May 2015 Roundtable on Bag/Pouch Making
Vice President of Marketing and Sales
20 years with the company
Senior Sales Manager
5 years with the company
+39 0331 305570
Vice President and Customer Service Manager
Over 10 years with the company
PPC Technologies & Solutions LLC
11 years with the company
27 years with the company
6 years with the company
General Manager of Sales, Marketing & Customer Support
Mamata Enterprises Inc.
15 years with the company
Q: Has your company developed any new bag/pouch-making machinery or made any upgrades to previous models? If so, please elaborate.
Lewis: Our focus is on the advancement of converting technology, so we make it our mission to develop new, relevant market offerings on a regular basis. As the leaders in drawtape bag-converting technology, we continually advance sealing and web-control technology.
For example, we have added print-to-seal registration and the integration of embossers for embossed bag products. We also advance programming and operational features to simplify
Along with two new pouch-converting systems in 2014 (the 760-PPS for protective packaging and mailers; and the 760-C for gusseted bags or standup pouches requiring verifiable seal quality, CMD has expanded overlap (interleaf) bag-winding technology, rotary bag sealing and the integration of packaging automation. At NPE 2015, we exhibited a robotic automation system, which will be fed by two separate bag lines. The system identified, sorted and confirmed roll uniformity for three different bag-on-a-roll products: drawtape, wave top and straight-top bags.
Dacò: We are always focused to improve our machines’ performances and to meet new customers’ needs. The latest upgrade for our SA-V model was made to produce a wide range of pouch types with an easy changeover system, as the machine flexibility is now the main goal for any customer.
Ziles: Totani has made significant enhancements to our pouch machinery with an emphasis on helping improve machine setup and operation. Improved devices, including a digital edge position control and HMI touch screen, shorten the setup time and allow for more process conditions to be recorded and recalled immediately. Totani’s cutter control system is now fully integrated into the primary touch panel and this allows for a 20 percent increase (max 240 cycles per minute) in output for high-speed single cut with a round corner punch.
Totani continues to expand the data collection system option, allowing the customer easier access to machine data, with the additional benefit of full integration of third party software data management.
McDonald: Compared to our older, more mechanically-based HCI pouch machine models, our newer machine designs include more sophisticated programmable logic controllers (PLC's), as well as precision servo drive technologies for sealing bar dwell times and web motion control. These upgrades and redesigns have made our current offering of HCI pouch-making machines significantly easier to setup, operate and very repeatable, thus reducing startup waste, make ready times and increasing productivity.
Anderson: There are many developments going on at Hudson-Sharp Machine Co. We have added to our standup pouch machine platform in ways that bring simplicity and flexibility to the machine. Changeover time has been repeatedly stressed by our customers as being more important as the market expands/fragments creating a demand for short runs of JIT deliveries. Toward that end we have focused on making our SUP job change time shorter by reducing the need for tools and computer assistance to guide the user through the process.
Additionally, we are now offering machinery to make flexible bottles known as PackXpert, a Dow trademark. There are two models, one that makes the bottle with the spout all in one process and one that makes just the bottle with the spout to be added at the filling process.
Russell: Tailored solutions to customized pouching lines and attachments is what Modern is all about. As new uses for pouches continue to emerge in the market, Modern’s place holder has been to offer these tailor-fitted solutions to our customers. With so many offshore, cookie-cutter pouch machines, the focus of what the pouch market is really about gets lost, which is the value added configurations that our customers so desperately need to maintain profitability and retain market share. Modern offers complete fitted lines, or simple additions to existing pouching lines to almost any pouch application. We have thrived on upgrading existing pouching lines no matter who the original manufacturer was, by offering controls upgrades, hole cutting solutions, fitment options, and film forming solutions, just to name a few. This brings new life to our customers’ existing pouch making lines. With our latest multi-format pouch-making line, we have been able to offer very versatile pouching at high speeds with a value that is second to none. With the introduction of our inline liquid pouching capabilities, it has opened up several avenues of advancement for our customers, to become technical leaders in the pouching market.
Amin: Mamata delivered its first flat-bottom pouch machine this year. The machine is coming to North America and will be up and running by mid-May. With production speeds of up to 150 pouches per minute, this machine has a compact footprint compared to what is available and a much shorter film path. This allows customers to set up the machine faster and also reduces setup waste. It comes with option of running 1- or 2-lane, and all panels print registration.
Q: Are there any new trends/developments you see emerging in the bag/pouch-making sector?
Dacò: Customers are always looking for flexible machines capable to produce a wide range of pouches with a short and easy changeover time, so machines need to follow this need.
Lewis: The converters we talk to are asking for machinery that is designed to improve process control. In today’s competitive bag and pouch market, it is no longer sufficient to just “make a bag or pouch.” Quality standards, like those identified in ISO 14000, are increasingly expected by brand owners, particularly in exacting food and medical applications. CMD’s intelligent sealing technology is available on all pouch-converting systems. With the costs involved in producing a pouch for medical or food applications, particularly with the expensive films and substrates, verifying the quality of the pouch and correcting for any out-of-spec variables means less wasted product, less unplanned downtime and better overall efficiency. We also consider the user experience with CMD machinery, so we work to build in operational simplicity – from programming and quick-change mechanical features. Examples are the quick-change dies on our pouch systems which reduce downtime, and our CMD 864 global bag machine and winder features icon-based touch screen operation to transcend language differences.
Amin: Spouted pouches for liquid and re-fill packaging are emerging nowadays. Mamata has already developed the off-line spout-inserting and sealing equipment, and demonstrated it at the recent Plastindia 2015 show in India. We are now working towards making it a perfect fit for the global market and should be offering this soon to the global converting industry.
Russell: We are certainly seeing growth in the liquid-pouching applications finally, to take flight. As we all have seen, these types of products emerged over the last few years, but were stagnate due to manufacturing technologies that were available. Modern has provided several solutions to this by bringing about some visionary products, on the low end volumes with our manual fitment sealers; and by being able to solve some of fitment needs in line with premade pouching, giving the direct advantage of productivity with a single operation.
Ziles: The sustainability trend continues to grow with customers wanting to address a recyclable solution. In addition, manufacturers want to recycle and reclaim scrap material throughout the bag converting process. Companies are looking at polypropylene and co-extrusions as compared to a laminated polyester polyethylene structure. The primary drivers include film cost reductions and film structure improvements that lead to a solution that is less of a premium cost as compared to a PET/PE lamination. The challenge continues to be manufacturing and pouch converting to improve throughput and reduce scrap percentage levels on a more extensible material.
Additional trends include spouted pouches, which are growing in popularity led primarily with baby food and applesauce with recent trends into the yogurt market. Customers are also looking for alternative reclosable features to the standard flanged or string style zipper, including hook-to-hook or hook-to-loop. Child-resistant reclosable features will likely grow in popularity and become more prevalent in niche markets.
Q: What has been your most popular machine amongst customers as of late?
McDonald: Standup zipper pouch machines continue to lead demand, with increasing activity in quad- and center-seal machine applications. Market share for standup pouches, versus other types of packaging, is still growing, as well as is the demand for additional USA-based pouch manufacturing. We will continue to see an increase in USA-based standup pouch manufacturing and machinery investments as demand is greater than current capacity.
Anderson: Hudson-Sharp provides machine solutions for a wide variety of converting processes involving singular and laminated structures. As of late we have seen increased demand in pouch, poly and reclosability-related equipment machinery. We continue to offer the market solutions that address specific needs such as changeover time or to make unique pouches, e.g., bottom fold and glue (BFG) pouches for the large-format market. In addition, we continue to see growth in our Inno-Lok based product family with applications such as Pour & Lok and EZ-Stand.
Russell: It has certainly been our multi-format machines that have gained popularity. With being able to form several configured pouches from a single web, we have been able to give our customers a lot of versatility for their markets. Modern has introduced this multi-format line that produces standup pouches one-up, and two-up formed from a single web, while also giving our customers the ability to make side-gusseted side-seam, or even optional back-seam or lap-seam pouches from a single line.
Amin: Mamata offers machines to the entire converting industry, be it a simple side-weld bag maker to the most complex flat-bottom pouch machine. However, one machine that has always been popular from Mamata is its flat-bed universal bag machine. This machine offers customer capability to make conventional side-seal, bottom-seal or twin-seal poly bags. At the same time, the modular design of this machine
also allows customers to make unsupported co-ex poly pouches be it a two-side-seal, zipper or even gusseted. It also allows our customers to make side-gusseted poly bags with one edge seals or bag seam seals from co-ex films.
Lewis: Drawtape bags are growing in popularity internationally, so the CMD 1270GDS global drawtape system is installed in more countries than ever. Pouch-converting systems are in demand due to an increase in pouch packaging. We also see increased interest in packaging automation, to reduce labor costs and enhance plant efficiency.
More than machinery, we find that the support we offer is what brings more converters our way. We strive to partner with them, and support them above and beyond what is standard in the industry.
Dacò: Our SA-V model, with 20 machines sold last year, is our actual best seller.
Ziles: Our 1-web SUP machine, model CT-60, is our most economical machine and our biggest seller. It is a very reliable, simple, but extremely well-built machine that can make pouches at a maximum of 240 cycles per minute. The pouch-making speed is dependent upon material and thickness.
Q: What’s missing from this sector? What would you like to see improve?
Russell: Training and education is the key to efficient pouch making, and has been a nonexistent in this market place. Modern is putting together a formalized training program for our customers to be available late this year that will encompass not only hands-on training, but the added theoretical classroom training that has not previously existed. With the training trials we have put in place, we have seen customers reduce pouch setup times by up to 75 percent and cut scrap rates down to under 3 percent with educating their workforce and applying the many added features provided on the Modern pouching lines.
Amin: If I remember correctly, we did mention three years back that although all the converting machinery companies (including us) are coming out with high-speed machines to make pre-made bag / pouches, what we are lacking is a high-speed filling solution. Today, if we see the world of rigid packaging, there are bottling lines that can pack fill, cap the bottles at rates of up to 800 bottles per minute or even faster. If we take examples of cans, there are filling lines that would fill the cans at rate of 1200 cans per minute. Compared to that, though flexible packaging saves a ton on materials – and even space – has better visibility and print quality, what is lacking is high-speed filling lines. Today we don’t find preform pouch-filling lines available in market that would fill pouches even at 60-70 pouches per minute.
Q: What is your opinion of the flexible packaging industry overall?
Dacò: The market is growing fast as more and more products are moving from rigid to flexible packaging every day. For sure this trend will continue in the next years with new challenges for pouch-making machine makers, as new styles of pouches will come out.
Amin: It is a very promising, growth-oriented industry that is poised to change the course of packaging, be it pre-made pouches / bags or form-fill-seal industry.
Russell: There is much room for growth in this market place and the applications are endless. The only thing to hold it back is the lack of imagination and the failure to commit to the growth potential. As new films and equipment technologies evolve, so does the application for pouches. We see nothing but strong, stable market expansions over the next decade.
McDonald: The flexible packaging industry is in a very healthy state with continued significant capital investments in all equipment categories that include purchases from small- to large-size converters and major corporations. Flexible packaging continues to innovate with new technologies, products and packaging choices that offer new alternatives.
Anderson: The flexible packaging industry is filled with a delightfully broad spectrum of people who are innovative, entrepreneurial, environmentally focused and just plain fun. Packaging is a rapidly evolving industry that is driven by our day-to-day needs as consumers, for common goods. Clearly we all understand that what is in the package is influenced by the appearance of the package. As a machinery builder we recognize the rapid change that persists in packaging and are committed to being the innovative supplier for our customers serving this exciting market.
Ziles: It is strong. It is competitive. It is growing. The flexible packaging market, especially pre-made pouches, is very strong compared to non-flexible packaging segments. We continue to see growth in both North and South America with the USA market leading the way. The Latin American market is very strong in flexibles, as well.