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Live at PACK EXPO East: Flexible Packaging Machinery & Materials on the Brain

There was lots of interesting news on both the materials and machinery sides of the PACK EXPO East coin. We’ll look at a couple of pouchers and baggers and check out a commercialized monomaterial pouch for P&G’s Pantene Japan, done by Zacros.

Quick hits:

  • The FPA Awards recognized some interesting new pack designs, and we saw some of them on the floor at PACK EXPO East.
  • In Japan, P&G’s Pantene debuted a durable aluminum bottle that consumers can refill over and over again using a lightweight, monomaterial PE/PE pouch where the sealent layer is also the barrier.
  • PACK EXPO East had quite a few nifty new baggers, pouchers, and v/f/f/s machines on display. We’ll look at two in action. 

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Matt Reynolds: Hello, Matt Reynolds here, editor of Packaging World, back with another edition of Take Five.

I was just at the largest PACK EXPO East since the event’s inception a few weeks back, and have some notes to share from the show. It was a great regional warm up for PACK EXPO International in Chicago this October, and good to get back out into trade show-mode, and get my steps in walking the floor.

While I was there, I noticed there was a lot happening in flexible packaging. Now, to be completely fair, maybe I just had flexible packaging on the brain. After all, our April issue of Packaging World featured an interesting Sealed Air flexible pouch that’s being adopted by McDonalds and its supplier Golden State Foods, for back-of-house application management. I think there should be a link to that hovering over my shoulder.

The April issue also covered the Flexible Packaging Association Awards—with 13 Gold winners, and one overall winner, all announced the day after PACK EXPO East closed. You can read all about them on, or also in the April issue. 

And while I was at the show, I noticed some of the FPA Award winners among the exhibitors. One was Emirates Printing Press with a few nifty pouches on display, like an anti-counterfeiting-minded print finish on a film for South Asian looseleaf brand Ahmad Tea. They also won an award for a recyclable stand-up pouch for a Nestle brand of dates called MacIntosh’s.

So yes, I had flexible packaging on the brain at PACK EXPO East. Let’s watch a very brief video of a unique flexible pouch that I saw on the show floor, a commercialized project for Procter & Gamble’s Pantene haircare brand of shampoos and conditioners. This was for the Japanese market, where Pantene recently launched a durable, reusable aluminum bottle and closure, then they ask consumers to refill that durable bottle with recyclable, monomaterial pouches. Monomaterial is the keyword here, and is an increasingly on-trend term for flexible packaging. Let’s watch.

John Patterson: Hi, I'm John Patterson. I'm the Business Development Manager for Zacros America. We're here at our exhibit at Pack Expo East in Philadelphia. And we're showing technology around mono materials. This pouch is the Pantene pouch from Japan. Our R&D team in Yokohama developed this with Procter and Gamble over the last three to four years. It is now commercial, and exclusive in Japan for Pantene shampoo and conditioner. It's all polyethylene and it is fully recyclable.

Matt Reynolds: Next up in our flexible packaging-related coverage from PACK EXPO East, let’s shift to machinery. I saw at least two vertical form/fill/seal pouchers that bear mentioning, the first is from United Flex. Let’s watch.  

Rob Bridel: Hi, my name is Rob Bridel and I work with Unified Flex Packaging Technologies. And we're located in Cambridge, Ontario where our manufacturing facility is, and we have a sales and service location Appleton, Wisconsin. And I've been asked to just quickly show you our AP 140—which is our entry level vertical vertical form fill bagging machine. And this machine is very easy to use. It's very versatile in that it can make four different types of bags styles, which will be your pouch, three side seal, four side seal, as well as a stick pack. It has a web width of a maximum of nine inches and the bag length of a maximum of seven inches and it is extremely easy to use. It uses non proprietary parts—which is very important—so you can get a lot of your parts from McMaster Carr and Automotive Direct. So we make it as easy as possible for our clients to operate this machine, as it is the entry level in vertical-form-fill packaging.

Matt Reynolds: And we have time for one more bagging and pouching machine, this one from Heat and Control’s Ishida. Notice the focus on ease-of-use and familiarity with the HMI. Let’s watch: 

Kerry Weidenhammer: Hi, I'm Kerry Weidenhammer with Heat and Control and Ishida, here at Pack Expo East and we're here to show you the Inspire vertical form-film-seal bagger. It has several features including automatic date printer adjust, automatic code setting ,and a new long touchscreen swipe style screen—similar to an IPhone or a tablet. It can run up to a theoretical 150 bags per minute of snack food and we can show it running. Alright so let's just see Inspire running 50 bags a minute. It's a single jaw, but it could be a dual jaw.

Matt Reynolds: So lots was going on in both machinery and materials when it came to flexible packaging at PACK EXPO East. That’s all the time we have today.

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