Column: Trade Fairs
Some 1056 companies from 36 countries participated in this year’s complex of trade fairs SALIMA, VINEX, INTECO and MBK 2008. The net exhibition space was 23 000 m2. Of the total number of exhibitors 42% were from abroad. A record number of 13% of visitors (40 thousand paying ones) were foreign. An international conference called the Food Forum was held as part of the fair attended by 11 ministers of agriculture and food. Czech biofoods were also presented for the very first time. The additional programme involved 40 professional conferences, seminars and workshops. The TRENDS show was also held for the second time at which the results were announced of the Czech Biofood of 2007 competition. Besides food producers there were also exhibiting companies engaged in packaging technology.
Column: Congresses and Conferences
The fourth international conference Responsible Business in Chemicals under the title REACH, GHS, Transport was held at the end of March 2008 in Prague. The Union of the Chemical Industry of the Czech Republic organised the conference as part of the project of Adaptability and Strengthening of Competitiveness of the Chemical Industry of the Czech Republic which is financed by the European Social Fund and state budget of the Czech Republic.
One of the topics entitled Safe Transport of Dangerous Items, so-called safe, quality and appropriate packaging was presented by Renata Kupová (CIMTO). The subject of the lecture was the use of packaging for the transport of dangerous items and this packaging may not differ from the prescribed requirements.
This year’s fourth PCD (Perfume, Cosmetics& Design) congress and exhibition, which was held at the end of January in Paris in the Cité des Science et de l’Industrie, was aimed at the innovation of packaging and automatic retail systems.
The presentations of the exhibitors concerned innovation in packaging in the category of cosmetics, perfume, beauty care, body and hygiene products in ways compatible with the idea of environmental protection, vending machine sales, collection of specimens, means of design used in promotion, advertising, nanotechnology, fight against forgeries and so on.
In order to highlight the importance of the technological aspect of innovations which are not often noted at all by the consumer, 10 awards were presented for innovations in perfume and cosmetics packaging.
In early November 2007 a conference on Innovations in Flexible Packaging 2007 was held in London. The conference was organised by the British company PIRA International which is the European leader in research, consultancy and provision of information for packaging, packaging technology, packaging systems, printing of packaging and printed information media.
Experts from the entire supplier chain of flexible packaging engaged in research, development, production and sale of polymer materials, dyes, additives, flexible packaging, equipment, producers of packaged food and non-food products and experts from consultancy and marketing companies attended the conference.
A total of 15 lectures were given about the latest innovation in flexible packaging and a view of this business in ten years time. Central and east Europe was represented by a lecture given by Alojz Gandi of the Slovak company Chemosvit Svit who presented a lecture to the conference organisers on market and consumer trends in flexible packaging in the countries of central and east Europe.
Column: Main Topic – Plastic Packaging
The share of plastics in modern means of packaging in most industrially developed countries ranges between 35 – 45 %. Thanks to its utility value plastic packaging has achieved a leading position on the market. The introduction of packaging production into the process of packaging in the second half of the last century enabled fundamental rationalisation of food packaging for the needs of rapidly growing self-service retail and significantly prolonged food durability.
Modern means of packaging based on plastics may also play further roles in packaging. Many can also be successfully recycled and repeatedly used not only for packaging production, but always further products (thermal insulation, noise-resistant walls, etc.). There are great expectations from research and development of biodegradable materials which will substantially reduce the long period of the disintegration of conventional polymers.
Shrink sleeves are one of the latest types of labels on the market. These are full-length encircling labels bonded into tubing shrunk by heat around a product. They perfectly mould to the shape of this product. The advantage of this method is that labels can be applied even to the most complicated types of surfaces where the application of a traditional label was more difficult or virtually impossible.
Labels belong also to the most successful features in sale support.
Their advantage is used flexible material with a fully sealed surface which is particularly well printed with flexo print or photogravure. Moreover, though these two techniques in printing shrink sleeves are principal, producers do not by far limit themselves to these. Taking advantage of the high transparency of the plastic used for the packaging, a certain area of these labels stays not printed on, which provides a partial view inside the container (this especially applies to transparent bottles, jars or cups).
The bag in its paper form is one of the oldest types of lignocellulose packages. But the much newer type of packaging, the plastic bag is also almost half a century old. It originally emerged as a fashion trend and once all its basic shortcomings were removed the plastic bag became one of the most produced types of packaging ever.
The construction and print of the first plastic bags was unstable. However unlike the paper bag and despite its first shortcomings, the plastic bag proved its great advantage of storage and virtually total resilience not only against damp air, but also water.
Moreover over a period of time its shortcomings were removed with developments in its production technology. Today’s bags are distinct for their attractive graphic design and often bright print. Their production is on average cheaper than that of paper bags. But in spite of this, there is no other packaging today over which not only environmental activists but also politicians and legislators worldwide are holding such vehement discussions. Every layperson today knows what these discussions are about. This is how to restrict the wider use of plastic bags.
In recent years sandwich or cellular plastic has become very popular. The expansion of these materials does not only apply to packaging technology. Its application in the form of boards is equally widespread in the sphere of advertising and the construction industry. The advantage of working with sandwich boards also means being able to construct large-scale packaging and boxes mostly used for packaging auto parts. Two types of materials are used in the production of cavity-type sandwich boards – polycarbonates and PP copolymers. Unlike the traditional PP, PP copolymers (static or block) usually consist of an ethylene – propylene bond. In view of the fact that PP is one of the most commonly used types of plastic in packaging technology today, its processing is also highly varied.
Packaging of this material can be processed by spraying, extrusion or blowing. However the boards may also be processed by casting or pressing from the relevant granulated material. And the method involving pouring the material into moulds is actuallythe most common form of the production of cellular solid boards made of copolymers.
When to use plastic canisters?
What is the most common use for plastic canisters? Experts state that because of their adequate sturdiness, good chemical resistance and easy handling they can be used widely, be it for storage and transport of food or dangerous items. There are two points of view when selecting a type of plastic canister. On the one hand there is the safety of the storage of the contents and on the other the price of the packaging. “But in recent years, particularly with regard to charges imposed on lorry transport, the importance of the elaborate construction of canisters is growing and the question of the price is of lesser importance with regard to overall logistics costs,” says the executive officer of the company EKO – CONTAINER SERVICE Jindřich Silbernágl. In his opinion the price remains the main issue for consumer and highly competitive goods with lower prices and lower risk categories, such as contents for car sprayers. The cheapest canisters, of worse quality, will therefore not stop being used. As soon as the price of the contents or its specific weight increases, the reliability of the packaging (as well its other properties) becomes important and the price of the canister increases.
Column: Packaging in shops
Packaging is one of the most important marketing communication tools. In view of the fact that the decision to purchase food usually comes at the place of sale, it is the packaging that is often the only means of communication that affects the customer’s decision. The constantly high price of ecological packaging on the Czech market is preventing its becoming widespread. Biofood in most cases is placed in the same packaging as conventional food.
At the end of March the company Branaldi put its new KBA Rapida 162a offset printing machine into operation which is currently the only one of its kind in operation in the Czech Republic. The machine is unique for its speed of printing up to 13 thousand sheets per hour, the quality of the print and time saved, while being able to print a broad spectrum of materials. The production of this printing machine may be flexibly combined with further equipment for pre-printing preparation and subsequent processing of orders available on the premises of the company in Brandýs nad Labem.
Frozen foods, vegetables, cream and fish represent a range of goods that must be stored and transported using a special regime. It is temperature that plays the main role here and this must be strictly maintained. The temperature regime in a warehouse is always set in accordance with the customer’s requirements. In the cooling warehouses temperatures usually range below -20 °C. This temperature regime is adequate for storing frozen vegetables, cream or frozen foods. However in case there are requirements for the longer durability of products, the temperature in the warehouse can be even lower.
Column: Packaging of dangerous items
The basis for every transport of radioactive material is a packaging set. This concerns a vessel with anti-dazzling properties into which a so-called nesting case is placed for storing radioactive material. The transport packaging sets [divided according to their construction in types IP 1, IP 2, IP 3, A, B (M), B (U) and type C] must undergo tests at state test labs and after being tested successfully they receive documents authorising their use for the transport of radioactive material.