Scott Fuller
Product Line Mgr., Intermittent Motion; Sales Mgr., North America, Non-Medical Pouch

Fabio Dacò  
Senior Sales Mgr.
7 years with the company
+39 0331 305570

James F. Pease
Sun Centre USA
13 years with the company

Jim Russell  
Modern Manufacturing Services, LLC
8 years with the company

Shoji Tsuruta
Sales Account Mgr.
Totani America
8 years with the company

Sanjay Amin
GM-Sales, Marketing, Customer Support
Mamata Enterprises
18 years with the company

What’s new in bag/pouch making or with your company? Did you release anything new at PACK EXPO Las Vegas or last spring’s Interpack show?

Amin: At the Las Vegas show, Mamata exhibited its high-speed pre-made pouch filling line. The PFS 260 line addresses a wide variety of filling needs for co-packers and end users. It can handle a wide variety of pouches, from standup pouches to flat-bottom pouches. The main features that separate the Vegapack PFS Series from others on the market are speeds and quick changeovers. It gives approximately 30 percent higher outputs compared to the similar systems available. When it comes to changeovers, the PFS Series machines can accomplish it in just 15-20 minutes, reducing downtime and adding to productivity. The most unique feature that the PFS Series offers is when it comes to versatility. For instance, if someone were to purchase one of the lines today for the purpose of filling pre-made pouches and eventually wanted to get into the business of converting the equipment to run rollstock, it’s feasible with the PFS Series. With conversion from a pre-made pouch filling system to a rollstock, it saves the customer a significant amount of money and also it increases outputs.

Dacò: At the last Interpack, we introduced our SA-V model, designed to run Doypack on four lanes and capable of reaching a max output of 1,000 pouches per minute. This configuration will allow customers to run at very high speeds with non-stop roll changing in order to reduce changeover times and increase machine production ratio.

Pease: We were excited about all the interest in our new front and back registration standup pouch machine we displayed at PACK EXPO Las Vegas. This machine, with the REDI-PAC thermal lamination module from CDA, will allow virtually anyone with an HP digital press to enter into the standup pouch market. This innovation will allow for less process scrap and the fastest turnaround times from print to finished product. Digital files can be sent to vendor in the morning, printed film digitally, direct to pouch machine, to thermally laminate and pouch in the same day to ship product. This will change the short run industry and enable so many others to get into the market overnight.

Russell: In response to numerous customer requests and general market feedback, Modern Manufacturing recently added an Automated Fitment System to its auxiliary equipment lineup. We are more than pleased with the positive feedback we have received thus far and now look forward to moving ahead with several other active initiatives we have in the pipeline – many of which are a result of strategic alliances we have formed with other leaders in the flexible packaging space.

Fuller: CMD will exhibit new technology from booth #E-7918 at PACK EXPO 2018 in Chicago. A market-focused, collaborative team effort has been employed to bring an entirely new technology offering, which we are excited to unveil in 2018.

Tsuruta: Short production runs are growing in popularity as new developments in printing are introduced. These shorter runs are leading to an increase in the number of changeovers that operators must perform each shift. Totani’s new Quick-Release technology was designed to address the time wasted during these job changeovers. This new system allows for seal bars to be replaced in seconds using a patented latching technology and notched seal bar design. In addition to this, Totani developed the Digital Positioning Assist system, which alerts operators when sealing and punching units are out of alignment. Lastly, Totani America has added two new service technicians to our ever-growing team in response to increasing demand in our machinery and service. We are confident that Totani’s service and response is second to none.

The future of the pouch, by all means, appears to be incredibly favorable. What do you think is the single-most important factor behind the growth of the pouch packaging format around the world?

Tsuruta: Eco-friendly is the key. By shifting from rigid packaging, we are saving materials and logistics tremendously. We see multi-national companies striving to push packages that are more eco-friendly, and the growth has been supported by improvements in film with alternative barrier allowing the pouches to be used in various industries. However, eco-friendly pouches can be difficult to produce, and this is where we strongly believe our machines become very critical and is one of the reasons why we are considered to be the best in the world.

Russell: We couldn’t agree more with the above statement and have ramped up production measures in response. Modern has a large sampling of finished machinery ready for demonstration and immediate delivery. With this being said, we believe that the many benefits of flexible packaging are deeply resonating with the end-user. The acceptance and, more importantly, preference changes surrounding the pouch packaging format are the single-most important factor behind the current growth spike in our opinion. We expect this trend will be sustained for the foreseeable future through innovation and new product applications.

Pease: Versatility is the most important factor creating the growth in the market, as the standup pouch is a fantastic medium for promoting company shelf presence. Pouches can offer different closures, which include child-resistant features, spouts for pouring and reuse applications, and shapes for product recognition. Converters with the ability to digitally print and produce in a shorter timeframe from idea to shelf will be the next growth for the standup pouch and the ever changing impulse driven market.

Amin: There are multiple factors behind the growth of pouch packaging formats around the world. Here are few: reclosable features with zippers, lightweight and easy to transport, new structures in films also preserve the flavors and permits longer shelf life, better product visibility, etc. With co-ex structures now in use, it makes recyclability a feature, helping the environment. Mamata pouch machines offer all these capabilities, including processing laminates and co-ex film structures.

Can you talk about some of the key points of pain that bag/pouch converters experience? How do your machines help alleviate this?

Fuller: Two particular pain points – market differentiation and profitability – come up frequently in our conversations with converters. We hear that current machinery offerings fail to hit the mark on several important success factors key to long-term profit growth. In addition, converters are seeking ways to drive overall converting business growth. To do so, they need to be able to offer something different. Simply buying machines that run faster or have more features is not going to deliver the kind of sustained success these rapidly growing converters are seeking.

Dacò: Key points are changeover time and final product collection, as in both cases, the human factor is relevant. Our SA-V model has been designed with a tool-less system for die changing, which reduces the changeover time. This standard solution, combined with the automatic/independent positioning system of each accessory, will permit customers to reduce the setup time up to 20 percent. For the final pouch collection, we have different solutions according to different customer needs.

Amin: One of the key issues/pain points is processing a wide variety of film structures on the pouch machine. Mamata’s unique seal technology allows customers to use a wide variety of films and make pouches. In fact, our customers have run a straight monolayer PE film to an 8 mil PE/nylon/PE structure and have made standup pouches. We can run laminated structures as well as co-ex unsupported PE structures and make a wide variety of pouches, be it three-side seal, zipper, standup or even quad-seal pouches for pet food, fertilizers, etc.

Tsuruta: Print registration changes due to the printing and laminating process can be common and cause more scrap during the pouch making process. Totani machines have print registration systems built into them that keep optimal registration position even with print variation.

Pease: I would say in this time the greatest pain is hiring personnel. Having increased growth in the flexible packaging market, it is difficult to find good people and sometimes retain them. Our machines are very versatile and easy to run to give our customers an easier training format for new people to learn. Our Sun Centre techs all have worked in production at other companies. Our understanding what people need now is what will make them productive on our machines, and it is our focus when installing a pouch machine or any machine we sell.

Russell: The pain point we continue to hear the most is in reference to machine changeover times. Modern witnessed many converters measuring this critical down time period in hours and responded with the fastest changeovers in the industry. As more SKUs are added and order sizes become smaller, having a machine that is easy to set up will maximize production and increase the bottom line. A changeover on our Momentum series can be completed in as little as 20 minutes!

The lack of control with respect to independent dwell times is also an often overlooked pain point. Modern gives the operator complete control of every independent function of the machine to reduce or eliminate the need to vary the sealing temperatures between stations. By setting each function to use only the time it needs, the end result is improved seal quality and reduced setup time.

Optimizing production? High production speeds? All of the above? What’s the key value proposition that you believe your equipment delivers to converters?

Pease: All of the above is the correct answer. The key value to our equipment is changeover with ease of operation. Changeover time is so important in this market of 5,000-piece orders and short runs. So many customers want the 1 million-piece order, but the reality is they get the orders of 5,000-25,000 and must do several changeovers every day. The key is short setup time and low scrap, and our machines deliver on this every day.

Dacò: We are developing new solutions to help customers with final pouch collecting and packaging, as this is a critical point for most of our partners. We can supply now automated systems to pack stacks and/or place them into boxes, by reducing the human factor and increasing machine production capability. We are able to offer a suitable solution for each type/shape of pouch.

Russell: Without question, all of the above! We welcome the opportunity to leverage our newly patented technology for maximum throughput, offering up to 400 standup pouches per minute. Our custom solutions team of industry experts stands ready to collaborate on the design and build of tailored packaging equipment. The designs we offer include ample room for expansion to foster growth and new revenue streams for our customers.

For standup pouch manufacturing, we have broken our product offering down into three different models that allow the converter to choose the level of machine that best meets their production requirements and budget. This approach also provides converters with optimal performance driven around their products and volumes.

Tsuruta: Reliability. Having the confidence in the equipment to continue running at high speeds day in, day out while maintaining quality production is what is expected by converters. Delivery of this expectation is the challenge to today’s machine manufacturers. Totani continues to excel in the flexible packaging market due to our commitment of providing a reliable machine and, in the case that there is an issue, the most knowledgeable, professional and responsive tech support in the industry.

Amin: What Mamata delivers in its pouch machines is flexibility and versatility without compromising speed. Mamata offers pouch machines for each converter type, be it small, medium or large. Our machines are suitable for applications to make conventional three-side seal pouches to standup pouches to high-end flat-bottom pouches. We offer machines to make vaccum pouches, pet food pouches, produce pouches. You can either have a dedicated machine for each application or you can configure one machine for multiple applications. The most unique ability of our equipment is its ability to handle laminated structures and co-ex films with ease.

Fuller: As an equipment designer, we’ve carefully studied the interplay between our technology and the unique skillset of our customers. Our pouch systems, particularly the new technology we will unveil in 2018, will offer the tools necessary for our customers to easily and simultaneously leverage the latest technology, as well as their own knowledge, skill and experience for greater and sustained profitability in this highly competitive market.

Is there anything else you like to share about your company or bag/pouch making?

Dacò: We are constantly striving to offer customers tailor-made solutions for their needs – that’s why we don’t offer standard machines but customized equipment. This philosophy grants customers the chance to invest in something that really matches their needs. Our concept is that our machines are designed around different production requirements, and customers are satisfied with this approach.

Fuller: Only to say that the door to new opportunity is opening. Rather than talk about what our new technology will provide, we will demonstrate it, and it will be worth the wait.

Pease: This year, we’ve also introduced a multi-format flat-bottom pouch machine that runs completely unprinted films, standup pouches, terminated gusset and can also be outfitted with the Redi-Pac system to make flat-bottom pouches with the shortest lead times and most cost effective system in the market.

Russell: As production needs for pouches become more sensitive and variations of pouch configurations continue to grow, Modern is continually developing new levels of process and product to address the needs of the converter. Our next release will include a newly patented intelligent sealing system that will allow even more ranges of materials to be run, while allowing for other products, such as fitments, to pass through the machines without having to order a custom machine.

Tsuruta: Many machine manufacturers outsource part production since they do not have a parts processing department in house. Totani, on the other hand, has its own. We believe that this enables us to produce more cost efficient parts with the highest quality and precision than any of our competitors. Over the years, we have been investing in the latest machining equipment that meets our requirements. This, along with our six decades of experience, allows us to manufacture the most cost effective machines in the industry.

Amin: Mamata has introduced two new converting machines for the converting industry. With changing market needs and restrictions on plastic bag usage for grocery and day to day needs, Mamata has introduced a non-woven fabric bag making machine and has used all its experience and latest servo technology to design and make this machine the world’s fastest, capable of running up to 210 cycles per minute. Its practical output is almost 3 to 4 times higher compared to any other non-woven bag maker. We also introduced a cutting and sewing machine for the laminated PP and HDPE woven sack bag making industry. It is Mamata’s most recent introduction in the converting sector. Converting woven fabric has always been a bottleneck in the industry. Mamata has introduced the world’s fastest woven sack bag making machine for cutting and stitching back seam bags with complete automation. This takes care of large format packaging needs of pet food, grains, fertilizers, etc. These laminated woven sacks are 100 percent recyclable.