A flexible solution for Fido’s fresh treats

Big Heart Pet Brands, based in San Francisco, California, is well-known for its line of Milk-Bone biscuit treats. A few years ago, its innovative product called Milk-Bone Brushing Chew hit market shelves.

The ability to execute eye-catching packaging designs can either make or break a brand, which is why Milk-Bone and Big Heart Pet placed so much emphasis on the design of their new award-winning package and the suppliers who would help bring the design to life.

To develop a creative packaging approach that would give the doggie dental treat a competitive edge, Big Heart Pet entrusted its senior manager projects, packaging R&D, Paul Baker. “We wanted to focus on the dental aspect of these chews. The goal was to have the customer instantly associate the products as beneficial to a dog’s dental health,” said Baker. “After careful consideration, we came up with the idea to create a package similar to the traditional toothpaste carton, making it recognizable and different from the stand-up pouch used by most manufacturers.”

Unlike other variations of the Milk-Bone dog treat, Milk-Bone Brushing Chews are packaged in a sealed bag with a reclose feature to ensure freshness and maintain product quality. The bag would then be placed inside the toothpaste box. To offer customers value options, Big Heart needed three different carton sizes and two pouch styles to accommodate different volumes of brushing chews contained in each package.  A doy-style pouch was needed to fit the smallest container, while a side-gusseted pouch would be used for the two larger carton sizes. To account for the individual feeding demands, the three- volume options hold either mini-sized bones for toy-size dog breeds weighing from 2.5 to 12 kilogram or small/medium sized bones for small- and mid-size dog`s weighing between 12.5 and 37 kilogram.

Baker attended PACK EXPO International with a list of potential manufacturers. The requirements for this package were challenging, including applying a Velcro closure on the doy bag and running film with a pre-applied closure to form the side-gusseted stand-up bag. The flexibility to cater to the three carton sizes and two bag styles was the key to realization. For the interior bag, Big Heart Pet chose Bosch to fit its packaging needs.

Bosch recommended the SVI 2620 WR vertical bagger for its flexibility in handling a range of bag styles, from pillow to block-bottom and corner seal, and the two selections chosen for the Brushing Chews, the gusseted bag and doy style bag. The diverse bagging options gave the added benefit of adaptability in the event of a pack style change in the future. Since Big Heart Pet wanted a unique reclosable bag, Bosch customized the SVI 2620 WR to adhere a Velcro zipper instead of the common string zipper, enhancing ease of use for dog owners.

“The level of service and machine quality we have seen from our experience with the company over the last 20 years made us feel very comfortable choosing Bosch,” said Baker. “The range of solutions and ability to customize and easily upgrade technologies will give us the flexibility to expand production as

the brand grows, while meeting current business goals.”

In addition to selecting the VFFS bagger from Bosch, Big Heart Pet also chose Ishida Co, Ltd. for a multihead weigher and Kliklock Woodman for the toothpaste-like carton erecting and closing. The three companies collaborated to design a line that would provide a continuous flow from start to finish.

The intricate packaging design required precise dosing in the bag to prevent line stoppages and maximize uptime. Bosch worked with Ishida to test and adjust the multihead weigher and bagger. A series of testing methods and video monitoring was deployed by both Bosch and Ishida to make sure every detail fit the exact measurements needed. After more than one month of research and testing, the bagging concept was finalized.

“The Bosch team was very thorough making sure the equipment was suited to fit our needs and training our team to use the new bagger to its greatest capacity,” said Baker. “Through the series of training and factory acceptance testing, we were able to learn quite a bit about what to expect from the vertical bagger when it came to our product.”

In addition to these business benefits, the innovative packaging line design was recognized with PMMI’s Packaging Line of the Year award in November 2014.

To learn more about the latest technology developments in processing and packaging at PACK EXPO International 2016, register here.