Danny Richards has made his mark in skin care that covered everything from head to the toe. But he was lacking the right product to properly address his foot … particularly his footprint.
A trip attending the 2019 PACK EXPO in Las Vegas solved that dilemma. Today, he is enjoying a successful relationship with Matrix Packaging Machinery as his INVpack MVA sachet machine is producing the packaging his brands require – all in a compact footprint.
“Our new machine is built to exactly what my needs are,” said Richards, Vice President of Absolutely Natural. “I can run 40,000 packages in a shift and take care of my customers the way we want to care for them and do so by only taking up five feet of my footprint. That is a homerun when it comes to sachet machines.”
Richards’ story begins 30 years ago when his father Charley founded Absolutely Natural (https://www.absolutely-natural.com/), a Melbourne, Florida-based premier skin care product company. The brand burst onto the scene initially selling sunscreen and tanning oils in Hawaii in the early 1990s. Major milestones, such as expanding their mail-order business, as well as engaging in private-label packaging of their skin-care formulations for high-end resorts around the world, contributed to continued growth for Absolutely Natural.
The company offers more than 300 custom formulations for face, hair, body, sun, and baby care. Absolutely Natural has become such a trusted brand that it recently sold its 30 millionth bottle of product. The company remains a family-run business with Charlie and his sons, including Danny, leading the way. Absolutely Natural occupies three buildings and warehouses totaling more than 33,000 square feet. Despite the combined space, a small footprint was a must for their new sachet machine.
During his visit to PACK EXPO, Richards said he met with several OEMs to see their sachet machines in action, but it was Matrix that won him over.
“We are 33,000 square feet and growing fast; every square foot in my warehouse has to have a purpose,” he said. “I needed something that I could trust to do the job but has the footprint where I can put it in a specific area and not take up my entire production room. This was the one machine out of the entire show that I really felt served that purpose.”
Matrix (https://www.matrixpm.com/) is the North American master distributor for INVpack, the manufacturer of the MVA sachet machine. Adding a sachet machine would help Absolutely Natural fill packaging needs that more of his customers were requesting, including a client looking to fill types of body butters. The flexibility to run different types of skin care products has opened up new revenue streams for the company.
“I’ve run body butters, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and body oils on our sachet machine,” Richards said. “The versatility of the machine is very important to me because I want to utilize it as much as I can for my customers. My customers are not looking to run 10 million units in the month. Their production runs are smaller. This machine was built for that middle-ground customer; it’s the perfect vehicle to service them properly.”
The compact INVpack MVA sachet machine forms, fills and seals four-sided flat sachets for liquids, powders, granulates and pasty products. Its design provides several customer advantages, including an unwinder system with integrated auto-alignment, splicing table, film compensator, integrated coding system (laser, inkjet, TTO), adjustable vertical cutting blades, powerful horizontal sealer, and powder fillers assembled in a mobile platform for cleaning process.
Output ranges from 70 sachets per minute for a one-lane operation to 350 per minute with five lanes. Widths range from 150 mm for a one-lane operation to 40 mm for five lanes. Lengths range from 40 mm to 160 mm.
“There’s a lot of pre-engineered things that they thought about ahead of time to where I don’t even have to manually change anything; changeovers are very easy on this machine,” Richards said. “The machine is unbelievably smart. If the sachet runs out of film, it instantly shuts off and flags what needs to be done. Making the change takes five minutes.
“With this machine, downtime is extremely limited and short in duration. Nobody likes spending money not running something, and our INVpack MVA dependably keeps us running.”
On average the machine runs a couple times a week, but Richards expects that frequency will increase as more customers add sachets to the offering. After more than two years of operation, the machine and relationship with Matrix have proven to be a winning combination for Absolutely Natural.
“This sachet machine has opened up new business segment opportunities for us that we always wanted to be in but didn’t quite have the right equipment,” Richards said. “Our relationship with Matrix and Shawn Varela, Matrix Regional Sales Manager, really helped provide the level of comfort we needed to make this purchase. I knew if I had a problem, not only would I have service behind me, but Shawn was behind me as well.
“Our sachet machine has proven to be an added value to our business portfolio.”
A video regarding the partnership between Absolutely Natural and Matrix can be seen here: VIDEO
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