6 opportunities to catch product/package interaction failures

Dear end users of food packaging: Beware, be forewarned and be ready to make use of functional opportunities to proactively identify and solve product-package interaction risks such as scalping and migration.       

 

The editors of Packaging Digest sent me a release recently advising that Stephen Klump, Nestlé S. A., global technical expert for Packaging Quality & Safety, will be a panel member discussing the subject of food packaging “migration” at the May 2016 RadTech Conference in Rosemont, IL.

I do not know Klump personally, but his reputation and expertise in the disciplines of packaging scalping, migration, material suitability characteristics and related test methodologies are exceptional. Under Klump’s direction, Nestlé applies a cutting-edge approach to package/product interaction, combining practical techniques and scientific principles to develop, improve and implement test protocols and methodologies designed to control packaging materials quality and identify non-conformances. Their processes are surely destined to become benchmarks in the food industry.

Within the discipline of packaging science, migration is the term used to describe physical and/or chemical transfer of odors, flavors and components from packaging materials into the food products they contain. Physical and chemical mechanisms which facilitate migration vary based on multiple factors such as packaging material systems, foods, processing, storage, handling and others. A related product/package interaction risk mechanism is scalping, wherein packaged food volatiles or components are absorbed or through uptake are drawn into the packaging material(s); for example, when flavor-rich components transfer from a citrus product to the packaging, leading to accelerated reduction in product flavor impact, leading to consumer dissatisfaction.    

Not all migration and scalping encounters and mechanisms are undesirable. Under controlled conditions, packaging structures are designed and engineered to intentionally migrate targeted materials into a product or scalp (attract, absorb, remove or facilitate the egress of) unwanted substances from the product or headspace. Examples include the controlled migration or introduction of preservatives, hosted by packaging, into the contained food to improve shelf-life and product quality, as well as the use of active scavengers to attract and absorb undesirable substances (e.g. oxygen, carbon dioxide) from the food or package headspace.

The emphasis of this article focuses on unwanted and deleterious instances of migration and scalping and opportunities to identify same in advance of an unwanted and costly in-market failure.  

Migration is one of the more insidious product/package interactions, in the event that unwanted components evolve into the contained food, ingredient, intermediate or package headspace. Language can be found in 21CFR [174.5(b)] and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act [402(a) (3)] referencing regulated food packaging found to have imparted odors or flavors to a specific food. Regardless of technical determination as to whether any specific package material or component is under direct or indirect control from federal regulations, including FSMA, no seller or user of consumer packaging desires to grapple with interpretive scope or be forced to distribute self-serving denials when faced with a suspected packaging-related product non-conformance.   

The development and maintenance of safe, quality packaged foods is based on process “ownership” partnerships facilitated by qualified representatives from each internal and external support function. Traditionally, that partnership is composed of a product developer and a packaging technologist supported by internal QC/QA and production representatives as well as (external) vendor technical support. Together, they form a team responsible for developing, commercializing and continuously monitoring the quality of packaging, food and the combined finished product-in-package. 

Wide-reaching control and influence across these combined functions creates multiple opportunities to observe, communicate and react to product-package interactions or defects such as scalping and migration, some of which may affect consumer safety and/or product suitability.  Specific opportunities exist following:    

(1)   Preliminary plant trials I sponsored by “R&D” with support from Quality, Operations and key vendor representatives. These activities provide an opportunity to perform experiments designed to assess the effectiveness and performance of food formulations, packaging components and commercial equipment process variables. During plant trials, experimental variables or iterations can be added, removed or adjusted based on team observations and dialogue.

Upon conclusion, representative “time-zero” samples of each packaged product variable are collected, analyzed and control-tested.  Additional representative packaged products are placed into multiple, controlled storage conditions (time, temperature, humidity, altitude, compression etc.).  Samples are withdrawn at meaningful intervals, then evaluated and analyzed. Results are compared against time-zero results and various quality expectations.

As the evaluation process progresses, sample combinations may be removed from consideration due to incompatibility, ineffectiveness or some other aspect that fails to meet targeted expectations or technical criteria for success. Sometimes, those failures are caused by observed scalping of flavor or migration of packaging component into the food or headspace, identified via organoleptic evaluation and confirmed following state-of-the-art rapid throughput chemical analysis.

(2)   Focused plant trials II of packaged product “finalists” composed of limited variants using production-equivalent materials and equipment. Again, finished packaged samples are subjected to another round of testing and analysis over a longer period of time and once again, sensory, analytical or machinability trial failures may disqualify particular products or packages from achieving commercialization.

(3)   Limited production runs using packaging and product which may be released to the trade for sale to consumers if all criteria for success are met and the Business Team agrees. Every variable is production-equivalent. Yet again, samples from these trials are placed in multiple storage conditions and subjected to shelf-life studies. Results are compared against observations from past studies and current or selected benchmarks.  If scalping and/or migration tendencies or precursors are observed or determined following evaluation or analysis of samples subjected to accelerated or abusive storage conditions, corrective actions may be made prior to extended production runs and broad trade release. 

(4)   Receipt of production packaging component lots, sampled by a packaging materials intake resource at the end-user manufacturing facility. Sensory and physical characteristics of representative production lot samples can be evaluated against and compared to valid reference standards in order to identify non-conforming packaging components prior to production use. Questionable lots may be placed “on hold” and undergo vendor testing in order to confirm suitability. This is a good packaging “best practices” opportunity to further evaluate packaging quality and safety, however resource limits and other challenges may preclude this process from being performed at the end-user production facility.  

 

(5)   Quality analysis of finished packaged product case samples obtained across the production day.  Plant QC collects random cases of packaged products during production. Product, headspace and packaging are each assessed against standards. Questionable results allow production lots to be embargoed and broader component tests to be performed before product is shipped to customers.  The limited value of these types of tests is that they are performed within 24 hours of production. Typically, only the most obvious or egregious defects are identified so soon after production. 

 

(6)   The collection and analysis of field audit products, possibly the most comprehensive post-production opportunity to identify evidence of scalping and/or migration. If packaged product test results from number 5 above are unlikely to uncover negative product/package synergies which take time to evolve, field audit samples may be the most likely. The benefits of securing samples from the “field” (customer warehouses, store shelves, manufacturer distribution centers) combine three critical variables:

 

  • The products have been produced using more than 1 lot of production materials and conditions;
  • The products in packaging have had time to equilibrate; and
  • Products have been exposed to an array of real-life storage and transportation conditions.
  •  

    In the event that analysis of field audit samples uncovers an unwanted, unexpected or undesirable product/package interaction, there are still going to be logistical and financial impacts associated with market withdrawal and/or recall, but probably not to the extent encountered when non-conforming goods are identified by consumers and communicated to the media or regulatory agencies.

     

    Migration can be driven by a multitude of factors.  Some of the causes that I’ve encountered include:

    • Volatiles and odor-causing or odor-containing components migrate towards the interior of the package due to an ineffective contact layer barrier and/or internal  attractive conditions;
    • Incompatibilities between packaging materials and  product components;
    • Unexpected or uncontrolled water vapor, oxygen or chemical vapor permeation;
    • Failure of a converter to follow functional raw material manufacturer instructions;
    • Handling, shipping or use of packaging components prior to full cure or conditioning steps as stipulated in supplier technical service literature;
    • Packaging materials qualitative variability;
    • Storage of or abuse to packaging materials or parts outside of limits stipulated by the manufacturer or converter
    • Changes to packaging materials acquisition, formulation, conversion or other supply alteration without first obtaining customer approval;
    • Underperformed, ineffective or reduced R&D support or Quality oversight; and
    • Failure to perform finished product field audits.

     

    A final product-package interaction risk is offered for your consideration. It has the potential to exist for any product or package, to extents which vary.  Thus, the risk severities and impacts upon occurrence vary widely, as described in this example:  R&D performs its due diligence converting finished trial products-in-packaging using production-identical materials and equipment.  Samples from those production-equivalent runs are placed into multiple storage conditions and subjected to shelf life testing (organoleptic, visual and analytical chemistry).  Time-zero samples match standard references, line samples removed and tested by QA are perfect and the marketing “show and tell” concludes with all qualitative criteria being achieved. Approval is given to release the converted products for sale.

    All steps appear to have been properly performed, however, in this scenario, the trials were based on an n that is statistically non-predictive.  One lot of each raw material was used to make the product, one lot of packaging components were converted using one lot of resin or film, one lot of hot melt carton and case adhesive was used to seal secondary packaging, one shift of production was overseen by one operator packed on one line evaluated by one product developer, one packaging engineer and one QC tech. If those efforts conclude with perfection, how may the results differ as production variables broaden?  

     

    Problems are inevitable

    History shows that even the most consistent and reliable product-in-package combinations will eventually encounter a quality deviation. The presumptions of “low risk” and “nothing changed” have fooled many a seasoned supply chain professional. With today’s limited resources, speed- to-market, extensive product versioning, corporate contractions and such, quality-impacting factors within each supply chain are bound to change, at times without prior notice to the end user. Supplier “X” is sold or merges manufacturing locations, the conversion process is changed, the packaging machinery is “adjusted” or retrofitted, a new ingredient is added, a “slight” change in the “slip package” formulation is made, the elastomer content is “increased slightly” to compensate for a reduction in the values obtained from the latest polystyrene puncture-resistance tests, the UV ink curing system malfunctioned and so on and so forth. 

    Each organization has to grapple with the inevitability of those risks and the potential impact to the organization if the product/package system balance is negatively affected.  Oversight by the end user cannot be replaced alone by vendor diligence, because only the end user has access to the most comprehensive objectives and information. Therefore, unfortunate as is may be, end user quality oversight is placed in the hands of the functions with the knowledge and ability to assess and adjust on an ongoing basis. The lead entity on the functional team, based on technical capability, is R&D management. With ever-shrinking resources and lean manufacturing principles, it all becomes a daunting challenge, yet one that must be properly considered and addressed in order to apply adequate levels of control to mitigate the risks and impacts of scalping and migration.

     

    Gary Kestenbaum has 40 years’ experience in the food and packaging industries, six as a supplier with National Starch, 18 as a product developer with General/Kraft Foods and 15 as a packaging engineer and developer with Kraft. As senior food packaging safety consultant with EHA Consulting Group, Kestenbaum provides guidance on packaging safety and suitability-related projects for raw material manufacturers, converters and associated supporting professionals. He can be reached at gkestenbaum@ehagroup.com or 410-484-9133. The website is www.ehagroup.com.

     

     

     

     

    Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/food-safety/6-opps-catch-product-package-failures1602

    NextPack to reveal the Future of Packaging

    Flying cars? Hoverboards? Video conferencing? In 1989, the movie “Back to the Future II” made bold predictions about life in the year 2015. Yes, there were some hits and misses in the film, but all in all, the predictions were pretty accurate. Proof: some of us now enjoy video glasses (compliments of Google), most use video conferencing and almost all have at least one large-screen TV in the home.

    Predicting what the packaging industry will look like in 2020 is hard enough—let alone what the industry will look like in more than 25 years. On March 22, 2016, hundreds of packaging professionals will converge on Atlanta, GA, to attend the 7th annual NextPack conference. NextPack is billed as the “Conference on the Future of Packaging,” and it offers at least one great way for attendees to sneak a peek into the future of the industry.

    This year, NextPack will be held among the beluga whales at the Georgia Aquarium where attendees will be treated to insights from four renowned speakers:

    • Joe Duffy, founder of Duffy Design Group, will present “Brand Packaging – Plus”—an integrated approach to package design that connects total brand voice, point of sale (POS), digital advertising and other forms of brand communication.

    • Larry Logan, chief marketing officer at Digimarc Corp., will talk about “Enhanced Packaging as a New Marketing Channel for Today’s Mobile Shoppers”—how technology and packaging are merging to create a new inflection point with today’s mobile-savvy shoppers.

    • Adam Schettle, senior director global packaging and Consumer Experience Design (CXD) at Motorola, will share the case study “Moto 360: Creating the next generation of innovative packaging”—overcoming the challenges of new, innovative design versus continuing the paradigm.

    • Amcor president Ann O’Hara and Suresh Krishnan, technical director of Liquiform, Amcor-LiquiForm Group, will co-present “Changing the Packaging Landscape via Liquid Forming”—how innovating the manufacturing process can provide both a better product and lower energy, materials and costs.

    In addition to this impactful line-up of speakers, NextPack will unveil the winners of its “48 Hour Repack” student competition. This competition proves to be a crowd favorite each and every year as students from around the country submit new, innovative packaging for one of four “problem” product categories. This year the staff chose juice pouches/boxes, K-cup packaging, Barbie-doll packaging and pizza boxes for the competition. These categories were unveiled to the students at 7 p.m. on Fri., Jan. 22.

    Students had to submit their futuristic designs, graphics and a YouTube sales video by 7 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 24—only 48 hours later! The top 10 teams from this competition will be in attendance, and three teams will win $6,000 in educational assistance. New to the competition: NextPack attendees will be able to vote for the student team they think best deserves top honors. This “People’s Choice” award will bring an additional $1,000 to one talented, student team.

    Karen Boyd, NextPack program director, offers additional reasons to attend NextPack, the Conference on the Future of Packaging:

     

    Karen, this is the 7th annual conference being held in Atlanta. Tell us about the choice to house this event at the Georgia Aquarium this year?

    Boyd: The event gets bigger and bigger, and nothing matches the size of this Atlanta landmark. In fact, the Georgia Aquarium was the largest aquarium in the world when it opened and remains the largest in the Western hemisphere. We hope the more than 100,000 exotic animals there can help inspire our thinking on the future of packaging. What better examples of attraction, protection and adaptation are there? Of course, we should also think about the impact our packaging choices make on the delicate ecosystem these animals represent.

     

    What are the some of the highlights NextPack attendees should expect?

    Boyd: We have four fantastic speakers and more than 30 exhibitors again this year. Anyone that touches the branded design or graphics space knows the name Joe Duffy, and we are privileged to have him as our keynote speaker this year. Joe is one of the most respected and sought-after thought leaders on branding and design. We really look forward to his insights around integrating the entire brand communication architecture—from packaging and POS to advertising and digital. We believe this will be the key to effectiveness in our industry over the next decade.

     

    Will the 48 Hour Repack Competition steal the show this year?

    Boyd: It certainly could. It is amazing to see the innovative package designs these student teams can bring to life in just 48 hours. The competition started as a Southeastern, regional competition intended to expose students from every discipline to the packaging industry. Now, it is truly a national competition that gets bigger each year. This year we had more than 200 students from 16 schools competing for top honors. The best part…in addition to the prize money, many of these students are getting jobs in the packaging industry as a direct result of this competition.

    Are there spots remaining, and if so, what kind of discounts are available?

    Boyd: Yes, the event is March 22, but spots are still available, and there are discounts for students and companies that choose to sponsor the event.

    For individuals, simply use the promo code “PKGDIGEST” for $25 off the regular price. Please go to www.iopp.org/southeasternwww.iopp.org/southeastern for more information.

     

    Paul Spitale is president emeritus for the Southeastern Chapter of the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP). With 20+ years of global packaging innovation and new product marketing experience, Spitale is a consultant to the packaging industry. He has taken roles of increasing responsibility with companies like ITW, Newell Rubbermaid and WestRock, and has launched a variety of successful new products that highlight the importance of great packaging along the way.

    Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-design/nextpack-to-reveal-the-future-of-packaging-2016-02-29

    Are Americans willing to pay for zero waste packaging?

    At my company, TerraCycle, we’re always asking ourselves what the next recycling innovation we can bring to consumers might be. Our first answer came in the form of free consumer-facing collection and recycling programs (sponsored by major brands and consumer packaged goods companies) for pre- and post-consumer packaging waste streams. While this free model has seen a lot of success, our capacity to collect and recycle is limited by the funding we are able to secure from our sponsors. To solve for this economic gap and engage with even more consumers, we began asking ourselves a new question: Are consumers willing to pay a premium for zero waste packaging solutions?

    Enter the Zero Waste Box, our newest recycling model for difficult-to-recycle packaging waste streams. Using the Zero Waste Box is easy: purchase a box, fill it with waste and send the full box back to TerraCycle for recycling. This waste collection and recycling model avoids any need for corporate sponsorship, and gives us a chance to offer consumers a far wider range of recycling solutions for packaging waste typically destined for landfill.

    In 2014, we launched this new zero waste model with Staples Canada, listing hundreds of Zero Waste Boxes on Staples.ca. Despite our initial uncertainty about premium recycling options for packaging waste, the Canadian launch saw success quickly and won Environmental Leader’s “2015 Top Product of the Year Award.” With a benchmark for success set, we were able to grow our partnership with Staples and finally bring the Zero Waste Box platform to American consumers. Just this year, we started listing our Zero Waste Boxes on Staples.com.

    Despite a successful launch in Canada, a premium waste collection and recycling model of this scale remains largely untested in the United States. Leading into our recent launch with Staples U.S., the question remained: Will American consumers pay a premium to recycle packaging waste they can’t recycle through traditional means?

    Our free recycling programs have been incredibly successful for years here in the U.S., so we know that an interest in zero waste packaging solutions already exists. Through these programs, millions of people and tens of thousands of schools and community groups are collecting and recycling materials and products that, previously, were unanimously considered “waste.” And with more than 60 million people across the world collecting through a TerraCycle program, we know that support for alternative recycling options (especially for difficult-to-recycle packaging waste streams) is there.

    We also know that sustainability remains a top concern in the consumer products market and packaging industry. Many consumers are willing to purchase sustainable products at premium prices, and more consumers today are creating waste reduction and zero waste goals for themselves and their families. The Zero Waste Box helps consumers achieve some of those sustainability goals in an easy to manage and simple way, especially if municipal recycling programs and other options are insufficient.

    Individuals aren’t the only ones who seem ready for premium recycling options for packaging waste. Businesses are being pressured into moving toward “zero waste” as well, and the Zero Waste Box can be a great way to help companies achieve their zero waste goals.

    For example, an office can push their breakrooms toward zero waste by purchasing a Breakroom Separation Zero Waste Box for products and packaging like coffee capsules, disposable dishware, and plastic or paper packaging. A waste-diversion initiative like this shows employees that their employer is conscious of its environmental impacts, and gives the company a chance to market their waste reduction strategies to consumers.

    While only time will truly tell if premium recycling options and the Zero Waste Box have a place in today’s market, we believe that many consumers and businesses will find value in this new platform. It gives us at TerraCycle a chance to bring even more packaging waste recycling solutions to the market without corporate sponsorship, and serves as a great zero waste tool for consumers, businesses, community organizations and offices alike.

    We are eager to see where the Zero Waste Box and our partnership with Staples will take us. For now, and as we continue down this path toward zero waste and more sustainable packaging innovations, the future looks bright for premium recycling opportunities.

     

    Author Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle, has won more than 50 awards for entrepreneurship, also writes blogs for Treehugger and The New York Times, has an upcoming book called “Make Garbage Great” and is the star of the television show “Human Resources” on Pivot TV.

    Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/are-americans-willing-to-pay-for-zero-waste-packaging-2016-02-25

    5 exciting, emerging sustainable packaging materials to watch in 2016

    Year over year, advancements in technology that impact the packaging industry become more innovative, robust, widespread and tangible. The outcomes of these new technologies sometimes leave lasting impressions while others fade with trial and error.

    In terms of safety and sustainability measures though, technological advancements and innovations often play dual roles that counter inhibiting circumstances and propel new opportunities. In these advancements, we find some of the latest and greatest in what proves the packaging industry to be one of the strongest fields in leading innovation, sustainability and safety.

    While we know packaging is often viewed and used as a vehicle for marketing tactics, its most obvious and critical role is to protect its product. Food packaging maintains proper temperatures, prevents exposure to bacteria, communicates information to consumers and enables retailers to track and trace to the original source. Packaging also promotes sustainability, both by protecting and enhancing the shelf life of foods (thereby reducing food waste) and by encouraging recyclability at its end of life.

    Committed to connecting innovation to opportunity, suppliers and innovators are continually working with technology providers to bring creative, sustainable packaging solutions to market that help consumer packaged goods manufacturers, retailers and foodservice providers enhance the safety of their products, drive sales and delight consumers.

    Here are a handful of recent innovations on the bleeding edge. It is only a matter of time before these new technologies are not only brought to market but become highly influential in various and competing packaging industries:

     

    1. Sustainable Aqueous Barrier Coatings

    New sustainable coatings improve any fiber products (by preventing moisture from penetrating the material and potentially contaminating foods) and present alternatives to laminated structures that, in contrast to those treated with new sustainable coatings, cannot be recycled. In sustainable practices, this is a major differentiator factor of this new technology (see photo above).

     

    Next: Molded Fiber Printing

    Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-design/5-exciting-emerging-sustainable-packaging-materials-to-watch-in-2016-2016-02-24

    5 ways packaging designers can capitalize on the ‘unboxing’ trend

    If you’re a professional involved in packaging, marketing or fulfillment and are not familiar with the trend of “unboxing,” you need to be. The trend is growing, taking over the internet (a simple search of “unboxing” on YouTube yields over 30,000,000 results!), and presenting significant opportunities to increase sales and garner free publicity. Even if you don’t understand the fascination with unboxing videos, the numbers and opportunity alone demand that we all pay attention.

     

    What is unboxing?

    The unboxing trend is simple. Users essentially film themselves opening the packaging of whatever they just bought, whether it be a new phone, Disney collectibles or a photographer’s new gear. The user then posts the video online (usually to YouTube), and shares it on social media, blog posts or whatever other medium is available. It’s really that simple. For example, this YouTube user’s first unboxing video has more than 1.3 million views.

    Simple? Yes. Effective? Greatly. More than 1 million people watched this video as the brand gained free publicity.

    Was the packaging a part of that? Absolutely. It was routinely mentioned in the comments, and is likely one of the few things you’ll remember about the video after two days. The packaging was an important component of the overall experience.

    Unboxing goes beyond video, too. Users are posting pictures on blogs and social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. Beyond sharing and social media, the impact the experience has on these people as they open a new package can also be important, as it has been proven to have an effect on their future purchases.

     

    Why is unboxing so important?

    This is where the rubber meets the road. The experience of an individual unboxing their new purchase should be on the mind of every consumer product professional engaged with packaging in any way. Consider:

    • Repeat Business: A recent survey from Dotcom Distribution found that 52% of consumers are likely to make repeat purchases from an online merchant that delivers premium packaging.

    • Social Sharing of Your Brand: That same study also revealed that nearly 4 in 10 consumers would share an image of a delivery via social media if it came in a unique package.

    • Free Promotion: If the unboxing experience is shared on social media, blogs or other online avenues, you get free promotion. This helps your brand exposure and website traffic, which are both exceedingly valuable. It’s usually worth the minimal extra cost to create an experience more likely to be shared.

    • Stand Apart: When a buyer gets multiple packages (think holiday shopping!) and sees one package come in a generic box while another has a “special” package, which do you think they’ll remember?

    • Create a Fond Memory of Your Product: Even though packaging is different from a product, a fond memory opening a package will be linked to the product. Start your customers off on the right foot!

     

    Ideas for helping your package stand out

    So how do you create a memorable experience? Make your package stand out. Do something that’s a little out of the ordinary. Go the extra mile to create a great experience—not just a functional one.

    Here are some tips and tricks to consider to help your next package make a positive impression:

    1. Custom Printing: Show your brand. And by brand, we don’t just mean your logo. Let your packaging represent who you are. Can you print a specific message on your box? Create a unique look? Be creative! Services like ThinkInk can do this for you with quick turnarounds and low minimums so you can test out multiple ideas.

    2. Unique Shapes and Sizes: The sample video above stood out with a puzzle piece packaging design. It was memorable, and created an experience. Is there a shape that reflects your brand or product? See if you can work it in to your packaging.

    3. Packing Material: What’s unique that goes into the package itself? Are you using standard bubble wrap? As much fun as it is to pop, it doesn’t add much to the unboxing experience. Think through more creative options. Companies like Digiwrap offer custom printed tissue paper for an extremely personalized, memorable touch. Be creative!

    4. Going Green: On the other end of the spectrum, you can create a minimalist packaging experience in the interest of environmentalism. This can also bring positive attention, but for different reasons. Dell was creative with a great environmentally friendly packaging concept that received a lot of attention: bamboo packaging.

    5. Surprise and Delight: Nothing says more to a customer like going beyond what is expected. A simple thank you note in the package from Jawbone was photographed and put on twitter by Erin Fors. @forsie: Dear every company that cares about its customer service: this is how you do it. Bravo, @Jawbone. That one tweet was retweeted 116 times. Putting in a little extra effort for a customer still pays big dividends.

    Even if the trend starts to fade (which we don’t anticipate any time soon), creating a positive customer experience has direct implications on a brand’s future business and word of mouth. Those responsible for the packaging concept need to be thinking “outside of the box” and creating a memorable experience for their brands.

     

    Adam Wormann is a marketing consultant, co-founder of Wormann Consulting LLC, and vp of online marketing at Ascent Digital Media. He has been working with clients in the packaging industry with a focus on marketing strategy and online marketing since 2011. Wormann’s unique background in analytics and human behavior has helped brands across the country expand their customer base, create deeper connections and increase their bottom line. 

    Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-design/5-ways-packaging-designers-can-capitalize-on-the-unboxing-trend-2016-02-24

    FDA will reject noncompliant DMF submissions, says agency during webcast

    Come May 5, 2017, all Drug Master File (DMF) submissions will need to be filed electronically with FDA in a specific format, or they will be rejected. Such was the word from FDA during its CDER Small Business and Industry Assistance (CDER SBIA) on February 4, “New Requirement for Electronic Submission of Drug Master Files (DMFs): What You Need to Know.”

    Packaging material manufacturers typically hold Type III DMFs, but Peter Schmitt, managing director and cofounder of Montesino Associates, warns that “it is not clear that holders of Type III DMFs realize that ‘the clock is ticking.’ ” PMP News spoke with Schmitt and other experts for an earlier article on the changing DMF rules. Dwain L. Sparks of Sparks Consulting Services expects the DMF changes to be “confusing to all parties,” while Frank Bieganousky, also managing director and cofounder of Montesino Associates, fears review delays. For more insights, please see “DMF changes will impact packaging suppliers—and potentially pharma companies, too.”

    Jonathan Resnick, Project Management Officer, Division of Data Management Services and Solutions, OBI, OSP, CDER, explained during the broadcast that submissions must be submitted electronically using the eCTD [electronic Common Technical Document] format currently supported by FDA. FDA will reject noncompliant submissions, and there are no waivers or exemptions, he explained, but there is “no requirement to resubmit anything that has already been submitted in paper,” he said. 

    The change is expected to promote efficiency. “Implementation of electronic DMFs will improve the efficiency of the DMF review process, which can improve the speed of review of applications supported by DMFs,” said Arthur Shaw, DMF Expert, Review Chemist, New Drugs Products Branch IV, DNDPII, ONDP, OPQ, CDER.

    However, “there is no legal or regulatory requirement to file a DMF. The information needed for review can be in an IND, an NDA, an ANDA, a BLA, or a DMF,” explained Shaw. He identified the two main reasons for filing a DMF: “to maintain the confidentiality of proprietary information for the holder” and “to permit review of information by FDA reviewers,” which helps during “the review of the container closure system.”

    While DMF holders are not being asked to resubmit any existing files, “DMFs must be up to date at the time of review,” said Shaw. 

    Annual reports should include a complete list of authorized parties (companies authorized to reference the DMF), including the dates of letters of authorization. “Changes are not to be reported in an annual report,” Shaw said. If an annual report hasn’t been submitted in three years, FDA will send an overdue notice letter; if there’s no response, FDA will close the DMF, and it will be unavailable for review.

    Amendments to existing DMFs include reports of a change and deletions or additions of technical or administrative information, he said. “When a change is made to one section, the entire DMF does not need to be resubmitted,” he said. However, “if a complete resubmission is being sent, each section should be complete and contain up-to-date information,” he said. 

    Bottom line: “Industry needs to understand how to submit and update DMFs,” said Shaw.

    Resnick shared several “must-dos” during the broadcast as well as several tips for DMF submission success. For more details on the Webcast click here. And for more details on DMFs, read our article here and view FDA’s page here.   

    Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/regulatory/pmp-fda-will-reject-noncompliant-dmf-submissions-says-agency-160223

    Here’s how collaborative robots provide custom automation, cost benefits to manufacturers

    Manufacturers today strive to be more flexible, nimble and adaptable than ever before to stay competitive. Labor shortages, rising wages and increasing demand for personalized products present challenges to productivity and efficiency. To combat these issues, many manufacturers—including Standby Screw—are turning to flexible automation.

    Founded 75 years ago, Standby Screw has, like so many manufacturing companies, shifted from a traditional machine shop to a nimble, innovative organization, bringing the latest technologies to bear. Collaborative robots are an important competitive differentiator that are making factories around the globe more agile and responsive to market demand.

     

    Automation with collaborative robots

    Traditionally, customization was an obstacle to automation. As a custom parts manufacturer for outdoor power equipment and automotive industries, Standby Screw knew this precept to be all too true, as the thousands of custom parts we produce required humans to perform mundane, repetitive tasks. From packaging the custom parts into boxes for shipping to cleaning the parts prior to final packing, humans were used for projects that didn’t require them to use cognition or reasoning. Furthermore, there are dozens of other jobs and tasks in our factories that desperately needed people.

    Collaborative robots, including Rethink Robotics’ Baxter, which is used on the Standby Screw factory floor, are changing the game when it comes to customization. Baxter is specifically designed to perform in variable, real-world manufacturing environments typical of customized product lines. Because of its Robot Positioning System (RPS), Baxter can easily adjust to parts that are bumped slightly out of place, without the need to stop and reprogram. Further, the robot is so easy to train that any factory worker can conduct the training without any prior programming experience.

    At Standby Screw, Baxter works in tandem with a traditional caged industrial robot to clean and package worm shafts, the long, cylindrical gear used in self-propelled, walk behind lawnmowers. A traditional industrial robot from Yaskawa Motoman feeds the parts to Baxter, who then uses both arms to move the parts into a slot and clean the machine oil off the part before placing it into one of two boxes.

    Meanwhile, another Baxter robot tends a milling machine by picking pivot rods designed for snow blowers out of a feeding unit and placing them into the machine that cuts a flat end on the rod. In these two instances, the combination of collaborative and industrial robot allows for an efficient, automated process, allowing human workers to focus on tasks that require greater cognitive skill.

     

    True collaboration yields better bottom-line results

    Baxter works directly on the factory floor alongside our employees, making it a truly collaborative relationship. As a result of unique force-sensing technology, Baxter is completely safe in this situation. Despite its ability to collaborate with humans, the robots can also be used overnight whenever needed to increase output. With this added production time factored in, Baxter allows our team to package exactly 169 parts per box and produce more than one million parts per year. This high-volume output gives us the freedom to maintain a competitive price point for our products and compete with manufacturers around the globe.

    By automating tasks with Baxter at Standby Screw, our employees take on more complex roles throughout the factory, saving the company at least 4,000 hours per year. Baxter allows us to stay nimble and increase consistency in manufacturing operations to better compete on a global stage. We now produce about 1,100 different parts that are used in cars, household appliances and lawn and garden products, and we ship approximately two million parts every week.

    Manufacturing has always been complex, but with the many variables present in today’s marketplace, it is more imperative than ever that companies seek the most flexible, cost-effective solutions that enable automation in never before seen applications. Collaborative robots are one piece of the solution that are already bringing results to forward-thinking manufacturers, and this is a trend that will continue to gain momentum for years to come.

     

    Drew Rabkewych, sales manager at Standby Screw, has been with the company nearly 23 years. His favorite thing about working there is the fast-paced environment. “There is never a boring day at the office,” he says. “It is also very fun to see all the finished products that have Standby parts in them.”

     

    ___________________________________________________________________________

    Poll suggests lack of awareness for cobots in packaging: 60% of those taking our Cobots in Packaging Poll noted that they are unfamiliar with collaborative robots. How about you? It’s not too late to take our quickie poll here.

    ___________________________________________________________________________

    Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/robotics/heres-how-collaborative-robots-provide-custom-automation-cost-benefits-to-manufacturers-2016-02-23

    Device reduces oxygen levels in bottled beer and more

    Inline system is shown to reduce Total Package Oxygen by more than half in a pilot test where it increases the quality and shelf life of bottled beer.

     

    Oxygen can be a killer when it comes to product flavor, overall quality and shelf life for numerous sensitive products such as beer. Lowering the oxygen levels in a beer bottle’s headspace cuts the associated product oxidation to improve the packaged quality and extend the shelf life.

    In other words, consumers get better beer.

    Various approaches have been tried by the brewing industry to reduce Total Package Oxygen (TPO), including the addition of oxygen-scavenging enzymes or ascorbic acid into the bottle, as well as mechanical approaches to strike the bottle to increase foaming and displace oxygen.

    Another way to do that is through nitrogen dosing, but now Heateflex has a different method that plays off its core competency that it feels is a superior solution: The Gambrinus system that injects a small dose—fractionally less than 1mL—of heated, purified water into the headspace of a filled container right before it is sealed.

    The first test application is with a major southeast U.S. brewer on a bottling line.

    “They’d tried a variety of jetting methods,” explains Steve Hausle, Heateflex’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We modified one of our existing stainless-steel heaters to meet their specifications and now they’re testing it on a very small volume of bottled beer.

    “Ours is one piece in the overall system that measures the flow and calculates the line speed—there’s a whole variety of different issues involved.”

     

    Injection done at 900 bottles per minute

     

    The water is jetted into the bottle headspace prior to crowning at a speed of 900 bottles per minute.

    Hausle says a key aspect is that the jetting temperature is maintained at about 170° F to kill any bacteria and assure the sterility of the self-drying jetting tip.

    The combination of the temperature and volume of the injection causes the beer to foam. “When the beer foams it pushes the oxygen out of the neck,” Hausle points out.

    The method works: The brewer reports that, prior to installing the Gambrinus heater, the operation was seeing 70 parts-per-billion TPO. “The result after using our system is 30ppb,” says Hausle. “That extends the beer’s shelf life by several weeks.”

    Another indicator of the pilot’s success is that the company is installing the system on other lines.

    “They’re going to have it on three lines in their factory, they’ve approved it for all the lines at the site and it’s been recommended to be retrofitted in all the lines company-wide,” Hausle reports.

    Since the start of the brewery test, Heateflex has redesigned the Gambrinus system to make it more efficient and house it in an 18 X 22 x 8in. deep NEMA 4 enclosure as shown above.

    Also in the works: a modular, skid-based system that targets microbrewers.

    The company feels that the technique is applicable to other products, such as wine. “We believe that it has merit where total package oxygen is an issue,” offers Hausle. “For wine, for example, you try to introduce oxygen to improve the flavor as opposed to reduce the oxygen, so it really depends on the application.”

     

    Heateflex Corp.

    Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/modified-atmosphere-packaging/device-reduces-o2-levels-bottled-beer1602

    Color paints a pretty picture for inkless in-line digital printing

    Nimble brand owners wanting to step closer to real-time, on-demand graphics for packaging have two new colorful options coming to market in the form of Variprint and Infinity brand Inline Digital Printing technologies from DataLase.

     

    First there was vendor DataLase’s titular technology that permitted in-line customization of alphanumeric and graphics “printed” by high-speed, low-power laser marking onto specially-treated sections of paperboard and corrugated (see PD’s recent coverage). Now the company is expanding the technology’s applicability for brand owners desiring the same kind of flexibility using color marking on virtually any substrate. Chris Wyres, CEO of DataLase, responds to our questions about the company’s new patented Variprint and Infinity Inline Digital Printing methods.

     

    What intellectual property do the new patents protect and how do they extend the technologies’ applicability? 

    Wyres: The new patents provide additional and overarching protection for the materials, methods and applications of our inline digital printing technology platforms.

    The granting of these additional patents demonstrates the level of innovation and capability that the DataLase solution is able to offer to the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods sector. Digital print is growing because it offers a significant advantage over conventional print techniques, delivering capability for responsive and timely customized marketing and promotion on packs and products. Our ground-breaking technology is cost effective and efficient, providing a high added-value solution for today’s print market and meets the needs of brand owners, retailers and packaging converters alike.

     

    What applications are most appropriate for Variprint and Infinity vs. the black print of DataLase?

    Wyres: Similar to our products for laser coding, Variprint and Infinity can be incorporated into a wide variety of coatings, enabling them to be applied to virtually any substrate.

    Our initial focus markets include product coding, mailing, inline digital printing of secondary packaging, inline digital printing of labels and inline digital printing of folding cartons, where we have identified clear market needs. Working closely with our global strategic partner network, the scalable, modular technology platforms created by DataLase will be utilised to address opportunities in other packaging and print formats.

     

    In short, what’s needed for a Variprint or Infinity application?

    Wyres: For brand owners, co-packers and converters to reap the benefits delivered by Variprint or Infinity, they will need to incorporate the unique additive from DataLase into a coating that is then applied to a pack via normal print methods i.e., flexo, gravure, litho etc. When the coating is then exposed to a laser, at the point of packing or filling, it generates a color change reaction in the pigment, creating the graphics or variable data required. To utilize the Variprint and Infinity technologies, packers and converters need to use a high speed LDA printer to deliver high resolution, on-demand digital printing.

     

    What are the cost and complexity differences of each?

    Wyres: For a number of reasons, the total cost of ownership of inline digital printing vs conventional digital or hybrid digital systems is significantly lower.

    Firstly, the inline nature of the DataLase technology system brings advantages to the entire supply chain in terms of costs. For packers and fillers this includes avoiding the need to invest in large-scale out of line digital capacity and is a rationalization of SKUs. This delivers a huge impact on efficiency and minimizes inventory and tie up of capital.

    From a performance perspective, as DataLase technology is inkless, brand owners are able to deliver a clean, high-definition, cost-effective printed pack and avoid issues associated with ablation, inkjet and thermal printing such as high equipment maintenance costs, overspray and ink particulates contamination. This negates the risk of low quality graphics and codes, resulting in reduced returns and supply chain waste.

    Finally, converters can also offer customers a highly advanced digital print solution, using existing print assets and machinery.  This avoids capital investment, remapping of workflows and resource, thus improve speed to market and reducing costs.

     Next: The possibilities and what’s ahead in 2016…

    Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/coding/color-paints-pretty-picture4in-line-marking-on-packaging1602

    Poll suggests lack of awareness for cobots in packaging

    60% of those taking our Cobots in Packaging Poll noted that they are unfamiliar with collaborative robots.

     

    Seeing more robotics at industry tradeshows over the past many years has dovetailed with the emergence and regular appearance of collaborative robots, or cobots, over about the last two years at such venues. I assumed these sightings meant others were seeing them with the same regularity as I, a fact that would be reflected by an increased awareness of cobots throughout the packaging industry.

    That misplaced assumption hit home upon reviewing the preliminary results to our on-going Cobots in Packaging Poll, especially Question 1 that asked, “Are you familiar with collaborative robots, or cobots?” As of last week, that was answered to the affirmative by a “tidy” 40% of our poll takers. The other side of the coin is that, obviously, 60% do not, as is shown on the above chart that split the answer between an assured “No” and a less assured “Not sure.”

    If that figure does not surprise you, it certainly did me.

    Are there other surprises to be revealed in our poll? Stay tuned: We’ll disclose more findings after the close of the poll at the end of next week that will also reference other questions that were posed; these include:

    Are you currently using any cobots in your packaging operations or plan to in 2016?;

    What advice do you have about using cobots in packaging?

    And, lastly, How do you feel about cobots? With the latter we were expecting to flesh out qualitative aspects such as would you be comfortable working alongside a cobot? Or do you think they threaten the jobs of human workers? As a preview, I found the answers to this particular question to be the most interesting and diverse; we’ll be sharing many of them in our overview and analysis in several weeks.

    In any event, if you have not yet taken this quick 5-minute anonymous poll, please do so by clicking here, we’d appreciate your input!

     

    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    Want to assess packaging automation technologies in person? Then consider attending EastPack 2016, June 14 to 15 in New York City.

     ___________________________________________________________________________________

     

    Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/automation/poll-suggests-lack-of%20awareness-cobots1602