Since World War II, Newark, New York-based Maco PKG has maintained a healthy business relationship with the military by creating packages that meet military specifications (Mil-Spec) and support the war effort.
“We have long standing opportunities with various military applications and are contacted regularly by both contractors of military spec packaging and the U.S. military themselves,” says Tom Seymour, Maco’s account executive.
Because the primary use for military packaging can vary greatly, The Department of Defense provides detailed Mil-Specs so that the packaging adheres to predetermined purposes. As a diversified manufacturer, Maco manufactures a variety of Mil-Spec flexible packaging products.
“We service the military’s packaging needs in many forms, including pouches, military bags, shrouds, roll-stock and custom packaging,” Seymour says. “We (also) manufacture one of the most unique products for service men and women: the M295 decontamination mitt.”
Soldiers are issued these multilayer mitts, which consist of decontaminated powder contained within a pad material and polyethylene film backing, as a measure of protection in case they are exposed to chemical agents. The mitts allow soldiers to decontaminate their individual equipment by running it over the contaminated surface. This physically removes and absorbs the liquid chemical agents that may be present.
Maco’s other notable projects are gas mask pouches and burn dressing and wound care pouches. Custom packaging is also needed for tourniquet and wound treatment kits that have had a vital part in the preservation of life in an improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. Experienced with co-packing food and beverage items into pouches, Maco has also supplied Meals Ready-to-Eat (MRE), like chocolate protein shakes, to soldiers in the field.
When creating packaging, in most instances, the government doesn’t provide the end application. The customers provide the Mil-Spec, which includes the type, shape and size of packaging with the inside and outside dimensions parameters (MIL-PRF). This indicates the material needed for the pouch and the MIL-DTL, which is the standard that needs to be followed for the conversion of the materials.
Maco PKG works with certified suppliers to obtain specialized materials for its packaging such as: electrostatic discharge, foil laminates, static shielded material, kraft paper laminates and volatile corrosion inhibitors.
These materials, which are heat sealable and run through a gamut of testing, provide a specific high-barrier to moisture, oxygen, light, grease, dirt, debris and dust. Every material film also has the Mil-Spec printed on it to denote the specific material and that it meets specifications.
Recently, Maco PKG has had the opportunity to partake in a government matchmaker forum to meet buyers and prime contractors from the military and federal government agencies about becoming a supplier.
Maco PKG is also registered in the System for Awards Management (SAM), a database that the military uses to detail successful accomplishments and qualify potential vendors for military packaging. Each military packaging project uses SAM for bidding and references. The military chooses the company based on the numbers and codes, not the description.
Moving forward, the company plans to use its reputation and expertise to continue to work with the military and its partners.
“Our plans for the future, with regards to our services to U.S. military, include growing opportunities as well as maintaining the current quality products we supply,” Seymour says. “We are always striving for innovation and driving technology into an ever expanding sector of packaging.”