If you can’t beat ’em, at least meet them half way. The flexible packaging industryhas been fighting (with much success!) rigid packaging opponents for decades. Onetactic, discussed at the 2008 Global Pouch Forum, suggests opportunities might exist inpartnering with your rigid peers. Sal Pellingra, innovation and marketing director at Ampac Flexibles, presented at the Forum. He coined the term “quasi” rigid to describe packaging that either combines a flexible component with a rigid one or refers to a flexible pack that’s designed with rigid tendencies.

Sal explained that these quasi rigid packs are in such demand because of theiradded functionality, performance and creativity, as well as for their environmental advantages. Mike Richmond, principle of Packaging & Technology Integrated Systems (PTIS), spoke a bit about these “hybrid combinations” at the Flexible Packaging Association’s annual meeting earlier this year, too. Some of the “quasi” innovations just introduced at Interpack this April were:
  • The QwikPak Soft Bottle System from Unifill in Italy (www.unifill.it).

  • The Box Pouch from Totani (www.totani.co.jp/en).

  • The AisaCan Flexible Bottle from AisaPack (www.aisacan.com).

Other growth drivers
Here are a few other noteworthy insights (of many!) from the Forum:
  • Jeff Keller, president of Reynolds Flexible Packaging, sees opportunities forflexible packaging if material manufacturers can entice even a small percentageof the mature and staid canned food market (36 billion metal food cans areconsumed each year).

  • Alexander Mikolasek, managing director at Mondi Packaging Korneuburg,sees two major developments driving the growth of flexible packaging: moremass-market applications and faster filling speeds (up to 500 pieces per minute)of pre-made pouches for foods.

  • Another Forum speaker, Charles Murray, president/CEO of PPi TechnologiesGlobal, confirmed this last part. PPi has just installed a Laudenberg LCMcontinuous-motion premade pouch filler that operates at 500 ppm.

  • Editor’s Note: In the interest of total disclosure, the Global Pouch Forum is owned and organized by Packaging Strategies, a sister business unit ofFlexible Packagingmagazine.