Last week, the biggest change in healthcare since the implementation of Medicare in the 50s took place. The bill will affect every American in some way, and not just when it comes to doctor visits. One provision of the bill requires restaurant chains of 20 or more locations and vending machine manufacturers with 20 or more machines to display the number of calories for each item on the menu. This will prove to be a definite challenge in the restaurant industry, especially to fast food chains who largely serve unhealthy items. The new information will be added to every menu, kiosk and food container, or else the business will be forced to pay a hefty fine. Many restaurants may opt for new labels on their food packaging, and will be required to redesign every single label to include new nutritional information. While the food industry considers this bad news, label manufacturers are reaping the benefits.
If there is only one thing I truly despise about shopping, besides spending too much money-it is vacuum formed plastic packaging. When I say they’re hard to open, that is a gross understatement. Try scissors, a kitchen knife, whatever. The packaging that encapsulates almost every small product these days is not opening without a fight. In fact, since 2004, about 25,000 consumers have been injured and 6.5 thousand per year end up in the emergency room because of clamshells. The average time to open them is well over 5 minutes, and it’s no walk in the park. There’s even a widely used term to describe the madness and frustration caused by trying to open plastic packaging-wrap rage. So I bet you’re wondering-why on earth do manufacturers make it so difficult to pry open their products? Why is it such a nightmare?
Toilet paper may be the most dispensable item in your home, as well as the most essential. I pity the poor bathroom user who’s run out at a bad time. You might be surprised to know that toilet paper, the kind we use today, is a rather recent invention. Before the mid 1800s, people used sponges, wool, silk and lace. I should clarify-only the French royalty used silk and lace, not everyday people. Commoners and farmers had the pleasure of employing leaves, corn husks, catalog paper and newspaper for the job. Then one day an American inventor thought of therapeutic paper, as he put it, and forever changed using the bathroom. At first, this paper was stacked into pre-cut strips, which was certainly better than using other course and rough materials, but was still somewhat unsanitary. It wasn’t until 1890 until bathroom tissue was manufactured on a user-friendly roll.
To be sure, outsourcing is not always the best option. The US manufacturing industry’s obsession with outsourcing over the last several decades has led to some major economic problems here at home, although it was very profitable to the companies shipping their manufacturing overseas at the time. Nevertheless, manufacturers and service providers specialize for a reason, and companies can often benefit by relying someone else’s expertise to perform certain processes. Your company may be the absolute best when it comes to manufacturing urethane casters, but affordably fitting those casters on a shelf in a space-efficient, attractive, easy-to-open package is probably not your strongest suit – unless you’re a contract packaging provider. While contract packaging certainly isn’t for everyone (environmental test chamber manufacturers, we’re looking at you), it can provide huge benefits for manufacturers tied to consumer industries. Here are a few benefits other manufacturers have found:
Environmentalists have raised concerns over the short lifespan of wooden pallets, noting that wood is perhaps TOO convenient for manufacturers and distributors to use, as many wooden pallets only make 5 trips before being reprocessed, recycled or, most commonly, tossed in a landfill. Manufacturers and distributors can afford wooden pallets’ short lifespan because the material is so inexpensive. Enter plastic pallets. Costing several times as much per unit as wooden pallets, plastic pallets offer several advantages over their organic counterparts, including longer lifespan, sanitation and recyclability. Let’s take a comparative look at wooden and plastic pallets’ performance.
Vacuum forming is a simpler process than injection molding, involving less equipment for the production of parts and requiring less tooling. Vacuum forming companies offer services that are economical yet still give customers the desired design flexibility for a wide range of plastic products because of low-cost tooling modifications. If you are looking for a cost-effective process for creating three-dimensional plastic products with sharp, precise details plus the option for trim and other visually appealing decoration, vacuum forming might just be the ticket. Known as a thermoforming process because it utilizes heat to make the plastic sheet or film pliable enough to form over and around a mold, vacuum forming serves industries such as food, cosmetics, medical, electronics, consumer products, toys, athletic equipment, appliance, automotive, office supplies, etc. The packaging industry deserves a separate mention because it relies heavily on vacuum formed items such as blister packs, inserts, trays and clamshells, all of which act to hold products in place as part of overall packaging protection, plus offer aesthetic appeal.
This paper attempts to identify some of the specifics of the process used to obtain approval for use of plastic pallets as equivalent to wood pallets for use in warehouse storage. This paper is written to look at the issue in general and is not intended to cover all storage situations. Your specific situation should be evaluated by a fire protection specialist. Most plastic pallets are molded out of polyolefin materials such as high density polyethylene or polypropylene. These materials are more flammable than the wood used to make pallets. Over the years the industry has argued with the fire protection establishment that plastic pallets, while they burn hotter than wood, are much more difficult to ignite. Fire protection people counter with the fact that most warehouse fires are arson and if an arsonist wants to start a fire they will do what ever they need to do to get a fire started.
Why Palletize Using an Automatic Palletizer? There are several reasons for choosing to palletize your packaging line automatically. First, palletizers stack a better quality load. Product damage during shipment or within AS/RS Systems (Automatic Storage & Retrieval System) caused by irregular loads is now part of the payback analysis to justify a palletizer. Second, it becomes more challenging to keep people in a low wage, low prestige positions such as manual palletizing…
Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and it appears that more and more manufacturers are viewing sustainable packaging as a necessity (as they should). This has lead to a recent slew of compostable, biodegradable and low-emission innovations across the manufacturing spectrum, and that trend is being picked up by leaders in the packaging industry…
A lot of people have a tendency to think of their packaging products as commodities. Sure, things like packaging peanuts, bubble, Polyethylene wrapping foam and corrugated cartons might sound like commodity products, but have you really looked at the purpose and value of your packaging requirements?
Plastic bags, also called ‘poly bags,’ are one of those modern conveniences we take for granted. But 60 years ago, no one ever considered the question, ‘Paper or plastic?’ Back then, people also managed to get by without Ziploc® bags or dry cleaner bags. This was because the technology for creating polyethylene film didn’t emerge until the 1940s during World War II. And the methods to create plastic bags from polyethylene film weren’t developed until the 1950s. The most common way to produce poly bags is by blown film extrusion, also called the ‘tubular film process.’ In a moment, you’ll see how it got this name. Plastic bags are made from polyethylene. During processing, the polyethylene might be treated with any number of additives, such as…