According to the latest press releases the Interpack can be called a success. For the exhibitors that is, who cashed in on the general feeling of an economic recovery. A great many exhibitors rated the concrete business deals and sales concluded as positive.
Although the number of visitors from 120 nations “cracked” the 175,000 mark, the general impression was that there were no large and impressive technological breakthroughs on show. Many an exhibitor had polished (by the way, no problem with that) one or more of his “novelties”, developed and launched during the recession, but at that moment not catching the attention as expected. A relaunch at Interpack was an action worth trying. And so we saw various “old” designs and technologies, sometimes evaluated into new application fields, and often with a new coating.
Here is one, but with a beautiful evolution. The Smartbottle.
About this bottle and its technology I wrote some three times (here, here and here) in the last few years. But it’s worth to look at it anew, since Dow Chemical got involved and came up with the PacXpert Packaging Technology.
PacXpert is an innovative packaging technology that offers the transition from traditional rigid containers to flexible packaging pouches between 2 and 20 litres in size. The design allows for an efficient use of space. It ships and stores flat and is easy to transport. Once filled it allows for easy pour and high product yield.
The Smart Bottle is manufactured from flexible films. It uses flat, sturdy seals on the corners to provide rigidity, which maintains the shape of the container. This configuration offers packaging that ships flat before filling and reduces the disposal footprint when its contents are depleted.
Smart Bottle is available in a variety of shapes, sizes and configurations making it a versatile solution for almost any packaging requirement. Heavy duty films combined with maximum strength seals assure product integrity which passes a four foot drop test. The company claims that this configuration of flexible materials and unique construction offers a 50% weight reduction in packaging materials.
Faerch Plast pizza box concept
Faerch Plast, a Danish manufacturer of plastic containers for the food industry, introduced a new pizza box concept with the base produced from CPET, for use in ovens (max 220°C) or microwaves.
Produced from CPET containing rPET (recycled PET bottles), the base has the advantage of being able to go in to a traditional oven (up to 220°C) and microwave, as well as the freezer (to -40°C). CPET makes cooking and reheating possible because it has a partially crystalline structure which retains its shape at high temperatures.
The pizza box offers new opportunities for pizzerias. They will now be able to offer both cooked and ready to cook pizzas for home delivery or takeaway leaving the consumer to decide when to reheat or cook their pizza.
Uncooked pizza can be prepared and packed into the 100% recyclable pizza box for cooking later. Cooked pizzas can also be taken from the oven in the supermarket or takeaway outlet, and packed into the pizza box for safe transit and consumer reheating, without the lid.
Furthermore as in several countries fresh pizzas prepared in-store are becoming increasingly popular, with sales up to 2,000 pizzas per store per week, this packaging allows the commercialisation of the on-shelf product by introducing a new concept in “ready-to-cook” pizzas.
Thanks to a base that is designed to promote an even cook, pizzas will retain all of their taste and flavour. The “Pizza Box” is 100% recyclable.
Next generation Delta robot
Bosch Packaging Technology (www.boschpackaging.com) showed at Interpack its advancements in robotic packaging machines. Delfi for feed placing into primary packaging and Paloma for placing into primary or secondary packaging, both vision guided solutions, now feature the new GD33 Delta robot in a new open frame design for expedited cleaning and simplified operations, enhancing efficiency.
The new GD33 Delta robot incorporates standard off-the-shelf drive elements and now has 60% fewer components than its predecessors. Maintenance time is reduced through ease of access to the main components. The GD33 robot offers higher speed, larger capacity and an improved payload capability up to three kilos. These improvements allow manufactures to increase the pick rate and extend the application range.
Integrated with Bosch’s Gemini 4, the fourth generation control and software platform, the GD33 Delta robot further reduces the cost per pick. In addition, the GD33 features standard tool-less gripper changeover.
KHS exhibited its new Innopouch K-400 pouching machine for the food and non-food industries. The Innopouch K-400 is available as an FS (fill and seal) or an FFS (form, fill and seal) machine. The FS machine is supplied with prefabricated pouches from a pouch magazine; the FFS machine, on the other hand, makes and fills the pouches. As the FS version is modular, it can be later expanded at any time to include a pouch forming unit.
The system makes or forms stand-up, flat and bottom gusset pouches from film laminate. It can run in both simplex (one pouch per machine cycle) and duplex (two pouches per machine cycle) operation. The Innopouch K-400 can run at up to 70 cycles a minute.
The horizontal pouching machine operates cyclically, with a separate station for each stage in the pouch forming and filling processes. This enables the machine to operate with the precision, granting the pouch quality and top filling accuracies.
The standard version of the machine has four filling stations connected in series which can be added to as required. The dosing systems are always selected according to the product to be filled, with both volumetric systems, such as auger fillers, table feeders and sliding gate fillers, and gravimetric systems like multihead weighers.
Interesting is that in the filler area the pouch is held in place by one pouch gripper on either side of it. The pouches are therefore conveyed by just one pair of grippers until they exit the machine. There are no transfers. Another aspect which ensures top positioning and filling accuracies is the linear servo drive technology incorporated into the machine. Each pouch gripper consists of a linear motor and can thus be positioned accurately at the press of a button.
Rest me to write about technology challenges in packaging, as a result of what I saw at Interpack. In the meantime we say bye, bye to Interpack 2014.