd dispersion of powers. Now there’s one prominent new proposal to take FDA’s food safety responsibilities and give them to a newly created agency, rather than, as has often been suggested in the past, combining multiple agencies’ powers into one. A common prediction is that the bill will fail, but there’s widespread support for revisiting FDA’s structure and priorities, so you can expect discussions like these to continue even if the bill doesn’t get too far.

Second, to those who would like to improve food safety, I also would politely suggest that they also give a thought to a different target as well. Certainly, foodborne illness outbreaks traced to packaged foods should be battled against at all times, but so should local failures to comply with the Food Code at retail restaurants, groceries, and the like, because those lapses, too, can lead to foodborne illness. PW

Eric Greenberg can be reached at Or visit his rm’s website at

If FDA is giving food safety short shrift, it might be because the agency is pulled in so many different directions at once, and that naturally leads to difficulties in choosing an FDA commissioner with a deep understanding of the agency’s many realms. If you’ve ever wondered how a President is supposed to pick the head of an agency whose responsibilities include foods and also drugs and medical devices and vaccines and other biological products and cosmetics and animal foods and drugs and tobacco and radiation-emitting products, you are correctly perceiving the dilemma. After all, how often does one find a professional with experience in even two of those fields? And does one choose from academia or industry? That dilemma has most often been solved in the past by choosing commissioners with backgrounds in the medical fields, whether in industry or academia.


Among those who think about regulators with a more realistic perspective, one current topic is whether the job of food safety should be given to a single federal official leading a new federal agency.

The new bill’s target is FDA specifically, so to that extent, food safety regulation would appear to be intended to remain a divided affair (although the bill contains a cryptic catch-all provision that would let the President transfer “other offices, services, or agencies” to the new agency, so who knows?) The proposed Food Safety Administration Act of 2022 would make a new agency out of FDA’s current food safety powers and give it a new name—Food Safety Administration—and new head—Administrator of Food Safety—who

would be chosen specifically for their expertise in food safety. The new bill proposes changing the current FDA’s name to the Federal Drug Administration and change its head’s name from Commissioner of Food and Drugs to Commissioner of Drugs.

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Most discussions about the communication function of packaging are about its role as a marketing tool, rst conveying brand name, product category, and line-variety. Beyond that—using structure, graphics, and text—packaging bestows personality and aura. Particularly for retail products, such communication is essential for shelf impact and for a competitive advantage. Consumers seek products to satisfy wants and needs, and packaging is tasked with communicating that a given product delivers that satisfaction.

There are myriad ways to formulate food & beverage, drugs & pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics, for example. The choices must balance factors such as sensatory appeal, efficacy, and cost. Chosen formulas are communicated by ingredients listing. For food & beverage, ingredients listing is supplemented with Nutritional Facts in a standardized format. Composition also relates to manufactured products. An example includes toys that have small parts that can pose a choking hazard.

Ways to accommodate safety communications under these conditions include increasing the size of the packaging by such means as cartons, cards, blisters, and clamshells. Another way is to use foldouts, such as inserts and pamphlets. It’s vital that there be proper coordination when needed. For example, a brand might include a statement on the primary package that instructs the reader to refer elsewhere for more detailed information.

A systematic approach to safety communications has three major components. The first is product composition, which begins at product conception and proceeds through product development. What a product is made of/from is a determinant of its safety.

Systems Approach to Communicating Product Safety with Packaging


What should never be overlooked nor undervalued, however, is that consumer satisfaction has to be delivered safely. It’s the rare product that’s incapable of posing a hazard and/or inflicting harm. Products differ along that spectrum, and packaging should communi cate commensurately. Brand owners might be tempted to soft pedal safety communications, concerned about triggering consumer reluc tance. That concern runs counter to the reality that all products carry an implied warranty of safety. A consistent and overarching reality is that federal and state statues hold that companies only are to place into the commercial stream products that are reasonably safe.

Brand managers are not necessarily adept at writing directions/ instructions. As such, their drafts should be reviewed within the organization, and afterward, tested on representative test participants. Directions/instructions need not be communicated only with text. Depending on the product, illustrations can be warranted.

In conclusion, brand owners owe to consumers adequate safety communications, and a fundamental means to that end is the use of the communication function of packaging. It is every bit as important as any other use of that function, and that is an assertion that is safe to say. PW

The second major component of safety communications is directions of use (alternatively, use instructions). Whereas communicating finalized product composition is straightforward, directions are more complex.

A vexing question is, how inclusive should a warning be? After all, to cover every conceivable scenario would be unwieldy and impractical. The answer is that a warning should cover the most reasonably foreseeable scenarios.

Any approach said to be systematic must demonstrate an interrelatedness among its components. Product composition, directions/instructions, and warnings comply with that requirement. Each component affects, or is affected by, the others. Another signature trait of a systematic approach is that it requires inputs from various disciplines. Packaging is the medium on which safety communications are conveyed. However, those communications also reflect inputs from such disciplines as product development, product testing/clinical trials, marketing, and legal.

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Given its limited space available for safety communications, the size of the primary package can be a hurdle. But here, it’s a case where size does not matter. If safety communications are required, they must be presented, even if the package is small. Package size can be a function of the product’s inherent size; an example being eye drops. Package size also can be a function of product amount; an example being sample portions.

By Sterling Anthony, CPP, Contributing Editor

The third major component of safety communications is warnings. A warning communicates a hazard and is designed so that the targeted audience can avoid harmful, even deadly, consequences. The hazard should not be obvious to an otherwise observant and rational person. To be effective, a warning needs to conform to a certain content and format. Regarding content, a warning should contain: a signal word, such as Caution, Warning, and Danger; a specific citation of the hazard; instructions on how to avoid the hazard; and (if appropriate) medical/remedial instructions. Regarding format, a warning should be conspicuous among neighboring text and graphics, rendered thusly by such elements as boarders, colors, and fonts.

The sought-after result is that the brand owner’s message is correctly interpreted by the consumer. Word choice should be kept simple and precise, to not exceed reading levels and to not invite ambiguity. Sentence length should not be unduly long, so as not to burden comprehension. There should be a logical sequence to the directions/instructions to facilitate a step-by-step compliance.

The DEP will approve several important actions submitted by the PRO, including its initial needs assessment and annual reports and investment budgets. The DEP also will define “readily recyclable” packaging material in the initial regulatory phase and then again annually. AMERIPEN anticipates that packages that are sortable in Maine and have a positive market value are likely to be key drivers, and for materials to gain or lose recyclable status will be specified.

In general, many of the statute’s critical details have yet to be defined, and the law’s complexity gives significant power and decision-making authority to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), with limited stakeholder engagement. For example, the DEP must use a request for proposal process to select and award a 10-year direct contract to one producer responsibility organization (PRO). The PRO is expected to receive input from producers and others

As the trajectory for this lawmaking continues, it’s critical that industry stakeholders understand the details and timing of these new laws. Here’s a look at what producers can expect in each state.

In July 2021, Maine became the first state in the country to have a packaging producer responsibility law (LD 1541). The scope covers packaging that leaves with the consumer from the point of sale or is received by the consumer via e-commerce channels. Similar to existing programs throughout the world, the producer, or responsible party, is the brand owner or the sole importer into the U.S. if there’s no brand owner. The law also contains some significant, yet loosely defined, exemptions for sales and tonnage, as well as for salvage and closeout businesses. Beverage containers covered under the state’s bottle bill are also exempt. Exemptions for federally regulated products may be considered later.

Producers will fund 100% of Maine’s existing recycling system, and fees will be set by volume—either by weight or by units. Readily recyclable products will pay less in this structure. The PRO will develop, and the DEP will approve, an eco-modulation (fee adjustment) formula based on recycled content, source reduction, litter reduction, access and recycling rates, and where the material is performing in the recycling system. Additionally, the PRO will fund infrastructure development in Maine, but all projects must be approved by the DEP.

Packaging extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs are quickly ramping up across the country. In the past 14 months, four states—Maine, Oregon, Colorado, and California—have passed laws, and in 2022, 40 EPRrelated bills in 19 states have received consideration. In addition, two bills with producer responsibility language are now under consideration in the U.S. Congress.

By Dan Felton, Executive Director for AMERIPEN

Several weeks after Maine, Oregon became the second state to establish a packaging producer law (SB 582). Different than Maine, it covers not only packaging, but also paper and food serviceware, with exemptions for beverage containers covered under the state’s bottle bill and for specific product types and materials and small producers. Like other existing programs, producer responsibility falls on the brand owner, the licensee of a brand or trademark, or the first importer into the country; however, Oregon’s bill was the first to contain a more precise definition of an e-commerce packaging producer.


Four States Enact Extended Producer Responsibility Laws

Unlike Maine, Oregon allows for one or multiple PROs, if submitted and approved by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). PROs in Oregon are responsible for setting and collecting membership fees and submitting plans to the DEQ for review and for ensuring that covered products are recycled.


for its annual plan, but that’s not a binding requirement, and the law does not call for an advisory committee to the DEP or PRO.

Another distinction in Oregon: While the law itself covers all materials, the law establishes rates and dates specific to plastics only

Overall, Maine’s timeline is much slower than the Oregon and Colorado laws that will have more direct PRO and industry stakeholder involvement. The first producer payments won’t become due until 2026, after all rulemaking is final and the DEP selects a PRO.


In comparison to some of the other bills currently in debate, program and recycling goals are undefined in Maine’s statute, but the law’s language strongly suggests that the DEP has the authority to decide them. While AMERIPEN is not in favor of the DEP defining rates and dates via regulation, if the DEP proceeds, we will advocate this only be done after the statewide recycling needs assessment is performed.

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collection access, waste prevention and reuse grants, rural and distant community freight costs, PRO and DEQ administrative costs, and educationalArguably,resources.theindustry has a better seat at the table in Oregon than in Maine. While not all packaging companies will be PRO members, they will be part of a 17-member advisory council to the DEQ and PRO, and the council cannot adopt any recommendations without a majority vote. Oregon’s governor appointed AMERIPEN to a three-year term on the council.

Producers are required to belong and start paying to a PRO by July 2025. Because of the way recycling and commodities are commingled in Oregon, industry will be paying for a mix of residential and commercial recycling and funding for about 30% of an expanded recycling system in the state, rather than the 100% in Maine. Membership fees will be set by the PRO, and eco-modulation is expected under the law. Monies will be used to fund ratepayer protection, contamination reduction programs, expanded recycling


Signed into law on June 3, 2022, HB 22-1355 established Colorado as the third state with a packaging producer responsibility law, headed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE). The department must designate a single PRO to develop, implement, and manage the program for covered products, which includes all consumer-facing packaging, regardless of the recyclability of the material, and printed paper. Starting July 1, 2025, producers must participate in the program or discontinue selling coveredSimilarproducts.toMaine, the Colorado model initially calls for a single PRO. However, beginning January 1, 2029, other non-profit PROs can request to be a part of the program. The first task of the PRO is to conduct a needs assessment and use the findings to develop three cost scenarios for reaching statewide recycling goals.

among the program’s goals. California’s law takes a somewhat similar approach, but for a different reason.


As in Maine, Colorado producers will pay 100% of the cost of the system, which is stipulated in the law. But AMERIPEN is concerned that costs in Colorado could conceivably far exceed those in Maine, for instance, because Colorado’s current recycling infrastructure is far less developed. The law defines “producers” as brand owners or the company named on the packaging. For unmarked packaging, manufacturers or the first distributors into the state are considered producers; for internet sales, the company that packages and ships the product is responsible. A small business exemption is allowed for companies that gross less than $5 million annually. The fees will be based on the amount and type of packaging or paper that they use, and an eco-modulation toll will be used to incentivize producers to use less packaging or other types of packaging that are more recyclable.

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Like Oregon, and arguably even more so, the PRO in Colorado will have more decision-making authority. It will directly contract with recycling service providers, haulers, processors, and local governments that provide recycling services. It will determine readily recyclable parameters, and it will set minimum recycling collection and minimum recycled content rates. The PRO also is responsible for educating Colorado residents and expanding recycling services to non-residential communities by 2028.

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An important distinction of the Colorado law from other bills is that the PRO’s scenarios flow through the CDPHE executive director to the joint committee on budget at the legislature, which can approve one of the scenarios to be implemented by the PRO or decline all three. If the committee approves one of the cost scenarios, the plan will be implemented and will need to be resubmitted every five years. If the committee declines the scenarios, however, the legislature must establish an entirely new bill to direct the PRO moving forward.


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On June 30, 2022, California became the fourth state in the nation to enact a packaging producer responsibility law with the signing of SB 54. The weeks and days ahead of the bill ultimately becoming law were very tense as negotiations were directly tied to the removal of a plastics-only initiative that had qualified for the November 2022 general election ballot and would have imposed up to a 1-cent fee on single-use plastic packaging. Enactment of SB 54 ultimately did result in the ballot initiative being pulled.

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Looking ahead

Like Oregon and Colorado, California’s law establishes an advisory board, made up of 16 members that will work with CalRecycle and the PRO to review the needs assessment, program plans, and recycling rates and to offer other technical assistance. Producers will be required to belong and start paying into the PRO by January 2027.


Suffice it to say, packaging producer responsibility has officially arrived in the U.S. and is likely here to stay. In addition, the four laws we now have are not alike and could become even more divergent as rules and regulations are developed and implemented for each. Add into that AMERIPEN’s expectation that even more states could enact their own unique and potentially challenging laws before something possibly gels at the federal level, and producers of covered materials and products are going to have their hands full with learning about and complying with new requirements. AMERIPEN will continue to be at the forefront of educating its members and advocating on behalf of the packaging industry writ large to ensure any current and new packaging producer responsibility laws are as reliable, efficient, equitable, and as fair as possible. PW


The new law has several components not present in the three other new packaging producer responsibility laws and are concerning to AMERIPEN to various degrees as other states continue to explore this issue. All covered materials must be recyclable or compostable by 2032. All plastic covered material must be recycled at a rate of 30% by 2028, 40% by 2030, and 65% by 2032. Also by 2032, producers, under coordination of the PRO, must source-reduce covered materials 25% by weight and 25% by number of plastic components. The law specifies restrictions on how producers and the PRO may ultimately achieve the required source reductions that AMERIPEN believes may be very challenging for some. Producers of expanded polystyrene

The new packaging producer responsibility law is broader than the initiative, encompassing single-use packaging for all types of materials, as well as plastic food serviceware. Like Colorado, the program will begin with a single PRO; additional PROs may be permitted after 2030. CalRecycle, one of the state’s environmental agencies, will have very strong oversight of the PRO. The agency, rather than the PRO, will conduct a statewide recycling needs assessment through a third party and decide several other parameters of the program via rulemaking.

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(EPS) food serviceware must demonstrate recycling rates for all EPS of 25% by 2025, 30% by 2028, 50% by 2030, and 65% by 2032.


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Finally, the new law establishes the California Plastic Pollution Mitigation Fund that the PRO will pay $500 million into annually for at least 10 years. The PRO will collect these funds from producers paying into the program, and may collect up to $150 million of the total amount from plastic resin manufacturers that sell plastic covered material to producers participating in the PRO. The mitigation funding, through various state agencies, will pay for the monitoring and mitigation of plastic pollution, with a priority in low-income, disadvantaged, and rural areas.


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Automating Cannabis Pre-Rolls Supercharges Production

lot more. We produce the full array of cannabis products out of our fa cility, and we distribute our products to licensed dispensaries through out the state. Our products can be found on over 98% of dispensary shelves throughout the state of Illinois.

Nature’s Grace and Wellness (NGW) is one of the rst large-scale medical marijuana licensees in Il linois. In fact, the company was the rst cannabis cultivation center to receive its license and be ap proved to bring in plants in the summer of 2015, all part of that year’s Compassionate Cares Act in the state. Subsequently, the brand was one of the rst to supply medical marijuana to the market in the fall of 2015. Tim O’Hern, co-owner, COO, and General Council runs the business with his wife, Claire O’Hern, Operations Manager & Chief Com pliance Of cer. The two had a solid head start and leg-up when Illinois eventually passed legal adult-use cannabis in 2020, and have grown the business exponentially in their short seven years.

Where legal, the cannabis market is entering the steepest phase of its growth curve, and producers are forced to become more sophisticated just to keep up. Nature’s Grace and Wellness took the pre-roll automation route to vault from 5,000 to 100,000 pre-rolls per week with the addition of a single monobloc machine, and significantly reduced labor in doing so.

“We’re a bit unique in that we’re a familyowned and -operated company,” Tim O’Hern says. “We’re located in rural Illinois, here on our family farm, and we began to grow gradually with the Illinois Medical program, which was much smaller than anybody anticipated at rst. But it did begin to gather steam in 2018 and 2019. And then, that folded into adult-use cannabis in 2020. Our facil ity has expanded and grown with the market.”

Automating skilled labor Meteoric volume increase

By Matt Reynolds, Chief Editor

John Lamm, Juana Roll Technician Lead (left), and Elijah Streadwick, Assistant Manager (right), both of NGW, with product in front of the JuanaRoll eight-channel automatic pre-roll machine, available in models with from one to eight channels.

And grown the company has. After a start in late 2014 in a 25,000-sq-ft workspace, NGW now has facilities that add up to more than 300,000 sq ft. That much space allows for a full range of legal cannabis formats.


“In terms of our core competency, we produce a wide array of can nabis products, both for the medical and adult-use market in Illinois,” Tim O’Hern says. “That includes ower products, pre-rolls [or joints], blunts [larger joints], vaporizers, edibles, topicals, concentrates, and a

There are several market reasons for this. First, the pre-roll existed as a standard SKU even in the early days, since the very beginning of many states’ legal cannabis programs—mostly early medical marijuana programs. That means that a certain early-adopting segment of medical cannabis consumers became familiar with the pre-roll as a preferred method of cannabis consumption. Producers tell us there’s a unique level of ritual and brand loyalty in this space, both in medical use and legal adult use.


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Also, pre-rolls are a vehicle for very lightly processed cannabis ower; usually the only processing consists of grinding to a certain consistent granularity. This appeals to many consumers—both adult use and medical—that are seeking natural, unprocessed food, beverage, and other products. There’s a large overlap in cannabis use with the natural, unprocessed movement, and these folks often prefer to consume the ower in as close to its natural state as possible.

Finally, there are a lot of new entrants to the nowlegal adult-use cannabis market that harbor the desire to consume the natural ower (as opposed to more processed extracts), but they lack the skills, tools, know-how, and con dence to roll their own joint. Prerolls remove that barrier.

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“Product development is ever-evolving in the cannabis market because it’s such a new and undeveloped industry, for the most part,” he adds. “We’re constantly broadening the variety of products that we offer in each of the categories that we play in. We tend to look at the categories as ower products, vape products, concentrate products, and edible products. And we’ve got a much broader range of product SKUs in each of those categories now than we would have previously, before adult use.”


Old-school pack format still popular

“While some people have experienced cannabis for several years or decades, what’s exciting about being in the cannabis business, generally, is that we are experiencing new consumers every day. In many

Even in an expanding market with all sorts of new edible, topical, or vape products becoming available, one of the top sellers by volume remains an original: the paper-wrapped pre-roll of milled cannabis ower.


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Meanwhile, demand was growing. And as skilled as the labor was,

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An updated version of the original knockbox system was able to sig ni cantly increase output, up to 5,000 pre-rolls per week, with nine individuals all working at once. Still, the process was labor intensive.

“When we expanded, and the adult-use market was expanding, is when we chose to begin to look at automation,” says Claire O’Hern. “This was not only to be able to meet market demands, but also prepare and sell a consistent product.”

there was always some unavoidable human error, or inconsistency and variability from operator to operator. Highly repeatable, automated equipment, however, could take that inconsistency out of the equation.

The Slims brand of pre-roll was already a known commodity in Illinois dispensaries before adult use was legalized, and it only grew in popularity since that 2020 delegislation. With a loyal customer base already, NGW didn’t want to change the product specs midstream—weight, paper gauge, sizes, etc.—in order to fit off-the-shelf automation. The O’Herns worked closely with Paxiom to customize the

One of the reasons the O’Herns were seeking to automate the pre-roll packaging process in the rst place was to help alleviate an already tight labor market that only became scarcer during the pandemic. It turned out that the pandemic impacted the machine buying process as well. Luckily,

This led to research into fully automated pre-roll systems, and soon the O’Herns came across the JuanaRoll machine by OEM WeighPack Systems Inc. part of the Paxiom Group.

machine to match the product, instead of the other way around.

The original piece of equipment that was used to ll pre-rolls with cannabis consisted of a knockbox-style cannabis ower loader. This type of system uses two cartridges stacked on top of one another, both sitting on a vibratory table. The lower cartridge held un lled pre-roll cones, the upper held the milled cannabis ower product to be lled into the cones.

But automated equipment is highly repeatable, so the inputs—both cannabis and pre-roll rolling paper cones—also need to be highly repeatable and consistent. NGW found it had to switch to a more consistent brand of paper cone, a 98-mm cone with 26-mm blank filter (98/26) which it now sources from Futurola, to ensure a consistent product.

Close up of Futurola 98/26 pre-rolls, twisted and trimmed.

The speci c brand of pre-roll produced at NGW is called Slims. It is available in a large, 1-g Slims XL pre-roll that uses a J-tube (capped cigar tube) as secondary packaging, or more modestly sized 0.5-g Slims, with a ve-count of pre-rolls nestled into a branded paperboard slide tray as secondary packaging. Until recently, packaging cannabis ower in pre-rolls at NGW was a labor-intensive, semi-automatic process re quiring the heavy allocation of skilled craftspeople deployed alongside tabletop-style equipment.

Paper Cone Consistency Considerations with Automation

“There are only a few companies out there that make equipment such as the JuanaRoll. And the JuanaRoll seemed to have been in the market a little bit longer, and they had worked out some kinks that we were seeing with other pieces of equipment,” Claire O’Hern says. “That’s why we chose to go with Paxiom’s JuanaRoll.”

instances, they have never tried cannabis before and now are able to walk into a legal dispensary and purchase it,” Tim O’Hern says. “And if you prefer to consume ower products, it can be intimidating buying an eighth ounce of ower that you’ve got to break down yourself and inhale. And pre-rolls are a lot easier way for folks to consume and get comfortable with the product.”

All these factors contribute to keeping the trusty pre-roll cannabis ower packaging format a top seller in the cannabis market, even dur ing a wave of new cannabis product development.

“That was further compounded by the pandemic, when labor be came tougher and tougher during that stretch,” adds Tim O’Hern. “We began emphasizing exploring automation wherever we could.”

Legacy system and need to automate

“It sounds silly, but with any of this type of cannabis equipment, you’re going to have to do more customization based on the papers that you choose,” Claire O’Hern says. “So that was really where most of the customization that we did with Paxiom took place. Other than that, we just worked with them to dial in our recipes, as each strain is different, so we could consistently make the product.” PW

Supply chains challenges

First, an operator hand-loaded loose, empty pre-roll cone wrapping papers into the lower cartridge, which consisted of a matrix of circular cone-holding slots in a given pattern (say a 20x30 grid, for example). Once all the pre-roll cones were loaded into this lower cartridge, the second, product- lled cartridge that sat atop the lower cone cartridge would be clicked into place. Finally, the vibratory table underpinning the system was switched on to gently shake the ground ower, sifting it from the upper cartridge down into the pre-roll cone wrapping papers waiting in the lower cartridge. The lled cones were then hand-twisted and manually packaged in secondary packaging.

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JuanaRoll system in action

A monobloc piece of equipment enclosed by trans parent panel doors, the JuanaRoll has two primary infeeds: one for the milled cannabis ower, and the other for the pre-roll rolling paper cones that the prod uct will be lled and tamped into.

“With really any equipment you use in cannabis,

First, WeighPack’s 70,000-sq-ft manufacturing facility is headquar tered in Montreal, Quebec, and the Canadian borders were shut for most people during much of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, at the pre-roll infeed nearer the head of the machine, an operator rst selects the correct strain and recipe specs into an HMI at the front of the monobloc. This is key since there are so many different cannabis strains, potencies, and properties (like sticki ness, grain size, paper thickness, etc.) that each re quires a unique, highly speci c set of handling specs, pressures, and instructions.

a virtual Factory Acceptance Test] since travel wasn’t really occurring.”

No spill, no mess

The milled cannabis is introduced to the JuanaRoll system by lling it into canisters that, during produc tion, will reside within the JuanaRoll monobloc. These act as llers that hover above a transport line that runs beneath. The number of canisters depends on the number of lanes in each system—the NGW system uses eight lanes, so there are eight canisters lled with milled cannabis product at the start of a cycle.

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“We actually didn’t see the JuanaRoll in action with cannabis prior to purchasing it,” Claire O’Hern says. “We were able to test it virtually [in

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Also, Paxiom has physical locations throughout the U.S., including its 50,000-sq-ft corporate headquarters and integration center in Las Ve gas, as well as its Xperience Center in Milwaukee, a few short hours from mid-state Illinois. This would result in convenient service and training support from Paxiom’s Jesse Blazek while and after the machine was being commissioned, as NGW operators and machinists learned and dialed in the machine for themselves. The JuanaRoll also includes two digital cameras within the machine and Paxiom provides free online support via internet connection.“Paxiom did spend quite a bit of time on-site with us training, going through the machine, discussing ev ery part of it, and working with it,” Claire O’Hern adds. “With any equipment you get, there’s going to be some pain points. There’s always a learning curve since it’s a new piece of equipment with lots of electronics. But Paxiom has very knowledgeable individuals, and they didn’t hesitate to get on virtually with anyone from Canada or send out their tech support to be able to help us through it. They were even able to remote into the equipment, too, when necessary.”

Once in action, the JuanaRoll made a big difference in production. To review, prior to this pre-roll auto mation, NGW was producing 5,000 pre-rolls per week, using nine operators. Today, with the system up and running, the company averages approximately 13,000 to 16,000 pre-rolls per day (approaching or exceeding 100,000 per week), based on strain. What’s more, each shift now consists of only two operators. Here’s how the system works.

some clever interactions between NGW and Paxiom made the process as smooth and painless as it could have been, all things considered.

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you really need to be able to narrow down your recipes to a very speci c spec, based on the strain you’re using,” Claire O’Hern says. “The equipment runs all eight lanes of the same strain at any given time. They’re tamping with the same amount of pressure to press the product down into the pre-rolled paper cone, and the amount of pressure can change by strain. You have to be precise.”

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Watch a video of Nature’sinJuanaRolltheactionatGraceandWellness.

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Nature’s Grace and produces with the JuanaRoll.

As Claire O’Hern makes abundantly clear, each strain of cannabis is unique and has a speci c set of properties—potency, for instance—that must be clearly labeled on the nished product’s secondary packaging. That means each batch must be treated carefully to avoid cross-contamina tion, and a careful washdown must occur between SKU runs.

Washdown and changeover

“We also spend quite a bit of time cleaning the equipment to maintain it and keep it in good working order,” Claire O’Hern says. “Cannabis is notoriously sticky. If you aren’t cleaning equip ment regularly and spending the time, then your equipment tends to fail. We researched the types of equipment that were out there that did this, and the JuanaRoll did seem a little bit easier to clean and keep clean.”


Both of Slims brand’s sizes—0.5-g Slims and 1-g Slims XL—run on the same JuanaRoll system, so sometimes changeovers require changeparts and lane-size alterations beyond a simple wash down. In this case, NGW has a machinist on-site who they say has become “the JuanaRoll guru,” able to make a quick changeover.

over 100,000 pre rolls a week

“And then those cones will be brought through the equipment and lled from the canisters, and then tamping rods will come and pack product down into the cones,” Claire O’Hern says. “The cones will continue through the line where they’re twisted [closed], cut [to remove excess twisted paper], and gently dropped out of the monobloc into a bin, ready for secondary packaging.”

Once dialed in with the correct strain and recipe on the HMI, the operator places nested stacks of pre-roll cones into magazine infeeds that serve to feed each of the eight lanes. At this point, the JunaRoll is literally “ready to roll.” When the system begins its cycle, the cones in each of the eight lanes are automatically denested and oriented to be lled.

Two operators are used to run the JuanaRoll system at NGW. One acts more like an engineer or operator, making sure that it’s running properly. The other person is tasked with lling canisters and loading cones.

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What’s next

“Paxiom represented the machine properly, and I’m glad we made the purchase,” Claire O’Hern concludes. “What they said was going to occur with our production has, and we’re happy with it.” PW

The O’Herns opted to equip the JuanaRoll system both with data col lection for their own continuous improvement, and remote access capa bilities. The remote access was valuable in the early stages of commis sioning, as mentioned earlier, when Paxiom was able to troubleshoot from afar, even across borders that were closed. But the incremental bene ts of data collection are already making an impact on production.

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As often happens, automation begets more automation. With the huge throughput and volume increase that NGW experienced—from 5,000 pre-rolls per week to nearly 100,000—the JuanaRoll has revealed the need for more automation in secondary packaging, which is still all done by hand. The pre-rolls are still hand-loaded into ve-pack tins with paperboard sleves, or J-tubes, and then packed into corrugated 50-ct

shippers to be sent to dispensaries. So, the company is currently in talks with Paxiom to see what can be done in secondary packaging to help keep up with the new JuanaRoll system. But that’s really a good problem to have, for the O’Herns.

We are growing our recycling initiatives to meet the needs of today’s consumers and brand companies who are demanding PET products with a recycle content. By actively participating and enabling circular economies, we are fostering increased sustainability and reduced impact on the environment.


Slims branded nished pre-roll product in secondary packaging as 5-pack, as seen at dispensaries in Illinois. Pictured are Slims 0.5-g pre-rolls, but 1-g Slims XL pre-rolls, also produced on the machine, are available in singles in a J-tube format.

“We have the JuanaRoll connected to our servers for reporting pur poses,” Claire O’Hern says. “We have our preventative maintenance schedules hosted elsewhere in the facility, and every time we receive a new piece of equipment, we build out and plan for a preventative maintenance schedule. But there are always times where we have to do unplanned maintenance on equipment since parts fail, seals fail, gaskets fail, all sorts of things happen. As we learned the machine, we learned there were certain parts where we need a few extra on hand so we can always be operational. And so, we do have those on hand, and Paxiom’s very good about the warranties on the parts that it supplies.” | 1.888.738.2002

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Mark had a 35-year career in packaging at Abbott Labs, where his last position was to lead global engineering

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Eric Greenberg is an attorney with a practice in food and drug law, packaging law and commercial litigation, and is adjunct faculty at Chicago-Kent College of Law and Cal Poly, and is legal columnist for Packaging World.

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Diane has had a long career in CPG, the bulk of it at Kraft Foods, where she held several Director and VP roles, overseeing at various times engineering, operations, global supply chain, and global safety and sustainability.

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In a whiskey and bourbon industry characterized by resistance to change, a focus on heritage, and an adherence to the original ways of distilling, packaging operations at Beam Suntory are anything but antiquated. To the contrary, Packaging World re cently heard about a unique and forward-look ing revolution in changeparts maintenance and changeover management on packaging equip ment at the Beam Suntory Frankfort, Ky., facil ity. The project demonstrates how the company strikes a balance between a heritage product on the distilling side and continuous improvement and lean manufacturing on the bottling and packaging operations side.

Bottling operations at Beam Suntory span nine separate lling, capping, and case packing lines that share similar and often overlapping, but not identical, inventories of change parts like guard rails, starwheels, and timing screws.

The Beam Suntory facility has sets for change overs at each of the ve major pieces of equip ment on each line—sets at the rinser, sets at the ller, sets for capping operations, sets for label ing, and sets for case packing. Spanning more

In 1795, a farmer and grain mill operator named Jacob Beam produced the rst barrel of whiskey that would become Jim Beam, the world’s topselling bourbon. On the other side of the world a century later, Shinjiro Torii founded Suntory in Japan in 1899, the rst whiskey to suit Japanese palates. But it wasn’t until 2014 that, by combining the world leader in

A lot of SKUs, a lot more changeparts


New Approach to Changeparts, Changeover, has Beam Suntory in High Spirits

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New changover approach Continuous improvement

By Matt Reynolds, Chief Editor

bourbon and the pioneer in Japanese whiskey, Beam Suntory of Chicago was born as a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan.

With nine lines that are each bottling a wide breadth of different spirits products—bourbon, tequila, vodka, etc.—and each in a multitude of unique bottle, closure, and label formats, the Frankfort bottling plant has a lot of SKUs to man age. Naturally, these lines require a preponder ance of changeparts, organized into sets, to ac commodate each possible process on each line.

By centralizing changeparts storage and management, tasking individuals to be responsible for changeparts inventory and maintenance, and rethinking changeover practices to be leaner and more efficient, operators at Beam Suntory are enjoying significantly reduced scrap and downtime.

Dedicated changeparts department

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than nine bottling lines and varied equipment from the likes of KHS, Standard Knapp, Zalkin, and Douglas Machine, this quickly adds up.

Ef cient changeover is key for productivity and uptime. For Beam Suntory, that had previously meant parts carts and other storage solu tions for changeparts right on the line, physically located next to the equipment or in consolidated areas that required it at point-of-use. The team was storing parts wherever they had space with parts organized on shelves and racks.

“We have around 50 physical molds that com bine to run over 80 different sets, with between 25 and 40 changeparts in any one set,” says Matt Roberge, Training Program Manager, Beam Sun tory. “They run over 80 different sets because some of them are combined for speci c bottles with speci c labels. So, you could say there’s more than 60 physical sets, but they make up roughly more than 80 sets, on several lines, and we do more than 500 SKUs. Realistically, we are storing way over 2,000 changeparts.”

Meanwhile, in a facility where space was al ready at a premium, operators’ walkways around each individual line were choked with change

It wasn’t until Beam Suntory partnered with Change Parts, Inc., a Ludington, Mich., member of the AMET Packaging family, which in cludes such OEMs as E-Pak and Oden Machinery, that Beam Suntory un locked the lean processes that would transform its changeparts approach.

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There are inherent redundancies in this ap proach. For instance, certain starwheel or timing screw sizes or con gurations on Frankfort’s ller on one line might be the same as those on oth ers. And they might be running on different days. Extrapolate those potential redundancies across the entire facility, and the potential for extrane ous inventory gets bigger, with each line having entirely dedicated changeparts.

The process was completely decentralized, with each line having its own dedicated suite of changeparts and disparate sets of dedicated operators with their own clusters of knowledge about how to keep machines running best and uptime optimized.

Changeparts storage and maintenance prior to the changeparts and changeover ef ciency project with Change Parts Inc.

part storage carts. According to Roberge, the company had been aware of the potential for improved ef ciency in the way the company ad dressed changeparts, they just didn’t have the time or space to act on it.

“A lot of times operators would nd that a certain worm [timing screw] works better with one set than the set it actually belongs to, and they’d take that worm, and they’d make it part of their own personal operational knowledge,” Roberge says. “But operators on the next line over might not know that.”

The new, dedicated space for change parts management includes inventory, cleaning, storage, and maintenance of changeparts for the entire Frankfort Beam Suntory facility. Lanes for inbound and outbound change parts carts keep work ow organized.

“If you’re a company that only has five molds, you can get away with a shadow board, where parts go back to each cart to the same spot every time,” Roberge says. “But with as many molds, sets, and SKUs as we have, with the amount of complexity, we needed modularity. That’s why we went with the modular storage walls, and away from the shadow board approach in the changeparts room.” PW

To incorporate the STR methodology, the Frankfort team identi ed a single room where they could centralize all of the changeparts across

Beam Suntory’s Matt Roberge opted for portable racks with an inverted ‘T’ shape to help save space both on the oor and in inventory in the dedicated changeparts department.

“That’d be hundreds of bottles they’d have to rework or destroy be cause they cut a label or scored a bottle,” Tony Swedersky, President of Change Parts, Inc. says. “After inspection, these parts go through an in

Roberge, who was project manager on the changeparts centraliza tion project, and the Change Parts Inc. team set out to improve change over ef ciency at Beam Suntory in what can be considered a Setup Time Reduction (STR) project. Setup Time Reduction enables the team to re duce the changeover time, thus compressing the time between runs but increasing availability of lines. To accomplish this, it requires that as much of the changeover work as possible is done while the equipment is still running the previous parts on the previous SKU, before the actual changeover to the next SKU happens.

We can imagine the process that was implemented here as an ongo ing cycle of parts moving in and out of the central location. It’s easiest to begin to follow the cycle as the changeparts carts are coming back into the room after they’ve been removed from a machine and changed out for a different set. A set comes into the changeparts room, where the changeparts specialist rst inspect them for damage. In any bottling plant, there’s a lot of glass involved. Shattered glass can easily be em bedded in those parts. If nobody was looking out for embedded glass in the changeparts, and they were installed and run for an entire shift, that could spell trouble.

As another organizational feature of cart management, only one side of the two-sided T carts are used at any given time. One side is fully stocked with the new parts coming onto the machine, the other side is left empty, or blank, ready to accept the previous parts that are coming off the machine. A knock-on benefit here: there’s always a hanging spot available for both incoming and outgoing changeparts, and operators aren’t needing to bend down to place carts on the floor, which could become an ergonomic issue.

One traditional way to approach parts carts is by using A-frame-style transport carts (shaped like a capital A), but those take up a lot of space. Change Parts’ regional sales manager Steve Leedham and Roberge selected modular T-wall carts for this project. The difference is that T-wall carts (shaped like an inverted letter T) don’t flare outwards at the bottom like an A-frame, where parts residing there extend out wider than the base of the cart itself.

“Companies typically use shadow boards and A-frame carts. We didn’t have the budget or the room for this approach, since you’d need a football field to store all of the changeparts we have in that A-frame setup,” Roberge says. “Everything’s modular on these carts and walls. We’ve moved carts around walls probably seven to 10 times in two years, as molds have dropped off, been added, or been moved from one line to another. Really, modularity and flexibility have been the key to all of this, and that’s where Change Parts Inc. really delivered for us.”

STR project kicks off

Parallels from other industries include the culinary practice of mise en place, a process by which the ingredients are sliced, spices are mea sured, and pots and bowls chosen and arranged before a chef ever be gins cooking. An analogy that applies more broadly is laying out your more formal business attire the night before a big meeting, thereby taking the decision-making, time, and thinking out of getting dressed before a high-stress presentation.

Beam Suntory’s nine lines, organized into rollable cart sets and molds. They then identi ed a single, cross-functional team to manage, clean, repair, and if necessary, reorder the changeparts out of the central changeparts room. This was a big step away from the highly specialized but disparate operator teams that were intimately close to their own lines and processes, but much less so on other lines.

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The centralized changeparts system still uses lean and just-in-time (JIT) principles, and the parts needed for any changeover are still available at the time of the changeover, just as they previously were. The difference is they’re prepped and ready more thoroughly than they ever were before, thus facilitating faster, more successful changeovers.

“Through the new inspection process in the changeparts room, dedi cated parts operators are looking for broken or mangled or damaged parts that typical operators, who have bottling lines to be running, may not catch,” Swedersky says. “As they go through this process, the change parts operators see it, they can order the part, repair the part, whatever is required to get it ready to go back on the shelf.”

Cleaned, organized changepart racks in storage, prior to being deployed to their designated packaging line and lling application.

Along with an industrial washer, the Frankfort facility’s new change parts room also features a changeparts repair area, so the changeparts specialist can make repairs in the room versus moving parts to the shop at the other end of the site.

“There’s a person who’s back in the changeparts room looking at the bottling schedule every day to verify what sets will be needed for which lines,” Roberge says. “And though things sometimes change, they generally know what they’re running for the whole week, and they know when the changeovers are. So, if they know when a changeover is, then they can prep the carts with the correct changeparts—it could be 24 to 72 hours out, it just depends on the needs of the day. But even if that person running the changeparts room is not going to be in the fol lowing day, they can still prep the parts and ar range for the carts to get pushed out to the line.”

dustrial washer. In the beverage industry, a lot of these parts get sticky, and a lot of other manufacturers’ [changeparts storage systems that are dedicated to speci c] lines don’t allow for those parts to get routinely washed. They’re always on the line, so there’s not much chance for them to leave the line to go get cleaned.”

Under the previous system, operators were dedicated both to their machines’ operation and the many changeparts needed to keep the machines going. With the new system, a changeparts team is dedicated only to the changeparts. This brings the changeparts under a higher degree of scrutiny, and potential problems like embedded glass and damaged parts are more likely to be caught. This is both a scrap issue for bottles, labels, and corrugated cases and a safety issue for operators.

Labeled starwheels and other changeparts on a ller at Beam Suntory’s Frankfort location.

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“What that saves the operators is the rework of any broken parts, and also parts cleaning,” Swedersky says. “Damaged parts are a big problem in bottling lines, and nding it early and xing it before a changeover, not during, is a huge savings. More generally, operators know where the parts are, and the repairing, cleaning, and the downtime they’ve

Roberge says his results have been “great,” though he’s still nding ways to continuously improve them. Anecdotally, it’s a difference between chaos and order in his mind. By eliminating cabinets and old carts from the oor, Change Parts’ regional sales manager Steve Leedham and Roberge were able to re claim 1,200 sq ft of storage space on the bottling line—the size of a tennis court. This reclaimed space has been repurposed into functional spaces, like an easily accessible oil and lubrication area for which there previously wasn’t room.

Results of centralizationchangepartsproject

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With no closed, stationary cabinets, supervisors have much better

An operator replaces one of the many molds with con dence that the incoming parts are the right ones for the application, and are clean and free from defects.

saved from having parts that are in good working order, have been the biggest savings in this project. And everything is still centrally located. It’s visually identi ed via their tag ging system. So, all the lean principles are still there. It’s just, everybody thinks that lean only means parts being stored at point-of-use, not just ready at point-of-use. In practice, that was where a lot of the bad habits were hap pening, but not being seen or corrected.”

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• Broken discharge star causing chipping to bottles

visual management of their lines and people. It makes it easier for operators,

• Worn basket in case packer causing extensive breakage in same pocket

• Combined molds to form one set, caused tamper-evident band issues

“Before,too.there were parts on the line, but some lines had parts near the end of the line that were stored under the depalletizer at the front of the line,” says Roberge. “I paced that out, and round trip, it was 400 feet that an operator had to walk, dig through parts, nd the right cart, and then walk the whole thing all the way back to the front of the line.

All of this comes with a cost, Roberge adds, but those costs are easily made up over the long term by eliminating scrap, improving ergonomics, and reducing setup time.

Plastic changeparts like starwheels and timing screws are notorious for becoming embedded with shards of broken glass from previous bottle breaks, and this only leads to further scrap and product damage. With a changeparts department with dedicated stakeholders and access to an in-house machine shop, operators securely swap out well-maintained changeparts.

• Changeover delayed due to missing changeparts; pins for stars locked in a toolbox

Beyond simply improving the lives of operators during change overs, the regular, standardized maintenance and organization of changeparts has eliminated a range of issues. What follows were ex amples of typical issues experienced on the nine Frankfort packaging lines prior to the STR changepart reorganization:

All of this caused overtime among operators, case holds, delayed production, and even cases destroyed. These situations have all but been eliminated by this project.

“There was also a lot of downtime. For instance, a ller pro le would miss a changeover, and the delay was due to missing change parts. We’ve taken that away, and now when they need their parts, they’re clean, functional, and already there for the changeover.”

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• Improper back guide installed; parts not clearly marked

“At rst, people are resistant to change, but this project has really turned into a success. We’ve had great feedback from our operators,” Roberge concludes. “The pictures don’t do it justice, though. We’ve improved our organization. It’s dif cult to quantify the bene ts, but they’re obvious and undeniable as we engineer mistakes out of the process.” PW

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Speci c to the Bumble Bee facility in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., shrink lm was applied to build shrink bundle packs by a 25-year-old shrink overwrap machine that was on its last legs. The company couldn’t se cure good support for such an old model, and it was frequently causing downtime on the line.

The iconic Bumble Bee Tuna brand went through a highly publicized transformation in recent years, being led out of bankruptcy by thenCEO Jan Tharp in 2020. It emerged with a fresh brand identity, complete with an enterprise-wide commitment to sustainable practices. As a sea food company, it only makes sense to be a good steward of the ocean harvest you take to market, but this was no small undertaking. Read more about it at or visit to view a PDF of the company’s recent report: Seafood Future – 2022 Sustainability Impact and Progress Report

Bumble Bee now produces 5- and 7-oz cans of tuna in paperboard multipacks from 4-count to 12-count. The tallest, 10- and 12-count multipacks (shown on facing page), take advantage of an overhead squaring lug feature on the cartoner, which is helpful due to the cartons’ heights.

Chasing the bottleneck Ascendance of paperboard multipacks

Predictably, packaging came under scrutiny during this brand revo lution. At that point, multipacks for just about every brand and variety of canned seafood had long used robust, printed shrink bundling lm,

An enterprise-wide refocusing on sustainability pushed Bumble Bee Seafood to reinvent multipacking in a more readily recyclable paperboard format. The total secondary packaging substrate change was a Herculean engineering effort, centered around a “Rolls Royce” of a cartoner that could handle the speed and volume.

capable of tightly containing heavy cans of seafood in the formats we still see on retail shelves, like a 4x2 8-pack of 5-oz cans. Bumble Bee was no exception in using this pack style, since shrink bundling was (and continues to be) a capable method of multipack delivery that with stands the supply chain well. Bumble Bee’s most common formats were 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, and 12-pack cans, either 5- or 7-oz, interchangeably called shrink bundles or cluster packs.

By Matt Reynolds, Chief Editor

‘Queen Bee’ Cartoner Ushers Brand Out of Plastic Shrink, Into Paperboard Multipacks


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Former Bumble Bee SVP, Global Corporate Responsibility, Leslie Hushka added that multipack cartons can be displayed horizontally or vertically in a retail setting, mentioning that all the major retailers want to be able to display packages vertically to optimize shelf space.

“And we’re a bene ciary as well. Since [the paperboard carton] is readily recyclable, it meets our commitment to protect the ocean,” Tharp said. “And by protecting the ocean, we’re protecting people. Between us, our retail customers, and the end consumer, it’s a win-win-win.”

The paperboard isn’t just recyclable, it also incorporates post-con sumer recycled content to begin with, introducing circularity to the pack style.

Scan the QR code or visit to watch a three-minute video on the entire Bumble Bee project, or view several shorter clips of the “Queen Bee” Meridian XR MPS-300 cartoner from R.A Jones in action.

Flip to page 9 of this issue to read about the genesis of this article, from discussion over the summer of 2021, to a soft machine launch at PACK EXPO Las Vegas in the fall, to multiple FATs, to a cake dedication in early 2022, and nally to the cover of Packaging World ’s 2022 PACK EXPO International issue.


“We’ll be working with the R.A Jones team over time to get that as close to 100% as possible, and still get all the nice aesthetic qualities we get out of the package now,” Hushka said at the PACK EXPO Las Vegas Booth last year.

Since then, Bumble Bee awarded the paperboard converting contract to Malnove of Utah to supply the oneside printed carton blanks that run on

That was an internal, operational drawback to the shrink-bundling situation at Bumble Bee, but it was one that could be easily solved with investment in a new shrink bundler. A more enterprise-altering, con sumer-facing drawback? The lms aren’t readily recyclable.

“That brought us forward to this package, and our partnership with R.A Jones,” she continued. “When we decided to go to a paperboard carton, we realized it’s so much more than just a carton. When you look at the bene ciaries of this project, it’s the consumers rst. Aesthetically, a shrink bundle isn’t very pleasing, and it’s dif cult for a consumer to open. Also, our direct customers [retailers] will bene t. Nine out of 12 of our top customers have made commitments to getting into readily recyclable packaging, packages that are compostable, or packages that have increased their ability to be recycled instead of going to land ll. From a customer perspective, this new pack meets their needs.”

This second drawback was key since consumer perceptions around plastics were changing. Especially early in the sustainability revolution, this stemmed from perceptions around the threat of ocean plastics, and later evolved into a broader consumer desire for recyclability and cir cularity.“Westarted

looking at paperboard a couple of years ago as part of our Seafood Future Commitment,” former Bumble Bee CEO Jan Tharp told me at PACK EXPO Las Vegas last year. “In it, we talk about our pur pose of feeding people’s lives through the power of the ocean, and that means we have to protect and nurture the ocean. Because that’s one of our pillars, we want to make sure that when we are looking at our packaging, we want to be sure that the packages we’re producing are readily recyclable. For the most part, they are; 96% of our packaging is readily recyclable. But we want to keep that number moving forward to hit 100%.

the new cartoner. The new pack format began appearing on shelves in late spring of 2022.

and then marketing wants to change something and we’ve got to buy another piece of equipment. I’m thrilled that there’s exibility built into this machine, so we can grow with it.”

As mentioned previously, in 2019 Bumble Bee was probably nearly due for new equipment anyway. The older shrink bundling unit in Santa Fe Springs was causing downtime, so it was time to make a change. Facilities Engineering Manager Joe Carney was already investigating top-down shrink bundling, aiming at more of a sleever-style machine instead of an overwrapper, when paperboard rst emerged as a possibility from corporate.

New equipment for a new direction

“We knew it was time to get a new unit. The upstream equipment wasn’t new per se, but the shrink bundler was de nitely the bottleneck and it had to be replaced,” says Brett Butler, VP/GM. “But the decision to go to a recycled paperboard unit, that was a whole new venture for us here at the facility. But with legacy equipment nearing the end of its life, and both our own leadership and our customers push ing for more sustainable options—Costco, one of our primary customers, had re cently made this commitment—we asked ourselves, ‘Is this a time to make a change here? Can we move away from plastic?’”

The Meridian cartoner resides at the heart of the paperboard multipack operations in Santa Fe. Understanding the impact of the shift away from plastic, operators and machinists would affectionately name the cartoner the “Queen Bee.” Read more on employee engagement around the machine on page 9.

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It was a tight t installing the full cartoning system—including the standard Meridian frame and the downstream Nercon and Intralox components—at the center of three parallel tracks of product travel. But it all came together, from product and paperboard carton infeeds (center) to 180-deg turn after laning, within 1⁄4 of an inch in a condensed space thanks to extensive pre-engineering and CAD work.

“R.A Jones was forward-thinking in having more exibility in ma terials,” Tharp told me at PACK EXPO Las Vegas. “For instance, what if we wanted to downgauge that material? What if there’s a paperboard material that comes out that we didn’t even know existed? A lot of what they did on this piece of equipment was take into consideration ul timate exibility. And when you talk to CPGs, that’s our number one issue with OEMs—we spend a lot of capital on a piece of equipment,

Given the unique intersection of cir cumstances and trends, Carney in late 2019 pivoted from his search for shrink






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Inability to meet speed requirements vetted out quite a few of the original 14 potential vendors at the

“But I checked with all of the equipment vendors that I’d dealt with in the past, and none of them made carton machines,” Carney says. “Brett [Butler] and I discussed it, and he pointed me in the direction of PMMI. I used the PMMI website to get a list of carton machine manufacturers and got to an initial list of 14 vendors, and we went from there.”

“One of the bigger hurdles I anticipated was get ting a new unit that would be able to turn and orient the new cartons uniformly from a single-lane machine into that three-lane conveyor at the outfeed,” Carney says. “Nobody made a dual or triple-lane out [feed].”

Also, the legacy shrink bundling equipment was three-up, meaning its output was three separate bun dles of a given format, each into a lane of its own. A bump/turner assembly oriented the bundles, and they lined up perfectly into three outfeed lanes.

“Because we weren’t accustomed to cartoning, we had to nd out if there were even machines available that could keep up with our speeds. How many ma chines would we need? We only had limited space in our facility,” Butler says.

XTS: Agile transport for asynchronous packaging

Vendor selection factors


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sleeve OEMs to begin to seek out cartoner suppliers. He had a checklist of criteria to qualify for consideration. The primary driver was being able to run printed, recycled-content paperboard cartons that could be readily recyclable. Beyond that, Carney sought an OEM partner that could deliver equivalent line speed to the legacy equipment [pushing 300 multipacks/min for smaller formats] and deliver good changeover characteristics to be able to handle a lot of different SKUs and formats.

Manufacturers around the world need to offer increasingly customized products – with machines that deliver reduced footprint and improved productivity. The eXtended Transport System (XTS) from Beckhoff answers these machine design challenges and more. In combination with PC- and EtherCAT-based control technology, the XTS features a high level of design freedom for machine builders to develop game-changing concepts for product transport, handling and assembly. A stainless steel hygienic XTS version is ideal for use in the pharmaceutical and food industries. Take your next step in machine design with XTS: total freedom of installation position compact design integrates directly into machinery freely selectable track geometries few mechanical parts and system components NE XTSTEP The XTS advantage 30–50% reduction in machine footprint embed XTS directly into machines configure for any track geometry install flat, vertical or at angles repeat or stack XTS tracks Scan and learn all about the XTS: Visit Beckhoff in booth S-3882! 74 PW SEP2022

In an unforeseeable wrinkle, this selection process overlapped the onset of the pandemic in 2020. This meant a late-emerging differentiator was nding a partner that could meet both service and operational needs when travel limitations and facility shutdowns were occurring.

“One of the bigger reasons that Brett and I decided to go with R.A Jones was that they already had an in-market machine doing the same size can, stacked four high, for a pet food application,” Carney says of the nal decision. “So they were already handling the stacked can.”

Infeed of 5-oz and 7-oz canned and glue-applied labeled product into the cartoner at the Santa Fe, Calif. Bumble Bee facility. Note the layout of three parallel tracks, with product rst entering the space and feeding the cartoner on the center track. After product is cartoned and laned, it turns sharply 180 deg, carrying product downstream while parallel to the cartoner. Product then takes another, wider 180-deg turn around the cartoner, and nally travels parallel to the previous two tracks again for tray packing.

In Carney’s experience, stacked cans can prove problematic. Bumble Bee’s legacy shrink bundler, for instance, had issues with the stacks fall ing over prior to bundling, or sometimes even during bundling, thanks to nesting issues with the cans. The in-market pet food application proved to Carney that the R.A Jones equipment had solved for that problem.

Acc-U-Change and other custom features

in R.A Jones’ favor for Butler and Carney was the Acc-U-Change system that was available on the Meridian XR MPS-300.

“But we change sizes on that machine four to six times a day, and we’ll run only a few thousand cases on our smaller runs. Our larger runs are only six or eight thousand cases. That means a lot of changeovers,” Carney says. “On the older shrink bundling machine, we had gone through the process of center-lining; put ting marks on the machine where everything’s supposed to be set given each different size. With the Acc-U-Change system on the Meridian XR MPS-300 cartoner, the machine self-centerlines. Operators have to set it within speci c tolerances, or the machine won’t run. It was an optional feature and a cost add-on, but it has been very bene cial.”

“Another reason we liked R.A Jones was because, in the past, they had integrated a Nercon accelerator unit at the discharge of their ma chine with an Intralox turner/diverter unit that would take the singleunit cartons coming out, turn them lengthwise, and then divert them into the lanes evenly. We have the machine set now so that it diverts three into each row, and it alternates between the three rows as the line runs. [R.A Jones] had already proven they could integrate that equip

force. For Bumble Bee, an additional level of complexity comes from frequent changeovers and format changes. Each case holds six mul tipack cartons. That’s true whether the carton is a 4-pack of cans or 12-pack of cans. All cases hold six cartons, and the case format is that of an overwrapped tray.

outset, and four early favorites quickly emerged. Of those four, only two were able to propose a single-machine solution to accommodate the speeds of nearly 285-300 cartons/minute speeds for 5-oz can 4-packs. The existing space constraints in the facility made a single machine the preferred route, leaving two quali ed, nal candidates. R.A Jones’ Meridian XR MPS-300 won out in the end as the cartoner of choice.

Manufacturing in general is straining to replace a quickly retiring workforce, weather the post-pandemic “Great Resignation,” and nd and retain capable equipment operators in a tight labor market. Bumble Bee is no exception, but don’t just take their word for it. Ken VonderHaar, Global Director, Can Division at Anheuser- Busch, tells us on page 26 that his main requirement from OEM partners in machine design is simplic ity and intuitiveness to accommodate a younger, less experienced work

Within the Acc-U-Change system, every changepart carries RFID in formation. When each changepart is swapped out, the platform reads

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ment into the standard units, on the discharge on their machines. And they did the integration for our own machine with the Nercon and In tralox modules; when we were there for the FATs, everything was set up andThefunctioning.”nalfactor

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changeover perspective, the process on any R.A Jones machine remains largely the same whether it has the Acc-U-Change feature or not, just with the added measure of validated assuredness. The real gains come in the ensuing startup, which can be said to be a vertical startup. There’s no time wasted dialing the machine in, and potentially creating waste and scrap as an operator hones the machine into spe ci c tolerances and slowly speeds it up to maximum capacity. Even upper management was impressed by Acc-U-Change, given the current labor market. As then-CEO Tharp told me at PACK EXPO Las Vegas last year, “The labor component is an important element of this story. We’re struggling to get labor, both skilled and unskilled. But when you look at some of the design elements that went into this machine, they made it easy so that we can have machine operators who bullet-proof the machine. We don’t need a maintenance person with a Harvard

Another unique optional feature on this custom Meridian XR MPS300 system is an overhead squaring lug to accommodate to the heights of the taller cartons. That was originally an option, but in the end, it became a necessity because the 10- and 12-pack cartons are so high, the overhead squaring lug is required to keep a carton straight while the cans are loaded. The existing carton lugs are about 6-in. tall, so 4-, 6-, and 8-pack cartons run without the need of the overhead. But the tallest cartons extend above 6 in., so they need the overhead assistance.

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Read thatTexasanotheraboutCPG,Lighthouse.Thisnon-prothelpsemploytheblindisalsotakingadvantageoftheAcc-U-Changesystem.

“It’s an elegant solution,” Patrick Costello, Director, Strate gic Systems Engineering at Bumble Bee says of the air assist system. “It de nitely moved the carton-opening bottleneck elsewhere.”

the RFID to nd out whether or not it’s the correct changepart for the recipe indicated, and if it’s installed correctly. A red light/green light or “go/no-go” system indicates to operators if that change part is good to go. The system also features a mobile touchscreen tablet to assist the operator. The platform simply will not allow the machine to start back up until every change part is validated as a go. An operator like ly wouldn’t be tempted to even try unless all the lights are green, validating that all the right parts are locked into the correct

Bumble Bee also opted for an air-assist carton opener. The paperboard cartons are input into the system as at folded blanks, mechanically picked out of a magazine, that need to be opened and loaded with stacked cans. There’s a mechani cal arm that accomplishes that, but a pair of air knives help to pop the cartons open and limit the number of incomplete carton-opening cycles due to inconsistences in the die-cut pa perboard itself. At up to 300 cartons/minute, this is essential.

MBA to do changeovers. Acc-U-Change is a huge bene t to us. Honestly, it’s color-coded, so I could probably do it; I could probably go in and do a changeover on the machine. That’s huge when you think about address ing the key issues affecting CPGs, and labor being chief among them.”


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“It took a couple of days to get all the catch points sorted out,” Car ney adds. “The lane dividers were already there, we just had to move them, realign them, and make sure there were no joints or spots that a square corner would catch between two dividers.”

Printed paperboard cartons are erected from magazines of 2D blanks by way of mechanical gripers, plus an “elegant” airassist erecting feature to ensure the cartons fully open.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Fitting the full carton ing system, including the standard Meridian frame and the downstream Nercon and the Intralox components, was close, but it all came together within 1 4 of an inch in a condensed space. Today, Butler laughs about how that worked out, with practically no room to spare. But the early engineering and planning between Carney and R.A Jones’ Tom Kinnett, with help from conveyor supplier Arrowhead, proved spot on.

Rockwell and Allen Bradley controls are used for all control logic on the equipment installation, including the infeed to control backpres sure on the Meridian XR MPS-300, and the discharge to control back pressure on the Standard Knapp unit.

“I’ve only been with Bumble Bee a little over a year, and it’s really astonishing the level of accuracy, and it’s a tribute to Joe [Carney] and Tom Kinnett at R.A Jones in leading that charge. The machine would t, but all the dimensioning was through the conveyor systems. It was pretty amazing how well it worked out.”

“It t exactly in the space we had,” Carney says.

empty space since their can contents are cylin drical. That led to some corner crushing issues until the optimal backpressure could be sorted.

“We added some additional photo eyes to the system to give us some more nite control, and that solved the problem,” Costello says. “That was something where we had to nd a sweet spot to maintain backpressure, but still keep the carton corner intact.”

Another full-line consideration came by way of the multipack dimen sions themselves. Shrink bundled lm tightly hugs the cylindrical sea food cans, making for a rounded corner shape in the multipacks. Cartons are cubes with pointed right angles at the corners. This difference was most noticeable at the downstream Standard Knapp tray packers.

Yet another consideration ahead of the tray packers involved lanewidth readjustments that were necessary on conveyors to account for both the square corners on the cartons and the new width—paper board is thicker than shrink lm, so it added a small but signi cant width to the multipacks.

After trimming a little bit off the discharge after the turner/divider and laner, everything bolted together to within a quarter to a half an inch.”

Tweaking the line to accommodate a ‘pointier’ format

The tray packers also require a certain amount of backpressure to operate. A little spare backpressure wasn’t a problem in the previous format since the shrink lm adheres tightly to the rounded corners of the rigid cans. But the corners of the paperboard cartons are lled with

“I had to remove the existing infeed and dynamic transfer, and I worked with Arrowhead to build and install a new dynamic transfer on the main feed conveyor. There previously was a ‘Y’ section with a diverter that used to take the cans off the main conveyor [for loose can runs, product not being multipacked], or it would divert the cans over to the shrink bundler [for multipacks]. It was about four or ve feet farther forward up the line from the main conveyor, so it needed to be removed to get the infeed space we needed. R.A Jones had their set of CAD drawings, and Arrow head had their own, but we combined the two, managed the offsets, and everything lined up.

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Costello, an engineer who came in late to the project, long after the CAD plans were made, marvels at the t.

“We had to put in a changepart kit with lifting lugs on it in the grouper pin area,” Carney says. “That’s because we run loose product and loose stacks on that line as well. The grouper pins wouldn’t work with the cartons because of the square corner, so in advance, Standard Knapp had built that changepart kit for us and did the conversion on the tray packers for us while we were setting up the cartoner.”

“Because this was a new item that Bumble Bee was introducing, we made the decision not to have any overhang,” Butler says. “We did a full-scale change of what our expectation was on the pallet con gura tion of the carton size. Bumble Bee made that change to make sure that overhang isn’t an issue. We’re working now with customers to see we if we can actually get more cases per pallet by adding an overhang back, since that’s what we’ve done before. We’re working with them to gradually get back to that overhang, at this point, to pack more cartons in.”

Downstream of the Meridian XR MPS-300 (upper right middle), operators attend to the lane guardrails at the point of a 180-deg turn on the line after cartoned product is laned.

Ascending the learning curve

Between the Meridian (center) and the turn (beneath the frame in this image) is an integrated accelerator unit at the cartoner discharge, and a turner/diverter unit that takes the single-unit cartons, turns them lengthwise, and then diverts them evenly into three lanes (lower right). After the turn (left, vertical), product moves parallel to the line toward tray packing.

Bumble Bee had been to no fewer than three FATs in Covington, Ky. for this machine. Over the course of those tests, R.A Jones had proven

Finally, there were modi cations necessary to the pallet patterns. The tray size had had to get slightly bigger to accept the wider cartons, changing the pallet pattern overhang quite a bit.

Like any complex line integration, the early days of the installation weren’t without their share of heartburn as operators ascended a steep learn ing curve. Butler planned for this honeymoon phase by building out plenty of extra product stock in the months leading up to the installation. He also built planned dips in production into the schedule, with lower case volume output planned during the installation. Plus, in a pinch, there was also a backup cartoner option onsite. It was simple and ran at very slow speeds, but it was available as the team learned the new Meridian XR MPS-300 machine, and essentially, a whole new packaging line

change and that we’re moving from shrink bundling to a cartoner, there was some extensive work that was done,” Costello says. “From all the conveyance to the tray packer modi cations that needed to be done downstream, and palletizer changes as well, there was a lot of change. Then, like Joe [Carney] mentioned, one of the big challenges was being able to rotate the cartons and lane them and at speeds to 200 to 300 cartons per minute on some of the formats.”

“Anytimeformat. that you’re taking a brand-new ma chine and integrating legacy upstream and down stream equipment, there are going to be challeng es. Especially given that we’re doing a full format

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Watch a short Packaging World booth video from PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2021, where R.A Jones’ CTO Jeff Wintring walks us through the Meridian XR MPS-300 system in a live demo.




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Cartoned product is oriented and laned after outfeed from the cartoner.

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out the Meridian’s capability for comparable changeover times to the legacy shrink bundling sys tem, plus an operating ef ciency of 97% and saleable product ef ciency of 99.75%. Since the FATs demonstrated that the machine could hit these marks, Carney had no problem being able to tell his operators that they were expected to do the same. Once the Meridian XR MPS-300 was up and running in Sante Fa Springs, guring out the changeovers—even with Acc-U-Change—presented another learning curve. They’ve since gotten up to speed.

“One thing we’ve requested from R.A Jones was an estimated changeover time, and we made them prove that to us at one of the FATs, that we could actually change the machine over in the timeframe that they stated the machine could be changed over,” Carney says. “So we had a realis tic expectation for the time it would take for our operators and mechanics to do the changeovers. Our people had to get used to the machine, of course, and they struggled with changeovers at rst. The [times were] extended at the beginning, but right now, they’ve had enough experience on the line to the point where they’re hitting those estimated times.”

Changeover is now at the FAT-estimated time of between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on the differences between outgoing and incumbent pack format, and how many parts really need be changed. The time is about three to ve minutes longer than changeovers on the legacy shrink bundling equipment, but given the complete substrate change, it’s hard to compare apples to apples.“Ittook us a few weeks after the machine was installed to get ourselves to that point. There was some training and coordination between departments, especially between operations and maintenance,” Butler adds. “In changeovers, those two departments become a single entity. It took coordination and a team approach to get the formats to changeover more ef ciently.”

As the teams settled into their processes, Costello says that’s when he could see the emergent advantages of the Acc-U-Change system, especially in its repeatability. Even though the physical act of changing over might take a little longer, the time previously needed for ramping up and dialing in is nearly eliminated in the vertical startup. Acc-U-Change quickly runs through 74 dry cycles, with no product or paperboard (so zero scrap), after a changeover to validate changeparts are correct and in working order. That guarantees a so called “0 to 60” startup on changeover.

“A lot of times, even after a changeover is completed, there are additional adjustments that need to be made, tweaks and things like that, to get a machine ready to run. That’s even after the physical parts have been switched out,” Costello says. “That’s where we’ve seen a big bene t. Whenever we actually complete the changeover, there’s very minimal additional adjustments that are needed to hit our target speeds.”

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For Butler, the success of the project only moves the continuous improvement ball down the eld, and highlights another bottleneck to tackle next. But that’s a good thing.

“On the smaller packs, the four-packs, the equipment isn’t only meeting our speed goals. It looks like there’s potential for it to surpass them and go even faster. Since it’s not the bottleneck anymore, it’s making us look at other facets of the line to see if we can get that speed increased. Now the worry isn’t multipacking operations, the worry is what can we do on the rest of our equipment to make sure we’re get ting the most speed that we can. It’s a good problem to have.” PW

Bumble Bee’s full carton line today

Easy-to-use with unique hardware and software interface for trouble-free operations.

A QA inspection of the packed tray, with or without overwrap, oc curs thereafter, and passing trays are then inclined up overhead to a Matthews palletizer. Corner boards are placed around the cartons dur ing palletization, preventing the slick paperboard nish from sliding on the pallet during the pallet-wrap process. Stretch wrapping occurs on an Orion Packaging Systems stretch wrapper, and nally, pallets are discharged to await shipping.

via Peco InspX equipment is next, with no need for coding and marking since the cans are coded prior to, or at the point of, retort. Another small amount (10 to 12 ft) of accumulation occurs ahead of a can stacker by Arrowhead. The stacker is capable of stacking 5-oz cans up to six-high, or 7-oz cans up to four-high. Those discharge into another accumulation station, after which product can either en ter the Meridian XR MPS-300 cartoner, or be diverted past the cartoner to the tray packers in the case of running loose cans, tray-packed with overwrap.Having been cartoned in the R.A Jones machine, then turned and laned on the Nercon and Intralox equipment respectively, product turns 180 deg and is conveyed parallel to the infeed, then turned again downstream to the Standard Knapp tray packer. Depending on the cus tomer requirement, it may then undergo plastic overwrap. Carney says the cartons t snuggly into the trays, but some retail customers still want the extra insurance of plastic overwrap. The overwrapper and heat tunnel are modular sections of the Standard Knapp tray packers, so they can be engaged when needed, or more commonly left unused as product runs through without overwrap or heat being applied.

“We’re working with our customers to see if we can do away with the plastic overwrap,” Butler says. “It adds extra plastic unnecessarily (even though the stretch wrap is able to be recycled by the retailers prior to putting on shelves), and it’s more equipment that could cause extra downtime on the line.”

Read more at or contact us at

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The RI20 palletizing cell with an industrial robot arm simplifies all the complex processes of a traditional Thepalletizer.palletizer is compact, mobile and adapts easily to production changes, whether for a new recipe or a different line location. The unit is suitable for palletizing closed boxes, up to 15 kg and 12 cycles/min.

FlexLink is of Coesia, a industrial and packaging solutions companies operating globally, headquartered in Bologna, Italy.

Designed to palletize with consistent quality and precision

The packaging line at the Santa Fe Springs begins with lled, seamed, brightstock cans of seafood being introduced to the packag ing line via one of two different style baskets coming off of a lowerator. One is a round “jumble” basket, where product is “jumble loaded” off of the infeeding lowerator. This is primarily for the 5-oz generic prod ucts. The other is more of a square, busse-style basket in which cans are layered and separated by a divider sheet. The latter basket format tends to be used for 12-oz products and the 7-oz premium products.

BOOTH S-2501

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Regardless of entry basket, all product then is introduced to a small mass accumulation table that acts as a buffer ahead of two parallel P.E. Labellers. Each places glue-applied labels on the brightstock at 1,000X-raycans/min.detection


It’s always fun to follow fast-growing new consumer brands as they level-up on their packaging technology. Just three years ago, Packaging World rst reported on packaging operations at Zenni Optical, a chal lenger eyeglass brand with a unique Direct to Consumer (D2C), e-commbased business model.

with low entry prices. The entry price for prescription glasses is $6.95, with select styles on the higher end of the scale at $49.95. Children’s glasses begin at $6.95 and go up to $45.95.

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Zenni’s New Robot Trims Five Human Tasks to Two

Back in in 2019, semi-automatic poly baggers from both PAC Ma chinery and Sharp Packaging Systems by Pregis were the latest and greatest in packaging tech at Zenni’s San Francisco Bay-Area ful llment center, and that equipment is still going strong.

The project will automate the ‘last meter’ of Zenni’s ful llment center in Novato, Calif. Three OSARO robotic bagging systems will take on the re sponsibility of readying eyewear orders for shipment to U.S. customers.

What we thought deserved an update has been the company’s re cent plunge into robotics and its announced partnership with OSARO, a robotics developer that deploys advanced robotics for e-commerce.

By Matt Reynolds, Chief Editor

Phased automation Automated tool changeover

Zenni Optical customers create custom D2C eyeglass orders via an online platform (above). Orders are delivered direct to consumers’ doorsteps using the e-comm channel. The project will optimize the use of an OSARO pick-and-place robot (right) to perform a complex task that demands visual acuity, precision, and dexterity. Deploying robots to handle Zenni’s e-commerce processing mitigates labor turnover and staff shortages.


Packaging operations at popular D2C brand and platform Zenni Optical are getting a boost from a six-axis robotic arm designed to pack eyeglass cases into poly bag mailers in the place of repetitive labor, cutting human operator tasks by more than half.

The company was born in 2003 when its founders identi ed the out landish difference between manufacturing cost and unit price among existing prescription eyewear channels and sought to inhabit an as-ofyet unoccupied niche. The result was a volume supported D2C model

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Three OSARO robotic bagging systems will take on the responsibility of readying eyewear orders for shipment to Zenni’s U.S. customers.

Prior to the packaging equipment, that constituted a total of nine steps—nine discrete tasks an operator needed to accomplish, correctly and in a certain order, to successfully send out an order. Once Zenni switched over to use the poly bagging packaging equipment, the com pany reduced required human labor to only ve steps per order. Now

According OSARO, the deployment is the rst time a robot will be assigned the responsibility of working with an automated mechanical bagging system to ensure a customer’s unique order is placed into the correct bag for shipment. OSARO has partnered with Pregis, who already has bagging equipment in the Zenni facility, to deploy the robotic solu tion. According to Zenni, OSARO’s superior vision and grasping technology enables the robot to rise to the challenge of this piece-picking task, which is important to the company since each eyeglass order is associ ated with a customer’s prescription.

Goh is a numbers guy, and his personal metrics for continuous im provement and building ef ciency into a process revolve around re ducing friction and reducing the number of steps needed to before an operator starts using the packaging machine.

be bagged and labeled correctly to ensure they are sent to the right customer,” adds Derik Pridmore, CEO of OSARO. “Our extensive experi ence in other e-commerce production environments, coupled with our machine-learning capabilities, enables our robotic bagging system to meet customer production targets and to deploy workers onto more important tasks.”

Watch a video of OSARO’s end-toend automated bagging solution, which can pack and ship more than 350 parts per hour.

Goh has always had his antennae up for new packaging automation, hence the addition of poly baggers three years ago. But when he looked at his packaging equipment eet, it still bugs him that he was only able to automate away about half of the human labor tasks needed to get an order out, from the time when they were fully manual.

“We are focused on quality and innovation,” says Simon Goh, Direc tor of Distribution and Facilities at Zenni, which has surpassed 45 mil lion pairs of eyeglasses sold over 19 years of growth. “With a mountain of online orders and a persistent shortage of labor, we looked to OSARO to take us to the leading edge of technology to be sure our customers receive fast and accurate processing.”

“The stakes are high here: special-order, high-value items that must

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The project will optimize the use of a pick-andplace robot to perform a complex task that demands visual acuity, precision, and dexterity. Zenni has a team of workers capable of handling 10 orders per minute and accuracy is key to making sure that the right order gets to the right customer. Deploying robots to handle e-commerce processing also mitigates labor turnover and staff shortages that are challenges in the rapidly growing e-commerce ful llment sector.

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“We are not actually saving money at this point, but we see the cost of technology going down over time. And then labor cost has been going up every year,” Goh says. “I think it’s a breaking-even point right now, so that’s the time to switch to this technology and it can only get more cost effective from here.”


with this OSARO robotic cell, he expects to reduce human tasks down to only two steps. But at Zenni’s workow speeds, this tech wasn’t ready for prime time until recently.“Weintend to bring it all the way to full automation,” he says. “So, we never stop looking; we always check out the new technology every year. But three years ago, the technology wasn’t ready. I saw robotic solutions in the past, and everything was so slow; it just couldn’t keep up with our speed requirements. But every year, I check. And we have bagging machines from Sharp Packaging Systems, who is working with OSARO, too. Sharp make the introduction, OSARO came here to visit us, and we realized how far the technology had Crunchingcome.”the ROI numbers, Goh’s cost calculation re ected that the OSARO robotic installation would hit a break-even point when compared to the existing, cost of human labor performing ve steps at speed. Zenni could do it either way—with people or with robotics—and still spend the about same amount. But the cost of labor is pointed up, and the cost of technology is pointed down, so the break-even point for Goh was the time to strike and make a move. And as robotics manufacturers like to point out, a robot never takes a sick day or a vacation.

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“We knew we needed an integrator like OSARO for this kind of project anyhow, because we cannot program a robot to do what we need to do, so there’s no way we can work directly with the robot manufacturer,” Goh says. “And OSARO is a company where the



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From ve steps to two

With the robots being deployed in October of 2022, nothing has changed at Zenni, at least not yet. Under the current system, each on line order generates a pair of eyeglasses to be manufactured and associated with a barcode in China, then shipped to the Zenni facility in No vato. Each morning, operators open their ship ment of freshly manufactured glasses, scan the bar codes, and begin completing the order. This involves rst placing the glasses in a protective case, then closing the case and placing in a poly bag via one of the PAC Machinery or Sharp Pack aging Systems baggers.

speed and the accuracy is pretty impressive, so it made sense. They can pack our cases with the accuracy, the position, and the speed we require for our operation. Also, the Sharp baggers are actually integrated with the OSARO robots, and also our software, too.”

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“Right now the ve steps are handled by a human operator,” Goh says. “But when we deploy the robot, we will have an operator to put the eyeglasses inside a case, and then put the cases into a bin. But then, the robot will work with the bagger, a Sharp

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MaxPro-18, to take care of the other three steps… actually, that’s now four steps, because we are adding more marketing material into the packaging. So actually the robot is going to take care of one more step


Zenni and Simon Goh (right), about underway with Bryan Yong, a Senior Solutions Engineer at the AI robotics Francisco Robot


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The robot used for this application is a six-axis robotic arm that op erates with a tool changer kit, built by OSARO, carrying different vacu um-based end effectors for optimal gripping geometry.

that our human operators never had to do before.”

Robot specs and changeover

Once the eyeglasses are loaded into cases and collected in batches in bins, the robot will pick up each protective case and carry it to a dimensional scanner, to identify each order by barcode.

Notably, Zenni sometimes co-markets with aligned brands—for in stance with meal kit producers like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. Zenni

“This robot actually can change the [end effector] head, and the changing speed is really fast,” Goh adds. “The robot has the vision to see what’s in the bins. It determines what kind of material it needs to pick up, and it selects the head that is best for picking up that kind of material.”

“We chose the Fanuc six-axis model M10iD/12 robot arm because it had the greatest reach with the smallest footprint and plenty of payload capacity to effectively operate in a robotic bagging system cell,” says Bryan Yong, Senior Solutions Engineer at OSARO. “It also integrates eas ily with our vision and control software.”

also has its own marketing materials and value-adds for customers. For instance, the company includes a pupil distance [PD] ruler for consum ers to check their unique distance from pupil to pupil, a distance that maps onto and determines the t of their glasses. The robot will have a mechanism to drop this kind of marketing material into the poly bag. All told, that’s four distinct steps that human operators don’t have to do.

Poly bagged mailers with shipping labels are then dropped onto a conveyor belt for an operator to collect and prepare for mailing. Goh and Zenni are considering adding another conveyor belt to consolidate all of the ready-to-ship packs, have them dropped into a post of ce container.

“Once the barcode is scanned, a shipping label will be printed by the packaging equipment and the robot will drop the case with glasses into the [poly] bags. And then there will be some mechanism to drop a few marketing materials, like inserts,” Goh says.

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At the moment, the Zenni eyeglass cases being picked and bagged by the end-of-arm tool will all be made of the same case material. That said, marketing material substrates to be co-bagged with the eyeglass cases will certainly vary. Also, perhaps the brand may shift to a limited run special offer with another case style or material. Or, down the road, Zenni may launch a differently dimensioned SKU for eyeglass cases de signed to carry two pairs of glasses, or sunglass clip-ons alongside pre scription glasses. If (or when) any of these occasions occur, the robotic cell will have tool-changing capabili ties already on board.

Read Packaging World ’s 2019 article on edgling Zenni Optical, an upstart D2C eyewear company looking for packaging automation.

“Even with this new installation, we still need a hu man to pack the eyeglasses into a case. And this is still about two steps. If there’s a way, I really want to auto mate that piece also,” Goh says. “We are doing this au tomation phase by phase. We started as fully manual, progressed to half automated, and now are almost 80 or 90% automated. One day we will be 100%.” PW

What’s next

“From my perspective, what OSARO is doing that makes them stand out is the speed,” Goh says. “Be cause I know that other robots can do the same thing, but just when I look at their speed, it wasn’t that good. But OSARO, they can do it. The vision equipment and software can see the style, and determine what kind of material and also the way they’re designed, they can actually pick anything with the right tool. So the speed is making the difference.”

With increasing demand for D2C eyeglasses by Zenni, continuous improvement always on his mind, and labor getting scarcer and more expensive, Goh is already thinking about his next forays into automation.


“But what’s impressive with the robot is that it changes [the end-of-arm tool] on the y,” Goh says. “And it takes only about maybe one or two seconds. The robot will determine the next tool each time. It simply goes to the tool changer, picks the right tool, and then it will do it again for the next pick. I mean, I saw quite a lot of robots at trade shows over the years, like PACK EXPO Las Vegas in 2019, and it took a long time for the robot to determine what tool to use. But when I was visiting OSARO, I could see that this robot can swap out up to about 10 different tool heads, all designed for different kinds of material. Just pick, change your head, bag your next product, then do it again. It’s very good, and very fast.”

But what’s impressive with the robot is that it changes [the end-of-arm tool] on the y. And it takes only about maybe one or two seconds.

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The result for its agship brand Nivea has been a urry of new packaging formats and products over just the past two years. Among them is the rst 100% post-consumer recycled-content aluminum aerosol can and a new aerosol valve technology that reduces emissions and extends the product’s use. Another is a reusable, re llable packaging system for hand soap. Two other new packages—a plastic jar made from bio-based material and a lightweighted bottle for shower gel that includes 96% recycled material—reduce Nivea’s use of virgin plastic. And, lest we forget paper, in 2021, Nivea replaced a laminated carton with one embellished with transfer metallization that allows for recyclability.

Beginning in May 2021, Beiersdorf began collaborating with Swiss aluminum can company Nussbaum

rating with Swiss aluminum can company

Overall, the company has committed to rethe most ambitious targets in the industry. As concerns

While much of the packaging used for Nivea’s skin care products, which include body and face lotions and creams, lip care products, body wash, and sunscreen, among others, is made from plastic, packaging for its deodorant and shaving gel products also includes aluminum formats, in particular for the aerosol spray formulations.


Like a number of other Consumer Packaged Goods brands with similarly daunting goals, Beiersdorf is employing a number of packaging technologies and strategies, falling under the what the company calls the “4R approach”—Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, and Replace—to make its packaging more sustainable.

Overall, the company has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2025 (versus base year 2018), which it says is among the most ambitious targets in the industry. As concerns its product packaging, Beiersdorf has made a number of commitments around the focus area of “Fully Circular Resources.” This includes reducing its use of fossil-based virgin plastic by 50% by 2025 (versus base year 2019); increasing the use of recycled material in its plastic packaging to 30% by 2025 (versus 2019); and making 100% of its packaging re llable, reusable, or recyclable by 2025.

Beiersdorf uses the 4R approach—Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, and Replace—to develop a number of industry-first packages for its flagship personal care brand, Nivea, to support its sustainability goals and a circular economy.

Nivea Pursues Circular Packaging from Every Angle

Matzingen AG to develop the rst aerosol can made from 100% post-consumer recycled aluminum in an effort to reduce the CO2 footprint of its aerosol cans.


For a brand known for its iconic blue branding, Nivea is looking quite green these days. Over the last two years, a number of products belonging to the personal care brand have undergone signi cant transformations—some of them industry rsts—to reduce the carbon footprint of both their formulas and their packaging. It’s all part of Hamburg, Germany-based parent company Beiersdorf’s Care Beyond Skin sustainability agenda, which lays out ambitious goals under three areas, the Environment, Society, and the Consumer, to foster a circular economy and a climate-positive future.

bio-based material and a lightweighted bottle for show-

“Humanity is facing a growing amount of environmental and societal challenges, and the urgency, especially for global companies, to act and to contribute to a positive change, has never been higher,” says Beiersdorf. “We formulated our corporate purpose—Care Beyond Skin—and with this, put our existing self-understanding into words. It states very clearly that we see our responsibility as going far beyond our core business of skin care.”

First to market with a 100% PCR aluminum aerosol bottle

By Anne Marie Mohan, Senior Editor

100% PCR aluminum can Reusable packaging Bioplastic packaging Recycled PET

In an interview with Aerosol Europe, Nussbaum CTO Markus Tomasini explained that there were several challenges to overcome in producing the 100% PCR aluminum alloy. This included ensuring the safety of the pressurized aluminum can, as until recently, the required strength could only be reached by using aluminum slugs containing at least 99.5% virgin aluminum. Another hurdle was nding enough recycled aluminum material, as, he shared, “only 20% of the global aluminum demand may be covered by recycled material.” And last, even

paper, in 2021, Nivea replaced a laminated carton with one embellished with transfer

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Furthermore, Alban Bourcier, Packaging Expert Deo & Aerosols, Beiersdorf, shares that with the re cently launched Nivea Men deodorants and Nivea Men shaving gels in 100% PCR aluminum, the company will eliminate approximately 1,660 tons of virgin alumi num in 2022.

Along with the use of 100% PCR aluminum, Nivea also lightweighted the new aerosol can for a further reduction in GHGs. According to Beiersdorf, compared to the former aluminum cans used for its Nivea spray deodorants, Nucan-PCR delivers a 28% decrease in CO2 emissions, without any loss in quality. “For the shav ing gel aluminum cans, the CO2 emissions could be reduced by even 35%,” it adds.

paper waste is returned to collection points for recycling. Nussbaum presses the aluminum scrap and converts it into slugs using the impact extrusion process it typically employs for its standard cans.

In another rst on the aerosol front, in December 2021 Beiersdorf also announced the introduction of a new valve technology for aluminum aerosol cans that reduces GHGs. The Eco-Valve, from Salford Valve Company Ltd. (Salvalco), uses “eco-friendlier,” inert gases, such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide, or compressed air, as a propellant in aerosol sprays while still provid ing the performance and spray quality of traditional valves. “This brings about a higher yield per can, re sulting in a signi cant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, while delivering an excellent spray quality,” explains Beiersdorf.

The partnership between supplier and CPG began in 2020 when Beiersdorf acquired an equity stake in U.K.-based Salvalco through OSCAR&PAUL Beiersdorf Venture Capital to strengthen the personal care com pany’s footprint in sustainable packaging solutions

“The waste collection point, the aluminum processor, and our fac tory are located within a span of 150 kilometers,” Tomasini told the publication. “We have short transport routes, something that optimally supports the sustainability goal. And what is extremely important: there are no compromises with regard to quality or appear ance, nor are safety or processability compromised compared to standard aluminum aerosol cans.”

solution, Tomasini shared with Aerosol Europe, is to use mono-material aluminum beverage can scrap from the German Yellow Bin waste disposal system, whereby post-consumer plastic, metal, and

“Tool and process innovation were the key to be ing able to process the high alloy content in the postconsumer-recycled material,” he added.

if Nussbaum were able to secure the material, the concern was that the recycled aluminum would have a worse carbon footprint due to long transportation routes and complex and costly collection and sort ing Nussbaum’sprocesses.

Aerosol can valve reduces GHGs, lengthens product use

102 PW SEP2022

Nivea became the rst global company to use the 100% recycled-content aluminum alloy—called Nucan-PCR—on a large scale when it introduced the can in December 2021 for a number of its Nivea Men deodorant sprays and for most of its Nivea Men shav ing gels in Germany. The brand is continuing to roll out the new packaging for these products throughout European markets this year.


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The Eco-Valve, used for Nivea’s new EcoDeo line, uses inert gases as a propellant in aerosol sprays while still providing the performance and spray quality of traditional valves.

As Salvalco explains, the Eco-Valve utilizes patented Bubbly-Flow Technology developed by the Spray Research Group (SRG) at the Uni versity of Salford in the U.K. “It is this technology that enables aerosols to be propelled successfully by harmless compressed inert gases,” it shares. “Signi cantly better for the environment, it is also far safer than conventional propellants, which typically use hydrocarbons.”

Beiersdorf is using Salvalco’s Super Single Gasket Valve option for its new range of EcoDeo products, which offer a “climate-friendlier spray application format.” Among the products in this packaging are Nivea’s Naturally Good deodorant, which contains 95% ingredients of natural origin, and Nivea Men deodorant.

Not only does the Eco-Valve eliminate conventional hydrocarbon propellants, but it also results in a higher yield per can. According to Pasel, the EcoDeo spray lasts twice as long as Nivea’s standard 150-mL deodorants. “Due to this, the consumer saves a whole aluminum can during usage,” she relates.

Ninety-seven percent rPET, in fact, which Beiersdorf says eliminates 150 tons of fossil-based virgin plastic per year. The challenge, and one that most CPGs continue to struggle with as they increase the amount of recycled content in their packaging, was nding enough of the mate rial. “[Our] Supply Chain [team] worked with their suppliers in order to secure our rPET demands, because we needed quite an amount of material and all of it in the exact same quality de nition,” Feehan ex plained. “As well, recycled PET comes with a slightly greyish color, so we had to work on a color scheme that accepts these nuances well.”

Nivea’s Shower Fresh Blends line of shower gels, introduced in 2020, is packaged in PET bottles made from 97% rPET.

He adds that because the Eco-Valve follows industry standards, it looks like a standard aerosol valve from the outside. “This way, it can be adapted to standard aerosol containers,” he says. “Nevertheless, the technical design of the non-standard parts is not like standard aerosol valves. The Eco-Valve’s innovative technical design empowers the de ned mix of formula and propellant in the valve.”

At the same time as Beiersdorf has been making changes to its alu minum packaging to enhance its circularity, it has also been making equally impressive changes to its plastic packaging. At year-end 2020, the company reported that 90% of its PET bottles in Europe included recycled materials—with some containing up to 97%. In addition, in Germany, the vast majority of the bottles for its Nivea Shower & Sham poo range now come from PCR waste streams, saving 2,000 tons of fossil-based virgin plastic.

More recently, in mid-2022, Beiersdorf relaunched its Nivea female and universal shower gel line, which is now considered one of the front

In 2020, Nivea launched a new line of shower gels, Shower Fresh Blends, which at the time, Tracy Feehan, Global Marketing Director Nivea Body Cleansing, said was the most sustainable Nivea product line to date. “The formula is 90% naturally derived and 98% biodegradable,” she shared. “But not only the inside of this new product range is quite sustainable, the packaging also: the bottle is made out of recycled PET.”

Eco-Valve technology is described as a total system of valve and mechanical break-up (MBU) insert technology. Beiersdorf’s Bourcier ex plains: “The unique Eco-Valve concept optimizes the mix between for mula and propellant. In combination with the MBU technology, the EcoValve system improves the formula nebulization in the spray cone angle.”

Projects signi cantly reduce virgin plastic material use

104 PW SEP2022

and to support Salvalco’s research and commercialization of the pat ented Eco-Valve technology. The late 2021 launch of Nivea’s EcoDeo line of deodorants with the Eco-Valve applicator represented the rst-ever use of the patented technology.

According to Sandra Pasel, Global Brand Manager for Nivea Deo, EcoDeo targets aerosol spray deodorant users who are looking for a more sustainable alternative without losing the feeling of a spray ap plication. “Although Nivea EcoDeo is a different application format than our standard deodorant sprays, consumer tests prove that it ful lls the expectations of our current deodorant spray users,” she notes.

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runners in terms of sustainability at Beiersdorf. That’s according to Han nah Trigg, Junior International Sustainability Communication Manager for Beiersdorf, who interviewed the core project team responsible for the development of the new product and its packaging in July.

1-800-USA-PUMP ⁲ ⁲EXVFKXVDFRP Scan to learn more VISIT US AT PACK EXPO! %227+৴৸ৱ৲ SOLUTIONSINTELLIGENT IRU\RXUYDFXXP SURFHVVHV ȏ&21752/$1'021,725,1* ȏ&2676$9,1*6 ȏ3529(1527$5<9$1( '5<6&5(:9$&8807(&+12/2*< 106 PW SEP2022 The recently relaunched Nivea female and universal shower gel line, considered one of the front runners in terms of sustainability at Beiersdorf, contains up to 98% rPET in the bottle and 30% rPP in its cap.

In the interview, Sabine Schulz, Formula Development, Body Cleansing, shared that not only is the new bottle made from at least 98% recycled plastic, but it is also 26% lighter than before, allowing for the reduction of packag ing-related emissions by 32%. The formulas for the shower gel products are microplastic-free and up to 99% biodegradable, as well.

Explained Julia Rainer, Packaging Devel opment, Body Cleansing, “The packaging for this range has been designed for circularity and has been improved in several ways. For both the cap and bottle, the target was to re duce the use of material as much as possible while keeping a similar look and feel—height and front shape. The new cap now makes it possible for the product to stand upside down allowing for optimized rest-emptying. As of now, the cap has a recycling material usage of 30% recycled PP, but we are already testing 100% rPP caps, a more sustainable pump sys tem—weight-reduced, mono-material, recyclable—and re ll pouches for the near future. This range is one of the lighthouse projects since a lot of learning could be generated by testing some of the rst genera tions of recycled materials.”

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Says Beiersdorf, the project to replace petroleum-based plastics with alternative materials began with a comprehensive analysis of the market. Beiersdorf’s requirements for the material were high, since the company aims to become more sustainable without any compromise on quality. “Our excellent skin care products obviously include a high-quality packaging, which has to fulfill many requirements,” says Michael Becker, Vice President, Global Packaging R&D for the company. “On the one hand, this concerns visual and tactile features that our Nivea consumers are acquainted to, but packaging recyclability is also an important aspect for us—in line with our vision of a circular economy that we aim to support.”

Because producing its cosmetic packaging from a source of food such as sugarcane or corn was out of the question for Beiersdorf, it chose SABIC’s feedstock concept of secondgeneration raw material. The certified renewable PP is made from tall oil, which is a byproduct of the forestry industry. Explains Hannah Rasel, Senior Packaging Specialist at

To account for emissions not reduced by the new packaging and product formula, Schulz shares that the product range is also 100% “cli mate-neutralized,” which she said means that Beiersdorf will balance the remaining emissions through certi ed climate projects.

The new packaging is based on the principle of mass balancing, in accordance with the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC PLUS) scheme. The raw material base of tall oil replaces crude oil, and according to the mass balancing approach, it is integrated seamlessly in the manufacturing process—without the need to establish a separate production process.

Nivea Launches Forestry Byproduct-based PP Jars

In what could be viewed as both a “Reduce” and a “Replace” initiative, in June 2020, Beiersdorf, in cooperation with global chemical manufacturer SABIC, introduced its Nivea Naturally Good face care product range in packaging made from SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio of certified renewable polypropylene. From idea to implementation, the development of the new packaging took just nine months, with Berry Global joining the project to manufacture the jars.

The launch of the new packaging in a 250-mL size began in Q2-22, rst in Germany, with other countries and sizes to follow.

“The reduction of fossil raw materials in our portfolio is of essential importance to us,” says Becker. “The use of renewable raw materials in our product packaging represents a major lever for us to reduce our carbon emissions and improve our ecological footprint. We are pushing this forward with great energy. We are proud to be the first in our mass-market segment supporting the use of PP made from renewable, plantbased raw materials as a packaging material for our cosmetic products, and we are pleased to have a strong, experienced partner with SABIC. Together, we want to contribute to the raw material change and take an important next step towards achieving our ambitious sustainability targets.” PW

of the PCR materials, resulting in a very high quality we are proud of.”

According to Orkun Kaymakci, Packaging Development, Plastics Technology, the development of the recycled PCR material for the bottle and the cap required huge internal and external collaboration. “Manag ing the availability and the procurement of the materials was a chal lenging task that we successfully overcame,” he said. “Additionally, as quality is of the utmost importance to us, we went through many testing rounds and collaborated with our external partners for the development

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Says Beiersdorf, converting the packaging to renewable plastic not only has the advantage of conserving fossil resources, but also reduces CO2 emissions. Approximately 76 g of CO2e are saved per jar produced, a reduction of around 60% compared to the fossil-based jar. The project therefore also contributes to the company’s climate target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% absolutely across the entire value chain by 2025. Any remaining emissions that cannot be avoided or further reduced during the manufacturing of the product are climate-neutralized via carbon offsetting, through afforestation projects.

Beiersdorf, “The certified renewable plastic we source from SABIC has no visual effects or other adverse properties. Accordingly, the jar made of renewable PP is neither visually nor haptically distinguishable from the previous packaging. In addition, SABIC pursues a holistic sustainability approach with its feedstock concept. That convinced us.”

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According to Sustainability Manager Nivea/ Strategic Product Designer Marta Suslow, the machine was engineered to meet the strictest Beiersdorf safety standards, for example, through special pumps, contact-free lling, and clearly de ned cleaning cycles.

Since 2019, Nivea has been a part of the Loop circular shopping platform, offering two after shave products in a reusable/re llable porcelain bottle.

Nivea makes inroads into ‘Reuse’

Since then, Nivea has been part of the Loop platform as it expands to retail loca tions, offering two Nivea Men products— Protect & Care Hydrating After Shave Balm and Sensitive Skin After Shave Balm—in re llable 100-mL porcelain bottles.

As part of its 4R approach, another strategy Beiersdorf has applied to its Nivea brand is “Reuse.” The company was among the rst to join the Loop circular shopping platform, based around the use of wastefree, re llable packaging. The originally online-only platform launched in New York and Paris in mid-2019, with two products from Beiersdorf’s Nivea Men After Shave range as part of its offerings.

Becker, Vice President Global Packaging R&D for Beiersdorf, “We are really happy to be a part of this inno vative idea from the very start. We think it has tremendous potential and will help to establish reusable product packaging along side traditional packaging for our products.”

Shortly after the launch of Loop, in Au gust 2020, Beiersdorf collaborated with German drugstore chain DM to pilot what it says was the rst in-store re ll system for shower gel products. The company devel oped the re ll station with speed-to-mar ket—or speed-to-pilot—in mind, making it simple and intuitive for consumers to use, while keeping product safety top of mind.

Beiersdorf’s third and most recent foray into Reuse is its introduc tion in November 2021 of its new Nivea EcoRe ll Hand Soap at selected Tesco stores in the U.K. The re ll system, which the company claims is a category rst, consists of a re llable, 100% rPET bottle that is also fully recyclable, an easy-to-dispense pump, and concentrated cleanser tablets.

Said Dorle Bahr, Head of Environmental Sustainability for the com pany, at the time of the launch, “Sustainability has a long tradition at Beiersdorf. As our sustainability strategy ‘We care.’ shows, we always strive to integrate sustainability elements throughout the entire value chain into our processes. The Loop platform is an ex cellent way to save resources by completely reusing our productAddedpackaging.”Michael

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A pilot with German drugstore DM allowed consumers to re ll Nivea shower gel products in-store, using a re llable bottle.

Through the pilot, customers at the three DM stores that participat ed in the trial could take an empty plastic bottle from the station and ll it with the product of their choice, either Nivea Creme Soft or Nivea Creme Sensitive shower gel. Payment was made using the printed label. To re ll the bottle, the consumer would bring the bottle back to the store. Through a special barcode on the bottle, consumers were able to re ll the bottle up to three times, after which they were asked to turn it in at the store checkout for hygiene reasons. Used bottles were recycled, while consumers received a new bottle and a rst lling for free.

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Explains Lukas Hurrie, Senior Global Brand Manager, Nivea Body Cleansing, “With the launch of the new Nivea EcoRe ll Hand Soap, we set ourselves the goal to produce a tab formulation for re llable hand soap that combines a sustainable product formula and packaging approach. This new technology is contrary to how we are used to producing products since it means in this case selling a liquid hand wash without liquid/water. At the same time, we want to offer our consumers the same texture and skin feel that they are used to. That has been challenging at times.”

With a most of its product packaging made from plastic, Beiersdorf can’t help but spend the bulk of its time focused on innovation in this area. But, when it comes to looking for sustainable wins, no stone—or material—is left unturned.

In 2021, the company worked with Eastman to find a more sustainable paper option to the laminated cartons it was using for its premium Nivea skin-care brand in China. The goal was to develop packaging that was recyclable and lighter weight with no compromises in attractiveness, quality, or performance.According to Eastman, its technology team worked closely with Beiersdorf and its suppliers along the value chain to qualify the process. Eastman says its cellulose esters were key in ensuring the success of the technology, which involved switching from laminated paper to film-free paper in a process called transfer metallization. With transfer metallization, metal

mL reusable bottle is simply decorated, with the Nivea logo and bold type reading, “Re ll, Reuse, Reduce.” The white dispensing pump is engineered to perform more than 10,000 pumping strokes. “The bottle is very durable and can be reused many times,” shares Hurrie. “However, we recommend cleaning it regularly.”


Nivea’s new EcoRe ll Hand Soap system, available at Tesco in the U.K. and online, includes a re llable/reusable plastic pump bottle and dissolvable soap tablets.

The 16-g soap tabs—in Lemongrass, Cotton Flower, and Hibiscus & Honeysuckle scents—are said to be mild and pH skin-friendly, 97% derived from natural ingredients, and 99% biodegradable. The clear, 250-

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The EcoRe ll Hand Soap product is sold in a kit that contains the bottle, dispensing pump, and one soap tab; re ll tabs are sold in threepacks. Outer packaging for the starter kit and the re ll tabs consists of Forest Stewardship Council-certi ed paperboard cartons. PW

Recyclable Paper Packaging is Important, Too

According to Eastman, the process has traditionally been used on very specialized packaging. “Commitments by companies like Beiersdorf to reach ambitious sustainability goals have led to its wider use,” the company adds. “Already, the outer packaging of seven new Nivea product lines have been upgraded to this recyclable solution, which also can reduce the packaging’s weight by up to 10%.” PW

“In this application, our cellulose ester release coating offers better appearance, better ink adhesion, and betterbalanced anti-folding and anti-blocking properties than alternative solutions,” says Eric Zhang, Eastman Market Development Manager in Shanghai.

is deposited onto the paper when it is transferred from releasecoated, metallized PET film. According to Eastman, transfer metallization offers very high-quality appearance and results in packaging that is still recyclable.

Getting Started with PackagingSustainable

The way the product is designed to work is that the consumer lls the clear PET bottle with lukewarm water up to a line marked on the container, drops a soap tab into the water, closes the bottle, and shakes the mixture for 30 seconds, after which it’s ready to use. According to Beiersdorf, the EcoRe ll is said to last around 25% longer than standard Nivea hand soap.

Handheld adhesive device Freezer- and food-safe adhesive Carton sealing

In order to keep up with its growing business, Good2Go has learned its manufacturing has to be as ef cient as possible, with as few unus able or returned packages as possible. To preserve the freshness of its product, the company vacuum seals the shrimp in lm then packages it into cartons for individual sale. After cartons are sealed at room tem perature, they are stored in an on-sight freezer at minus 10°F. For retail customers, Good2Go ships the shrimp in a 36-ct case for display in a freezer. For online orders, it sends the product directly to consumers in insu latedOriginally,packaging.when sealing the cartons, Good 2Go was manually applying adhesive dots sup plied on a strip to the aps of the package. Unfortunately, the high-tack, pressure-sensitive adhesive it was using was not recommended for freezer use, and repetitive issues with the cartons coming unglued made the need for a new solu tion increasingly apparent. After a deep dive into adhesive options, Good2Go chose a product from Glue Dots that is not only able to secure the box es in freezing temperatures, but also reduces the time involved with application of the adhesive.

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Good2Go’s agship product is its plant-based Shock’N Shrimp, which is vacuum sealed and placed in a carton for retail and online sale.


On the hook for open cartons

Plant-based shrimp producer Good2Go Veggie switches to adhesive squares applied with a handheld device to address issues of cartons coming unsealed during cold storage and transport.

“We ship with dry ice sometimes, and that created an issue with the boxes coming open,” says Andrea Jackson. “The actual shrimp product is still vacuum-sealed in the boxes, and our online customers know we’re

New Adhesive Solves Startup’s Carton-Sealing Problems

Good2Go was founded by LaShaun Jackson along with wife Andrea Jackson, now COO, and two other family members. The rst test of the plant-based shrimp was its launch at a seafood restaurant owned by An drea Jackson’s cousin and Good2Go co-owner Dwight Culbreath where extremely receptive patrons and rave reviews con rmed that Good2Go had a winning product. Since that time, Shock’N Shrimp has quickly

moved from use at a single restaurant to a retail presence in the Chica goland area and nationwide online demand.

With an innovative product in a rapidly developing industry, Chicagoarea plant-based foods company Good2Go Veggie has experienced steep growth in demand for its shrimp substitute made entirely from plants. The product, aptly named Shock’N Shrimp for its realistic pre sentation, texture, and avor, was developed by long-time vegetarian LaShaun Jackson to ful ll a market need for vegetarians who want to maintain their lifestyle without completely giving up their favorite meat and seafood products.

For startup companies testing the waters with their packaging, it’s not uncommon for challenges to arise that require a reassessment and adjustment of the format. For Good2Go, un derstanding how the sub-zero temperatures in volved with storage and transport of its cartons affected the adhesive it had selected was what prompted a change. Un able to handle the extreme cold, Good2Go’s adhesive was repeatedly releasing, and boxes were popping open during storage and shipping.

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However, retail stores are not quite as forgiving, and packages that had popped open on the way to the grocer were consistently sent back, resulting in lost time and revenue. While not a devastating issue, having to lose or repackage perfectly good shrimp caused a logistical headache

that extended beyond just cost factors. “Before we expanded more, we wanted to really try and have a solid product, because we didn’t want boxes coming open at the grocery store,” explains Andrea Jackson.

a new company, so none of them complained.”

In its search for adhesive dots that could be applied at room tem perature and maintain a tamper-proof seal during sub-zero storage, Good2Go did an online search that led the company to Glue Dots. After listening to Good2Go’s needs, the supplier determined that the primary concerns to address were security and speed. In addition to these issues, the dots needed to be safe for use with food products. Good2Go also wanted a solution that was easy to use, so its existing employees would be able to quickly understand and implement the new method of adhe sion without the need for complicated, lengthy training sessions. 335 W. 184th Street Glenwood, Illinois 60440 MOVE MORE PRODUCT MORE EFFICIENTLY Our products can improve all areas of your production line while reducing workforce needs and giving you more flexibility to run different product sizes. From filling and capping to check weighing and inpection, we can help solve throughput problems from start to finish. REGISTER FOR FREE WITH CODE 75C35 VISIT BOOTH 4906 October 23-26, 2022 McCormick Place Chicago, Illinois SCREWSTIMING CHANGEPARTS TIMING SCREW DRIVE UNITS COMBINERS + DIVIDERS DENESTERSVERTICAL ORIENTING INVERTING+ VARIETY PACKS + STACKING DOWNREJECTSBOTTLE FEEDING · TURNING · GROUPING · INDEXING · VARIETY PACKING · INVERTING · COMBINING · DIVIDING · ORIENTING · STACKING 116 PW SEP2022 An operator uses the handheld DotShot Pro to apply adhesive squares to the ap of a Shock’N Shrimp carton.

New adhesive is freezer-safe, quick to apply

Keeping in mind the unique challenges of Good2Go’s small opera

The way in which Good2Go was applying the adhesive also pre sented unique ef ciency challenges. Without big, expensive machinery or specially trained adhesive experts, all the carton sealing was done by hand. This meant the adhesive needed to not only survive extreme temperatures, but also be quick and easy to apply. To avoid the extra mess and potential for injury with hot glue products, Good2Go initially went with hand-applied adhesive dots. While this method was easy to perform, cutting out strips of dots, pressing them onto the box aps, peeling the lm back, and pressing the aps down to activate the glue was hardly a quick process.

No more popped packages

According to Andrea Jackson, relief from the stress of no longer having faulty packaging was huge for Good2Go. “We wanted the comfort of knowing the dots were going to stay, especially in the freezer section,” she says. “Subsequently, we haven’t had any issues with boxes coming open with the freezer-grade Glue Dots.”

The results of using Glue Dots adhesives and the DSP were immediately apparent. Instances of pack ages popping open at any stage of production or ship ping disappeared. Returns from retail ceased, and in spection of packages going out to customers revealed no problems with the adhesives.

Con dence in the new packaging method is further strengthened by increased productivity. The DSP has proven to be a more practical method of application than applying dots by hand. Now, instead of cutting dots and peeling lms, operators can simply roll the dots directly onto the aps of the box. “It was taking the packagers almost three to four weeks to do 200 to 300 boxes,” shares Andrea Jackson. “It’s 200 to 300 boxes within the week now,” translating to a 75% in crease in Long-termproduction.impacts of incorporating these solutions are continuing to emerge as well. The DSP applicator is easy to understand without much training, meaning ease of use is not sacri ced for the increase in ef ciency. “We’re able to easily train others to use the ap plicator, so now we have a third team member who’s started to do the boxes as well,” Andrea Jackson adds. In addition to expanding the carton-sealing team, Good2Go is looking to take advantage of its stream lined packaging process by hiring new team members and increasing its retail outreach. —Anne Marie Mohan

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tion and its arctic storage temperatures, Glue Dots recommended its freezer-safe, food-grade adhesive squares, which create a strong, im mediate bond on the carton’s aps. The squares can also be applied at room temperature, keeping with Good2Go’s existing adhesion method, and maintain reliable bonds even in a minus 10°F freezer.

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To address concerns with speed of implementation, Glue Dots sug gested that Good2Go adopt the DotShot Pro (DSP) gun applicator, a hand


held roller that places adhesive squares directly on the package without the need for tedious cutting and peeling. The DSP was integrated into the manufacturing process quickly, with next to no additional training needed to teach existing staff how to use it. Staff is also able to re ll the DSP in-house by switching out used adhesive strips for new ones. Accord ing to Glue Dots, the front case of the DSP easily lifts off, and it takes just seconds to replace a roll of adhesive dots.

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Mother Earth Brewing Company upgraded to a Ska Can-I-Bus depalletizer in 2020 (left). The company invested in an Econocorp Spartan cartoner (above), which allowed them to automate the case and tray erecting and packing.

By Natalie Craig, Contributor

Automated Cartoner Allows Craft Company to Thrive

Mother Earth Brewing Company started as a hobby for Daniel and Jon Love, and Kamron Khannakhjavani in 2010 in San Diego. The company operated out of 2200-sq.-ft.-industrial space, which allowed the busi ness to grow quickly and for the company to begin self-distribution of 22-oz. bottles and kegs to stores, bars, and restaurants. A large taphouse in Vista, Calif. followed and gave the company more opportunities to expand its production spaces—adding nearly 28,000 sq. ft.

“It’s just not a business-friendly state for someone of our size, less than a hundred employees,” Daniel Love says.


Scaling craft brew Nimble, flexible equipment

Mother Earth Brewing Company is increasing throughput and improving quality with an automated cartoner, which is also helping them reach production goals amid labor shortages and pandemic woes.

The brewer entered major distribution in late 2013. After doubledigit growth in 2014, Daniel Love wanted to expand operations but had a hard time doing business and finding new opportunities for growth in Southern California.

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Common concerns amongst craft producers include: space constraints, implementing automation, small-batch changeover, outsourcing and packaging considerations. Learn more from Craft Breweries and Distilleries Machinery and Automation Trends, a 20-page whitepaper from PMMI’s Business Intelligence. Download the asset for free at chine to nd, because the reality

Expanding up north

More Craft Brewing and Distilling Resources

The facility houses a 40 beer barrel volume (bbl) multi-vessel Mueller brewhouse, and the capacity to produce more than 100,000 bbls a year, becoming one of the largest breweries in Idaho, according to the company. The Nampa production facility supports most of the company’s growth and produces beer for all markets outside Southern California. The original Vista brewery continues to provide draft and specialty offerings to its home market while also managing the creation of oneoff brews for visitors at its retail operations in North County San Diego.

The cans run through two separate Wild Goose WGC 250 canning lines, where cans are rinsed and sanitized by two twist rinsers, lled, and seamed.

“We’re kind of all over the place, so packaging needs to be pretty nimble so that we can get onto one brand and knock out four different formats and then get into another brand,” Baker says.

Not only was the company packaging both 12-pack cartons and 24pack trays for its different beers, but some brands added in the complexity of having both 12- and 16-oz cans. This necessitated a cartoner that allowed them to changeover often with ease. Now, they can change the Econocorp cartoner over in less than 20 minutes, which doesn’t negatively impact production goals.

“It sounds like it might be sweet, but it’s a dry beer,” says Daniel Love. “We use Madagascar vanilla bean. It is very special and unique. Nobody else does this type of beer.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic began, it also created a few obstacles for the craft company during its record growth. Its tasting room in California shuttered, but the company kept its draft beer brewery operation in Vista to keep distribution owing in Southern California via Stone Brewing. Currently, the Nampa facility still distributes to 20 different states and 11 different countries, while also lling in where the Vista brewery can’t. All in all, business is good as the company puts out about 10 million cans per year.

Automated cartoner allows Mother Earth to scale amid pandemic woes

Under the brand, there are eight different year-round beers, including its claim to fame, the Cali Creamin’ vanilla cream ale.

In March of 2020, the company brought one of its Wild Goose canning machines up to Nampa—where it already had another of the same machine—from its California location, which allowed them to ramp up to 80 cans/min.

The company spends 70% of its time running 24-count mix packs and the other 30% of the time running 12-packs with its Cali Creamin’, Tierra Madre, and Boo Koo beers. Up until recently, the packing was handled manually, but record labor shortages and the amount of variety necessitated automation.

“We want to look at 200 to 250 cans per minute next, and this machine can keep up with it,” Baker says. “At our size, that’s a tough machine to nd, because the reality was everyone else wanted to sell

The company invested in an Econocorp Spartan cartoner, which allowed it to automate the case and tray erecting and packing.

So, as many Californians do, Daniel Love headed up north to Boise, Idaho where he found plenty of opportunities to partner with the local government and initiatives that supported small businesses like his.

The company built a 40,000-sq.-ft. production facility 15 miles west of Boise in the neighboring city of Nampa, which provided them a lot of space to sprawl.

“We do a lot of stuff in 24-pack trays,” says Chris Baker, director of brewing operations. “But we were also trying to touch on that carton side of the business. We wanted something that would do both because, individually, the two machines are expensive. So, getting something that was a good bridge between them was what we were looking for, and the Spartan really covered that.”

It was also important to nd a cartoner that could keep up with their current canning line capabilities but also adapt to a larger and faster operation as the company grows.

Custom conveyance brings the two Wild Goose lines together and sends cans through a Heuft Basic low fill/low pressure detector (below).

“We set it up so that we could put some tables on it and make that feed pretty easily.” Baker says, “We set these tables along the side, and then we just push these on with these lanes and we now have the ability to either do six varieties, four cans of each. We could do two varieties, with 12 each, or we could do two varieties, six each, and a 12-pack. We can do literally anything we want.”

Then, a four-foot conveyor leads cans to another Domino A320i date-coder to code the outside of the cartons.

The company runs two separate lines, starting with a Ska Can-I-Bus depalletizer, to which the company upgraded in 2020. The cans run through two separate Wild Goose WGC 250 canning lines, where cans are rinsed and sanitized by two twist rinsers, filled, and seamed. Mother Earth has been running its Wild Goose lines for the past six years.

us something that would either work for the next six months or be so expensive and so over-the-top that it would be overkill for the next year or whatever it takes us to get into a bigger line. This is something we can grow into and expand upon pretty easily.”

From there, a long infeed conveyor brings cans to the Econocorp cartoner.

“There are an infinite number of adjustments and ability to adjust things,” Baker says. “If I run a milk stout, I can slow my belts down to give it time to foam out how I want. It’s more versatile. While I can’t run super high carbonation levels, I can run nitro beers. We run everything through that.”

“Along with the Anton Paar CBox, we do have a very extensive laboratory, and a lot of breweries our size don’t have that,” Daniel Love says. “We do pull off a number of cans in line at the beginning, the middle, and the end and we store them warm, cold, and hot. We taste those about every other Friday with our brewers, so we have an extensive ability to react to somebody if they get a [off-flavor] beer and they light us up on Facebook or send us an email. We know before we put something in the can that the product is going to be exactly what it needs to be and there aren’t going to be any inconsistencies in it.”

The Econocorp cartoner is the latest addition to Mother Earth Brewing’s filling and packaging line, but there is a lot more going on upstream keeping the company at its target of 80 cans/min.

How the line works together

For higher volume beers like the Cali Creamin’, Mother Earth uses printed cans, which run straight into a PakTech can carrier applicator 120/180 from the accumulation table. The applicator can be configured for a six-pack or four-pack.

“We try to think the setup through so that we could add in bigger pieces without having to change everything,” Baker says.

For lower volume beers that may not meet printed can supplier minimum order quantities (MOQ) like Project X, which is a year-round rotating beer that has new labels and new artwork all the time, Mother Earth can side-stream these cans to a Pack Leader PL-501 can labeler, which applies pressure sensitive labels from local Boise-based label maker Action Quality Printers.

After the cans run through inspection, they are fed onto an accumu lation table, which allows the company to keep fillers running if equip ment backs up or slows downstream.

“Some brands are still missing on that front and it’s really frustrating to buy a 12-pack of an IPA, you’re really excited, take it home, and real ize it’s really old,” Baker says. “So, we code the outside of those.”

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A gravity feed conveyor takes the cans to a stop point where three to four people hand-stack cases onto a pallet in preparation for the company’s pallet wrapper.

Custom conveyance brings the two lines togeth er to apply date-codes using Domino A320i ink jet printers through a Heuft Basic low fill/low pressure detector, a Chart Industries nitrogen doser, an An ton Paar CBox, and a Zahm piercing unit to check dissolved oxygen levels.

Cans on their way into a PakTech can carrier applicator 120/180 (left). The applicator can be configured for a six-pack or four-pack. From there, a long infeed conveyor brings cans to the Econocorp cartoner.

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“Knowing what’s going on with your product as it goes through its life cycle is important,” Baker says. “Now, if somebody brought us a beer and they’re like, ‘What’s wrong with this?’ I could tell you just from the taste how old it is, how many days it’s been warm, and how it’s been stored. The reality of it is once the beer leaves your facility, you really don’t know what happens to it.”

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What’s next for Mother Earth

Check out Mother Earth Brewing Company’s line in action and get a look inside their Nampa production facility.

Mother Earth’s lifecycle analysis, which provides valuable insights on beer quality even after it leaves the brewery, helps identify and ac count for distribution issues that could negatively impact a beer that left the facility fresh and delicious. These steps improve insight into the whole operation and inform the company on how to keep quality as high as its fans expect. PW

As the company continues to scale, Daniel Love and Baker are building exibility into their operations and line so that when the time comes, they can ramp up to 200 to 250 cans/min. But they are also keeping an eye on quality. Along with its extensive testing, the company has also developed an internal shelf life assessment called 30, 60, 90 where they test the beers 30 days after packaging, 60 days after packag ing, and 90 days after packaging, as well as under different conditions.

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Branded and private-label snack producer Snak King installs 16 robotic palletizers and three intelligent automated vehicles to address labor shortages and resulting labor costs, as well as streamline its operations.

To ensure quality standards are met for every product, the company uses a computerized quality management system coupled with on-site teams that precisely monitor each raw in gredient and nished product. This focus on quality extends to its packaging operations, as well.

Robotic palletizing Intelligent automated vehicles

Snak King produces a portfolio of its own brands as well as private-label snack products that include potato and tortilla chips, popcorn, pork rinds, and many other items.

Snak King’s rst foray into packaging automation in volved its bagging and case-packing processes. Explains Mark Schieldge, COO of the company’s Freeport operation, “What we really needed to address next was how to get them [products] palletized in the most ef cient manner.”

By Anne Marie Mohan, Senior Editor

Self-described as a company with “a passion for snacking,” Snak King has been in operation since 1978, building a portfo lio of trusted brands, each with their own, unique brand story. Among them are El Sabroso, The Whole Earth, Granny Goose, Jensen’s Orchard, and Nutibles. Its product array includes pork rinds, potato chips, caramel corn, tortilla chips, and other snack items, produced in its City of Industry and Freeport facilities.

End-of-Line Automation Reduces Snack Maker’s Labor Pains


The food manufacturing sector has long been beleaguered by labor shortages, a situation only exacerbated by COVID-19 and The Great Resignation. For some consumer packaged goods companies, automation has provided a welcome solution to ll the gap. Such was the case for City of Industry, Calif.-based Snak King, a producer of private-label and branded snacks, which recently installed 16 robotic palletizers and three intelligent automated vehicles (IAVs) in its Freeport, Ill., facility to alleviate labor shortages and optimize its throughput ef ciency.

After consulting with ProMach brands Brenton and Quest, the snack maker selected a number of Boxed Bot robotic pallet izers coupled with IAVs that have optimized the performance and ef ciency of its packaging lines and allowed the company to reduce headcount and labor costs.

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Food Processing Handling

Solutions Packaging Equipment Solutions Material

Chosen solution is exible, compact, and easy to program

“The Boxed Bot was really developed for applications that have tight space requirements and bene t from having a single, modular setup

as a modular or skid-based system that allows for exibility in machine design. The skid-based con guration has a footprint that starts at just 8 x 10 ft, tting into a standard truck.

Snak King had a number of requirements when selecting automation for its palletizing operations. Among them, the output of the ma chinery had to be faster than that of the casepacking equipment; it needed to be easy for its operators to program and operate; and it needed to be exible enough to run hundreds of different products in multiple pallet con gu rations. In addition, as the company’s plan re quired minimizing the overall project footprint, the palletizing station needed to be compact.

The process of nding a solutions provider for Snak King’s palletizing needs spanned a number of years, beginning with an introduction to Bren ton at an engineering conference six years ago. In 2018, the company began its automation project in earnest. Says Schieldge, “We focused primarily on automation to drive operational consistency and also for labor savings.”

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A Fanuc M-710i C/45M medium-payload, six-axis delta robot picks a case from the palletizer infeed for loading onto a pallet in one of 50 different con gurations.

After discussing with Snak King its goals and objectives for the proj ect, Brenton determined its sister company Quest could provide the best solution through its Boxed Bot robotic palletizer, which handily met all of the snack maker’s requirements. The Boxed Bot is available

Schieldge agrees, noting, “The compact design of the palletizing sta tion was a signi cant factor in our decision to use these units”—as was the system’s ease of programming, he adds.

The palletizer comes standard with Quest’s QBox custom pallet-build

that can be placed into a cell and quickly started up,” explains Tucker Behrns, Vice President and General Manager for Quest. “This was a per fect t for Snak King.”

ing software, which features a drag-and-drop interface that allows a user, even with minimal training, to create pallet patterns based on current and future products, even accounting for label in or out orientations. Because it eliminates the need for an on-site service programmer, the software is said by Quest to save time and money. The palletizer is also equipped with an intuitive end-user interface that the OEM says requires just 10 minutes of training, without requiring an external computer.

As for the exibility of the Boxed Bots, the 16 cells at Snak King currently handle 50 different pallet con gurations. Con rms Schieldge, “The programming and robot capabilities provided the exibility we need.”

Each cell is equipped with a Fanuc M-710iC/45M medium-payload, six-axis delta robot. The model has an extensive reach of 2606 mm and a payload capac ity of 45 kg (99 lb), which is more than suf cient for Snak King’s cases, which top out at 15 lb. According to Fanuc, the slim body and compact wrist of the robot provide maximum exibility across a range of applica tions where space is an issue. Fanuc also notes that the high axis speeds of the M-710iC series make it ex tremely fast. The Boxed Box can operate at speeds to 40 units/min, which Schieldge shares has allowed the packaging equipment to operate at standard rates.

Palletizing process is seamless

As easy as the system is to program however, it still necessitates a higher skill set. “While automation re duces the need for entry-level employees, it does re quire more technical skill to operate and maintain,” notes Schieldge. As a result, Snak King has developed subject matter experts for both the robotic palletizers and the three IAVs that were installed at the same time. They have become the primary trainers for new employees at the facility.

At its Freeport plant, Snak King packages its mul titude of snack products in exible pillow pouches using vertical form/ ll/seal bagmakers. After bagging, the products are conveyed from the vf/f/s machines to the company’s automatic case packers, where they are loaded into cases that range in size up to 20 x 24 in. From there, the cases travel up an elevator to an over Zarpac, a ProMach brand, that carries them to one of the 16 palletizing cells. Accord ing to Schieldge, the Box Bot palletizers are dedicated to speci c baggers and case packers.

Visit us at Pack Expo BoothMassman#2158 130 PW SEP2022

Watch a video on Snak King’s new equipment.

The Fanuc robots are equipped with Venturi-style vacuum-pad grippers with multiple zones that al low a range of regular slotted container (RSC) sizes to be picked up for optimized pallet patterns. Explains


Quest also shares that the long reach of the robot enables the pallet izer to provide higher stack patterns that better maintain tractor-trailer loading for more ef cient shipping. At Snak King, pallets are stacked

eight cases high, after which they travel down a centralized trunk line to one of two stretch wrap pers (each group of eight Boxed Bots feeds a cen tralized stretch wrapper). They then move to a holding pen having a single discharge conveyor where they wait for transfer to the warehouse.

Quest, the Venturi gripper provides a distributed vacuum over a larger area than a vacuum-cup system, which ensures the tops of the cases remain at during transport.

IAVs eliminate chaos, improve safety

When automating its end-of-line operations, Snak King decided to also replace its eet of fork lifts with automated vehicles to transport pallets through the facility from stretch wrapping to warehousing. According to Schieldge, the com pany looked at several designs, ultimately decid ing that the IAV from Quest provided the best solution. “The ability to transfer three pallets on one IAV and the unit’s ability to charge during operations reduced the number of IAVs required, which improved the overall project economics,” he shares.

The IAVs use a lidar, or light detecting and ranging, system to move throughout the facility. Lidar is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure variable distances. “The lidar is essentially bouncing light off the walls or xed objects to triangulate a position,” explains Erik Grinnell, Vice President of Automation for Quest.

63 Pickering Street, Portland, CT USA Visit booth 5506 to check out our flagship case packer, the 939S Versatron. Also on display will be a Unipack 2.0. Designed in Germany and built in Portland, CT, the Unipack is a versatile powerhouse designed for pick-and-place applications across the brewing, beverage, dairy and food industries. Both packers will be mated to case sealers, in hot-melt glue and tape configurations. Do not miss it! CHICAGO, IL OCT. 23-26, 2022 BOOTH 5506 939S VERSATRON GET READY: STANDARD-KNAPP AT PACK EXPO INTERNATIONAL UNIPACK 2.0 132 PW SEP2022 The robot uses a Venturi-style vacuum-pad gripper with multiple zones that allow a range of regular slotted container (RSC) sizes to be picked up for optimized pallet patterns.

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“That position is in a preprogrammed map. The vehicles then travel that preprogrammed path, and we give them the signals to pick up and drop off when needed. Centralized software called Command Station does all of the vehicle alloca tion and decides which vehicle should go to what location.” When the IAVs are not moving prod uct, they automatically retreat to a nearby charg ing station where they await their next pickup.

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Remarks Schieldge, “The IAVs are really cool to watch in operation—their ability to unload from the palletizer and then discharge pallets on the of oading station. But it’s really cool to watch them in transition, as they’re moving from point A to point B. The logic of how they work together is Accordingfantastic.”toQuest, the IAVs have been en gineered with multiple safety elds to ensure that the vehicle slows down or stops with re spect to the distance of a person or object. Shares Schieldge, some employees were initially concerned about working around automated vehicles. “However, with the designation of pe destrian lanes and separate automated vehicle lanes, along with the con dence in watching the

One of Snak King’s three new IAVs departs from the stretch-wrapper outfeed with its load of three pallets.


The lidar-based IAV travels on a preprogrammed path through the facility, carrying pallets from the packaging line to the warehouse.

Schieldge agrees: “ProMach has done a really nice job of delivering the overall automation solution that we were looking for. Snak King has been very focused on optimizing its performance and ef ciencies. With ProMach’s solutions on its robotic palletizers and IAVs it’s really provided exactly what we needed.” PW

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Says Quest’s Behrns, “When you start a project with ProMach, we are driven towards customer outcomes. So we are able to look within the portfolio. We saw lots of different options available to us, and through out the multiple brands, we all came together and were able to come up with the best solution for this particular customer application.”


Single point of contact simpli es implementation

Not only do the IAVs operate safely around people, but they have signi cantly reduced the forklift and pallet-jack traf c in the packag ing areas where people are working. “The IAVs were an ideal solution for Snak King because they improved safety on the production oor,” says Grinnell. “Previously they had multiple operators driving forklifts, and it was really creating a chaotic environment just trying to get the pallets between the stretch wrappers and the warehouse. We replaced 10 to 12 forklift operators with just three IAVs.”

vehicles operate, our team’s concerns were eliminated,” he says.

With their ability to simplify end-of-line operations, reduce head count, generate labor savings, and increase ef ciency, Snak King’s new robotic palletizing stations and IAVs are exactly what the company was looking for when it set out on its automation journey. Having a single, full-service point of contact in the form of ProMach and its Brenton, Quest, and Zarpac brands made that journey much less arduous as well by streamlining the planning process, installation, and startup curve for the packaging lines.


Go PACK to the Future in an interactive exhibit new to PACK EXPO In ternational. PACK to the Future celebrates the role of packaging and pro cessing through history, and the impact it is poised to have on our future.

It is more important than ever for the packaging and processing in dustries to reunite for in-person events—and PACK EXPO International (Oct. 23-26, 2022; McCormick Place, Chicago) is the most comprehensive packaging and processing show in the world in 2022. In response to the unprecedented demands on the industry, PACK EXPO International 2022 will offer more features than ever before.

• PACK to the Future Exhibit

Please note: No one under the age of 14 is permitted on the show floor.

Visit to search suppliers and plan your visit to the show.

It is vital for the packaging and processing industries to come to gether and share innovations, connect with colleagues, hear from ex perts, and see machinery in action—and PACK EXPO International 2022 is the most ef cient and effective way to do it all, offering solutions for over 40 vertical markets. No other event this year will showcase en tire production line solutions and offer attendees everything needed to compete in a changing marketplace.

New at PACK EXPO International 2022

PACK EXPO International Returns with More Features than Ever Before

Exhibit Location/Hours

October 23-26, 2022

9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday

• More packaging and processing solutions suppliers than any other event this year

To enjoy contactless entry onsite, U.S. attendees must register by October 7 and international attendees by September 30 receive your badge in the mail prior to the show. If you register after these deadlines, you will need to pick up your badge in Chicago.

McCormick Place Convention Center Chicago, Ill.

• Special exhibits such as PACK to the Future, an interactive exhibit celebrating the role of packaging and processing through history and into the future— including forward-thinking presentations from industry thought leaders

This curated exhibit in cludes historical equipment, materials, and photographs spanning 250 years, journey ing through the evolution of packaging and processing, and highlighting how the in dustry developed alongside civilization. This exhibit will be in the West Building at Booth W-20001.

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The PACK to the Future Stage will provide thought-provoking sessions on groundbreaking industry advancements and features free presentations by industry experts on advances in pharmaceutical and cannabis packaging, wireless factory automation, sustainable alterna tives, smart packaging, arti cial intelligence, and more. The PACK to the Future stage will be in the West Building at Booth W-20025. Visit pwgo. to/7681 for more information.

See an unmatched breadth of new technologies up close and in person.

Why Register? PACK EXPO International registration is a great value and if you plan early, you’re guaranteed maximum ROI. Your badge gives you access to:

• Networking on the show floor and select events, including PACK gives BACK™, the Emerging Leaders reception, the Packaging and Processing Women’s Leadership Network breakfast, and more

Registration pricing: Registration is $30 until Sept. 30, 2022, after which the price will be $130. Registration for the PACK gives BACK™ event adds an additional fee.

• Free educational sessions at Innovation Stages, The Forum, the Reusable Packaging Learning Center, and the new Industry Speaks Stage


PACK Challenge, a brandnew packaging competition at PACK EXPO International, sponsored by PepsiCo, brings six high school teams together for a headto-head machine-building competition. PMMI will provide a build-toprint snack ller machine kit, designed speci cally for this competition, along with an assembly ( ight manual) to the qualifying teams. Each team will assemble the snack ller to the speci cations at PACK EXPO International, and have the exibility to be creative with add-ons.

Brand New Pavilions at PACK EXPO International

New for 2022! Logistics represent a crucial part of the product jour ney from manufacturer to consumer—and they’re among the top ve searches on the PACK EXPO web site. With the boom in e-com merce, The Logistics Pavilion will be the place to nd targeted solu tions related to the supply chain, including warehousing, ful llment, distribution logistics services, and transportation providers. Located in the North Building. Visit for more information.

• The Logistics Pavilion

Visit for more information.

AttendeesZone.will discover solutions to increase ef ciency, achieve total system integration, and ensure safety. Visit The Processing Zone in the Lakeside Center at PACK EXPO International 2022. The Processing Zone will be located at Booths LU-7000 to LU-7799.

• The Healthcare Packaging Pavilion

The winning school will be awarded $6,000 for overall Best in Show, with an additional three categories to compete in: Filler Performance Gold Cup; Engineering Method/Most Innovative Filler Design, and Marketing/ Sales. Afterward, the teams will take the machines back to their schools, providing future students the opportunity for hands-on experience.

It’s back and better than ever! The Processing Zone returns to PACK EXPO International in 2022 with the widest variety of food and beverage processing equipment. In to day’s manufacturing environ ment, processing and pack aging are integrated systems, making it critical to bring both solutions under one roof. Start your search for front-of-the-line solutions such as homogenizing, heat treating, forming/sizing, and coating in The Processing

This complimentary consultation makes its PACK EXPO International debut, providing attendees personalized, one-on-one guidance to lo cate targeted solutions. Whether an emerging brand or a well-estab lished household name, PACK Match Advisors are available for 30-minute virtual consultations to connect attendees with the right suppliers. Attendees com plete an online form to indicate their challenges and ensure they are matched with the appropriate industry expert to use the service. Once the match is made, attendees schedule a virtual meeting with their as signed PACK Match Advisor to receive non-biased guidance and recom mended exhibitors to suit their business needs. Meetings will begin ap proximately three weeks prior to the show. Assigned on a rst come- rst serve basis; meeting spots are limited.

Visit to register.

At the Industry Speaks Stage, you can hear from experts in the PACK EXPO Partner Program covering multiple industry verticals as they address the latest hot-button topics and industry trends, such as sus tainability, remote access, supply chain solutions, augmented reality, operational ef ciency, and more. The Industry Speaks stage will be lo cated within the Association Partner Pavilion at Booth N-4565.

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• The Processing Zone & Innovation Stage

New in 2022, the Processing Innovation Stage (Booth LU-7130), will focus on the latest food and beverage processing breakthroughs. Conveniently located in the Processing Zone, no additional registration is required for attendees to take a break from the show oor and learn something new. Visit for more information.

• PACK Challenge

• Industry Meets

• PACK Match at PACK EXPO International

show preview

The Industry Meets at PACK EXPO with targeted mini-indus try events hosted by a record number of association partners as part of the Partner Plus Program. In addition, Association Partner thought leaders will present the latest industry trends on the Industry Speaks stage throughout the show.

Same Life Sciences focus, new format. The name is the only thing that’s changed about this gathering ground for life science industries. Life sciences is an impor tant focus for PACK EXPO International, and now this key market segment is posi tioned as it should be—as an integral part of PMMI’s agship show. This “show within a show” in the West Building will house innovations for pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and medical devices. Located in the West Building at Booths W-13000 to W-20099. Visit for more information.

Our Multi-Head Combination Weighers deliver a high-quality build backed by our industry-leading customer service. High Tek USA knows that the food industry needs the best performance, with the best options all in one reliable and lasting solution. • 10.4” Color Touch Screen • Fully Enclosed Radial Feeders • Wash-down Models Available • Easy Access to Breaker for – Lock Out Tag Out • Achievable Speeds of up to 150 BPM • Load Cell Technology for ln-feed Detection • Available in 10, 14, 16, 20 & 24 Head Models • Easy Removal of All Parts for Cleaning • Optional Timing Hoppers & Diverting Hoppers . UMulti-Head Combination WeighersMulti-Head Combination Weighers

Troubleshooting Roadblocks on the Road to Sustainability Success

How are Emerging Brands Engaging with CoMans/CoPacks to Maximize their Pro ts and Accelerate Time to Market?

George Forrester - Partner, AHT Insurance, a Baldwin Risk Partner

The Future of Manufacturing: Accelerated Digital Transformation

Carl Melville - President, Melville Group, on behalf of Contract Packaging Association

10:30 AM

2:30 PM

11:30 AM

Robots and Cobots, An Automated Future

Driving Packaging Line Performance

• CareerLink @ PACK EXPO—CareerLink, PMMI’s online job board, is going live at the show. This is an opportunity for PMMI members and CPA, OMAC, and IoPP member companies to meet with students and vet erans pursuing careers in packaging and processing during one-on-one informational interviews to take place at the show. Visit to register today.

• The Amazing Packaging Race—In this fun and educational event taking place the last day of the show (Wednesday, Oct. 26), teams from colleges and universities in North America race around the PACK EXPO International show oor to complete tasks at the Booths of participat ing exhibitors. Sponsored by Emerson. Visit for more information.

The Evolution of Automation


Adrian Lloyd - Research Director, Interact Analysis

Michael Carr - Head of Risk Engineering, North America & Canada, Coalition, Inc.

10:30 AM

The Challenges Facing Global Sustainable Packaging Prof. Pierre Pienaar - President, World Packaging Organization (WPO)

Courtney Lorenz - Sr. Director, Global Environmental Sustainability, SGK

The Six Traits of Highly Successful Emerging Brand/ Contract Manufacturing Relationships

Spencer Cramer - Founder and CEO of ei3; OMAC Board Member

11:30 AM

Mitigating Unplanned Downtime to Increase Pro tability

Daniel Maeyaert - VP of Manufacturing Operations, Fallas Automation

Stephen M. Perry, Ph.D. - Partner and Coach, FSO Institute - The Manufacturing Health People

10:30 AM

• Future Innovators Robotics Showcase—See Chicago-area high school robotics teams showcase their design, engineering, and trouble shooting skills. Located in the North Hall at Booth W-21028. Visit pwgo. to7689 for more information.

Ben Spencer - IT Manager, PMMI

3:30 PM

Donna Ritson - President, DDR Communications LLC

Free Show Floor Education

• The Innovation Stages

1:30 PM

Accelerating Packaging Sustainability While Enhancing Desirability

Take advantage of free, unique, inter active learning sessions throughout PACK EXPO International. The Forum at PACK EXPO will feature 45-minute sessions, open to all attendees, on the latest industry trends. Sessions will be interactive, including activities, small group discussions, and Q&A sessions. Located in the North Hall at Booth N-4543. Visit or browse the schedule to the right.

On the show oor, the three Inno vation Stages present free 30-minute seminars on breakthrough technolo gies and techniques focused on a wide range of industry-speci c solu tions. Innovation stages are located in the North Hall at Booths N-4560, N-4580, and N-4585. Visit for more information. Browse the Innovation Stages schedule on page 152.

Understanding, Assessing, and Mitigating Cyber Risk in an Industrial Environment

Andy Lomasky - Director of IT, PMMI 3:30 PM


2:30 PM

Soha Atallah - Vice President, World Packaging Organization (WPO)

2:30 PM

Hope Massey - Director, Consulting Americas, SGK

• The Forum at PACK EXPO

THE FORUM SCHEDULE 45-minute sessions

Will Your Employees Prevent, or Cause a Cyber Attack?

PACK EXPO International offers programs and activities aimed at getting students excited about careers in packaging.

Ron Puvak - Executive Director, Contract Packaging Association 11:30 AM


Student Opportunities

Cyber Attacks: Responding to a Breach

Cybersecurity and the IT/OT Gap

1:30 PM

142 PW SEP2022 show preview

Post-COVID-19 Packaging Design Trends

• See also the Processing Innovation Stage, the PACK to the Future Stage, and Industry Speaks Stage mentioned previously. These are all free to attendees and conveniently located on the show oor.

Ron MacDonald - Chairman at the Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC) and Senior Principal Engineer at Nestlé Purina Research.,, and Nestlé Purina Research

1:30 PM

Jonathan Pipe - Senior Consulting Analyst, Interact Analysis

3:30 PM

Michael Warren - Founder and Chief Operating Of cer, AsInt, Inc.


Located in the West Building, The Showcase of Packaging Innovations (Booth W-20052) features winning entries from worldwide packaging competitions. The Showcase is sponsored by WestRock (Booth S-2130).

Drawing on her own diverse experiences, Hudson shares winning business strategies for women, including clean communication, emotional intelligence, leadership techniques, and tips for elevating your networking and negotiation game. Visit to RSVP for the breakfast.

• Fundamentals of Field Service: Oct. 23-24, 2022

Workforce Development:

Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network (PPWLN) Networking Event

• The Containers and Materials Pavilion

• The Showcase of Packaging Innovations® Sponsored by WestRock

PMMI U is offering popular training workshops in Chicago to coincide with PACK EXPO International.

batch re ning, shaping, cluster production, and more. Located in the South Building (Booths S-2284 to S-2895) and sponsored by the National Confectioner’s Association (NCA).

The annual Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network (PPWLN) breakfast at PACK EXPO International will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 7:30 to 9:00 a.m., in Room S-100 at McCormick Place. Hear from keynote speaker Dawn Hudson, former Chief Marketing Officer at the National Football League and former President and CEO of Pepsi Cola North America, who has led an impressive career spanning highlevel posts in media, retail, consumer goods, consulting, and healthcare at some of the biggest corporations in the world.

• The Reusable Packaging Pavilion

• Risk Assessment Workshop: October 21-22, 2022

Home to the latest trends and technologies relating to aeration,

Visit for more information on any of these returning pavilions.

• Association Partner Pavilion

Big trends such as sustainability, recyclability, e-commerce, and consumer convenience have loomed large in recent years in this pavilion. Located in the West Building, it is a prime destination for companies looking to refresh a brand, launch new products, broaden appeal, and attract attention.

Returning Pavilions at the show:

This pavilion, sponsored by the Reusable Packaging Association, showcases sustainable packaging solutions to help reduce waste, cut costs, and gain supply chain ef ciency. Explore reusable transport packaging products and services and see innovative reuse solutions from over 30 exhibitors. Located in Upper Lakeside at Booths LU-6700 to LU-6999.

Located in the West Hall Concourse, this is PACK EXPO International’s one-stop-shop for resources to strengthen your current workforce and grow your existing workforce. Learn about PMMI U offerings, including popular training workshops. Schools will present mechatronics, packaging and processing offerings, and you can meet students interested in careers in the industry.

This pavilion houses leading associations dedicated to advancing the packaging and processing industry, offering signi cant resources, insights, and expertise all in one central location within the North Hall at Booths N-4510 to N-5101.

Visit to register for PMMI U and login to browse and register for these workshops.

This year, the PPWLN networking event is sponsored by: Emerson, ID Technology, Morrison Container Handling Solutions, Plexpack Corp., Septimatech Group Inc., and SMC Corporation of America. For more information on the network, visit

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• The Confectionery Pavilion

Located within the Confectionery Pavilion, PACK EXPO International attendees can network with peers, gain specialized insights, and rest their feet at the Candy Bar Lounge, hosted by The National Confectioners Association (NCA), and sponsored by Syntegon Packaging Technology, LLC. The lounge offers a place for casual networking and idea sharing. Located within the Confectionery Pavilion in the South Building.

This exciting area in the South Building features digital printing and converting, labeling, and coding and marking technologies.

PPWLN serves to recruit, retain, and advance women’s careers in packaging and processing. Each PACK EXPO, the PPWLN hosts a networking event addressing a timely issue facing women in the industry.

• The PACKage Printing Pavilion

• Certified Trainer Workshop: Oct. 23-24, 2022

• PMMI U Workforce Development Pavilion

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Package printing and personalization made easy Visit us at: Booth #4252 South Hall Inkjet print systems for high speed package personalization Print on corrugate, cartons, mylar pouches, blister packs, clam shells, and other packaging materials Personalize with variable data such as barcodes, serial #'s, lot codes, expiry dates, graphics and other compliance information. Minimize waste with print inspection and accurate job counts Minimize setup time with job storage and quick recall

The Technology Excellence Awards 2022 Finalists are as follows:

• Highest speed, vibration insensitive, compact capsule weight checker. A single channel can handle 50,000 capsules/ hour in a compact, stackable form factor. WORK Microwave GmbH, Booth W-20038

• Amcor Clear Anti-Grease Jerky Pouch. This clear antigrease film lets beef jerky and other meat snacks power up shelf appeal. Amcor Flexibles North America, Booth S-3705

• Maxpack 2023 MFT 7 Ultimate Range. Company says this is the most versatile, rugged, and beautifully designed vertical f/f/s it has ever built. Maxpack Machinery LLC, Booth S-2396

• IMA Ilapak Vegatronic 6400. Hygiene, accessibility, and efficiency differentiate the IMA Ilapak Vegatronic 6400 continuous motion vertical bagger. IMA S.p.A., Booth S-2514

Young Professional’s Networking Event

Technology Excellence Award Finalists: Your Vote Counts!

• Schoeller Allibert Corona 20-pocket beer crate. This highly sustainable beer crate, used by Anheuser-Busch InBev, is made from reground HDPE, consisting of 91% recycled plastic. Schoeller Allibert, Booth LU-6820

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Band Styx Headlines PACK gives BACK

Food & Beverage Finalists

• ClipCombo™. Equipment runs two different paper-based multipack styles on the same machine, with rapid changeovers and high speeds. Graphic Packaging International, Booth S-1730

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Personal Care & Pharmaceutical Finalists

The Technology Excellence Awards are back at PACK EXPO International 2022, and we need your help to select winners. The awards recognize exhibitors’ innovative technology they have developed that has not previously been shown in the PACK EXPO family of events.

sored by Rockwell Automation and proceeds bene t PMMI Foundation. Visit to buy tickets and for more information.ThePMMI Foundation provides nancial support for packaging and processing education throughout the U.S and Canada. Since its inception in 1998, the PMMI Foun dation has given more than $2.3 million to strengthen the workforce within the packaging and processing industry.


The Emerging Leaders Network will host an evening event for young professionals, sponsored by Beckhoff Automation LLC at Punch Bowl Social in downtown Chicago. Visit to register for the net working event now.

• CueSee® Mix/Dual-Chambered Device. This is a unique, patented packaging format for the In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD), pharmaceutical, and cosmetic markets. Eurotrol, Booth W-13027

General Packaging & Processing Finalists

PACK EXPO’s annual event, PACK gives BACK™, returns to PACK EXPO International bigger and better than ever! For the rst time in its Chicago history, the event will be a mu sical performance, with headlining band Styx taking center stage at McCormick Place. Guests will enjoy pre-show net working with refreshments and appetizers followed by a per formance by the multi-megamillion-selling rock band. Styx draws from over four decades of barn-burning chart hits, joyous singalongs, and hard-driving deep cuts, such as, Renegade, Come Sail Away, Lady, Blue Collar Man, Too Much Time On My Hands, Mr. Roboto, Fooling Yourself, and The Grand Illusion. Tickets are $95 each (or buy nine and get the tenth free). Take advantage of the 10 tickets-for-the-price-of-nine deal to treat customers or business partners to the show. The event is spon

• Amcor High-Barrier PCR Pouchstock. High-barrier pouchstock contains up to 30% post-consumer recycled (PCR) content. Amcor Healthcare Packaging, Booth W-16031

• Forvara® Foodservice Films. Forvara, a PE-based alternative, non-PVC foodservice film emulates vital characteristics of PVC film. Specialty Polyfilms (India) Pvt. Ltd, Booth W-27008

• Proxima Tethered Closure. Enhances closure recyclability for cold fill and aseptic applications, including still water and functional drink. Berry Global, Inc., Booth N-4727

• Wave 2-cc dispenser. This recyclable lock-up atmospheric dispenser is a more sustainable version of a popular personal care product pump format. Berry Global, Inc., Booth N-4727

• Recycle-Ready Chevron Pouches. This recycle-ready medical device pouch consists of a PE-based laminate paired with uncoated Tyvek®. Amcor Healthcare Packaging, Booth W-16031

Voting will take place live starting when the show opens, on Sunday, October 23 at 9 a.m. It remains open through 12 noon on Tuesday, October 25. There are three ways to vote—in person, on the official show mobile app brought to you by ProMach (see page 148), or online (visit during the open voting time window. The winner of each category will be announced via a press release on Tuesday at the show.

Get the Output You Need End-of-Line Automation Solutions Erect Case Erectors Bliss Formers Pack Robotic Top Load Case Packers Robotic Partition Inserters Bulk Pack / Bag-in-Box Seal Case Closers Bliss Sealer Palletize Robotic Palletizers Robotic Depalletizers Machines & Service Optimized for 24/7 Operations | Single Source Supplier | Uniform Machine Interface | Premier Lead Times 65 Years in Business | 30 Years Robotic Integration | Remote Access is Standard | Free Remote Technical Support

Learn the latest trends and bene ts of reusable packaging in the Lakeside Upper Building, Booth LU-6737. Discover how implementing a reusable packaging system can improve material handling perfor mance, reduce operating costs, create new economic values, and lower environmental impacts in your supply chain.

scale their brand to larger production through either in-house facility build-out, or outsourced relationships with contract manufacturers and packagers. Exhibitors will include packaging machinery, packaging materials, processing equipment, and contract manufacturing and packaging. The Emerging Brands Summit will occur on Sunday, October 23, 2022, from 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at McCormick Place, Chicago, Room S-100. Visit to learn more.

The Emerging Brands Summit, brought to you by PMMI Media Group, will launch at PACK EXPO International 2022 as a one-day event featuring educational content and tabletop exhibits. This new program is aimed at founders and leaders of startup manufacturing companies looking to

Download the PACK EXPO International Mobile App, sponsored by ProMach, to your smartphone in advance of the show to start developing your show plans.

• 3-A’s Hygienic Equipment Design Meeting

• Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association/Packaging Europe’s Smart Packaging Event

• Search exhibitors, products, and sessions

• Flexible Packaging Association’s Emerging Leadership Council & Reception

Attendees should also visit where they can view floor plans, search exhibitors by keyword or product category, schedule meetings in advance with exhibitors, and more. To keep track of all the new additions as well as old favorites, attendees can use My Show Planner to check the schedule of booth activities, add itinerary sessions, and plan routes around the show floor.

• Use an interactive mapping tool

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• Create and save a personal agenda

• International Bottled Water Association’s Annual Business Conference

The PACK EXPO Green Program is the commitment of PACK EXPO and all its partners, vendors, and exhibitors working together to create a more sustainable world. Find information and resources to aid and ad vance your company’s unique sustainability goals. Visit to learn more about the Green Program.

• Cold Pressure Council Annual Conference

Industry Meets brings together industry partners and their audi ences as they host their meetings, conferences, and receptions in con junction with PACK EXPO International. We are currently welcoming the following groups with more joining the line-up each week:

• MHI Seminar and Reception

• National Fluid Power Association’s Fluid Power Forum

• Contract Packaging Association’s Meet & Greet Reception

• Engage with My Show Planner (below)

• Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network’s Reception


• The Organization for Machine Automation and Control’s Meeting

Emerging Brands Summit

• Visit to learn more about Industry Meets

Reusable Packaging Learning Center

• Institute of Packaging Professionals’ Medical Device Packaging Class

• Free to download and use

Plan Ahead, Download the PACK EXPO International Mobile App

The Industry Meets at PACK EXPO

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My Show Planner

A global leader in designing, delivering and supporting cutting-edge manufacturing solutions that assemble and package the products millions of people worldwide depend on. Booth S-2858# OurYourExpertise.Sector.

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• On-demand access to some educational content during and after the show

To learn more and to register, visit Registration for the show is $30 until Sept. 30, after which it increases to $130. PW

• You also have the ability to upgrade your registration to attend inperson for no additional fee if you register by September 30. Up grades to in person attendance after September 30 will cost $130

• Ability to search products and exhibitors, including matchmaking capabilities and opportunities to connect with exhibitors in their online showrooms

• Access to create a personalized schedule via My Show Planner

• Visit to register for PACK EXPO Xpress

If you’re able to upgrade your Xpress registration to in-person, you’ll be happy you did. New technologies, solutions, and education ad dressing the changing landscape of packaging and processing will be on display. No other event in 2022 will bring together a more compre hensive gathering of suppliers offering new products, technologies, and

Just Can’t Attend In Person? Attend Online!

For those who are unable to attend PACK EXPO International in person, limited aspects of the live event will be available online. Registration for PACK EXPO Xpress is $30 (if you register by Septem ber 30) and gives you:

solutions. It’s where executives and plant managers, engineers, brand managers, and packaging designers come to see machinery in action, connect with suppliers, network, and gain the latest perspective on a plethora of industries in over 40 vertical markets.

King Hy-Pact® The Super Tough Industrial Polymer Sheet King Hy-Pact® is the smart choice for many high abuse applications. Gears, machine parts, sprockets, star wheels, wear strips and more.Our Innovation. Your Imagination.® | | Made in U.S.A.

Emerson advanced analytics, machine health monitoring, smart pneumatics and self-diagnosing instrumentation deliver real time insights so food & beverage and packaging manufacturers can run more reliably. Learn more at Visit us at Pack Expo 2022. North Hall – Booth GoN4736reliability.

The Innovation Stages at PACK EXPO International bring you the latest advances taking place across the industry. Check out these 30-minute sessions to discover coming trends and technologies that need to be on your team’s radar. 152 PW SEP2022 show preview SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2022 12:00 PM Baking Sustainability into Your Operations Schneider Electric Digital Double Life: The Intersection of Tech & Business Specright The Future of Recycled Food Packaging and Closing the Loop Klöckner Pentaplast 1:00 PM Get More From Your Machine using the Data You Already Have Rockwell Automation How E-commerce Packaging Trends Can Support Sustainability Felins, Inc. Intell-I-Mag® The Revolutionary Intelligent Magnet MPI 2:00 PM Broadening the Pipeline of the Industry/Academic Partnership Michigan State University Complete Automation Solutions to Enhance Line Flexibility Bosch Rexroth Corporation Power Your Performance: Integrated Solutions by Design Honeywell Intelligrated 3:00 PM Rethink Responsibly TekniPlex Taking Action: A Packaging Roadmap for the Circular Economy DASSAULT SYSTEMES MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2022 10:00 AM Intelligent Plastic for the 21st Century Smart Plastic Technologies Looking Beyond XR, and Getting Back to Reality Rockwell Automation The Path to Becoming a Green Smart Factory Schneider Electric 11:00 AM Minimize Supply Chain Disruptions with Innovative Technologies Acumatica Recycle-Friendly Washable Inks for Plastic Packaging Sun Chemical Scaling Sustainable Packaging with Automation WestRock 12:00 PM Low-Carbon Muf ns with GreenStruxure & Bimbo Bakeries Schneider Electric Remote HMI Mirroring: Handling Workforce Shortage Visibility Belden Corp Sustainability in Pharmaceutical Primary Packaging Liveo Research 1:00 PM Enable Recyclable Packaging with Open Sesame® Tear Tapes H.B. Fuller How to Add Automation at No Upfront Cost Formic Tackling Packaging Challenges and Pressures Fresh-Lock by Presto 2:00 PM Achieving More Together for a Sustainable Future Berry Global AI-based Robotic Grasping Siemens Industry Software, Inc Streamline Your Package Labeling Process Epson America, Inc. 3:00 PM Case Study: Advancing Sustainability in a Changing World Amcor Flexibles North America The Joy of the Physical in the Digital Age Sappi North America The Value of Digital Transformation Matrix Technologies, Inc. Schedule as of August 24th, 2022

153 TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2022 10:00 AM Buzzword Hangover Brightly Software How to Automate Paper-Based Packaging Solutions Graphic Packaging International Mechatronic Case Packing Transforms Frozen Food Production Beckhoff Automation, Brenton (a ProMach company) 11:00 AM 3D Vision, Soft Gripper and AI Automation Solution Soft Robotics Inc. Closing the Loop Cabka North America Inc 12:00 PM Reduce Waste & Increase Ef ciency in Clean-in-Place Process Emerson Thinking ABOUT the Box Packsize 1:00 PM Building your cyber resilience program Rockwell Automation Combat Labor Issues with Flexible Robotic Automation Mitsubishi Electric Automation Is the world ready for sustainable packaging? Industrial Physics 2:00 PM Re-Invent Supply Chain Inspection with 3D mmWave Imaging ThruWave Inc. Shelf-Ready Labeling That Marketing/Operations Can Agree On Felins, Inc. Using Supply Chain Traceability to Combat Counterfeiting Antares Vision Group 3:00 PM Addressing Convenience Trend with Retort Pouches H.B. Fuller Simplifying the Complexities of Labelling and Artwork in the Pharma Industry Esko Brand Solutions Success for Vision Systems Deep Learning Implementation Verista WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2022 10:00 AM Cybersecurity Best Practices in a Connected IIoT World Schneider Electric Pests to Watch Out for as Moisture Levels Fluctuate Orkin The Rise of Software as a Service Rockwell Automation 11:00 AM Leak Testing for Micro-Organisms in Medical/Pharma Packaging INFICON OxyStar - The First Recyclable Barrier Material Placon Recyclable and Recycle-Ready Packaging for the Dairy Market Amcor Rigid Packaging 12:00 PM Fresh Food To-Go and the Circular Economy ProAmpac Pick and Place Reinvented Syntegon Packaging Technology Smart Sensors: The Backbone of Digital Transformation SICK SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2022 12:00 PM Electric Actuator Beats Pneumatic–Price, Speed, and Life SMAC Moving Coil Actuators MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2022 10:00 AM Ef cient COP Using New, Advanced 3-A Cabinet Washers Sani-Matic 11:00 AM Food Safe Facility Drainage Design FoodSafe Drains 12:00 PM Smart Tablet Coating Technology Romaco Group 1:00 PM MasterBio - All Compostable Materials for Fresh Products! MASTERPACK SPA 2:00 PM Trends in High Pressure Processing (HPP) JBT - Avure HPP 3:00 PM Evolution Fresh – HPP Beverage Automation Advancements Hiperbaric TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2022 10:00 AM Enteral Feeding – Direct Connect Nutrition Delivery Vonco 11:00 AM Innovative Solutions Create R&D Partnerships Deville Technologies 12:00 PM Batching and Blending Optimization in the Beverage Industry Tetra Pak 1:00 PM Buying a Separator Machine? Avoid These 5 Costly Mistakes Gerard Daniel Worldwide 2:00 PM Stick the Landing: Five Product Handling Ideas to Win Processing Gold POWER Engineer, Inc. Schedule as of August 24th, 2022

Since 1971, the Packaging & Processing Hall of Fame has recog nized career packaging and processing professionals for their signi cant contributions to the industry and education. Professionals are inducted into the Hall of Fame every other year. The Class of 2022 will be formally acknowledged during PACK EXPO on Monday, Oct. 24, at a 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. reception to be held at the Industry Speaks Stage, Booth N-4565 in the North Hall. They will also be announced at PACK Gives Back (more on PACK Gives Back on page 146).


The Packaging & Processing Hall of Fame will welcome four new members to its 47th class at PACK EXPO International (October 2326, McCormick Place, Chicago). This year’s inductees are Jean-Jacques Graf n, Rebecca Oesterle, Pierre Pienaar, and E. Jeffrey Rhodehamel.

Packaging & Processing Hall of Fame Welcomes Four Members

• Rebecca Oesterle led the charge at Energizer on several pack age development and project management innovations and trans lated those same skills at Just Born Quality Confections. Currently, she brings over 40 years of packaging and project management ex perience as Chair of the Board of Directors at the Institute of Packag ing Professionals (IoPP).

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• For nearly 40 years, Pierre Pienaar has, in his words, eaten, drank, and slept packaging. His odyssey from South African farm boy to president of the World Packaging Organization is as unique as his passion for educating the world about packaging, the science of packaging, and the need to ensure it is properly recycled. Few pack aging educators have given back as much to the industry as Pienaar.

Honoring Hall of Fame Careers:

Jean Jacques Graffin

• An inventor and entrepreneur, Serac-founder Jean-Jacques (JJ) Graf n dedicated his life to improving manufacturing and packag ing for the food industry. His passion for inventing and interest in food & beverage began as a child, observing his parents running a small mechanical farm equipment company. His weight ller and the rotary machine for lling milk are just a few of his inventions that remain in use to this day.

• Jeff Rhodehamel, PhD, exempli es the term “jack of all trades.” Between his work protecting public health in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, innovating package design at Sealed Air Corporation, and passing the torch to the next generation of food scientists at Clemson University, Rhodehamel has led in every eld he has entered. preview

Rebecca Oesterle

PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, announces the Class of 2022 Inductees.

PALLETIZING SOLUTIONS end-of-linewrappingWrapsavesfloorspaceandcosts. ControlledSafeEntry ISO 13849-1 achieves safety categorystandard3PL-d.layoutModularModularengineeringprovidescompleteflexibility,qualitycontrol,andvalue.newmachineprogrammingEasyStackEasy® (503) 353-7388salesteam@toptier.comTopTieristhe#1selling line of palletizers in North America. PACK EXPO International — October 23-26 — Chicago Simple. By Design.® A ROBOPAC Company Conventional and Robotic Palletizers on display at TopTier Booth N-5906

Other notable inventions include:

Jean Jacques Graffin of Serac

• The patented design electromagnetic nozzle with a closing ball–the ller has no rubber seal, only a tank with nozzles on the periphery with a stainless-steel valve. A magnetic eld actuates the seat and ball.

• The creation and development of electronic weight lling machines in 1978.

• The launch of the blowing activity for PET bottles in 2012 with the Serac Blow Molder (SBL) plastic bottles, produced in-house for produc tion runs not exceeding 18,000 containers per hour.

By Melissa Griffen, Contributor

The idea for Graf n’s rst breakthrough invention coincided with the arrival of the plastic bottle in the French dairy market. As managing director of NovaSocimec, a French manufacturer of dosing pumps for lling milk bottles since 1966, he started developing a semi-automatic dairy ller. It occurred to him that instead of dosing liquids by measuring their volume, he could measure the weight of the liquid, so he invented the Net Weight Filler machine.

He would improve upon machines already in use to improve customer experience. He wanted his company to be open, to conform to customer

inquiries. He continually tested each innovation per sonally until it achieved the desired outcome.

With three factories in France, the option to cre ate production units abroad began to take hold and Graf n was advised to go to the United States. The U.S. Serac subsidiary was built in 1981, a Brazilian subsid iary in 1985, and Serac Asia in Malaysia in 1994. With a Mexico subsidiary opening later in the year, Serac has 14 subsidiaries and more than 650 employees world wide, including Nova-Socimec, purchased in 2004. Throughout his life and career, Graf n was recog nized with multiple awards:

The Packaging & Processing Hall of Fame is inducting four new members into its ranks in 2022. The late Jean Jacques Graffin joins the Hall of Fame for his tireless work as a passionate inventor and entrepreneur who revolutionized the dairy manufacturing and packaging world.

The invention of the rst weight ller in the food industry led Graf n to leave Nova-Socimec and start his own company, Serac, in June 1969. Rose explained that though her husband’s passion was invention, he also became a true entrepreneur. “The sales of these machines were increasing, and JJ surrounded himself with competent teams driven by the same passion for packaging development,” she says. “He sold six machines in six months.”

• Received the title of “Chevalier in the National Order of Merit” for dis tinguished civil achievements to honor French citizen’s complemen tarity with the Legion of Honor, May 1980

“While observing his parents running their small general mechanical farm equipment company, the idea of being an entrepreneur took shape,” says Rose Graf n, JJ’s loving wife and partner at Serac. He stud ied at the Arts et Métiers, an engineering school in Angers, France, and in 1955 and received a Master of Engineering MEng ENSAM (École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers) degree.

• The rst rotary machine for lling milk into bottles in 1972.

As an innovator, Graf n made it his job to take problems brought to him, nd solutions, and bring them to fruition, receiving more than 100 patents. Rose explained that her husband took the time to dive deep into bold ideas generated by customer demand, spending long hours on problems, though, she says, “he never saw a problem; he undertook challenges to create solutions.”

Honoring Hall of Fame Careers:

Before he passed, Graf n was working on a very important project that focused on sustainability. In 2020, he supervised the operation of Serac’s BluS tream® Module, a chemical-free decontamination module for caps that is be ing debut at Drinktec in Munich this month. Rose says Graf n continuously pushed innovation toward sustainability, speci cally the circular economy.

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Serac has also been a leader in the exclusive club of manufacturers of aseptic lling machines since 1978.

An inventor through and through, Jean-Jacques (JJ) Graf n, founder of Serac, dedicated his life to improv ing manufacturing and packaging for the food indus try. His passion for inventing, and interest in food and beverage, was seeded in his upbringing.

JJ and Rose Graf n were married for 25 years and raised three children. Rose served for 22 years on the company board, many as JJ’s vice president. They were partners in life and in the business. “I cannot talk about JJ with out smiling,” says Rose.

• Winner of the La Prix “Nessim Habif” Prize, one of the annual awards given by the Society of Arts et Métiers, May 2009

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“He believed that in the future, many resources that we now take for granted will be acquired at a premium, so Serac must prepare for that even tuality and lead the way,” Rose says. She further explained that he wanted his legacy to be the continuation of his work. “My husband was a very proud man; he was kind, considerate, and valued everybody as an equal partner in all his endeavors. He always believed in himself and his ideas, no matter how outlandish they may have seemed at the time. For that, and everything he built, JJ Graf n leaves a legacy that will live and grow forever.”

When asked which of JJ’s packaging-related ac complishments he was proudest of, Rose cited his very rst, the Net Weight Filler, as it expanded into other markets, including detergents, home-care products, agrochemical products, lubricants, and others.

Visit to view JJ Graf n’s obituary and learn more about his contributions to automation, packaging, sustainability, and more.

• Nobel Prize for Entrepreneurs by French Academy, 1979

• The rst aseptic lling line for lling milk in plastic bottles was in partnership with another manufacturer in 1977.

With over 300 years of combined equipment experience, nVenia’s family of brands proudly serve producers of Consumer and Industrial Goods ŶĚ^ĞĐŽŶĚĂƌLJWĂĐŬĂŐŝŶŐƵƚŽŵĂƟŽŶWƌŝŵĂƌLJWĂĐŬĂŐŝŶŐƵƚŽŵĂƟŽŶŽĨ>ŝŶĞƵƚŽŵĂƟŽŶ ARPAC HAMER OHLSONFISCHBEIN Booth# S3547 ŶsĞŶŝĂ KƵƌŶĂŵĞ ǁĂƐ ŝŶƐƉŝƌĞĚ ďLJ ƚŚĞůĂƟŶ ǁŽƌĚ ŝŶǀĞŶŝŽ ŵĞĂŶŝŶŐŝŶǀĞŶƟŽŶ tŚŝůĞŽƵƌŶĂŵĞŝƐ ŶĞǁ ŽƵƌĐŽŵƉĂŶLJŝƐŶŽƚ tĞ ĂƌĞ ƉĂĐŬĂŐŝŶŐĂƵƚŽŵĂƟŽŶ company brought together by one focus - our customers and our passion ƚŽ ĚĞƐŝŐŶĂŶĚĚĞůŝǀĞƌŝŶƚĞŐƌĂƚĞĚĞƋƵŝƉŵĞŶƚƐŽůƵƟŽŶƐ

In the early 2000s, Energizer began focusing more on packaging and packaging development, leading Oesterle to earn a promotion from supply chain manager to manager of global packaging development.

“Probably six months in, I said to my husband, ‘I do not want to do this the rest of my career; I miss packaging,’” Oesterle says.

Visit to read Packaging World ’s coverage of a recent major robotic installation at Just Born Quality Confections.

Not one to stop at just a few innovations, Oesterle also used her time in this role to expand Energizer’s Package Design Center, a program created by her colleague Dan Stucky. Oesterle grew the program to include all the “toys” needed to develop working package prototypes within 24 to 48 hours.

“The thing about working at Just Born that was dif ferent from Energizer and that I really liked is that my hands were in it all,” Oesterle says. She dusted off her graphics and Auto CAD skills, drew up packaging, and worked with equipment suppliers in this new role, continuing with the ideation skills she sharpened at Energizer. She preaches this diversity of talents in her current role at IoPP, telling the next generation to focus on “learning everything you can.”

Oesterle has used her time at IoPP to pass on what she learned in her ca reer. As the leader of IoPP’s Sustainable Packaging Technical Committee, Oes terle updated and expanded on the organization’s “Environmental Packaging Guidelines” textbook. She is also working on a project management course tailored explicitly to packaging professionals, aiming for a Fall 2022 release.

“Don’t just focus on exactly what your job is, but understand how your job impacts the job after you,” she says. “That makes you a better person, a betterOesterleworker.”rst learned about IoPP while at Energizer’s global headquar ters in St. Louis after watching a speaker with a “CPP” title, short for Certi ed Packaging Professional (for which she would eventually earn lifetime certi cation). Starting at IoPP’s St. Louis chapter, Oesterle soon led that chapter as President and later joined IoPP’s national ranks, becoming chair of its board of directors in 2020.

Rebecca Oesterle of IoPP

Honoring Hall of Fame Careers:

Oesterle found yet another way to stay ahead of the times at Energizer by leading the development of an electronic work ow system. Her team considered outside data management services and would have relished a service like Specright, “but they weren’t around when we were rst looking to do this,” she says. “Energizer had a really capable IT department, I mean, they were very, very good, and we designed our own system.”

After years of experience climbing the corporate ladder in the packaging world, Oesterle has some sage advice to share with the next generation of packagers.“Youneed to toot your own horn. You can’t assume that your boss knows everything you’re doing because depending on how your working structure is, they don’t,” Oesterle says. “You need to be your own best advocate.”

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The Packaging & Processing Hall of Fame is inducting four new members into its ranks in 2022. Rebecca Oesterle joins the Hall of Fame with decades of packaging and project management experience and offers a guiding voice for future packagers.

It didn’t take long for the packaging itch to return.

By Casey Flanagan, Editorial Assistant

Born in Vermont and raised a “Navy brat,” Oesterle and her family followed her father as he was stationed all over the world, from Virginia and Rhode Island to Bermuda and Sicily. Despite the constant moving, she was mad when her father left the Navy after 21 years because, as the youngest child, she didn’t get to live as many places as her older brothers.

She helped develop several innovative package designs for household products, including more accessible hearing aid battery packaging, a rollout of new graphics to t the company’s global branding image, and a new child-proof plastic packaging for lithium coin batteries used to this day.

Around Oesterle’s 30th year at Energizer, the com pany shifted its focus and removed the global package development team she had led. Energizer offered her a role as the business manager for an IT project to roll out SAP software globally, and she decided to take that on as her next adventure.

As a Georgia Tech undergrad, Oesterle interned at the Eveready Battery Company division of Union Carbide before segueing into a job as an indus trial engineer at Energizer upon graduation. In addition to her B.S. in Man agement Science, she earned an M.B.A in Operations and Marketing at the Sage Colleges and an M.S. in Packaging Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She later became an industry advisory board member at RIT.

Like a certain pink bunny, Rebecca Lane “Becchi” Oes terle, CPPL, just keeps going and going as an educa tional leader for packaging professionals, even in her retirement. Oesterle led the charge at Energizer on several package development and project manage ment innovations and translated those same skills at Just Born Quality Confections. Currently, she brings over 40 years of packaging and project management experience as Chair of the Board of Directors at the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP).

She oversaw the go-live for the SAP project but soon after found another “pink bunny” as packaging development manager for Just Born, the makers of Peeps, Mike and Ike, and other popular candies.

“It was partially to show off what the capabilities were,” Oesterle says, “especially when the Design Center rst opened, so that [retailers] would know what we could do internally.” The Package Design Center grew from a local department to a global operation at Energizer.

The system added transparency to quickly spot and sort out bottlenecks, moving from manually carrying papers to an ef cient way to keep work

owing across time zones.

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The Packaging & Processing Hall of Fame is inducting four new members into its ranks in 2022. Pierre Pienaar joins the Hall of Fame as a global ambassador and educator for packaging and packaging education.

Pierre Pienaar of WPO

But he doesn’t stop there. For 16 years, he has visited the classrooms in his home state of Queensland, Australia, and explained packaging, the science of packaging, and the impact of not recycling it to children as young as rst grade. He anticipates his two-year-old granddaughter being his greatest student.

Honoring Hall of Fame Careers:

“Now, something like that, once it’s up and really running, then we’ll break it to the world and say, ‘If we can get it right in that developing coun try, we can then move that same working mechanism into other countries and do the same thing,” he says.

He saw it during his travels in Central Africa, where companies used the wrong materials on food products, and the food would deteriorate much quicker than it should have.

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“I was crossing paths with people that were not suitably quali ed to discuss packaging from a scienti c point of view, especially in pharmaceuti cals, where one has to be careful,” he says.

In a world where 35% of food is wasted, he says this knowledge can save lives, noting that “25% of that 35% could be solved by simply using the right packaging.”

By Sean Riley, Senior News Director

Most little boys who grow up on a sheep farm in South Africa don’t dream as big as being able to travel the world, meet regularly with the United Nations, teach master’s level courses at universities on at least ve continents, and serve as president of the World Pack agingAndOrganization.neitherdid Pierre Pienaar. His plan was sim ple. He was going to study pharmacy and eventually take over the town pharmacy run by his Godfather.

“That was 37 years ago, and I’ve never looked back,” he says. “I’ve en joyed every minute of packaging. I eat, sleep, and drink packaging.”

“I’ve been back to that small town, and I see people when I’m there, and they say, ‘How did you get where you are today when you came from this little town?” Pi enaar says, “This town doesn’t produce people like you, traveling the world and talking about what you do.”

From that serendipitous start, Pienaar grew to become one of the most proli c packaging educators in the world. While working at Aspen Pharma, he started his own chapter of the South African Packaging Institute before eventually becoming president, constantly scratching an ever-growing edu cation itch.

This is where his work with the WPO and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNI DO) ful lled his passion for educating the world about packaging. Even in Australia, he still encounters peo ple working in senior packaging roles who don’t have any scienti c Recognizingbackground.this,Pienaar decided he needed to capture the future generations of packaging at a younger age and began lecturing on the technology and science of packaging at various universities and institutions worldwide. He relishes his interactions with students and their optimistic takes on driving re cycling and sustainability through packaging. The stu dents have also made him aware that despite his roles in the WPO and as an educator, sometimes education needs to be tied to actual boots-on-the-ground action.

Pienaar’s packaging odyssey began in the early 1980s when he graduated from university and began working in the laboratory for a pharmaceutical company that is now part of Aspen Pharma. One day the managing director approached the four most recent hires, three production pharmacists and Pie naar, and explained, “the company is spending an enormous amount of mon ey on packaging, and we don’t know what we are doing with our packaging.” He told the four to decide who would be the company’s packaging expert.

“It was something as simple as changing the material,” he says. “There was no rocket science to it, but the people didn’t know that, and these were [packaging development managers] in decision-making roles.”

In Indonesia, for example, there was no recycling. Together with the WPO and UNIDO, Pienaar was able to corral 18 major multinationals like Nestlé and Coca-Cola to come together and develop ways they, as corporate citizens, could bring recycling to the fourth most populous country in the world.

“About 50% of the waste coming into the sea comes from Southeast Asia—10 million metric tons of plastic per year,” he says. “People don’t stop long enough to realize we have a massive problem on our hands.”

“Well, fortunately for me, the other three were not even interested,” he says with a laugh, “The next thing I knew, I was researching master’s degree programs and found Brunel University in London.”

With signi cant players backing this program, Indonesia is developing recycling and collection and moving the waste back into a form where it can be used again.

In addition to running a packaging consultancy in Australia, Pienaar lec tures master’s students in Food Innovation and Packaging at the University of Melbourne (Australia), Bond University (Australia), and over a dozen ad ditional universities worldwide.

“I want to make a difference that when I retire, I can say, “’ Yep, it’s now working,’” he says.

show preview

Like many who end up in this industry, particu larly those earning the Packaging and Processing Hall of Fame, he was bit by the packaging bug.

Visit to read Pierre Pienaar’s recent Professional Perspective column in Packaging World, in which he lays out how and why packagers should prioritize sustainability.

“There’s nothing like going from working in a microbiology lab to going to work in a meat slaughter facility,” he says. “It’s where I think I learned that there is book knowledge, and then there is real-world knowledge and [the] application of it.”

Jeff Rhodehamel, PhD earns his spot in the Hall of Fame as a true food safety renaissance man. Between his work protecting public health in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, innovating package design at Sealed Air Corporation, and passing the torch to the next generation of food scientists at Clemson Univer sity, Rhodehamel has been a leader in just about any eld he has Rhodehamelentered.grew up in Levittown, Pa. His father’s work eventually brought him to the suburbs of Wash ington, D.C., which he says led to a life “mostly south of the Mason-Dixon Line since then” and subsequent ly an education at Virginia Tech.

While Rhodehamel enjoyed his time at Bil Mar Foods, after about two years, he jumped at the opportunity to focus more on food safety as a mi crobiologist for the FDA. It brought Rhodehamel an overriding sense “that you did have an admirable mission to your work, and you felt you were making a difference.” He says he knew this job was different from the start, as “not many jobs do you take an oath when you get sworn in.”

By Casey Flanagan, Editorial Assistant

apply HACCP principles to the seafood industry.

The Packaging & Processing Hall of Fame is inducting four new members into its ranks in 2022. Jeff Rhodehamel joins the Hall of Fame with a unique combination of leadership experience in government, the private sector, and academia.

He found a special interest in pathogenic microbi ology through a food microbiology class he took dur ing his junior year. He earned his degree in microbiol ogy and later earned both a Master’s and a PhD in food science and technology at Virginia Tech.

While Rhodehamel did spearhead these innova tions in his leadership role, he emphasized the im portance of the team around him. “There’s very little innovation that happened as a result of a single indi vidual that can bring it from start to nish; you really need a team effort,” he says.

Rhodehamel served as chair of the Depart ment of Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Scienc es at Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences (CAFLS) up to 2019. He has con tinued as a professor to this day, teaching class es at CAFLS, as well as professional development and leadership course for juniors and seniors.

And with an admirable sense of modesty, Rhodehamel drives the mes sage home that “it’s really all the multitudes of great teams that I’ve worked with that really deserve the credit.” PW preview

Jeff Rhodehamel of Clemson University

Working alongside his Major Professor, Dr. Merle Pierson, Rhodehamel focused his studies on anaerobic pathogens or germs that can survive with out oxygen. “In a strange twist, that’s sort of how it got me eventually to packaging,” he says, as that type of pathogen is of particular concern with modi ed atmosphere packaging (MAP).

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There’s very little innovation that happened as a result of a single individual that can bring it from start to nish; you really need a team effort.

As a mentor for the new talent entering Sealed Air, he simultaneously dipped his toes into the academic world as an adjunct professor at Clemson University.Thechance to teach full-time came toward the twilight of Rhodehamel’s career. “I thought it might be a wonderful opportunity to give back to the industry and start mentoring these students while still in academics,” he says.

Backed by his combined experience climbing several organizational ranks and teaching the next generation to do the same, Rhodehamel ad vises, “you don’t need to be the absolute technical expert in every single aspect, but you rely on your teams to provide that.”

Rhodehamel shifted gears back to the corporate world in 1995 with CRYOVAC®, which later merged with Sealed Air Corporation. He spent the next 18 years at the company and ultimately became executive direc tor of global technology and innovation. He and his team designed several innovative packaging products over the years, including a post-pasteurization bag, ovenable rollstock, oxygen scavenging bag materials, and improved abuse-resistant red meat bags, many of which solved challenges raised by customers.

Not one to limit his contributions to the packaging and food safety world, Rhodehamel has also thrown his hat in the ring at the International Association for Food Protection, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Turkey Federation.

Rhodehamel’s rst foray into the “real world” was as a supervisor of microbiological and chemical laboratories at meat processing company Bil Mar Foods.

Honoring Hall of Fame Careers:

During his seven years at the FDA, he led the organization’s Hazard Anal ysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) division, which sets regulations based on principles that ensure food safety from harvest to consumption. One of the focal points of his time leading this division was writing regulations to

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Energy Drink Meets Skyrocketing Demand Through Digital Thread

One of Amway’s newest products is its XS brand of energy drinks. Marketed as a blast of energy without sugar or carbs, the drinks were originally developed by two Amway indepen dent business owners (IBOs) in 2002. A year later, Amway became the exclusive distributor, and XS quickly became Amway’s No. 1 seller. Amway ac quired the brand outright in 2015 and has since tripled the XS business.

Since then, the market for functional bever age has continued to grow. The market was al ready on the rise, but that took off even further once the pandemic began. Lockdowns not only were a time to explore new foods and beverages, but also health was top of mind. Energy drinks make up the largest share of the U.S. functional beverage market at an estimated $18.6 billion, according to Euromonitor, and their popularity continues to escalate.

further expansion in the future, but also to install the kinds of exible systems that would accommodate a range of recipes.

Amway was able to apply one control and information system across all processes and packaging operations to improve capacity and product quality, save energy and raw materials, and reduce process variations and human intervention.

Formerly making liquid soaps not only for its own brands but comanufacturing for several other big industry names as well, Amway was looking to get out of contract manufacturing, according to Rob Dargie, senior electrical engineer for Amway. The idea, then, was to use that plant for the new XS production. “We closed the liquids plant. It was one of the older plants, and we completely gutted that thing,” he says. “So it really was a green eld plant then.”

Distributed control system Fast troubleshooting

The PlantPAX control system from Rockwell Automation is enabling Amway to achieve greater operator efficiency, real-time troubleshooting, simplified data analysis, and increased manufacturing flexibility, among other improvements, through increased connectivity.


Depending on your age, you might remember Amway as a multi-level seller of cleaning sup plies and other household goods. The compa ny has expanded in several directions since its beginnings, including personal care products, cookware, vitamins and supplements, and more.

By Aaron Hand, Editor-in-Chief, ProFood World

What this all meant to Amway and its plant in Ada, Mich., was that it was in desperate need of increased production capabilities. Amway had previously had the XS energy drink co-manufactured, but decided to bring production in-house to improve ef ciency and cost structure. The company made a $15 million investment in its 100-acre campus in Ada—not only to provide the ability to boost production and enable


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Amway’s 8,000-gal dilution tanks, shown with the mixproof valve bank in the forefront.

More than a few times during the pandemic, the system was able to run with a single employee at the controls. “Once operators spent some time with the new system and realized the power of the PlantPAx DCS, their con dence grew both in the system and in their own capabilities, and they became more agile and self-supporting,” Dargie says.

The team used modern batch control strategies to support exible production needs and standardize company procedures while accelerat ing product and process development. The system’s standard method ologies, process libraries, and reusable code meant better equipment utilization and improved quality, visibility, and access to actionable data.

They began pulling more information from the systems, but it was challenging to seamlessly connect legacy IT systems and homegrown manufacturing systems to create the digital thread. They needed a con trol system that could bring it all together, enabling continuous data ow to improve and optimize operations.

Easier troubleshooting

The initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic added some complexity to an already aggressive schedule of extensive upgrades. “It was 2019, and we did the FATs for the packaging line in Germa ny—way ahead of schedule, at the end of September, into October,” Dargie recalls. “The equipment and tanks started arriving in January. We were getting ready for installation by the end of February, into March.”

Dargie was amazed at how well everything went, hearing very little about any dif culties along the way. “What kept us on schedule was the fact that everything we were doing was part of a standard process; we didn’t need to write our own code. That would have added six months to the process and opened us up for errors,” he says. “We got to market as quickly as we did with zero downtime and no setbacks because ev erything operated as promised.”

PlantPAx has also made troubleshooting easier and faster. With the sprawling campus that Amway has—multiple production buildings and a maintenance operation spread across facilities—it can take 10 min utes for a technician to physically get to a machine. Real-time trouble shooting has made it easier for operators to be more“Withself-reliant.alotofthe troubleshooting before, you’d have to call an electrician to come out, get into the PLC, and nd out what’s wrong. With PlantPAx, most of the troubleshooting is right on the HMI,” Dargie says. “It’s been very rare cases that I’ve ever heard of an electrician being called out to gure something out.”

Dargie makes note of the mixproof valve manifold technology that Amway incorporated into the new XS plant, raving about the stream lined operation and the elimination of hoses. “This is a brand new tech nology when it comes to piping or control,” he comments. “But the PlantPAx system already had that stuff in the programming software. So it was very easy to program.”

Amway is enjoying smoother production, higher quality, greater operator ef ciency, real-time troubleshooting, and almost lights out automation, according to Dargie. “Our performance is off the charts compared to anything we’ve achieved in the past,” he says. “We ipped the switch, and it just worked.” PW

Amway turned to Rockwell Automation and its PlantPAx modern distributed control system (DCS) to get the job done. The system will help the manufacturer collaborate in real time across the value chain, validating new lines and processes virtually, simplifying data analysis and increasing manufacturing exibility. As Amway integrates the solu tion into its product lifecycle management, it will achieve better con nectivity across its supply chain as well.

Finding the digital thread

Amway has been on a digital transformation journey for more than ve years, Dargie notes. He began by overhauling the control network, which was dominated by a range of proprietary legacy networks that did not communicate well with one another. “Since then, we started building the Ethernet structure and then some bridge connections to those legacy communications,” he says.

Though Amway engineers had no experience with the PlantPAx DCS, they had years of experience with Rockwell Automation controllers and ControlLogix, so they trusted PlantPAx to meet the new demands. Am way speci ed the Rockwell system not only for the processing side of the plant but for its Krones packaging line as well. Being able to apply one control and information system across all processes helped to im prove capacity and product quality, save energy and raw materials, and reduce process variations and human intervention.

It was the middle of March 2020 that lockdowns began—and that Dargie got COVID himself. “It kind of threw the whole project into a fren zy,” he recalls. And yet the project remained on schedule, with everybody plugging away during lockdown. “We had actually planned for August to be up and running, and we made our rst product run in July.”

Installation through COVID lockdowns


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simple, repetitive packaging tasks requiring low-payload capacity. But cobot manufacturers are now bringing the bene ts of these systems to palletizing, with higher payloads and with cobot arms having a greater reach.



Available from Dobot, a Chinese robotics company that just recently made its line of cobots widely available in the U.S. through master distributor DB Cobots, LLC a “cobotic” palletizer (1) that DB Cobots President Doug Dalgliesh says is “one of the easiest systems on the market today to install and implement.” The palletizer uses Dobot’s CR10 six-axis arm, which is part of the company’s CR series of adaptable and self-learning cobots.

Autonomous Mobile Robots

In Part II of Packaging World’s 2022 Robot Report (see for Part I), we explore some of the new technologies that are enabling increasingly complex packaging tasks with accuracy and ef ciency, shaping the future of robotics in packaging.

Cobots and EOATs and AI, Oh My!

Fascinating new developments in heavy-payload collaborative robots, end-of-arm tools, and Artificial Intelligence among others allow robots to take on increasingly complex packaging tasks while offering simplicity of use.

Coupled with that, undoubtedly the most distinguishing feature of the cobot is its ability to work alongside humans. Until recently, cobots have typically been small and lightweight, making them easy to move throughout a facility to different packaging lines. They primarily handled relatively

In the last couple of years, robots for packaging applications have also taken a great leap forward in technological advancements, making them even more of a marvel. Their ability to work alongside humans, use advanced 3D vision to identify objects, even when they’re positioned in a haphazard arrangement, and accurately pick and place them, grip irregularly shaped and delicate objects, and carry out dynamic tasks through the collection of data and machine learning guided by Arti cial Intelligence has opened up a whole new world of applications in packaging.

Since making their rst appearance in the packaging industry, industrial robots have had a mesmerizing effect, with their human-like movements, speed, and ef ciency. They have also been intimidating, due to their sophisticated programming requirements and high investment costs. Over the years, however, not only have robots become much easier to use, but they have also become much more affordable as well.

Features of the light-duty CR10 include a payload of 10 kg, ±0.03 mm repeatability, and a 1300-mm reach—technical capabilities that make it suitable for a number of applications, including palletizing, loading and unloading, and others. Additional features include a customized, user-friendly HMI, a vertical lift actuator, and adjustable endof-arm vacuum cup tooling.

OEMs bring the bene ts of cobots to palletizing

a video on Dobot’s CR series at Kassow Robots is a seven-axis cobot, the KR1018 (2), which has a payload of 18 kg and a reach of 1000 mm, making it suitable for precise and repetitive industrial tasks requiring great strength, such as machine tending, assembly, quality assurance, palletizing, and pickand-place operations. Kassow relates that the cobot’s easy-to-use in-

One category of robot that was introduced with ease of use and programming in mind is cobots. Since the rst cobot was introduced to the packaging industry over a decade ago, OEMs offering cobot technology have designed touchscreens and pendants that allow operators with little to no experience to quickly and easily program the path of the cobot. Some models even allow the operator to program the arm by manually guiding it through the required movements.

According to the company, set up requires just four steps: 1.) enter pallet dimensions; 2.) enter box dimensions and weight; 3.) set the pallet pattern; and 4.) set the movement speed and acceleration. Given the simplicity of set up, Dobot says the system can be up and running within minutes.

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By Anne Marie Mohan, Senior Editor

Cobots Arti cial Intelligence End-of-Arm Tools

At booth N-5946 at PACK EXPO, you’ll find Kawasaki Robotics. You’ll also find low-cost and entry level products, high-end automation solutions and a group of people who are knowledgeable, down to earth and a pleasure to work with.


Check us out and discover what we mean when we say, “We are not robots. We are robotics.”

A whole lot of manufacturers battle employee retention issues for end-of-line applications. That’s where scalable automation makes an immediate and long-lasting impact.

a video of Kassow Robots’ KR1018 at

The KR1018’s seventh axis, or “wrist joint,” provides increased maneuverability and an increased range of motion. The seventh axis also enables continuous dispensing, welding, and material removal applications, regardless of access angle, without the need to reorient the arm. Weighing just 34 kg, the cobot can be easily relocated to perform different tasks in other areas of the facility.

Another cobotic palletizer designed for maximum exibility and ease of use is OnRobot’s new OnRobot Palletizer (3). The platform can handle many different types of boxes, packages, patterns, pallets, and stacking heights and allows users to choose the palletizing system that works best for their speci c application. Compatible with cobots and light industrial robots from Doosan, Fanuc, Omron, Techman, and Universal Robots, the OnRobot Palletizer is available as a complete out-of-the-box system or as individual components to create a mix-and-match solution.

terface and the plug-and-play concept of the seven-axis cobot makes it accessible to small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) that do not have robot engineers on staff.

The palletizer includes four new hardware and software products. One is the company’s OnRobot Palletizing software, which guides users through the entire deployment from start to nish by way of a single intelligent interface for all components. According to OnRobot, the software is designed to reduce deployment time by eliminating complexity, enabling even inexperienced end users to deploy the system in a fraction of the time it would take using traditional programming interfaces.

Another component of the system is the OnRobot 2FGP20 electric palletizing gripper, with a 20-kg payload and customizable arms that can handle standard cardboard boxes as well as open boxes and shelf-ready products while also handling slip sheets without changing the gripper or requiring additional handling.

The third product is the OnRobot Lift100, a robust elevator with a total payload of 100 kg that provides a seventh axis for cobot and lightweight industrial robot brands. And the last component is the OnRobot Pallet Station, which consists of durable, oor-mounted pallet xtures

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a video of the OnRobot Palletizer at

The new cobot is said to be the rst of a new series of next generation cobots from the company. “We’re launching our next generation with this high-payload model rst to market because it will make endto-end automation a reality for our customers, allowing them to use cobot automation to cover new tasks,” says Povlsen. “The next step in rede ning automation will be to bring the same innovative features to a new family of cobots.”

designed to ensure consistent positioning, each equipped with a builtin sensor for detecting pallet presence.

Universal Robots, which essentially pioneered cobots for packaging applications, has also introduced a cobot for palletizing, the UR20 (4), which company president Kim Povlsen says is the most innovative cobot Universal Robots has produced and the latest evolution in 17 years of technical experience in the robotics industry. “This is not just a bigger version of our existing cobots; it’s the cobot rede ned,” he says.

a video of Universal Robot’s UR20 at

The UR20 features an entirely new joint design that allows for up to 65% faster cycle times, depending on joint type, as well as the ability to handle loads up to 20 kg. Its 1750-mm reach has been designed to work to the full height of the standard Europallet, which the company says will transform the way businesses package and palletize, and its small, 245-mm footprint will allow users to achieve more within their existing production space. In addition to palletizing, the UR20 can be used for ©2019 U.S. Tsubaki Power Transmission, LLC All Rights Reserved. Want us to optimize your operations? That’s what we do. Call us today to schedule an on-site visit 800-323-7790 ROLLER CHAIN SOLUTIONS THAT OPTIMIZE OPERATIONS. YOUR FOR No ma er how tough the challenge, our complete range of innovative roller chain products can help you keep your business running smoothly. That’s what you can expect from your trusted, reliable sidekick. SUPER STAINLESS™ CHAIN A PERFECT USE FOR THE NEW... i Stainless steel chain with carbon steel strength i Up to 6x stronger than ordinary stainless chains 172 PW SEP2022 4

According to Adrián Pérez Martínez, CTO and co-founder at Neobotik, an automation integrator that tested the system prior to its launch, the OnRobot Palletizer has three main advantages over existing palletizing automation: “It’s fast to deploy. It has an easy-to-use programming interface. And the gripper weight is optimal, making the solution ideal for a wide range of collaborative palletizing applications, including in industries such as food and beverage, where there is a high ow of open boxes ready to be palletized and where gripping the boxes using a traditional vacuum gripper is not possible.”

welding, material handling, and machine loading and tending, as well as for solutions created by Universal Robots’ partner ecosystem.

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Smarter robots:

Says PMMI, “AI and machine learning have been key developments in robotics that are continually expanding the realm of possibility for robot applications. Closely intertwined, AI and machine learning allow robots to adapt to new scenarios by building on a constantly increasing volume of relevant data. These technologies have opened up a world of complicated tasks for robots, from dynamically picking items the robot has never encountered before to rapidly and accurately inspecting incoming and outgoing products on a line.”

New from Yaskawa Motoman are two six-axis cobots in its HC series line, the HC10DTP (6) and the HC20DTP, with payload capacities of 10 kg and 20 kg, respectively, designed for assembly, dispensing, machine tending, material handling, packaging, and welding. Hand-guided programming allows the operator to direct teach points without a pendant, and an ISO-standard tool ange and electrical connections facilitate a plug-and-play approach for easy deployment.

Allowing the cobots to work safely alongside humans, the cobots’ Power and Force Limiting (PFL) technology constantly monitors force to quickly and safely react to contact, and advanced pinchless geometry provides “utmost safety,” the company says.

Regarding advancements in vision, a director of sales and marketing for an OEM said, “Vision has come a long way in the past few years, with 3D vision. Continued improvements to vision functionality will be key.”

The PMMI 2022 Robots and Cobots Report presents emerging technologies and compiles predicted growth in the years ahead. It examines the predictions made three years ago in the 2019 Robotics Report—which predictions have been fulfilled, and which have yet to materialize? It also explores the key trends underpinning the robotics industry and how those trends are likely to impact deployments and manufacturing strategies into the future.

AI, machine learning, and 3D vision

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a demonstration of Veo Robotics’ FreeMove 3D at

In a new report from PMMI – The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, titled, “2022 Robots and CobotsAn Automated Future” (see, CPGs and OEMs said they believe the top three improvements in robotic functionality that will have the greatest impact in the next ve years and that will in uence OEM applications are AI, machine learning, and vision, all of which are rooted in AI applications. According to the report, AI’s use in packaging is predicted to grow at a CAGR of over 50% for the next ve years.

Also transferring the cobot’s inherent bene t of being able to work alongside humans to palletizing is a new system from Veo Robotics and Gray Solutions that uses Veo’s FreeMove 3D (5) safeguarding system for industrial robots. Gray Solutions, an automation services provider for the food and beverage sector, will be including FreeMove as part of its collaborative palletizing systems for the CPG industry.

According to Yaskawa, meeting established standards and complying to ISO TS15066, each robot offers four modes of collaborative operation and can easily shift between collaborative speed in PFL model or full speed in industrial mode, optimizing cycle times based on risk assessment and process requirements.

Interviewed for the report, an advanced manufacturing manager from an SME household company, said, “Both AI and self-learning will be huge to manage mixed pallets and make corrections on the y.”

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Says Veo, FreeMove’s ability to enable this human-robot collaboration with industrial robots means CPG manufacturing engineers don’t have to sacri ce reach, speed, or payload capacity when choosing robots for their operations. Veo currently has partnerships with robot suppliers ABB, Fanuc, Kuka and Yaskawa, however, the FreeMove system is designed to work with any industrial robot.

Veo notes that often during the robotic palletizing process, operators need to enter the palletizing cell, which means the robot has to cease operation. Instead of having to stop and start the robots each time humans enter and leave the cell, FreeMove’s 3D speed and separation monitoring allows robots to work alongside humans by automatically slowing and stopping the robot’s motion as necessary to ensure no contact with the human. The sensing capability of Veo’s FreeMove system extends beyond the robot to include any parts or materials being moved by the robot during operation.

One solution that incorporates machine vision software to master complex depalletizing tasks in the logistics, e-commerce, healthcare,

Says ABB, not only are depalletizing tasks growing more complex as

a video of the ABB Robotic Depalletizer at

the composition and con guration of pallets becomes more varied, but these previously manual sorting jobs are typically characterized by high staff turnover and increased recruitment costs. “ABB’s Robotic Depalletizer solves these problems by using advanced machine vision and machine learning algorithms to quickly and ef ciently process pallets of up to 2.8 meters high, the only solution currently capable of operating at these heights,” the company shares.

Similarly designed to handle mixed-case palletizing, depalletizing, and decanting applications using AI is a solution demonstrated by Applied Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) at Automate 2022. Using a Fanuc CRX-10iA cobot and a Schmalz FXCB vacuum gripping end-of-arm tool (EOAT), the robotic cell displayed delayering and tote lling using de ned box and tote parameters to optimize the tote ll and solve the entire layer.


and CPG industries is ABB Robotics’ new ABB Robotic Depalletizer (7), which has been designed to replace heavy manual lifting and improve ef ciency. The depalletizer is equipped with ABB four- or six-axis robots and ABB’s RobotStudio digital twin software, which allows customers to build tailored solutions to process assorted loads with very little engineering effort and a short setup time.

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The robotic depalletizer software uses the information gathered by the vision sensor to provide the robot with a suitable grasping point for each box. The robot then picks up the box—weighing up to 30 kg—and places it on either another pallet or an outfeed conveyor. The system can operate at a peak rate of up to 650 cycles/hr, 24 hr/day.

The vision sensor enables the robot to detect speci c boxes on pallets, allowing depalletizing of several different load types. These include pallets comprised of a single type of box in de ned layers; “rainbow” pallets containing a number of different box types; and mixed pallets, which have a wide range of boxes with varying weights, shapes, and materials.

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In the foreground, the TX2-60L robot, or ‘Franz,’ presses a carton blank into a negative mold, while in the background, the TX2-60, or ‘Sissi,’ readies four wrapped strudel for packing into the carton.

For even the most gifted amateur baker, pulling strudel dough is a challenge. The delicate dough must be thoroughly kneaded and stretched out as thin as possible, preferably so thin that light shines through. Anyone who masters the intricacies of this process earns the reward of tasting the filling in all its glory, because strudel has a far lower dough content than even a puff

The TX2-60 and TX2-60L at Weinbergmaier, affectionately named Sissi and Franz, respectively, after 19th century Hapsburg rulers Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth and a nod to the Viennese origin of the pastry, are positioned at the secondary packaging station. Their job is to insert four foilwrapped packs of two sheets of strudel weighing 125 g each into a paperboard carton. The TX2-60 has a payload of 4.5 kg, a reach at its wrist of 670 mm, and a repeatability of ±0.02 mm. The TX2-60L has a payload of 3.7 kg, a reach of 920 mm, and a repeatability of ±0.03 mm.

Delicate Strudel Dough Picked and Packed in Enclosure-Free Robot Cell

Thepastry.earliest known strudel recipe dates back to 1696 and originated in Vienna, Austria. Here, in the “pastry capital of the world,” the 22nd district, to be precise, a company has been manufacturing strudel dough on an industrial scale for the past half century. Weinbergmaier GmbH, acquired by the Vivatis/Raiffeisen Group in 2018, produces the Toni Kaiser brand of strudel dough on three production lines to the highest standards and in large volumes.

Robots ‘Sissi and ‘Franz’ carefully pack cartons

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Meanwhile, Franz is busy preparing the carton. The TX260L, slightly larger than Sissi and with a longer arm, uses a vacuum gripper to remove a carton blank from a stack, swiftly guide it along four adhesive-dispensing nozzles, and press it into a negative mold. The carton is now ready to be filled.

At Weinbergmaier, however, trust in the tried-and-true doesn’t mean innovation falls by the wayside. On the contrary, the company recently expanded its production line for the wide strudel dough it supplies to the catering industry—brand name Weiner Strudelteig—adding a final packaging station configured around two Stäubli robots from the new TX2 series of six-axis industrial robots.

Shares Factory Manager Peter Baumüller, “We could completely fill a football field with a single-day’s production of our Viennese strudel dough, and our annual production, laid out in a row, would stretch 800 kilometers.” That’s the equivalent to the distance from Vienna to Frankfort, or almost to Florence.Because

The process begins when the wrapped pastries emerge from a cooler at a temperature of 43°F and arrive at the carton-packing station, where they are correctly aligned on a conveyor belt and are carried to a point within reach of Sissi. The TX2-60 picks up four film-wrapped units at a time with its shovel-shaped gripper.

While Franz prepares the carton for Sissi, it is her job to carefully insert the four packs she’s holding into the box. The TX2-60 has to be highly dynamic, but at the same time handle the product with care. Says Stäubli, Sissi has mastered the art with such perfection that any risk of damage to the delicate confectionery is eliminated. Finally, a tamper-evident seal is applied to the carton, and an inkjet print head marks the box with a batch number and production date. The filled and sealed carton is carried on a conveyor belt to the palletizing station.

the wafer-thin product must not be allowed to tear, the mechanical pulling of the dough places very high demands on the machinery involved. The highly specialized production lines have been in operation for around 50 years and are serviced with great dedication by the maintenance team. “These production lines deliver strudel dough of the best confectionery quality,” says Baumüller. “There is no way we could obtain machines of such a solid design today. That’s why we look after them like they’re ‘the apple of our eye.’”

Sissi and Franz usually work two shifts in the summer, which is peak apple strudel season, and sometimes they even work around the clock. And they do so at a phenomenal pace. Says Ayhan Celik, Head of Workshop Technology at Weinbergmaier, “By optimizing the final packaging line, we have succeeded in significantly shortening the cycle time. We have achieved this first and foremost because Sissi can pick and place all four packs at once. Both robots run at 80% to 90% of their maximum speed and can outpace the upstream production line if needed.”

The six-axis machines are equipped with six digital safety encoders and an integrated safety board. The extensive safety precautions include the Safe Tool and Safe Zone functions, which allow a specific area to be precisely defined and continuously monitored. If an obstacle is detected within the defined safety zone, the robot automatically comes to a full stop. This innovation allows the packaging line to be operated without a safety barrier.

For Vienna-based automation specialist Christian Piras Ltd., a huge challenge arose at the project planning stage for the system, namely the extremely limited space available. “For a long time, there was a question mark over the feasibility of the

The new Stäubli TX2 robot series coupled with the Stäubli CS9 robot controller helped make the enclosure-free robot cell possible. The robots comply with the strict requirements of The International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) SIL3-PLe safety category, and to ensure maximum safety, every movement of the robots is monitored by sensors.

Continued from page 178

Process waste. Recycle packaging. Learn more. 180 PW SEP2022

Peter Baumüller points to a second important aspect in project planning and robot selection: “Compared with other makes, Stäubli robots offer a higher standard of hygiene because of their encapsulated housing, streamlined contours, and internal cabling.”

packaging line,” says Celik. “At first, it looked as if the proposed footprint would simply not be adequate. It was only by mounting the robots on the ceiling and dispensing with a protective barrier that we were eventually able to realize the system.”

The robot controllers are connected to higher-level Beckhoff controllers via Ethercat, a concept with which Weinbergmaier has already had positive experiences. “The robots are exceptionally fast and reliable, plus their hygienic design makes them a top choice in the food industry,” Baumüller explains. The work the robots do ensures that Weinbergmaier delicacies from Vienna will continue to be available on-demand and in sufficient quantities for gourmets all over the world. PW

Peter Baumüller, Factory Manager for Weinbergmaier GmbH

Space constraints, safety, and hygiene were rst considerations

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Also offering a new robotic depalletizing solution for warehouse, e-commerce, ful llment, and distribution applications (8) is Pearson Packaging Systems. The company is using Plus One’s AI-powered PickOne vision system in conjunction with a remote human supervision tool called Yonder to enable its depalletizers to pick randomized cases, cartons, trays, or bags, even if they are overlapping or overhanging.

Says AMT, Schmalz’s FXCB vacuum gripping solution integrates a vacuum generator, ow resistors, and a digital pressure switch into a compact and lightweight design, while vision software from AMT partner Liberty Reach uses the best- t nding-and-use algorithms to optimize the pick solution for reduced cycle time overall. Explains the company, an optimized cycle includes picking multiple cases to load the tote. If a multi-pick solution is not available, the algorithm selects the next best

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position to allow the robot to pick a case.

The system uses 3D cameras to identify the 3D geometric surfaces, edges, and corners of products and determine size, shape, height, and location in real time. PickOne’s perception kit then scans a pallet stack to identify pickable items and assigns each one a condence level, after which the software sends the pick location for each recognizable item to the robot controller via the PickOne API (Application Programming Interface). If con dence levels are insuf cient for a reliable pick, the software automatically generates a Yonder request, triggering remote human intervention. With a response time of under 6 sec, a remote robot controller handles the exception by manually selecting an item and its pick point. In parallel, Yonder stores the responses to facilitate ongoing machine learning and increased ef ciencies over time. a video of Pearson Packaging System’s AI-driven robotic depalletizing system at August 2, 2022 2:15 PM Print: 08/09/22 page 1 v2.5


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Another robot application now driven by AI is one from Gerhard Schubert GmbH called the tog.519 cobot (10), “tog” meaning together, but this one for pick-and-place tasks and for separating lightweight products. Says the company, “On its own, a cobot cannot solve a packaging task. Many of them are too slow and cannot be stopped safely at high speeds or when

Ross Diankov, co-founder of Mujin, says he expects immediate bene ts for joint customers struggling to automate labor-intensive depalletizing and palletizing applications, among others. “SPA’s experience and reputation in deploying robotics automation solutions make them an ideal t as Mujin seeks to empower the North American logistics market with Mujin’s revolutionary machine intelligence,” he says. “Together, we can accelerate a new wave of robotics technology in the U.S. and help to advance the vision of a completely autonomous warehouse.”

Also at the Automate show in June 2022, robotic systems integrator Shape Process Automation (SPA) and robotics technology company Mujin demonstrated a mixed-case depalletizing and palletizing solution driven by Mujin’s intelligent robotics platform (9). SPA is an integrator for a number of robotic manufacturers, including Fanuc, whose robot arm is one of several brands compatible with Mujin’s agship product, the MujinController. To facilitate mixed-case depalletizing and palletizing applications, the controller uses machine intelligence, which SPA explains is a type of AI that automatically manages potential downtime scenarios through perception, autonomous decision making, and real-time motion planning without the need for human intervention.

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Among the other improvements expected to in uence the adoption of robotics in the near future are easier changeover and advancements in EOATs. According to a controls engineer from one OEM who was interviewed for PMMI’s robot report, “EOAT design will advance the use of robots in the years ahead, since most of the applications and functionalities are driven by the customer.”

The cobot offers an output of 80 cycles/min and can handle product weights to 700 g. The high cycle rate, Schubert explains, is only possible through image processing based on a neural network with AI. “All it takes is a handful of pictures and a few days for the AI to learn new products on its own without programming,” the company says.

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Advanced EOATs, easier changeover will also speed robot adoption

Possible applications for the tog.519 are fast feeding at the machine, kit assembly, where various product parts are put together to form a set, or product nishing. A complete modular cobot includes ve-axis SCARA kinematics, a vision system, feed belts, a safety module, and more. Schubert’s goal is to develop a whole family of togs based on a modular construction kit.

To eliminate the need to change a gripper or suction-cup EOAT for each individual product in an application, Piab has introduced the MX suction cup (11), which can work across an array of solutions, such as bin picking, order ful llment, box depalletizing, and order sorting.

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in contact with a human.” For example, it explains, a typical pick-andplace task might involve placing pouches in a cartoner chain. “This would otherwise require one or two people to take the pouches out of the box and place them in the chain,” it says. “The tog.519 recognizes the pouches even if they are lying one on top of another, and identi es the chain pitches in which to place them.”

Orion holds the title for beverage pallet wrapping systems — integrating the smooth 60 feet-per-minute conveyance of our LoPro Drag Chain Conveyor with the rapid pace performance of the MA-DX Automatic Rotary Tower Wrapper.

Handling up to three 2,500-pound pallets at a time, the LoPro automatically separates the pallets for wrapping. Then the MA-DX’s 28 RPM counter-balanced rotary arm secures the load using Orion’s proven Insta-Thread® film delivery system that maximizes the load stability and containment, all while using the least amount film. Once the load is wrapped, the Lo Pro consolidates the pallets for pickup — knocking loads out quickly and efficiently.

To ensure speed throughout, the tog can operate in a protective cell in small spaces. However, it can also be operated without a protective cage while still providing a high level of safety. As a freestanding cobot, it reacts to people in its environment and slows down when necessary.

High-speed Pallet Wrapping’s One - Two Punch

The multipurpose suction cup is said to have extreme gripping capabilities on many surfaces and materials, including corrugated cases, recycled objects, and dif cult-to-grasp bags, among others. It also has the ability to create a hard seal with up to 50% less vacuum ow, which Piab says contributes to a more sustainable energy output. The suction cups are available in ve sizes—35, 42, 50, 57, and 65 mm dia—and

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are compatible with Piab’s piGRIP tting program, which allows for custom tting options.

To speed robot changeover, ATI Industrial Automation has introduced the QC-29 robotic tool changer (13) for the 25- to 35-kg payload class. Says the company, the QC-29 is the rst standard ATI Tool Changer designed to mount directly to 40- and 50-mm robot wrists.

AMRs offer transport ef ciency in packaging operations

Thechanging.robotic tool changer is compatible with ATI’s range of standard utility modules and tool stands, enabling an array of con gurations, ranging from ultrasonic welding to servomotor support and other applications.

The mGripAI Perception Module is the eyes of the solution. It captures high-resolution, 3D images that are sent to the Intelligence Module for further processing. The Intelligence Module is the brain behind mGripAI. It translates images into action for the robotic arm and gripper. The hands of the solution are specialized mGrip soft grippers that work in unison with the robot arm (the gripper can be integrated with virtually all industrial robots) to pick delicate, variable product at speeds to 90 products/min. Applications include food that is touching, overlapping, or piled on a conveyor and 3D bin picking. The gripper has an IP69K rating and uses food-grade materials.

a video of Soft Robotics’ m GripAI in operation at

a video of the QC-29 robotic tool changer from ATI at

The QC-29 includes in-body lock/unlock and ATI’s fail-safe locking mechanism. Built-in pneumatic pass-through ports and three-module mounting make connecting utilities easy, says the company, and the zero-freeplay design ensures maximum repeatability for high-precision tool

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Two new offerings in the AMR space for transporting pallets and other heavy items around manufacturing centers, warehouses, and logistics centers are the MiR600 and MiR1350 (14) from Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR), capable of handling loads up to 600 kg and 1350 kg, respectively.

The MiR600 and MiR1350 are said to be the market’s rst IP52-rated AMRs on the market, which means their components are protected and can tolerate dust and water drops. According to MiR, sensors, 3D cameras, and the latest laser scanning technology ensure 360-deg vision for precise and safe navigation and operations among people and other transport

While autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) have been in manufacturing facilities for years now, businesses are increasingly turning to autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for internal transport solutions. That’s according to PMMI’s 2022 robot report, which adds that 82,000 AMRs shipped in 2021, with shipments predicted to reach over 600,000 by 2025. “More adaptable, exible, and cost-ef cient than AGVs, AMRs are being used to navigate dynamic environments and transport a variety of items, from raw materials to nished products,” reads the report. “The newest generation of sensors and AI-driven data are making AMRs exible enough to be easily redeployed and smart enough to navigate a facility without the need for guided wiring or magnets.”

a video of Piab’s MX suction cup family at

For the food packaging industry, Soft Robotics, known for its soft gripper technology, has introduced new mGripAI software (12), which incorporates proprietary 3D vision, AI, and soft-grasping technology to pick, place, and sort delicate, variable, and bulk food products in the protein, prepared foods, produce, and baked goods industries.

In addition, the EOAT’s low-vacuum-level design ensures packages do not become dented or wrinkled, which means they have a better chance of being recycled or reused. The suction cup is designed with Piab’s extreme-longevity material, Dura ex, which the company says has tested positively for over 750,000 cycles. “This material features the elasticity of rubber and the outstanding wear-resistance of polyurethane, as well as fantastic elastic memory and ‘mark free’ capabilities,” Piab claims.

For packaging operations, AMRs can be used for materials transport, including pallet loads of packaging materials, as well as machine loading, and can be integrated with cobots to create mobile packing stations.

According to Soft Robotics, mGripAI augments traditional industrial robots with true hand-eye coordination to unlock its use in most labordependent processes. The company predicts that “this technological innovation will nally drive broad-scale adoption of automation resulting in a more resilient food supply chain that produces safer products at higher volumes with reduced waste and lower operational costs.”


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equipment in dynamic surroundings. The new AMRs are designed to comply with the industry’s latest safety standards, e.g., ISO 3691-4.

Says MiR President Søren E. Nielsen, “Many companies now integrate our mobile robots as an alternative to manned forklifts, which can be expensive to staff and dangerous to operate. The streamlined transport provided by AMRs frees employees to carry out more value-creating activities and support processes in production while they increase shopoorThesafety.”MiR600 and MiR1350 can be deployed with different top modules for customized applications, and MiR offers a number of lift-top modules that enable the AMRs to pick up and drop off pallets and carts for easy integration and scalability throughout the entire value chain.


To receive a quote, contact Ŵ*Ó today by visiting our website: or email us:

by automating: x Palletizing x Depalletizing x Pick & Place x Material Handling x Case Packing x Machine Tending x Custom Robotic Systems In

Ŵ*Ó integrates the most advanced industrial robots with your process & workforce to safely optimize your production. We strive to be the world's most desired automation company for customers seeking innovation excellence. As Certified Systems Integrators, we design custom robotic systems bringing Industrial & Collaborative Robots together with Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) and advanced robotic vision systems to improve your overall production while reducing beverage, packaging, household products, warehousing, and beyond rely on us to their production addition to our incredible robotic automation capabilities, we offer responsive in-plant maintenance, repairs, turnkey design, engineering, and installation of industrial equipment and control systems giving you a customized full-service experience through one skilled integrator.

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Project addresses all stakeholders’ commitments


Recyclable Toothpaste Tube Prevents 3,000 Tons of Landfill Waste

All-plastic toothpaste tubes Tube recycling

China multinational NICE Group collaborates with Dow and Amcor in APAC to develop a recyclable, all-plastic toothpaste tube for its extensive portfolio of toothpaste brands.

Fortunately,Towers.”as is the case with the other non-recycla ble packaging formats mentioned previously, great strides have been made recently by packaging materials suppliers to develop new tube constructions for toothpaste that are curbside-recyclable. Among those brands that have intro duced recyclable tube packaging for their toothpaste prod ucts are GSK, Unilever, and Colgate-Palmolive. In late 2021, Chinese multinational NICE Group joined this illustrious list of global companies, switching its portfolio of toothpaste brands to a fully recyclable tube designed by Dow and Amcor

For Consumer Packaged Goods companies and packaging suppliers alike, one of the Holy Grails of sustainable packaging is the quest to reengineer historically non-recyclable materials so that they can be easily recycled. Examples include multilayer exible lms, wax-coated produce shipping cases, and—a biggie for the oral hygiene industry— laminated toothpaste tubes, a particularly tough nut to crack due to the need for an aluminum layer.

NICE is a 50-year-old company that specializes in house hold care, fabric care, oral hygiene, and personal care prod ucts. Its brands, which include DIAO, Supra, NICE, Jianshuang bai, Yayale, 100 Years Hair Care, and Natural Magic, are sold in

China’s NICE Group has switched to the new recyclable, PE/EVOH tube for all of its toothpaste brands, including its Cnice gum and tooth care line.

Toothpaste tubes are traditionally constructed of layers of plastic, with a thin layer of aluminum sandwiched between layers to protect the product from oxygen and humidity. Because of its multilayer struc ture, and in particular, the aluminum layer, until recently, the tubes could not be recycled. As a result, an estimated 400 million toothpaste tubes are discarded every year in the U.S. and at least 1.5 billion glob ally. Using another measure to convey the scale of the problem, mate rials science company Dow shares that unrecyclable toothpaste tubes account for an estimated 100,000 tons of waste each year—“roughly the weight of 10 Eiffel

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Zhang, NICE was one of the rst com panies to propose the concept of recyclable toothpaste tubes, an idea that came to fruition by working with its Heat and Control, you have a partner the scale the to your operations, and a commitment to that will help you offer 23-26, 2022 N-4706, McCormick Place Chicago,

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Differentiating the brand from its competitors is its company philos ophy, “Enhancing Your Life,” Zhang shares. “With the ambition to be an environmentally friendly, safe, and healthy company, NICE Group uses



advanced technology to design and develop green products,” he says. “Adhering to our mission of making life better and our world cleaner, we make great efforts to advance sustainable development. We were one of the rst companies to adopt the concept of environmental life cycle management in the product design and development stage, sys tematically considering the impact of raw material selection, produc tion, sales, use, recycling, and disposal on the environment. We strive to minimize the consumption of resources during the entire lifecycle of products to reduce the generation and discharge of pollutants, in order to protect our en vironment to the largest extent.”

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Packaging is an important part of the lifecycle of a product, he emphasizes, which has prompted NICE to make a number of improvements in the sustain ability of its packaging. “In recent years, NICE Group has advanced the lightweight design of packaging and has reduced the use of virgin plastics by more than 5,000 tons and the use of virgin paper by more than 3,000 tons each year,” he says. “In addition, we have introduced more recyclable packaging.” That includes its recent introduction of a new toothpaste tube for its Cnice gum and tooth care line, its Jianshuangbai high-end line of professional whitening toothpaste, and its Yayale line, a Chinese brand of children’s oral

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more than 70 countries and regions, including the U.S., the U.K., Japan, and others. According to Lei Zhang, Chief Engineer for NICE, the com pany has one of the largest bases of personal care products across the globe, operating 10 production sites worldwide.


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“To increase the recyclability of the toothpaste tube, we had to remove the aluminum layer from the structure, however, we also needed to ensure the high barrier performance required by the application,” explains Lowry. “Polyethylene plus ethylene vinyl al cohol coextruded lm is a typical all-plastic structure that can ful ll the needs of recyclability as well as high barriers.”Pulling from its product portfolio, Dow engineered an all-plastic structure that meets the stringent barrier requirements of toothpaste. The laminate comprises Dow’s high-barrier ELITE AT (Advanced Technology) PE resin, which is said to offer high processability as well as high shrink, ultra-high stiffness, sealability, and or ganoleptics. Dow’s BYNEL adhesive resin provides the coextrusion tie layer between the PE and EVOH, ensur ing the integrity of the laminate to secure the barriers.

The challenges associated with the project were multifaceted. Not only did Dow and Amcor need to design an all-plastic substrate that would provide the same oxygen and humidity barriers as the plastic/alu minum laminate tube, but that material also needed to be able to run on both Amcor’s converting equip ment and on NICE’s existing lling equipment.

“The surface lm materials offer high gloss, low haze, and minimal gel defect, ensuring an appealing aesthetic appearance,” Lowry says. “And, an additional bene t, removing aluminum enables a transparent appearance.”Oncetheresins were selected, Amcor designed and converted the tube, continuously adjusting its manu facturing and converting systems to ensure operation al ef ciency and safety, shares She. It also worked with NICE to perform stability, equipment, and transporta tion testing to guarantee consistency in quality.

Engineering the tube is ‘complex work’

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“To meet our sustainability goals and to address the ongoing in crease of toothpaste tubes in land lls, we worked with Amcor, a global leader in producing responsible packaging, to develop a full plastic laminate.” Among Dow’s sustainability commitments, it has pledged to make 100% of its products sold into packaging applications reusable or recyclable by 2035.

long-time packaging partners Dow and Amcor. Notes Haley Lowry, Glob al Sustainability Director at Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics, “NICE is committed to using more recycling-friendly packaging to promote its cir cular economy and was determined to step up and nd a way to reduce oral care waste entering land lls. Evolving packaging used in a wellestablished industry such as oral hygiene is a journey that takes close collaboration and commitment in order to develop scalable solutions.

Xin She, President of Amcor China, says that Amcor China’s partner ship with Dow and NICE dates back 20 years, with the tube-packaging project ramping up ve years ago. “In 2018, Amcor signed the [Ellen MacArthur Foundation] New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, and we were the rst global packaging company pledging to develop all packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025,” he says. “Since then, we’ve been working with Dow and NICE on this project.”

196 PW SEP2022


“We needed to make sure the new resins could run smoothly and economically on Amcor and NICE’s equipment, which required deep expertise and expe

The resulting package, now used for all of NICE’s toothpaste brands, provides all of the functionality of the non-recyclable plastic/aluminum tubes, plus other advantages, and has been well received by consum ers. “Once on shelves, the toothpaste products with the new recy clable packaging were widely welcomed by consumers. In particular, the toothpaste products packed with a transparent plastic tube is the most popular because its packaging allows consum ers to see the high-quality toothpaste and feel more relieved when purchasing and using it,” Zhang says. “At the same time, the recyclable tube is more ecofriendly than the aluminum-based tube. In the process of purchasing and using NICE toothpaste, consumers are delivering on their eco-friendly promises and con tributing to greater environmental protection, giving them a sense of achievement and honor.”

rience from operation and technical teams,” says She. “Developing a recyclable toothpaste tube was complex work, a lot of factors had to be taken into consideration. The barrier property was the key point of tube laminates, so we needed to ensure excellent barrier with a low EVOH ratio. We three parties worked together closely and designed the

Commenting on the number of oral hygiene brands and packaging suppliers introducing recyclable tooth paste tubes to the market, Dow’s Lowry says the more the merrier. “Sustainability is a mega trend driving the development of the packaging industry,” she says. “We are glad to see more and more brand owners share the same vision with Dow to close the loop and commit to develop and adopt more recyclable packaging.”

With NICE’s introduction of the new tube, Zhang says the company will be able to prevent approximate ly 3,000 metric tons of toothpaste tubes from enter ing land lls each year—not an insigni cant number, especially when combined with the reductions prom ised by other CPGs as they roll out their own recyclable tubes. Among them, GSK has pledged to make over 1 billion tubes recyclable by 2025.

An industry-wide movement

Zhang also hopes NICE’s adoption of the new pack aging will inspire other brands to follow. “NICE Group is one of the rst companies to introduce a recyclable toothpaste tube,” he says. “We are the pioneer to en courage the entire industry to be eco-friendly, where more and more brands have started using this recy clable solution.” PW

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