Pouches on the Cutting Edge

CLP Industries supplies many markets in many countries. Sophisticated laser scoring equipment is one of the keys to its success.

CLP Industries, one of the world's largest producers of stand-up flexible pouches, has developed a proprietary laser technology that not only is scoring packages by the millions, it's scoring big points with its customers as well.

CLP, headquartered in Kibbutz Negba, Israel, is a worldwide supplier of pouches and flexible packaging materials for a wide range of industries, including food, pet food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, agriculture, hygiene, and detergents. In 2001 it reported $42 million in annual sales.

Laser Scoring Gives an Edge
Much of the growth of this ISO-9002-certified company, says CLP, can be traced to the fact that it is one of the few pouch manufacturers in the world with highly refined laser scoring equipment that can create curved or scalloped laser scores.

In 2001 the company was awarded both AmeriStar and WorldStar awards from the World Packaging Organization for a flexible, stand-up pouch it developed for Elite cookies. That pouch, which is constructed of polyester, polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), and polyethylene (PE) laminates that inhibit oxygen and water transmission, features a straight laser score that makes it easier for consumers to open the bag and has a built-in closure said to give products an 8-mo shelf life.

What makes CLP's laser scoring process so unique, the company reports, is its ability to score not just in a straight line across the top of a package — as is typical of virtually all laser cutters — but also diagonally or even curved on the corners. This innovation is of particular interest to wineries and beverage companies, for example, which can use it to develop corner-cut, “easy-pour” spouts for increasingly popular “bag-in-box” packaging.

Recently, CLP used its laser scoring technology to develop a stand-up pouch for Coca-Cola (Turkey) with the straw laminated inside the packaging. A convenient tear strip created by the in-line laser allows the consumer to reach the straw. It's that ability to deliver such creative “packaging solutions” that gives CLP an advantage over its competition, says Meir Sigal, VP of worldwide marketing.

“We are printing, laminating, and constructing the pouches under one roof. What we found in the States is that there are some manufacturers who produce only pouches, and they buy their material from someone else who converts, prints, and laminates it. So, there are many stages along the way and many chances for error. As we get more and more business in the States, I hear from customers they appreciate having it available from one source that has total control over the finished product.”

Broad Equipment Range
CLP was established in 1971 as a producer of monolayer PE and polypropylene (PP) films. The company purchased its first Nordmeccanica laminator three years later and was licensed to produce its first stand-up pouches in 1977. “That gave us a nice jump into more sophisticated packaging and packaging solutions,” says Sigal.

The company introduced stand-up pouches to the US in 1991 when it developed a pouch that carried refills of Jergen's hand lotion. That product was abandoned after two years, but stand-up pouches have continued to gain popularity in such markets as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, detergents, medical and diagnostic equipment, and coffee.

Food packaging accounts for a full 70% of CLP's overall annual sales, followed by the beverage, diagnostics, and cosmetic/health and beauty markets. Worldwide customers include the likes of Pepsico, Coca-Cola, 3M, Del Monte, Nestlé, Unilever, Elite, Walcan, and a host of national and regional end-users.

To meet the stringent demands of these multinational corporations, CLP has continued to invest heavily in equipment and technologies. In the past year, the company added new Rotomec rotogravure and Uteco flexo presses, two Titan slitters with in-line laser scoring, and a Totani pouchmaking machine. That machine alone has increased CLP's annual capacity to about 150 million stand-up pouches, making it one of the largest converters of stand-up pouches in Europe and North America. The company also can convert 2 billion sq ft of rollstock annually.

A new Valmet Rotomec laminator is designed to convert retail packaging, which requires the application of a precise amount of adhesive. Notes Sigal, “If it has to be 12 grams, it has to be exactly 12 grams, and not 12.5 or 13.”

The 450,000-sq-ft Israeli headquarters also houses three eight-color, 50-in. Cerutti gravure presses with in-line laminating and cold sealing capabilities; an eight-color, 15-in. Model 150Y/15 Chesnut Engineering gravure press; and two eight-color, 1,270-mm (50-in.) Uteco flexo presses, two of which include an in-line gravure conversion unit for cold seal in register; a 1,300-mm Davis-Standard Egan extrusion coating line; three 1,300-mm Rotomec solvent laminators; six Remmele punching machines for aluminum die-cut lids; five 1,300-mm Titan slitters with in-line scoring; five 600-mm Totani and one 900-mm Windmoeller & Hoelscher bagmaking machines for stand-up and specialty pouches; a 1,000-mm DCM hot melt coater, and four 1,300-mm rewinders from Atlas Machinery, Titan, and Ashe Control.

Material suppliers include Plasto Sac and Polyon Barkai Industries (PE) and Moplefan (PP).

Seeking Flexible Consumers
In addition to its headquarters in Israel, CLP has a sales and production facility in Russia that operates six bagmaking machines from Totani and W&H. The company also has 60,000 sq ft of warehousing space adjacent to its Israeli headquarters, from which it ships to the US, the U.K., South America, South Africa, Eastern Europe, Central America, and the Far East. CLP warehouses finished goods in New Jersey and Vancouver, Canada, facilities for immediate shipment to North American customers.

The company has sales offices in Fairfield, NJ, and South Africa, as well as agents in Australia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Turkey, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the U.K., where CLP says it is the largest supplier of pouches for prepared foods such as smoked salmon. The company plans to open a sales office in Mexico this year and is considering a converting facility for the US as sales growth warrants.

Exports currently account for 40% of CLP's annual sales, a figure that Sigal expects to increase as it expands its sales and production capabilities. Sigal says the company has made greater inroads marketing its pouches to South Africa and the U.K. because consumers there are “more flexible and accept new kinds of packaging” more easily than do Americans. That too, he expects, will change.

“In the States, if consumers are used to a certain type of package, it takes a lot of time for them to be convinced they can buy the same product in another kind of packaging,” says Sigal. He cites as just one example the initial reluctance of many consumers in the '90s to embrace juices and other beverages sold in pouches.

“It's coming along slowly there, slowly but surely,” Sigal reports. “I think the major users will move slowly — very slowly — with their worldwide product lines. But the fact we're already working with companies like Nestlé might give them the feeling they can work with us, too.”

Score one more for CLP Industries.

CONVERTER INFO
CLP

US Office
18 Madison Rd.
Fairfield, NJ 07004877/888-1888 (toll-free); clp.co.il


SUPPLIER INFO
Ashe Converting Equipment
, Ipswich, U.K.; +44 (0) 1473 710 912; ashe.co.uk

Atlas Machinery, Kempston, Bedford, England; +44 (0) 1234 852553; valmetconverting.com

The Cerutti Group, New Berlin, WI; 262/827-8500; cerutti.com

W.R. Chesnut Engineering, Fairfield, NJ; 973/227-7873; chesnuteng.com

DCM, Cedex, France; +33 (0) 141 37 5270; dcm.fr.com

Davis-Standard, Pawcatuck, CT; 860/599-1010; davis-standard.com

Moplefan, Terni, Italy; +39 (0) 744802741

Nordmeccanica, Piacenza, Italy; +39 (0)523 596411

Plasto Sac, Yavne, Israel; +972 8 9420175

Polyon Barkai Industries, Kibbutz Barkai, Israel; +972 4 6387387

Remmele, St. Paul, MN; 651/643-3700; remmele.com

Rotomec, San Giorgio, Italy; +39 (0) 0142 4071; valmetconverting.com

Titan, Cumming, GA; 770/781-5291; valmetconverting.com

Totani (Amplas), Green Bay, WI; 920/496-0525; amplas.com

Uteco USA, Kennesaw, GA; 770/427-4100; uteco.com

Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp., Lincoln, RI; 401/333-2770; whcorp.com



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