Innovation: It's in the Bag
Flexible Packaging sat down with Rod Drummond of the Hudson-Sharp Machine Co. to get his thoughts on the bag- and pouch-making segment and how his company fits into that market
Q:What materials used in bag or pouch making cause specific difficulties? How are those challenges met?
A: Film or laminates are constantly changing and machine designs must address this. In addition, bags and pouches in different parts of the world are made from different materials. We address this through our application focus which starts the moment a customer expresses a need. Most recently our facility worked exclusively with Exxon to help develop a new film. Hudson-Sharp also partnered with EarthFirst and ran their PLA bio-degradable film on a wicketer with stacking automation.
In terms of difficulties, the best thing a bag or pouch maker can do it help production is to provide a consistent quality of film or laminate to the machine.
Q: Is there an untapped area of bag or pouch making?
A: We see converters trying to differentiate themselves with unique products. These converters often partner with Hudson-Sharp. We have the unique advantage of a global engineering staff to share knowledge and develop new, innovative equipment that can produce unique bags or pouches. The solutions we provide in these situations are often custom and this is a strong niche for Hudson-Sharp.
Q: What are most popular or fastest-growing types of bags or pouches on the market today, and what makes them so popular?
A: We continue to see a conversion of paper to plastic. An example is single-web, large-format pouches such as those found in pet food, lawn/garden applications or other bulk products. This is often in combination with reclosable features such as zippers where Hudson-Sharp has extensive experience and intellectual property.
In bags, we see interest in self-sealing valve-type bags where the bags can be filled rapidly and no post-sealing application is required. We provide equipment to produce these bags.
Q:What are the newest and most significant advancements in bag-making and pouch-making technology?
A: Customers now rely more on equipment manufactures including Hudson-Sharp to provide custom solutions to niche converting. Our customers want “value-added” bags and pouches. Hudson-Sharp provides strong application knowledge and a broad product portfolio to respond to these needs. In addition, advancements in technology continue to play an important role in improving our customers’ experience with our equipment.
Some examples are: automatic one-hole detection on wicketers, sensors to aid in quick change-over or setup and automatic seal-bar cleaning. These advancements provide high quality output, less operator intervention, and higher production speeds.
Q:What breakthroughs or advancements lie in the near future for the bag-making and pouch-making industry?
A:We believe it will be a continuation of more automation, higher production speeds and machine features to further address low lot sizes, flexibility, and quick change-over. In pre-made pouch making we have addressed this with innovations that allow significantly different pouch styles and sizes to be made on one machine. This gives converters the flexibility they want. However, there is more to come from these types of developments. New technology will continue to provide benefits for converters.
Q:How is Hudson-Sharp’s equipment and services different, unique, and/or better than others in the industry?
A:On the equipment side, Hudson-Sharp is known for making reliable machines that have high productivity rates and make high-quality bags or pouches. We do this by building robust machines and we focus on the customer’s specific application and expectations. It is not at all uncommon to find 20-year-old Hudson-Sharp machines still in production. And, our machines bring a premium price on the used market when you can find them. On the service side, customer support and satisfaction is a priority. We have spare parts and field service where customers need it throughout the world and customer satisfaction is ingrained in our culture.
Hudson-Sharp Machine Co.