Impacts of the Pandemic on the Packaging Industry

Impacts of the Pandemic on the Packaging Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant disruption in many industries, and the packaging sector is no exception. In this post, we will look into the critical short and long-term trends that may emerge from this disruption and how it might impact the future of the packaging sector.

 

  1. Companies are reconsidering sustainable options

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in consumer sentiment in favor of environmentally friendly packaging solutions. In the long run, COVID-19 is unlikely to put a halt to this. However, there may be some impact on the speed of this change in the short term.

For a long time, packaging has served the principles of maintaining the safety, hygiene, and integrity of goods, and these principles come to the fore during the current crisis. While this may be a temporary trend, it does mean that the current consumer demand is likely to be for more, rather than less packaging.

 

  1. The impact of a rise in eCommerce

 

 

Online orders are booming as retailers attempt to keep sales going due to the closure of most physical retail stores during the lockdown. Even retailers who did not have a strong online presence have also been forced to change their business model to eCommerce to ensure survival.

This results in a strong requirement for eCommerce specific packaging. The importance of packaging that offers the protection of goods through resistance technology has never been more crucial. Retailers want to minimize the risk of product loss or damage to reduce the potential of financial losses and returns.

Once normality resumes, some consumers will return to physical retail, while some will make a longer-term change in shopping habits.

 

  1. Logistics and manufacturing

Experts agree that this crisis will drive more investment in automating the supply chain. Many companies froze all their budgets, except budgets for automation. Manufacturers are wondering: How can packaging machinery and robots enable us to continue manufacturing while keeping social distancing? Instead of a person restocking the machine magazines, a robot could be tasked with this job to avoid potential cross-contamination. Automation also provides relief from employee headcount shortages due to COVID-19 safety restrictions or illness.

Coronavirus might even lead to an existential shift in the way products are manufactured and shipped around the world. The idea is to move the processes closer to home, but that will only be possible with increased automation.

Adding packaging automation to operations will not only make the manufacturers more resilient to disruption but can also cut costs.

 

  1. Will robots steal our jobs?

 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic prompts us to rethink what is considered high- or low-skill work. These questions are particularly pertinent in the context of artificial intelligence and automation.

We see AI technologies increasingly deployed in the packaging industry as well as across many parts of society. Governments around the globe are rushing to mobilize large amounts of capital to invest in AI innovation. The downside of this is that we see a narrative of AI built on vast and frankly overstated expectations of its capabilities. Movies and Sci-Fi books and shows fuel the looming fear of robots taking our jobs. The truth is that we are far from a movie-like scenario where this breakthrough technology is used for creating conscious or even sentient machines.

This scenario of AI and automation very often depicts “low-skill” or “blue-collar” workers as the most likely victims of automation. This framing is incorrect, but it shines the light on what we unjustly tend to see as “skillful” work and what kind of labor we value. If we had robots for all our essential “low-skill” services, then these services wouldn’t be on the edge of breaking down to the extent they are now, which shows us how vital these job roles are.

 

As a conclusion

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed the world into uncharted territory. In industries like the packaging industry, that’s leading to an automation boom.

Many people are out of work, and automation is filling some of the gaps. We cannot know for sure will robots have replaced those jobs for good when the dust settles, but we know one thing: Automation trends that were already on the horizon will happen faster now.

 

The crisis isn’t just accelerating the transition to automation: According to experts, it’ll also boost investments powering that change. There’s a lay view that automation might slow because the technology is expensive, and firms would be hesitant to make capital investments in a crisis. That’s wrong. Economic literature over the last decade shows that these investments are made especially during a crisis.

So, if you decided to expand your packaging capacities and invest in packaging automation, make sure you check out our cartonerscase packerspalletizers, and pouch machines.

Automated Vision Systems in Packaging Industry

 

In today’s globalized marketplace, automation plays a critical role in maintaining quality in emerging markets while allowing developed countries to manage rising labor costs. Originally, packaging machines were built to automate specific packaging tasks. However, for a long time, these machines couldn’t operate with complete autonomy. Humans still had to perform various inspection and verification tasks. Although these jobs weren’t dangerous or physically demanding, they took a specific toll on workers. The state of hyper-vigilance required for these tasks led to psychological fatigue. Studies have shown that subjects performing vigilance tasks exhibit elevated levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine, consistent with high-stress levels and indicative of a significant mental workload. Just imagine standing next to the packaging line and monitoring hundreds of products passing by in search of a defect. Even though most of the products are just fine, the worker needs to stay alert in order not to miss a flawed product. That is why vigilance tasks are considered to be stressful andtaxing mental work.

Luckily, automated vision systems changed everything.

 

Types of Automation Vision Systems

 

Automated vision systems, also known as machine vision systems, provide image-based inspection for a variety of industrial and manufacturing applications. Now, machines and robots can “see”!

There are more applications for vision systems than ever before. The type of vision system most appropriate for a particular application depends on several factors: what you’re trying to inspect, the specific properties of your process or products, the speed of inspection, and the budget.

2D and 3D cameras are now commonly used for automated inspection, robot guidance, quality control, product sorting, and much more. A smart camera that has been calibrated to perform specific inspections automatically examines products as they flow down or adjusts a process in real-time.

Here, at Tishma Technologies and Nortech Packaging, the use of machine vision systems has become a standard. We utilize high-quality vision systems from our trusted partners Cognex and Keyence, for a variety of applications, and in the following lines, we will describe the most common ones.

 

Inspection: detecting carton open flaps, dents and other irregularities

Defect inspection systems can catch and resolve product, packaging, or surface defects in real-time. These are just some of the examples:

  • Dent inspection
  • Label placement verification
  • Broken seals
  • Surface deformities
  • Open flaps

Custom Packaging Inspection allows you to limit the false reject rate and meet the exact quality and standards needed for your product. Examples include: Inspecting for dents, defects, damage, holes, and creases in cartons. You can also use the machine vision system to check labels for wrinkles, position, skew, or date codes.

 

Verification of barcode, code date, and other label data

 

Print & Code Inspection Systems can automatically identify incorrect or damaged labels on products before they are released. Examples include:

  • Detecting damaged, sparse quality text
  • Checking 1D barcodes and 2D date matrix codes for readability and product match
  • Inspecting pre-printed artwork, ink-jet quality, laser markings, chemical etchings, etc
  • Verifying correct labeling, nutritional information, exact ingredients, etc.

 

Integration of vision systems with databases and software systems

 

Process Control Vision Systems allow you to utilize process feedback to achieve an efficient process line with an industrial vision process controls. Examples include:

  • Precise control of robot positioning with imaging systems
  • Capturing and communicating measured values to various data logging systems
  • Historical data capture from your process
  • Data trends logging for process monitoring and proactive maintenance
  • Event monitoring and event capture systems, etc.

 

Robot Guidance

 

Machine vision has given robots the power to “see” and react to changing conditions. Now, vision-guided robots can “feed” themselves using a two-dimensional (2D) machine vision to locate and guide the robot arm to loosely positioned parts on a conveyor, for example. With a variety of 3D machine vision technologies at their disposal, vision-guided robots can manipulate and assemble products of virtually any size and shape on a conveyor, rack, or bin, and even work right alongside humans without posing a serious safety threat. Our Openstack Collaborative Palletizer is the best example of a well-implemented machine vision system that allows this palletizer to work together with humans. Tishma Technologies’ TT-400 Candy Cartoner, and TT-60TG Blister Tray Packer also feature machine vision: they have integrated open flaps detection and rejection systems.

So, if you are in a search for a cartoningtray packingcase packing or palletizing solution with integrated inspection and verification machine vision systems, don’t hesitate to contact us and get a free quote!

Intertape Polymer Group Announces Agreement to Acquire Nortech Packaging

MONTREAL, QUEBEC and SARASOTA, FLORIDA – February 10, 2020 – Intertape Polymer Group Inc. announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the operating assets of Nortech Packaging (“Nortech”) for cash consideration of approximately $36.5 million, subject to certain post-closing adjustments and potential earn-out consideration. All amounts are in US dollars.

 

 

Nortech manufactures, assembles and services automated packaging machines under the Nortech Packaging and Tishma Technologies brands. Its custom-infeed and robotic solutions for packaging applications are designed for cartoning, casepacking, case-erecting, pouch-packaging and palletizing. A privately-held company based in the greater Chicago, Illinois area, Nortech services customers worldwide across major industries including food, pharmaceutical, e-commerce, confections, personal care and cosmetics, and beverage.

The acquisition will expand IPG’s product bundle into technologies that are increasingly critical to automation in packaging. Automation system design and service are key capabilities in growing markets like e-commerce. With an installed fleet of more than 400 machines, the acquisition provides IPG with opportunities to supply consumables to the existing fleet, as well as deploy system-selling for new customers combining machines with ongoing consumables. The acquisition will add engineering automation and integrated robotic design talent to IPG’s existing engineering and design teams. Upon closing, IPG expects these new capabilities will allow it to service customers experiencing growth pressures that require a customized automation
solution. “Packaging automation and system design are playing an increasingly important role in our customer’s competitive positioning, especially in the e-commerce market. We believe this acquisition will provide us with the opportunity to move upstream in our target customer’s production process with an expanded product bundle and a continuous supply of consumables,” said Greg Yull, President and CEO of IPG. “We have laid out a clear strategy to further strengthen our product bundle and continue to grow with our e-commerce customers as they expand around the globe. This acquisition delivers on both fronts. We remain committed to paying down debt moving forward as our cash flows improve with contributions from our recent capex investments
and our earlier acquisitions. At the same time, we will continue to be disciplined in our approach to acquisitions that strengthen our product bundle or offer strategic benefit to IPG meeting our customer’s needs.” The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

Financial Highlights of the Acquisition

In the last twelve months, Nortech’s sales were approximately $20 million with Adjusted EBITDA (as determined consistent with IPG’s definition, as provided in its historical public filings) of $5.5 million. The upfront purchase price represents an Adjusted EBITDA multiple of 6.6x. The purchase price, when including the tax basis step-up value, represents an Adjusted EBITDA multiple of 5.7x without any consideration given to potential revenue synergies. In addition to the upfront purchase price, the sellers will be eligible to receive additional consideration contingent upon certain future performance measures of the acquired assets. This additional consideration is expected to be in line with the upfront Adjusted EBITDAmultiple announced today. IPG expects the acquisition will be accretive to net earnings in 2020 excluding deal costs, integration costs and noncash purchase accounting adjustments. In total, deal and integration costs are expected to be approximately $2.4 million, with the majority of these costs expected to be recognized by the end of 2020. No cash or debt is expected to be acquired in the transaction. IPG expects to finance the acquisition with funds available under its $600 million credit facility.

About Nortech

Nortech is a full-service Chicago-area company founded in 2003, which acquired Tishma Technologies in 2016. Nortech specializes in both delivering and providing after-market servicing of world-class packaging machines designed for cartoning, case-packing, case-erecting, pouch-packaging, palletizing and other custom-infeed and robotic solutions for various packaging applications. Nortech designs and manufactures high-quality, high-efficiency packaging machinery, and packaging systems that are used worldwide in most major industries including food, pharmaceutical, ecommerce, confections, personal care and cosmetics, beverage, and many others. Nortech employs approximately 70 employees at its sole location in Schaumburg, Illinois.
For more information about Nortech, visit www.NortechPackaging.com and www.tminn.com.

About Intertape Polymer Group Inc.

Intertape Polymer Group Inc. is a recognized leader in the development, manufacture and sale of a variety of paper- and filmbased pressure sensitive and water-activated tapes, polyethylene and specialized polyolefin films, protective packaging, woven coated fabrics and complementary packaging systems for industrial and retail use. Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec and Sarasota, Florida, IPG employs approximately 3,600 employees with operations in 30 locations, including 21 manufacturing facilities in North America, four in Asia and one in Europe. For more information about IPG, visit www.itape.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation and “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (collectively, “forward-looking statements”), which are made in reliance upon the protections provided by such legislation for forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this press release, including statements regarding: the closing of the acquisition, including the expected timing; the purchase price for the acquisition and the funding of such purchase price; the benefits that the acquisition is expected to bring to IPG’s business, operations, and financial results; the expansion, enhancement and extension of IPG’s product offering and global presence and the opening of additional industry verticals; the strategic fit of Nortech with IPG’s existing product portfolio and operations; IPG’s reinforcement if its presence in existing product lines and customer channels, as well as access to new business segments; expected revenue, adjusted EBITDA, earnings and expense synergies; that the acquired operations will be accretive to net earnings in 2020; our paying down of debt; and the expected deal and integration costs and timing of such costs may constitute forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on current beliefs, assumptions, expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections made by IPG’s management. Words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “continue,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “foresee,” “believe” or “seek” or the
negatives of these terms or variations of them or similar terminology are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Although IPG believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements, by their nature, involve risks and uncertainties and are not guarantees of future performance. Such statements are also subject to assumptions concerning, among other things: business conditions and growth or declines in IPG’s industry, IPG’s customers’ industries and the general economy; the post-closing performance of Nortech, including the expected Adjusted EBITDA, revenue and expense synergies; the anticipated benefits from IPG’s other restructuring efforts; the anticipated benefits from
IPG’s acquisitions; the anticipated benefits from IPG’s capital expenditures; the quality and market reception of IPG’s products; IPG’s anticipated business strategies; risks and costs inherent in litigation; IPG’s ability to maintain and improve quality and customer service with current and new customers; anticipated trends in IPG’s business; anticipated cash flows from IPG’s
operations; availability of funds under IPG’s credit facility; and IPG’s ability to continue to control costs. IPG can give no assurance that these estimates and expectations will prove to have been correct. Actual outcomes and results may, and often do, differ from what is expressed, implied or projected in such forward-looking statements, and such differences may be
material. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statement. For additional information regarding important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements and other risks and uncertainties, and the assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements, you are
encouraged to read “Item 3 Key Information – Risk Factors”, “Item 5 Operating and Financial Review and Prospects (Management’s Discussion & Analysis)” and statements located elsewhere in IPG’s annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2018 and the other statements and factors contained in IPG’s filings with the Canadian securities regulators and the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Each of these forward-looking statements speaks only as of the date of this press release. IPG will not update these statements unless applicable securities laws require it to do so.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Ross Marshall
Investor Relations
(T) (416) 526-1563
(E) ross.marshall@loderockadvisors.com

Packaging Industry Trends For 2020

The packaging industry is a huge economic generator on a global scale. Demand for the world packaging industry will reach $1.05 trillion by 2024, according to the statistics from the well-recognized Smithers Pira organization. This enormous growth rate is driven by consumer trends and industry trends, and we are going to examine those trends in the following lines.

 

REVOLUTION IN DIGITAL PRINTING

The new decade will be dominated by digital technologies. Digital printing uses computer generation as the main mechanism behind product packaging design and creation of the images or graphics that will appear on the packaging. Today, digital printing influences every aspect of the packaging, and this trend will continue.

In comparison to mechanical processes like typesetting, digital printing allows packagers far more freedom in personalization and customizing options. 

During the past decade, most packaging companies switched from analog to digital printing. However, complete retooling of a factory takes time. In 2020, there are only a few companies that haven’t yet got on the digital train and made that progressive investment.

In this decade, the packaging industry reached a tipping point. The use of conventional presses declined, while the use of digital presses grew. A trend of “printing on-demand” emerged since digital printing technology allows all colors to be printed in a single pass. Studies say this demand will only grow. By 2024, it is estimated the global digital printing packaging market will reach $28 billion, which proves a significant trend change in the packaging industry.

 

PERSONALIZED PACKAGING

Customization and personalization of products became much easier due to digital printing. This trend has been building for a few years, and it has a major industry impact in 2020. Many of the top product brands found a significant return of the investment with personalized packaging. One report cites that 70% of marketers believe personalization has a strong and powerful impact on their customers.

Personalization allows a company to stand out from competitors by promoting their name and brand in an impactful way. 

Here are three successful examples of the personalized packaging trend.

  • Coca-Cola printing people’s names on their soft drink containers
  • Frito-Lay printing faces on their potato chip packages
  • Bud Light printing football teams on their beer cans

More and more brands are even beginning to target extremely narrow markets with their packaging. For example, Anheuser-Busch designs their Busch and Busch light beer cans using the outdoor motives, to appeal to hunters, fishers, and other outdoorsmen. During hunting and fishing seasons, they have a “hunt” for a particular can, which can win you gear and even a hunting trip paid for by the company. 

Allowing individuals to identify with a brand’s product is what lies behind the success of this trend. Smart marketers know people relate to stories as much as they do to brand names. If you want your product to be irresistible, present its package in a story-like way that connects to consumers on an individual level. 

 

 

TRANSPARENCY AND CLEAN LABELS

Another strong packaging industry trend for 2020 is presenting product information clearly and transparently. Consumers today have easy access to a lot of information, and they can educate themselves about product choices. A smart consumer wants to know what the product they buy contains and which packaging methods were used.

“Transparency” refers to manufacturers being completely open and honest about what the products contain. “Clean” means products are safe and don’t contain harmful ingredients. If you want to promote trust in the company’s brand name, pack your product in a way that makes content information clear, concise, and open. 

More and more U.S. consumers are scanning food packages with their smartphones to find out exactly what they contain. Brands answered the clean and transparent trend in 2020 with the implementation of Smart Label™. The label code immediately connects consumers to a landing page with transparent information about how clean this choice may be. Transparency will likely remain one of the demands in 2020 as consumers are more likely to purchase a newly launched food product that has clear product information.

 

PLAYFUL COLORS, DESIGNS, AND GRADIENTS

Many companies recognize how well intense colors, designs, and dramatic effects stand out. They also see how well this trend results in increased sales volume. In 2020, this trend will remain stable. 

Humans respond well to packaging with unique designs and colors. Information from the Pantone Color Institute states people experience 80% of their awareness from sight. Loud colors like neon green and bright yellow quickly attract a person’s attention. So do effects like shining metallic sheens and reflective surfaces.

Good packaging design is supposed to grab hold of a consumer’s notice and retain the memory. According to studies, people make subconscious decisions about buying products within the first minute and a half after observing it, and color often plays a big role in this decision.

2020 will be marked by the continued dominance of bold packaging colors along with the rise of playful graphics on packaging. Brands targeting a youthful audience are advised to use unique typography and quirky design to convey a lightheartedness that suits their target group. The popularization of color gradients is another trend within unique package graphics. Gradients are incredibly dynamic because they provide complexity without adding busyness. This subtle yet striking visual effect is the main reason why brands are adopting gradients and applying them everywhere – from logo design to packaging design. 

 

GROWTH IN FLEXIBLE PACKAGING

One of the trends that continue to gain great popularity is flexible packaging. The products that were once restricted to rigid and hard materials today can be packed in flexible packaging, due to technological advancement in flexible packaging materials.

The United States accounts for approximately $170 billion in the global packaging market. The Flexible Packaging Association reports the flexible packaging segment accounts for 19% of the total U.S. packaging market.

Flexible packaging has many advantages over rigid packages due to the following factors:

  • It is easier to store.
  • It has an extended shelf life.
  • It is more convenient to open.
  • It is highly practical to close or reseal.
  • It has a more attractive shelf appeal.
  • It uses less material.
  • It has improved cost economics.
  • It weighs less.
  • It has better shipping characteristics.
  • It is better suited for e-commerce.

Material advancement is one of the reasons why flexible packaging is such a prominent trend. For years, most flexible packaging materials were polyvinyl chloride, which was environmentally hostile because this plastic wouldn’t break down or decompose. Today, most flexible packaging uses materials made of polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, or polypropylene. These high-tech plastics deteriorate when discarded, but stay durable when in use. 

New end-of-life recycling programs are trending and propelling flexible packages even more. Smithers Pira reports the flexible packaging industry will grow by 3.3% each year to reach $269 billion in 2024.

 

RECYCLED PACKAGING PRODUCTS IN USE

The recycled packaging trend has never been so popular. The recycling movement started a generation ago, guided with the 3-R principle: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Today, the 3-R model creates a circular economy, and it became a standard for how proper product packaging performs. Recycling has now become firmly embedded in the American psyche.

Recycled packaging is part of the worldwide sustainability movement. For years, the vast majority of packaging waste found its way to landfills, while the mass of non-perishable plastics is currently floating in the oceans. 

That pollution cannot be ignored, and many consumers want to do what they can to prevent it. That is why they’re choosing products in recyclable packaging.

In 2020, businesses are also expected to join the recyclable packaging movement. For example, Amazon is taking action and requiring its vendors to meet waste-efficient packaging standards or pay a $1.99 fee per package. Also, over 400 organizations have signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, committing to increase their recycled packaging by 25% by 2025.

The packaging material industry is also influenced by technology. Advancements in plastic and paper chemistry now allow recycling to be more comfortable and more convenient than ever. Federal, state, and local authorities also promote and encourage packaging recycle programs. Consumer choice and company action are some of the main things driving the 2020 trend toward recycled packaging products. People avoid purchasing anything packaged in non-recyclable materials, and companies are switching materials to accommodate.

 

LABEL PRINTING OVER STICK-ON SHIPPING LABELS

Stick-on shipping labels used to be the standard in product packaging. Before the product went out the door, the shipping labels were the last things to go on a packaged product. Back in the old days, this made sense, because most packages were complete before the shipper knew their destination.

2020 announces the end of this shipping label trend. Now, many sellers already know their recipients, so they package their products on demand. 

Digital printing has replaced stick-on shipping labels in many businesses. Label printing directly on packaging removes one step in the distribution process, thus lowering the costs. 

 

CORRUGATED PACKAGING

 

Online shopping grows rapidly, and e-commerce packaging has become more important within the packaging industry. Due to its stable structure and sustainable qualities, rigid packaging, such as corrugated packaging, will dominate the sector.

The focus on sustainability and plastic replacement is increasingly at the forefront of packaging strategy for leading brands, which is why most of them are replacing single-use plastic with widely recycled material – such as corrugated.

Innovations such as reusable printed sleeves that sit over multiple-use corrugated boxes will help ensure that brands can meet consumer demands for sustainable and more environmentally friendly packaging solutions.

 

Nortech Packaging and Tishma Technologies will stay devoted to providing highly efficient packaging equipment that will allow manufacturers to keep the step with the time.

If you want to pack your products in some kind of corrugated packaging, make sure to check out our cartoners, tray packers, and case packers.

If you think flexible packaging is more appropriate for your product, make sure to learn more about our pouch packaging solutions, suitable for all kinds of recyclable and non-recyclable pre-made pouches.

 

The Benefits of Banding for Promotional Packaging

The Benefits of Banding for Promotional Packaging

Effective promotional packaging should be cost-effective and eye-catching. It also needs to leave your branding front and center for the consumer. Which method is the best fit for packaging a promotional bundle? There are many different ways, and you should find the one that responds to your needs. If you haven’t, now may be an excellent time to consider using banding technology to package your promotional bundles.

Banding systems are a great way to bundle your promotional packages, and these are the few main reasons:

 

Minimal Cost to Bundle

So, you’re selling a promotional bundle to entice potential buyers with the value. This means you’re already cutting deeply into your margins. Excessive wrapping or boxing methods of bundling the products together will only bite even deeper into your profit margins, and you don’t want that.

On the other side, the banding system for promotional packaging can help you save money because this kind of system is using a minimal amount of banding material. You can bundle your products securely with a single band. So, you don’t have to reduce your profit margins on promotional bundles by too much just for the sake of packaging, since you achieve savings on the material consumed.

You will also achieve energy saving since the banding system requires less energy than a shrink-wrapping system. This is saving your company money on energy costs and reducing your carbon footprint as well.

 

Your Recognizable Brand Stays in the Center

Your customers are identifying your brand at a glance since the exterior of your product packaging is what sets your products apart from others on the shelf. A lot of effort went into the design of your product packaging because of this particular reason.

You don’t want to give up on this benefit by boxing your promotional bundles in a packaging that totally covers up your product’s branding. Imagine your customer going to the store and seeing a bundle pack that he can’t recognize right away. The additional time it takes a customer to figure out that the bundle pack belongs to a trusted brand is the time that they’re moving their eyes to the next item on the shelf, resulting in slower sales of the promotional bundle.

You want branding on products to remain visible because your customers are familiar with it. Banding promotional bundles allow you to do this by making sure that customers recognize your merchandise easily and are more likely to buy.

 

Ability to Quickly Switch Bundles

Flexibility and adaptability are the best features of product banding systems. These machines can adapt to different product sizes when banding them on the fly.

This benefits you by allowing you to create multiple different promotional offers for two, four, six or more packages of product. Banding system’s ability to dynamically adjust the amount of banding material used to reach the desired tightness, allows you to easily swap different size stacks of cans or other packages without having to stop and adjust the machine (assuming that the bundling material does not have a message on it that requires stacks to be a consistent size).

 

Frustration-Free Packaging

Opening experience is essential, so once customers have bought the promotional package, you want to make sure they can open it quickly and intuitively. If you have material-intensive packaging options, opening the container will probably involve a lot of extra effort and some frustration. That can be a bit of a turn-off for consumers.

On the other hand, with product banding systems, the removal of the product from the bundle is quick and easy. All a customer has to do is to make a single cut and the contents of your promotional bundle are free for access, which is much better than having to contend with an entire shell of cardboard.

Ease of use is an enormous deciding factor between success and failure in the world of consumer goods.

To conclude: using banding systems is more efficient, better at keeping your brand on display, and more convenient for both you and your customers.

So, make sure to check out our Raptor banding systems, and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us!

Environment-Friendly: Recyclable Stand Up Pouches Are Taking Over The Market

Sustainability credentials of stand up pouches are well-known. This is why stand up pouches have quickly risen in popularity as a packaging option for everything from soups to snacks.

Due to their lightweight nature, stand up pouches are less costly to transport, creating fewer emissions compared to rigid packaging options. Stand up pouches require fewer resources to produce, and they also take up less space in landfills. But, let’s imagine what would happen if they didn’t take up any space at all? Recyclable stand up pouches are a hot new trend, and they present an affordable and sustainable way to package your product.

 

Benefits Of Switching To Recyclable Stand Up Pouches From Rigid Packaging

Recyclable stand up pouches offers multiple benefits and opportunities for cost savings compared to rigid packaging. You can fit up to ten times the number of units in a single truck, significantly reducing both distribution costs and harmful emissions. Fewer materials are needed to produce recyclable stand up pouches, and fewer resources (such as electricity) are used.

 

Recyclable Pouch Fill and Seal Machine

 

Switching To Recyclable Stand Up Pouches From Other Flexible Packaging

If you are currently using non-recyclable stand-up pouches—or any other kind of non-recyclable flexible packaging—you can also benefit from making the switch to a recyclable pouch. Consumers are expecting brands to follow the trend set up by big names like Nestle, LEGO, and  Kraft Heinz.

These big brands have announced that they will commit to offering 100% recyclable, compostable, or reusable packaging within the next few years.

The majority of consumers care whether or not the products they buy come with sustainable packaging—and they’re willing to switch loyalties to a brand offering that sustainability.

The Nielsen Global Report on Corporate Social Responsibility, which polled 30,000 consumers worldwide, found that 55% of global consumers are willing to pay more for products from companies that are “committed to positive social and environmental impact.” Further, 52% of respondents said that their purchasing decisions are influenced by whether or not it uses sustainable packaging.

 

Recyclable or biodegradable?

Stand up pouches are made from laminated barrier films. Different layers of film are sealed together to create a structure that can be formed into a stand-up pouch or any other type of flexible bag while creating barrier properties to keep the contents fresh.

A stand-up pouch can be recyclable, but it cannot be biodegradable, even when it’s made from kraft material. There are many good reasons why these pouches are not biodegradable, and they have to do with how well the product inside is protected.

 

Biodegradable packaging breaks down when exposed to light and air. However, one of the most significant advantages of stand up pouches s that their laminated layers of barrier film and opaque finish block out light and air, which extends the shelf life of food and protects it from spoilage or contact with harmful outside contaminants.

This is the difference between your standard brown paper bag and a kraft stand up pouch. Food in a paper lunch bag cannot stay fresh at room temperature for an entire week. But in a food-grade, FDA-approved, reclosable stand-up pouch, food products will remain fresh because air, moisture, light, and pests are locked out for an extended period.

 

Packaging solution

If your brand is willing to switch from rigid packaging to recyclable stand up pouch, you are going to need a cost-efficient packaging solution. Nortech Packaging ROO-100 Pre-Made pouch Fill & Seal Machine can handle a wide range of pouch sizes and any pouch type, including recyclable pouches.

The ROO-100 is compatible with all standard filling systems, and it is applicable in any industry. Click on the link to learn more!

Trends and Impressions from Pack Expo 2019

Pack Expo 2019 has ended, and it is about time we wrap up our impressions. We got the chance to showcase Nortech Packaging and Tishma Technologies’ latest achievements in the field of packaging machinery, and we also got familiar with the latest industry trends!

The packaging industry is evolving, new technologies emerge, and these are the most exciting trends we noticed.

 

Industry 4.0 is the next big thing

Industry 4.0 refers to the Internet of Things, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and smart manufacturing. Last year it all seemed like just an idea, but today it is a reality. We believe that this trend of obtaining and utilizing data to improve processes will be on the constant rise, thanks to the continued development of sensor technology.

 

Robotic automation is the future

Each manufacturer dreams of an efficient, cost-effective, and accurate production line. Robotics automation is making this possible. Nortech Packaging regularly utilizes robots for case erecting, case loading, product collating, bundling, palletizing and depalletizing. Modern sensor systems allow for the expanded use of robotics for various applications, from safety solutions for collaborative robots to vision-based robot guidance systems.

 

 

Future-Proofing automatic print inspection

One more significant trend was improving quality control and print inspection for packaging labels. Packaging types are becoming increasingly complex, and the frequency of artwork changes and promotional offers is rising. Manufacturers are facing a challenge: reducing or eliminating any errors in the coding and packaging of products. Reducing errors is especially important in industries where these kinds of mistakes can cause a risk to consumer health. Tishma Technology will continue to respond to these kinds of challenges with our integrated code printing, serialization, labeling, and inspection solutions!

 

Our exhibits

This year at Pack Expo you got to chance to see FOUR of our latest packaging solutions built and designed to increase your efficiency: TT-50 Vertical Cartoner, TT-1200 Top Load Case Packer, TT-1300 Side-Load Case Packer, and ROO-100 Pre-Made Pouch Fill & Seal Machine. Watch the video below, and take a look at the small part of the Pack Expo atmosphere and learn more about our cartoning, case packing, and pouch filling solutions!

 

Nortech Packaging and Tishma Technologies are coming back to Las Vegas

We are continuing our tradition of showcasing our latest accomplishments in the field of packaging equipment on one of the largest events in the packaging industry – Pack Expo. Pack Expo will take place from 23rd to 25th of September in Las Vegas Convention Center, and Tishma Technologies and Nortech Packaging will be there, featuring their most wanted packaging solutions.

 

These packaging machines are fully customizable, and they can be adapted to each client’s specific packaging needs. This year, you will get to chance to see FOUR of our latest packaging solutions built and designed to increase your efficiency!

 

 

Tishma Technologies’ cartoners are well known for their robust simplicity, user-friendliness, and compact footprint. This year you will get a chance to see one of our most compact vertical cartoners in action. The TT-50 Vertical cartoner can reach speeds up to 140 CPM, and it is perfect for continuous motion applications. The TT-50 Vertical Cartoning Machine is available with automatic bottle loading and count weigh scale interface. Carton pockets assure positive carton setup and carton squareness.

TT-50 features 36+’’ powered magazine with rotary carton feeder. It can handle tuck, glue, header, gable, flip-top and hex style carton styles. Carton loading is manual but automatic bottle loading or count/weigh scale interface are also an option. Manual models of TT-50 are available in 3 different lengths, so you can choose according to your floor space. Built from welded tubular stainless steel with hinged cover panels and safety electrical interlocks, TT-50 is small yet powerful cartoner, made according to highest standards.

Beside the TT-50, Tishma will also be presenting one of its most compact case packers; the TT-1200. This small case packer features flexible speeds, multiple pack orientations; low case loading height and it can reach speeds up to 16 cases per minute. Its compact overall footprint makes it an ideal solution for new and small businesses that want to automate their case packing process without sacrificing large amounts of floor space.

 

Another piece of packaging equipment you will get to see at Pack Expo is our TT-1300S side-load case packer which provides flexible collation systems and high-speed product handling. Models are available with pre-stacking case conveyors, tape and glue closing, user-friendly HMI operator interface and small overall footprints. TT-1300S case packer can feature manual, robotic or collation system case loading.

 

Last, but not the least, this year in Chicago you will get a chance to see the most popular innovation by Nortech Packaging: the ROO-100 Premade Pouch Fill and Seal machine. The ROO-100 decreases downtime and increases efficiency, but most importantly; it is very competitively priced and it utilizes a minimum of floor space. Custom recipe presets allow for fast 30-second push-button changeovers so you can handle a wide range of pouches and products with a single machine!

 

ROO-100 Pack Expo 2019

 

So, whether you are a big company representative or an aspiring entrepreneur, we look forward to meeting you and helping you to increase your efficiency! Visit us on booth #US7242 and let’s get the automation started!

Human Machine Interface And Its Importance In Packaging Automation

When we talk about packaging machinery or packaging equipment, we usually put an emphasis on the machine speed, its features and the range of applications. That is why we decided to use this blog post to discuss the importance of the HMI (Human Machine Interface). After all, no matter how advanced a piece of packaging machinery is, it still needs humans to operate it, which means that the packaging efficiency greatly depends on the operator’s ability to use the machine easily and intuitively.  In the following lines, we will go through a short history of human-machine interfaces in the packaging industry and explain the most important aspects of HMI.

 

HMI importance in packaging automation

 

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY…

 

Put simply, “HMI” is the medium by which an operator interacts or controls the packaging machine or the entire packaging process. Many years ago it consisted of indicator lights on a control panel and hard wired push buttons, without any sort of visual display. An operator had to rely only on constantly looking at the packaging machine or the process, or listening to the sounds of feedback and alarms while pushing control panel buttons to control the process. As technology advanced, text panels or Alpha-Numeric based operator interfaces emerged and replaced some of the hard-wired push buttons and indicator lights. Now, the operator was able to read pre-programmed messages displayed on the LCD screen, which gave a little bit more visual information about what is going on with the packaging process or the packaging equipment. This was a huge advantage. With further technological development, more refined control systems and visualization products were introduced, starting a revolution in industrial automation. Hi-Resolution and touch screen graphical displays replaced text panels which provided programmers with the flexibility to design a visually pleasing, more informative screen. More importantly, the user or operator could know what was going on in the process without having to scan the entire facility. Everything that the operator needed to know was displayed on the graphical interface in front of him.

 

 

WHAT IS A GOOD HMI?

 

A well designed HMI should have the following characteristics.

 

  • It should communicate with all major brands of PLC’s with their respective protocols.
  • Should work in harsh environments.
  • Should have rich graphics and good backlit display.
  • Should have data logging capability.
  • Most importantly, packaging machine software should be user-friendly.
  • A well-designed HMI should do more than just control the packaging process. It should provide an operator with the bird’s eye view of the entire process while being safe, reliable, and cost-effective. The HMI is the principal point of contact between the user and the packaging process, so it should perform all functions with minimal effort, increasing packaging productivity to the user’s satisfaction.

 

 

HMI DISPLAYS

 

Providing an operator with information is the basic function of displays in an HMI application. Displays have come a long way since its invention. During 1990’s LCD (STN / TFT) displays were a standard. The trouble with these displays was that they were operating only at normal temperatures. If the temperature gets too cold or hot, these would stop working. Fortunately, display technology has evolved since the ’90s. Now, most of the HMI manufacturers use LED backlit high definition displays, which are not only durable but can function in a wide range of temperatures.

 

 

APPLICATION:

 

Most manufacturing production and packaging floor/environments present a number of challenges for HMI’s. Good HMI’s should be at least NEMA 4/4X, IP65 rated, which means it should protect the inner electronics from moisture, oil, dirt, and gases. The best HMI is usually conformal coated, which means it can withstand excessive heat, cold, shock, and vibrations.

 

 

DESIGNING A PROJECT

 

While designing a project to control a particular packaging process, we keep in mind what kind of visual, auditory or tactile feedback is best suited for that application. How many screens are necessary, how many objects are the best fit for one particular screen? For us, simplicity is the key. We try not to crowd a screen, or fill the screen with an irrelevant group of objects that will force an operator to spend his time searching for relevant information. Special attention needs to be given to alarm reporting as well. If there are any alarms, they should be distinctly displayed on the screen to catch the operator’s attention, so the operator is informed that the error has occurred, where the error is and how to solve it.

At Nortech Packaging, we strive to utilize the HMI to make the operator progress through it intuitively and logically.

So if you are in a search for fast, efficient and, above all, user-friendly packaging solution, search through our website and don’t hesitate to get a quote!

Changing your palletizing strategy: 6 key considerations

The importance of palletizing in warehouse operations and manufacturing is something that gets overlooked all too often. Inadequate palletizing processes can have a direct impact on the bottom line and they can ultimately jeopardize customer commitments. Poorly organized and not properly designed palletizing processes create a ripple effect throughout the facility’s operations that can lead to significant consequences.

 

Since we don’t see ourselves as mere packaging machinery manufactures, but as trusted partners, we want to make sure you select the correct palletizing strategy for your operation. That is why we decided to present the following six key palletizing considerations:

 

Palletizing Strategy

 

  1. Palletizing and line efficiency

 

Operating performance and the facility’s overall efficiency can be significantly impacted by palletizer downtime. For example: if the palletizer stops for five seconds each time a load is discharged, without properly designed or controlled infeed system, it can translate into downtime of upstream processes many times greater. That is why it is important to see palletizers as more than just a piece of packaging equipment. Palletizing functions are a part of the overall production and distribution system; therefore, palletizing inefficiencies can cause backups to the whole operation. Bear in mind that one of the crucial factors in the palletizing selection is the speed of your operation.

 

  1. Packaging trends create new challenges

 

The palletizing landscape is going through some serious changes with less packaging, more fragile materials, smaller items, and more totes. The number of products being palletized without cases is increasing. The lack of secondary packaging means that the product is easily damaged and more difficult to handle. Often, a consumer package of a product must be palletized, which requires higher rates due to smaller packs. If secondary packaging features printed graphics with slick, low friction surfaces it represents a challenge for case-control and pattern forming. In some cases, the pallet itself is becoming the consumer display method. Consequently, stacking patterns and pallet stability are being dramatically affected by all of these factors.

 

  1. The increasing number of SKUs

 

E-commerce has increased the variety of case and pack sizes. Small packs for convenience stores and large packs for club stores are becoming a new standard. This variance requires a palletizer that can continually adapt, which means that rapid, tool-less changeover is a must.

 

  1. Changing load configurations

 

Pallet load construction is impacted by end-of-aisle display loads, “label out” preferences and reduced pack strength. Palletizers must enable frequent pattern revisions and incorporate various options to shore upload strength. These options include shorter loads, stretch film, tier sheets, trays and cap sheets, and corner boards.

 

  1. Increasingly stringent safety requirements

 

Applicable safety standards must be carefully considered before deploying a palletizing solution in your facility. Robotic and automated solutions must adhere to CAT 3 control system requirements.

 

  1. Labor market challenges

 

Increasing minimum wages, the dwindling pool of qualified workers, the potential for injury and high turnover rate in manual palletizing functions are all reasons to consider an automated palletizing solution.

 

Deciding to incorporate or upgrade an automated palletizing solution isn’t always easy. Being unable to adapt to evolving packaging methods, struggling to keep up with increasing order volumes or outgrowing your manual pallet building processes are just some of the signs that it may be time for a change. There are many palletizing solutions available on the market from high-speed row-forming and inline conventional machines to robotic and hybrid solutions. If you think that it’s time to reevaluate your palletizing strategy, make sure to check Nortech Packaging palletizing solutions. If you need help to determine the best solution for your palletizing operations, our experts are at your disposal.