Column: Current topic – Trade Fairs
Packaging line live in operation
Filling and packing of nuts or candies, printing a „use by“ date, checkweighing, loading a box with bags, folding and gluing the box, attaching a label, matching codes, marking the box with a bar code, passing through an RFID gate, wrapping boxes on a pallet and attaching a label – these stages will be seen by visitors to the Embax trade fair of packaging technologies which will take place together with the Salima food fairs and MBK, Inteco, and Vinex fairs this year. A real packaging line will be in operation several times a day from March 2 to 5. This is a unique project, successfully connecting a number of key partners within one packaging line.
Corrugated board excelled at FachPack 2009
According to a fair organizer’s closing report, more than 62 percent of visitors to the FachPack 2009 trade fair were interested in packaging materials and auxiliary means above all, 43 percent in packaging machinery followed by packaging process utilities, marking and labelling equipment, services and waste recycling. Just in the area of materials and packages, corrugated board „shone“ literally. Endless fanfold boards as well as digitally printed packages made of single face corrugated board were „must see ’em“ exhibits.
Column: Main topic – Food packaging
Changing role of plastics in food packaging
Plastics have provided mankind with so many opportunities to preserve food like no other material before. The first doubts occured when it came to light to what extent resources of non-renewable raw materials are limited. The main advantage of plastics – their longevity – turns against us. Waste piles up which we cannot always cope with. The question „should their durability be extended or shortened“ becomes challenging for production. An increasing rate of additives and pigments in recyclable plastics can result in hard to foresee usability and lifespan of products made of these.
Silicon oxide: the future of barrier packaging films?
Barriers are obstacles or boundaries to prevent food products from external influences. The food product itself may sometimes also influence its immediate environment when it is spicy, contains essential oils or aggressive ingredients and therefore needs a barrier.
The CERAMIS® coating is a thin inorganic layer of silicon oxide and therefore doesn’t react with almost any other material. The crystal clear thin layer is only in between 40 and 80 nanometers. CERAMIS® films offer highest clarity, and there are even special grades with a built-in UV protection.
Traditional production monitored by a new technology
Looking round a stand of JaGa, s. r. o., at MSV Brno in September 2001, Karel Hlaváček, managing director of AW Loštice, s. r. o., had no idea that almost 10-year-long active and mutually beneficial co-operation had just begun. Since its establishment, the AW company has asked not only for implementation of marking in compliance with the Foodstuffs Act but also for monitoring all manufacturing/technological stages, i.e. primary marking of consumer packaging and then of delivery packaging including EAN 13/EAN 128 bar codes.
RFID solutions track & trace Norwegian meat
Norway is not a member country of the EU but it is a part of the EEA and shows a very progressive attitude to issues of automatic identification technologies and electronic communication in the meat processing industry. Thanks to the EEA Research Support Fund, it was possible to carry out a project prepared by GS1Servis.cz, s. r. o. The Nortura company for the Norwegian part and the Czech Meat Processors Association for the Czech part were its major partners. At the beginning of June, delegates of Czech meat processors paid a reference visit to a Nortura processing factory in Stavanger and met some other companies in Oslo.
Which way do the food products go?
Each shop of the chain stores can be supplied either with direct deliveries from a manufacturer/supplier or with indirect deliveries via a central warehouse/cross docking centre. While the chain stores prefer indirect supplies (the goods is transported by one lorry from the hub), major supply companies prefer direct deliveries, otherwise the chain stores claim reduction in price of transport services. It depends also on the type of foodstuff. Bakery products are always delivered directly, the indirect distribution is typical for frozen foods, often provided by a specialized logistic firm.
Beverage lines – developments in filling and bottling
Drinktec, one of the world’s biggest fairs for beverage and packaging technology, beverages, liquid food and food processing machinery, took place in Munich after four years in September 2009. Beside packages and complex systems, mainly for beer, there were not missing product lines even for other beverages: waters, fruit juices, soft drinks and milk in particular, a major part of the fair ground focused just on soft drinks. There were both material and additives suppliers for this type of beverage present there, as well as production line manufacturers, incl. filling and bottling ones.
SpeedChain confirmed visitors’ interest
Fourth edition of SpeedChain, an international logistic conference, took place in the premises of Břevnov Monastery at the beginning of December 2009. Despite the current crisis, organizers have stated that the number of participants increased up to 20 percent compared to the last year’s edition. At the conference, creators of national transportation and logistics strategies for the Central and Eastern European region discussed with the aim to find an appropriate synergy in order to enforce the region’s concerns within the point European Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan.
Forklift trucks driven by RFID
The RFID technology gains increasingly higher popularity within all logistics branches. Continuously falling price of particular components enable a broad range of applications not only in the area of products marking and data transmission but also in brand new segments. Handling equ
ipment suppliers take advantage of RFID capabilities, too. Systems can be involved in truck navigation, in searching for an optimal route, eventually in stepless changes of maximal truck speed settings and therefore ensure better workplace safety.
Customers need the added value
A huge volume of textiles is imported into the Czech Republic from around the world. Customers need to get merchandise of lower quality on counters as soon as possible. As for high quality merchandise, the culture of selling and services is emphasised stronger. That’s why preparation of merchandise is more challenging. Logistics of more expansive merchandise demands the added value.
Column: Manufacturers, suppliers
Plotters sample and even produce packages
Sample cutting plotters are specific devices used in the packaging industry. They are involved in a package mock-up making process before the production starts as well as in the short run production of packages where common converting machines could not be used with respect to financial costs. Also the POS display manufacturers favor plotters. The basic construction principle of plotters is the same, however, offerings vary a lot among vendors of these essential packaging production devices.
Range of plotters for packaging production
Sample cutting plotters range among CAD/CAM systems, i.e. output systems for CAD construction. The majority of plotter manufacturers is connected with a particular SW (Kongsberg – ArtiosCAD, Aristo – EngView, etc.), however, most of plotters are open systems. This means that they can be driven by virtually every construction system. It’s reasonable, all construction CAD SWs in use (ArtiosCAD, EngView, ImpactCAD, Kasemake, Verpak, etc.) support data exchange formats, .DXF, .CF2, DDES, .PDF or .HPGL for example, beside their native formats.
Column: Packaging and research
RFID not only in logistics
If RFID implementation is the proper solution for automatic identification (Auto-ID) depends not only on actual physical conditions but much more on an existing level of data identification and processing introduced by a candidate for RFID implementation in logistics and operation. A number of studies on RFID has mentioned great benefits of a swap between a „paper/pencil“ method and Auto-ID with RFID. Conducting the same study on a system with bar codes or optical recognition, the figures would be similar and investment costs far lower. To RFID technology implementation be successful and profitable, a profound analysis of an entire suggested system must forego, from properly chosen RFID tags to a corporate information system connected to global EPC Information Services (EPCIS). Temperature, pressure, humidity, vibrations and other physical values can be stored in the memory of active RFID tags. They can be applied in a range of challenging processes from operation to the food delivery and blood centres.
RFID research laboratory in Ostrava celebrates its first anniversary
The laboratory for research of RFID technologies (ILAB RFID) was conceived at the beginning of February 2009, about a year ago. Its foundation charter has been signed by VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava (VŠB-TUO), GS1 CZ association, Hyundai Motor Company of South Korea, and Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Dongguk University, Seoul. Technological partners are, beside the GS1 association, also Gaben and Alien. RFID applications in transportation, safety and even artificial intelligence are being explored there.
Column: Packaging and design
Students decorated SCA Packaging’s Design centre
The co-operation of SCA Packaging and the College of Packaging Technology Štětí has a tradition of its own yet. The company provided the college with packaging materials many times. It must be pointed out that especially high quality E- and F-flute are highly appraised by both masters and students when sampling packages. On the other hand, the college has provided SCA’s employees with „tailor-made“ specialized trainings. However, the most distinct (or best visible) co-operation is in the area of design. This year, for the fourth time already, college students decorated company’s premises with their artifacts to pay a tribute to the material produced here.
Column: Congresses, conferences
3rd Czech & Slovak Packaging Congress
Delegates of firms and institutions involved in packages and packaging technologies gathered yet for the third time in November 2009. Modern nanotechnology, waste issues incl. possible waste processing, traceability and copyrights – such topics were addressed in a conference room of the Artemis hotel in Prague.
Increasing efficiency of packaging processes
The 19th Dresden Packaging Days were held in a renewed conference hall of Dreikönigskirche from December 3 to 4, 2009. This conference focused on how efficiency of packages and packaging processes can be increased chiefly by way of monitoring and assesing packaging processes and procedures. The methods presented were as follow: an automatic analysis of the synergy and connection of filling and packing machine parts into effective lines; installation of state-of-art sensors for optimizing machines and manufacturing processes; energy savings and the 4EE method preventing further increase of energy consumption.
Ten years have not been enough…
A 10-year-long period of the European Commission decision No. 1999/177/ES establishing the conditions for a derogation for plastic crates and plastic pallets in relation to the heavy metal concentration levels established in Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste ended on February 9, 2009. On February 10, 2009, a time horizon of this derogation was postponed five years forward in the future. In case this derogation is not prolonged, plastic crates and pallets containing heavy metal ingredients and used for secondary or tertiary packaging threaten to be landfilled or incinerated.