Digital Re-print - July | August 2011

Packaging for the future

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ike so many areas of today’s animal feed sector, packaging has evolved enormously. Thanks to the development of new technology and the efforts of the industry’s forward thinking suppliers, users now have access to a whole range of next generation solutions that can deliver new and innovative benefits. One business in particular that has been a leading name in the evolution of animal feed packaging is British-based bpi.visqueen. As Jerry O’Brien, sales director at the company, explains: “The demands faced by the modern packaging producer are now more diverse and challenging than ever before. “In addition to the growing concern of rising material and energy costs, the desire for more sustainable packaging solutions means users are increasingly looking for packaging that can help to reduce their environmental impact. “As one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of polythene films and sacks, bpi.visqueen is committed to keeping pace with these demands and providing ever more capable answers to the sector’s packaging needs. As such, we continue to invest heavily into new technology, product research and development and enhanced manufacturing facilities.” Having recently undergone a UK£7million upgrade, the site is perfectly placed to provide advanced packaging solutions that meet the needs of today’s animal feed producer. Among the state of the art technology now at bpi.visqueen’s disposal is a five layer wide width film line – capable of producing films measuring up to 22 metres across. Believed to be one of the largest wide width blown film extruders in Europe, the new line means that the business is now able to reach new levels in terms of overall production volumes and new product development. The enhanced Ardeer site has already been pivotal in the development of new animal feed packaging solutions through the further advancement of tubular filmand sheet film-on-the-reel formats. These formats allow users to employ higher speed packaging lines and require less manual input, helping to improve productivity and output while reducing costs. There are also other benefits to using filmon-the-reel, including improved pack consistency, reliability and overall performance. feed producers pursue every opportunity to reduce outgoings and increase profit,” explains Mr O’Brien. “It’s for this reason that bpi.visqueen has introduced the latest downgauging technology, which essentially entails the creation of packaging that offers more performance from less material. “A simple and effective way to cut costs without any compromise on product performance, these downgauged films allow users to boost both their efficiency and their green credentials in one fell swoop.” Using advanced polymers and the latest extrusion technology, this downgauging technology results in products that offer all the strength of conventional tubular film and film sheets – but from a considerably thinner film profile. For instance, bpi.visqueen’s downgauged films now enable customers to create sacks which perform like they’re made from 150 micron (mμ) film but using a film that’s actually just 110mμ thick. The net result of this downgauging - which can deliver film savings of 20-25 percent - is a significant reduction in packaging costs. In addition, users are able to minimise their environmental impact, as the ability to produce packaging with less film by weight leads to less packaging waste. Plus, in the case of bpi.visqueen, this downgauged packaging is also100 percent recyclable. Best of all, the green benefits don’t stop there. As downgauged films are thinner, more

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Going green by going thinner
The enhanced manufacturing facility at Ardeer will also be central in enabling bpi. visqueen to help users tackle the challenges that come with rising material costs and the increasing demand for greener packaging solutions. “With the rising costs of materials an ever present concern in the packaging industry, it’s now more important than ever that animal

New packaging possibilities
The manufacturer’s Ardeer factory in Scotland is a prime example of this commitment.
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July - august 2011 | 15

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ties at Ardeer are equipped with lines that can detect any potential issue with seal integrity before sounding alarms and automatically cutting out. The same cutting edge technology also gives the manufacturer finger-tip control of factors such as film consistency enabling it to offer sacks that give smoothAutomotive Industry er running and fewer machine stoppages. Plus, it can even tailor characteristics such as film slip differential to suit the individual machines of customers.

Boosting brand awareness
Not content to stop there, bpi. visqueen has looked for opportunities to add value to its customers in the animal feed industry. This includes offering them greater scope to utilise packaging as a means of brand awareness. “In today’s brand conscious market, manufacturers and merchants have to take advantage of every opportunity to raise their company profile,” says Mr O’Brien. “This means that packaging now has the dual purpose of protecting and containing a given product while also acting as a promotional tool for a business. “Advances in printing technology can play a vital role in helping to build brand awareness. For instance, at bpi.visqueen we now offer our customers the benefit of eight colour flexographic printing. This not only maximises opportunities for better brand representation, but can also help to increase the visual impact of a product. “These improved aesthetic qualities can prove invaluable in helping products to achieve greater ‘stand out’ at the point of purchase, encouraging brand loyalty and increasing repeat business.”

remaining waterproof. This makes Ventisack a perfect choice for water sensitive goods like supplements and minerals - which are frequently stored outside. The venting characteristics can also be tailored according to specific customer needs whilst added value features like embossing can be included to provide anti-slip properties if desired. In the cement industry, Ventisack has shown itself capable of significantly reducing spoilage Building & Chemical Industry rates Construction product shelf life. bpi. and of extending visqueen Industry it can now deliver the is confident same benefits in the animal feed sector. Plus, aside from its exceptional technical innovation, Ventisack can be printed in up to four colours with 360o coverage around the entire film tube. This means no wasted areas of plain white space along the sidewalls of the resultant sacks and no lost opportunity to promote a marketing message.

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Focused on the future
And it seems that further breakthroughs are already on the way. bpi.visqueen’s Ardeer facility has not only improved its ability to produce its existing technically enhanced range, it will also play a crucial role in helping the manufacturer to pioneer new possibilities in animal feed packaging. In particular, bpi.visqueen is currently working to set new standards in animal feed packaging, with a focus on powders, minerals and supplements, such as food ingredients, dried milk powder and calf milk replacer. As Jerry O’Brien from bpi.visqueen sums up: “The needs of today’s animal feed sector are rapidly changing, and it’s no longer enough that packaging merely fulfils a functional role. “It can now actually add value and contribute to a feed producer’s success in much the same way as certain feed ingredients or certain types of manufacturing technology. “As a business, bpi.visqueen is committed to meeting the challenges and demands of modern packaging environments. That’s why we continue to provide high quality solutions that are not only greener and more cost efficient, but that also deliver in terms of product performance, productivity and presentation.”

Ardeer extruder products can be accommodated on a standard reel. This greater length of film per reel reduces delivery requirements and as a result, associated vehicle emissions.

Increasing efficiency
Aside from their improved environmental credentials, there are other major attractions to bpi.visqueen’s next generation downgauged packaging solutions. Most notably, they also have the ability to deliver genuine commercial advantages. “Downgauged packaging’s capacity to deliver more from less is as beneficial from a commercial point of view as it is for the environment”, explains Mr O’Brien. “For instance, the greater yield of film offered by reels of downgauged packaging allows users to create more sacks with fewer stoppages for reel changes. Not only does this maximise machine and operator time, but the improved efficiency also tends to lower per unit packaging costs. “On top of this, the need for fewer film deliveries reduces associated administrative demands such as the need to order film, to deal with deliveries at goods inwards and to process related paperwork. This frees up time and resources which can then be spent on other higher value or more profitable activities.” Further benefits stem from the fact that the packaging process itself becomes faster and less labour intensive, offering users additional opportunities to save on both energy and labour costs. To maximise the impressive benefits offered by downgauged films, bpi.visqueen has taken steps to introduce the latest sack manufacturing technology. For instance, its sack production facili-

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Adding value
In line with its commitment to meeting the evolving demands placed on animal feed packaging producers, bpi.visqueen has also invested considerable time, effort and resources into product research and development. The result is packaging that offers new solutions to established problems. A case in point is bpi.visqueen’s Ventisack product. Originally developed for the cement industry but just as suited for use with any dusty product, Ventisack is a high-strength, tear resistant, co-extruded FFS film, which is able to offer new levels of performance by enabling the creation of sacks with an innovative back seam. This seam allows air to vent from the formed sacks quickly – an important requirement of modern high speed packing lines. It also allows the sacks to ‘breathe’’ whilst still

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