Cost-effective Refurbished TNA Strippers

KENRAY are delighted to confirm that they have developed a robust method to refurbish TNA strippers in a cost-effective, reliable manner. Having developed sophisticated bespoke jigging and production techniques, the team at Kenray can now refurbish TNA strippers to the original, exacting standards.

Kenray confirm that a TNA stripper or bag closer repaired by Kenray, will provide the performance of a new bag closer at a fraction of the cost. The refurbishment process of the TNA stripper sees the parts completely taken apart, cleaned and re-assembled. During the assembly process Kenray use a specialist bespoke jig to ensure all components are accurately aligned and checked, enabling the refurbished bag closer and stripper to operate as new.

Full details are on our solutions page around bags and strippers.

If you need to replace your bag closers and strippers on a regular basis contact Kenray to see how refurbishment could save you money and provide you with greater value.

The Hidden Costs of Average Forming Sets

An important consideration for food manufacturers is the cost of their packaging machinery and forming sets. To cut costs, many packagers will purchase an average forming set, which meets the minimum requirements for safety and hygiene and produces bags suitable for sale. However, the average forming set that was meant to save money up front will often result in additional, hidden costs over time.

There are some common ways in which average forming sets negatively impact the profits of food producers:

 

Small Stops and Reduced Output Speed

Small stops are almost always caused by product blockages, which are caused by a wide range of circumstances. Product with low mass, high surface roughness or wide-ranging variation in unit size commonly can block the former, and integral chutes are required to reduce the possibility of blockages.

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The design of a straight tube in an average forming set vs a bespoke set’s tube with gradual transition.

However, average forming sets use inlet chutes that do not feature a gradual transition from the chute into the tube, which results in food getting stuck in the machine. When small stops occur, the machine must be turned off and the issue must be corrected by an engineer. Every minute that the machine is off reduces the overall output of your company.

 

Misaligned Tubes

Average forming sets that are fabricated poorly will feature belt flats on the tube that are not an equal distance away from the centreline of the belts. One belt will apply less pressure, which results in uneven tension and it will wear out faster than usual. As such, the belts will have to be replaced more often than they would be with a custom forming set – another hidden cost which will add up over time.

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An example of tube misalignment.

 

Problems With Back Seals

Misaligned tubes and shoulders can compromise the quality of the back-seal on the bag, which leads to waste of material. The film may wander off to one side, which will cause the material to ripple while it is being passed through the machine. This can cause the back-seal to expose graphics that are meant to be hidden or hide graphics that are meant to be shown. In some cases, the back seal will come apart. Both food products and packaging material are wasted, which presents a significant dent in the bottom line of food producers.

At KENRAY, we have seen many customers buy average forming sets to save hundreds of pounds in the short term. Unfortunately, over time the equipment presents shortcomings that cost thousands to correct. Our bespoke forming sets prevent these issues from occurring, helping you to increase your production and output.

For more information, view our Forming Set Solutions page or give us a call at +44 (0)1530 400 100. You can also read our full white paper on the Hidden Costs of Average Forming Sets.

Defra to Fund Study on Flexible Packaging

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced its plans to fund a study that will endeavour to improve the recycling and remanufacturing of flexible packaging. The findings could potentially have a significant impact on the packaging of snack products with bespoke forming sets.

The study will take a close look at flexible packaging that contains aluminium, such as pet food containers, toothpaste tubes and snack pouches. Defra estimates that the UK marketplace uses 160 000 metric tons of flexible laminate packaging every year. As such, it is important for food manufacturers and OEMs to become aware of the recycling opportunities for this this type of material.

Several large UK food manufacturers will take part in the study. Nestle UK & Ireland, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Tesco UK will research, develop and test new methods of recovering and treating the materials used in flexible packaging. They will also endeavour to increase the recycling and collection of flexible packaging across England.

Should the trials prove successful, there is the possibility that new viable collection and recycling schemes will be implemented. This could lead to a significant reduction in carbon emissions, ultimately benefitting the environment in more ways than one.

Due to the nature of new materials used in flexible packaging, film control and former accuracy is paramount. Flexible packaging has the potential to pose a challenge to food manufacturers, and it is important to work with packaging experts that can develop custom forming sets to address these issues.

KENRAY has 30 years of experience in helping food manufacturers package their products using a wide range of materials. For more information, visit our Snack Food Formers page or call us at: (0)1530 400 100.

Packaging: 20 Years of Change

Packaging began simply as a way to protect food, keeping it fresh and clean until it was eaten. But it was not long before it acquired a range of other purposes such as branding, sales, and usability.

With all these areas invested in packaging, it is no surprise that companies are constantly growing and developing the ways they package their food. As a result, there have been huge changes in the industry over the past 20 years.

 

Going Green

Related to wastage, environmental concerns have also had a huge impact on the packaging industry. As well as being a factor driving the reduction of material wastage, environmental issues have affected the type of material used. Far greater quantities of food now use packaging which is recyclable or has already been recycled. These factors have also left their mark in the field of design and labelling. Most food packaging now includes advice on how the materials can be disposed of in the most environmentally-friendly way and whether the packaging is recycled. Brands that wish to show their environmental responsibility to their customers may also mention the fact their packaging is recycled clearly and visibly on the label.

 

Calorie Counting

Perhaps one of the most significant and noticeable changes in packaging over the last 20 years has been the inclusion of nutritional information. Concerns over public health and new legislation have led the inclusion of this data to be near-universally applied to food packaging. It has also become part of the selling process. Healthier foods, or brands that wish to convey a helpful and health-conscious image, put essential facts about a product’s nutrition in prominent places on the front of the pack.

 

Standing Out From The Crowd

Companies are keen to make their packaging stand out on the shelf, as well as ensuring it looks modern and impresses the customer. As a result, the field of packaging design has seen huge advancements.

New technologies have allowed labels to become more colourful and complex. A range of new shapes have also been developed, either for practical reasons or to look modern and unique. A range of forming shoulders are now widely available to help produce shapes that were unheard of 20 or even 10 years ago.

 

Reducing Material Wastage

Through the later part of the twentieth century, a number of studies in different countries were coming up with disturbing wastage figures. Not only were packaging materials being wasted in the manufacturing process, but inadequate packaging was leading to the wastage of large percentages of products. In Russia, for example, more than half of fresh fruit and up to 70% of potatoes were wasted for this reason. More reliable manufacturing processes, through the use of modern formers and more advanced equipment, have slashed these figures.

Two Decades of Change in the Packaging Industry

Since its humble beginnings as a simple means to protect food and keep it fresh, packaging has developed and changed to play a much more important role in many ways. For example, it now offers a whole host of other purposes including branding and usability instructions, and exciting designs to increase sales.

Companies tirelessly review and renew their packaging, investing large amounts of capital into the process and developing the way that products are packaged. This has seen large scale change in the packaging industry over the last couple of decades.

 

Packaging Design

Perhaps one of the most important considerations of modern day packaging is the design. It is imperative for companies to be able to provide a product that is packaged in a well designed way that is impressive to the customer. This necessity has facilitated the advancement of packaging technologies.

In addition to allowing more colourful and complex designs to become more easily viable, packaging technological advances have also allowed for unique and modern shapes to be easily made. Forming shoulders are able to assist with creating intriguingly shaped packaging that was simply unavailable from 10 to 20 years ago.

 

Wastage

Towards the end of the 20th century, studies and surveys across the globe found troubling and concerning wastage figures that saw packaging materials being wasted during the manufacturing stage, and also that poor quality packaging was leading to product wastage. This was of particular concern in Russia, where 70% of potatoes and over half of all fresh fruit was being wasted because of this reason. Modern manufacturing processes including the use of advanced equipment such as formers and forming tubes has resulted in even less wastage.

 

Environmental Considerations

Closely linked to wastage, the packaging industry has also been affected by environmental concerns. Not only does this fuel the desire to keep wastage at a minimum, it also has led to further considerations such as materials used. As a result, many foods now come in recyclable packaging, or packaging which is made from already recycled materials. This in turn has had an effect on packaging design, as most products now come with clear instructions on how the materials can be disposed of or recycled in the most ethical and environmentally friendly manner.

For some brands, their dedication to the environment is a key part of their sales pitch, and so the fact that they use recycled and recyclable materials in their packaging may become an integral part of its design.

 

Health and Nutrition Information

Another key change to packaging over the past 20 years has been the nutritional information that is present on food products. Public health concerns and new legal requirements have led to the inclusion of such information on packaging. As a result, not only does this conform to legislation, it again also becomes part of a brand’s market placement; many companies focus their strategy on promoting their message of selling healthy products, and so may include this information in a prominent place on the packaging. Health conscious buyers and customers are also attracted to this, so many companies highlight their health and nutrition information to attract more sales.

Colegate Calls for Recyclable Packaging

Colegate-Palmolive has recently announced new commitments to recyclable packaging. In particular, the company has spoken out against the increasing adoption of non-recyclable flexible packaging.

More and more products are now being sold in flexible, non-recyclable plastic packets. Raisins were once commonly packaged in little cardboard boxes, but now they use flexible packaging. Likewise, drinks traditionally come in bottles, which are usually made of glass or PET, or else in aluminium cans. All of these can be economically recycled. But now, some products such as Capri Sun, which is immensely popular with children around the world, come in flexible packaging that is difficult or impossible to recycle. All in all, 2012 saw sales of products in such flexible packaging reach levels of over US$26 billion in the US alone.

So what has made companies invest in the formers, forming tubes and other packaging machine accessories necessary to completely change their packaging to a non-recyclable option?

Cost, of course, could be one factor. Flexible packaging is often cheaper to produce, offsetting that initial investment in new forming sets and packaging machine accessories. Nonetheless, it is surprising in these days of environmental awareness and increasing corporate responsibility to see such a large shift away from recyclable materials.

However, some companies may have made the change with genuinely good eco-intentions. In the short term, manufacturing this packaging generates lower levels of emissions and uses less material. However, while this makes sense in the short-term, the fact that these products cannot be easily recycled offsets the initial advantages. There are few disposal options available except for incineration or landfill, and then the manufacturing process for new packaging begins again from scratch.

Indeed, misguided views on the eco credentials of flexible packaging are making their way to the very heart of the packaging industry. In a recent interview, green design advisor and sustainability architect William McDonough said “I see packaging awards being given to these pouches as more efficient containers of, say, a cereal.” He then pointed out that this product, traditionally placed in an easily-recycled cardboard box, is now “wrapped in seven plastics with undefined inks and metallized polymers. It doesn’t have a recycling symbol on it because you could never recycle it… And yet it’s being put forward as a more efficient package.”

Now Colegate have taken their stance against this non-recyclable packaging, they seem to mean business. For three out of four product categories in the company’s portfolio, they have committed to making all packaging recyclable by 2020. For their remaining product category, oral care, they are working on development of a recyclable toothpaste tube, or a new kind of recyclable packaging to serve the same purpose, so that the remaining products can follow suit.

The Debate over Recyclable Packaging

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More and more companies are making the shift towards packaging their products with recyclable materials. While it is certainly a more environmentally-responsible approach, many companies continue to use non-recyclable packaging. So, why haven’t all companies made the switch yet?

Even though we are seeing plenty of companies using forming sets to package products in recyclable materials, there has also been an increase in the number of products that are being packaged in flexible, non-recyclable materials. A prime example of this is Capri Sun, the popular kids’ drink packaged in materials that are virtually impossible to recycle.

Cost is the major factor behind the use of flexible packaging, since it is often cheaper to produce due to the materials required. There are also some short-term ecological benefits, as this type of packaging generates fewer emissions and uses less material overall.

However, on a long-term scale, recyclable packaging is more beneficial. Flexible, non-recyclable packaging may be cheaper for manufacturers to produce and more convenient for consumers to use, but it is a major drawback that the material cannot be recycled. This type of packaging can only be disposed of in an incinerator or landfill.

One company that has taken up the cause is Colgate, as the company has taken a stand against non-recyclable packaging. For three of four of their product categories, the company will make all of its packaging recyclable by the year 2020. Oral care is the remaining category, and Colgate aims to develop a new recyclable toothpaste tube in coming years.

When making the switch to recyclable materials, brands may require different forming sets to ensure the efficiency of the packaging process. At Kenray, we work with our customers to understand the different issues relevant to your food processing needs, such as recyclable packaging, product flow, bag quality and sealing issues – as well as temperature, material and volume requirements. As such, we can advise you on the ideal type of forming set or even build bespoke formers to suit your packaging needs.

KENRAY can help you find the ideal forming set for your recyclable packaging. For more information, visit our Forming Sets page or call us at: +44 (0)1530 400 100.

Decades of Development in the Packaging Industry

With over 30 years of experience in the food packaging industry, KENRAY has seen many changes and developments to the way that food is packaged. While it originally started out as a way to protect food and keep it fresh, packaging has developed to serve a number of other purposes, including branding, environmental-sustainability and reducing food or material wastage.

 

Food Packaging Design

One of the most crucial aspects of food packaging today is design. Companies aim to ensure that their packaging is designed in a way that captivates and impresses customers. As such, there has been an increased need for advancement in food packaging technology.

If manufacturers want to sell their products in interesting ways, they require vibrant colours and designs. New technological advancements make colourful packaging more viable and allow for unique shapes to be made. Forming sets and shoulders help to create this type of packaging, which simply would not have been seen on grocery store shelves twenty years ago.

 

Wastage

In the past, studies showed that an alarming amount of food packaging material was being wasted both during and after the manufacturing process. Today, innovative sealing jaws help reduce leakage, which keeps food fresh and prevents wastage. They also run on a low temperature to save energy and production costs.

To further reduce waste, more and more refrigerated products are being sold with re-sealable packaging. Subdivided packages also help in this respect, as they allow you to use some of the product now and save the rest for later without opening the package.

 

Environmental Concerns

In the packaging industry, we are also seeing a shift towards sustainability. Manufacturers want to keep food and material wastage to a minimum, so many foods are packaged in materials that have been recycled or can be recycled in the future.

In turn, this has had an effect on the physical design of packaging, as products are printed with clear instructions about disposing the material in environmentally-responsible manner. Many brands even use their sustainable packaging as a selling point.

 

Nutritional Information

Over the course of the past few decades, we have also seen the addition of nutritional information to food packaging. New health regulations have led manufacturers to include information about calories, protein, fat, sugars and carbohydrates on their products. This has also become a part of the marketing strategy for many companies, as their packaging helps them promote their commitment to providing healthy foods to customers.

For more information on how KENRAY’s innovative technology can benefit your products, visit our Packaging Solutions page or contact us.

Choose the right forming set to reduce packaging costs

One of the major considerations faced by packaging businesses is the selection of an appropriate forming set. Ensuring that you choose the correct forming set is of paramount importance to the running costs of your business. It’s not just the initial price that defines the cost-effectiveness; after all, it becomes an essential part of the packaging process, and using appropriate forming tubes and forming sets that are of high quality can ensure your business isn’t wasting money.
Less material wastage

Nobody likes to lose money through production faults, so using the correct forming shoulders is vital. This ensures that packaging materials are used more efficiently, and as a result means that fewer materials are wasted. Less waste means less time and money is lost to a final product that is unusable, and also means that precious time is not spent producing a flawed product.
Fewer blockages

Another common drain on time resources in the packaging industry is caused by blockages in forming tubes and collars. Many product types are prone to these blockages, which has a negative effect by slowing the production process and rendering the machine useless until the blockage is cleared.

Using higher quality, purpose-built forming tubes, which offer intricate designs to reduce the severity and frequency of blockages, can be a beneficial way to minimise this kind of setback. These tubes will be designed with wider inlets to reduce the chances of a blockage, along with unique shaping of the tube. This helps by allowing the machine to do its job; producing the profitable products.

Despite this, it is not always necessary to buy purpose-built forming tubes that prevent blockages. While some are prone to blockage, there are some product types that do not commonly suffer such fate.
Optional features

High quality forming sets are often tailored to suit the particular needs of a company, with many suppliers offering a host of optional features to increase efficiency and functionality. This can allow your company to increase the volume of output. Such features are intended to provide a balance between cost and the running of the business, which improves the optimum outlay level and maximises business profits.
Longer lifespan

It is an inevitable circumstance that forming collars and tubes will fall victim to wear and tear as time passes, and will eventually need replacing. Using higher quality forming sets, which are much more tough and durable, means that they will need to be replaced much less often than cheaper and more flimsy alternatives. In the long run, this means that although the initial outlay may be higher, money will be saved by the infrequency at which the tubes need to be replaced.

In summary, the selection of the right forming set is a vital factor in the running cost of a packaging business. While higher quality sets may be more expensive initially, their lower repair and maintenance outlay over time makes them much more cost-effective than basic sets. Additionally, a high quality forming set and collars allow your business to maximise productivity and consequently increase profits.