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Converting Industry News

Covering the Full Spectrum of Industry News, Events & Activities

Supplier News
Ten-Color Press Is a New Star
Star Packaging Corp., College Pk., GA, reports the purchase of a new Nordmeccanica Sprintflex 10 quick-change flexo press. The press will give the converter the capacity to print to a 28-in. repeat and a 47-in.-wide web in up to ten colors. According to Star, the advanced controls and precision registration of the press will allow production of today's complex designs.

With the addition, Star Packaging now has four wide web presses, two laminators (one a 55-in. solventless model also purchased from Nordmeccanica), and three slitters.
Supplier Information:
Nordmeccanica NA, Edgewood, NY; 631/242-9898; nordmeccanica.com

Tandem Coating Line Finds a Home Down South
Commonwealth Laminating and Coating Inc., Martinsville, VA, has chosen Black Clawson Converting Machinery to manufacture, install, and start up a tandem film coating and laminating line. The line, capable of running web widths to 74 in., will manufacture Commonwealth's SunTek solar control window films.

The line, comprising two Series 4000 modular cartridge coaters capable of multiple coating modes, will be housed in a 12,000-sq-ft addition currently under construction in Martinsville. MEGTEC Systems will supply the dryer systems as well as the CleanSwitch regenerative thermal oxidizer for VOC destruction.

“Black Clawson was willing to work with [us] to understand our goals and objectives,” says Commonwealth president Steve Phillips. “They worked with our information and provided us with a line that will more than triple our capacity and ensure that our end markets receive the highest quality products available.”
Supplier Information:
Black Clawson Converting Machinery
, Fulton, NY; 315/598-7121; blkclawson.com

Megtec Systems, De Pere, WI; 920/339-2787; 800/862-6943; megtec.com

New Schiavi Press Brings Many Features to Inland
Inland Printing Co. Inc., La Crosse, WI, has purchased a Schiavi nine-color IDEA gravure press from Bobst Group USA.

The model features an on-press wash-up system, printing cylinder automatic changeover, Bobst Registron automatic register control system, and press drive-through electronic line shaft (ELS). It also is equipped with a specialized drying system and an in-line rotary embosser and sheeter that can be operated for either roll-to-roll or roll-to-sheet.

The press, scheduled for production startup in December, has nine possible distinct web path sequences, Bobst adds.
Supplier Information
Bobst Group Inc.
, Roseland, NJ; 888/226-8800; bobstgroup.com


Awards
Green Bay Packaging Cartons Please PPC Panel

GREEN BAY, WI, USA—The Folding Carton Div. of Green Bay Packaging Inc. received an Excellence Award at the 2003 National Paperboard Packaging Competition for the Snow River family of packaging. The entry category was Housewares and Appliances.

The three cartons in the line are straight tuck end cartons used in combination with an insert. The board is a 0.024 SUS for both carton and insert. The company reports by using variations of inserts, several product lines were accommodated with a minimal number of cartons. The inserts, which are simple die-cut cards, hold the fragile portions of the product securely in place, eliminating the need for more expensive “fillers.” The contents of the package are fully visible to the consumer.


Acquisitions
SSCC Completes Transactions

CHICAGO, IL, USA—Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. (SSCC) completed transactions with Jefferson Smurfit Group (JS Group) involving the exchange of SSCC's European operations for JS Group's 50% ownership in Smurfit-MBI and payment from JS Group of about US$190 million.

Smurfit-Stone now owns 100% of Smurfit-MBI, a Canadian packaging business, and ends its manufacturing presence in Europe.


Show News
Tough Times? Don't Tell That to NPE Exhibitors

CHICAGO, IL, USA—The NPE plastics show closed out its 2003 edition with many satisfied exhibitors, reports The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. (SPI), sponsor of the triennial event that was held June 23-27 at Chicago's McCormick Place.

“Although the prolonged economic stagnation that currently afflicts much of the world caused a decline in registrations for NPE 2003, exhibitors overwhelmingly reported that those who did attend were decision-makers,” notes SPI president Donald K. Duncan. “These visitors came in a buying frame of mind, which indicates the start of an upward trend for the industry.”

Total participation was 63,238, a 29.8% decline from 2000, with 1,932 exhibiting. However, the number of exhibitors was just 4% below the record set by NPE in 2000 and 12% above the 1997 number. Not bad, Duncan emphasized at a press breakfast on the first day of the show, considering, “At SPI we've known for months things would be different in 2003. The United States and the world have changed. NPE 2000 was pre-dot.com implosion, pre-stock market bust, pre-9/11, pre-war on terrorism, pre-Iraqi war, pre-SARS, and most important of all, pre-economic stagnation.”

Also pleasing to SPI was the strong international involvement: The percentage of foreign exhibitors was 30%, up from 24.5% in 2000. These represented 36 home countries. More than 17% of those registered to attend, or 1,930, came from outside the US, representing 109 different countries.

The next NPE is scheduled for June 26-30, 2006, at McCormick Place. For more information contact SPI at 202/974-5200 or visit plasticsindustry.org.

Betcha It's Gonna Be a Hit
LAS VEGAS, NV, USA—Pack Expo Las Vegas 2003 returns to that city's Convention Center October 13-15 with more than 800 companies boasting innovations in packaging, including containers, materials, machinery, security solutions, and more.

Sponsored by the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), the show — held biennially on the odd-numbered years — expects to welcome 17,000 visitors, including over 2,000 international visitors from more than 75 countries.

Highlights will include a brand new Containers and Materials Pavilion. The conference program runs all three days of the show and will feature a broad range of presentations, including RFID technology and the latest FDA packaging regulation initiatives under the Bio-terrorism Preparedness Act.

Once again Pack Expo Las Vegas has been selected by the US Dept. of Commerce to participate in the International Buyer Program. The program allows show organizers to offer a number of services to help international attendees make the most of their experience at the event.

Registration fees include participation in the Food Processing Machinery Expo 2003, which is colocating with Pack Expo. For more information contact PMMI at 703/243-8555 or visit packexpo.com.


Alliances
Exopack, RJR Team Up to Supply Retort Pouches

SPARTANBURG, SC, USA—Exopack LLC and RJR Packaging report an alliance that will provide Exopack with the capability to supply retort pouches for foods and pet foods.

According to Lani Craddock, VP of marketing and technology for Exopack, “Retort pouches represent tremendous opportunity for flexible packaging to displace cans and bottles. Foods packaged in cans are often overcooked during the canning process. A retort pouch provides all the protection while delivering a better-tasting product. In Europe and Asia, where retort pouches have been common for years, packagers love its portability and minimal storage requirements. I believe they have just begun to blossom in North America.”

RJR Packaging will produce the printed laminate used in the pouch-making process in its Winston-Salem, NC, facility. Specialty Films & Assoc. LLC, an Exopack co., will manufacture the pouches in Hebron, KY.


Divestitures
PDI Now Under New Ownership

GREEN BAY, WI, USA—Hudson-Sharp reports the sale of Proven Designs Inc. (PDI) to Dave Dytchkowskyj. The new ownership structure will give PDI the flexibility to develop traditional custom pouch machinery markets it has in the past.

Hudson-Sharp and PDI will continue to work as partners in developing global pouch machinery markets, and Hudson-Sharp will continue as exclusive sales agent for PDI for the majority of the global converting machinery markets.


Education
Cal Poly Labs Offer Industry Services

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA, USA—The Graphic Communication Institute (GrCI) at Cal Poly is offering a full range of testing, research, product evaluation, and consulting services.

Upgrades include a recently modernized Substrates, Ink, and Toner Lab. Press labs include traditional and digital presses. Institute consultants are available for in-plant training, assessments of procedures, and troubleshooting.

For more information contact GrCI at 805/756-2645 or visit grci.calpoly.edu.


Industry Publications
NAPL Offers Guide to Graphic Designers

PARAMUS, NJ, USA—The Designer Printing Companion, published by the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) is a 157-p., user-friendly guide to printing for graphic designers. The book discusses the six basic forms of printing: lithography, flexography, gravure, screen, letterpress, and digital.

Author Heidi Tolliver-Nigro writes in the handbook's introduction, “All of the variables of the design and printing process — from the layout software to the final proofing devices to the type of press on which the job will be printed — have different characteristics and requirements. Without taking into consideration all of these variables, you cannot be assured that you are creating a design that is both attractive and executable.”

It's with this concept the book is organized. Each chapter discusses press technology, substrates, inks, and the image carrier used in each printing process. Chapters include technical, design, and economic considerations, and the handbook features a glossary and industry references. Industry-leading contributors to the handbook include Xerox, Agfa, Heidelberg, and Man Roland. For more information contact NAPL at 800/642-6275 or visit napl.org.

Folding Carton Book Back in Print
PLAINVIEW, NY, USA—The Handbook of Folding Carton Production, a compilation of technical articles on how to produce folding cartons by 24 experts in their respective specialties, is back in print.

Out of print for a number of years, the book was originally a product of Boxboard Containers Intl. magazine, a property of Primedia Business Magazines & Media Inc., publishers of Paper, Film & Foil Converter and American Printer.

The book is being offered at $89.00, including handling and shipping by surface mail anywhere in the world (add $30 for optional air mail and $5 documentation charge to overseas locations.)

Prepaid orders may be placed with Jelmar Publishing Co., Box 488, Plainview, NY 11803; ph: 526/822-6861; fax: 516/822-6861; Web site: jelmarpublishing.com.


Association News
HCPC Petitions for Updated CR/SF Standards

FALLS CHURCH, VA, USA—The Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council (HCPC) recently filed a petition with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to adopt a quantitative, numerical standard for determining whether unit-dose packaging for prescription and OTC drug products meets CPSC's legal standard for child resistance and senior friendliness.

Notes HCPC executive director Peter Mayberry, “…If manufacturers wish to use unit packaging for drug products, the current protocol requires they first make some extremely subjective determinations. If the manufacturer chooses to use a CR cap, it doesn't have to make these same determinations. The obvious result is that manufacturers favor cap-and-vial closures over unit dose formats for drug products that are going to be sold in the States.”

He adds, “In the [US], most pharmaceuticals are shipped by the manufacturer in bulk bottles, and then the drugs are repackaged into smaller bottles at the pharmacy when a prescription is presented. In many European, Asian, and Latin American countries, however, it is much more common for prescription drugs to be shipped by the manufacturer to the pharmacy in a unit dose blister card that is given to consumers when a prescription is presented. One reason often cited by manufacturers for packaging drugs differently in the US is concern over complying with CPSC's CR/SF testing requirements.”

In its petition, the HCPC asks the test protocol for unit dose formats to be updated so it is based on a straight numerical standard instead of the “either/or” approach in place now.

To ensure similar standards apply to all types of CR/SF packaging, the HCPC is asking CPSC to maintain the “eight pill” criteria as the sole means of determining whether unit dose formats are considered to be child-resistant under US law.

The petition also asks CPSC to clarify that unit dose formats do not need to be retested once they have proven capable of passing protocol.

For more information contact HCPC at 703/538-4030 or visit unitdose.org.

SPI Voices Concerns about Bioterrorism Regs
WASHINGTON, DC, USA—The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. (SPI) has challenged the information collection burden it says would be imposed on suppliers of food packaging and other food-contact materials by two bioterrorism regulations proposed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In comments submitted to the US Office of Management by SPI's Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Packaging Materials Committee, SPI took issue with the proposed regulations primarily on the basis the US Congress never intended for FDA to extend the prior notice of food import and food facilities registration requirements of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 to food packaging and other food-contact articles that do not contain food.

Citing the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the trade association also maintained the action would impose an undue paperwork burden on the plastics industry, while providing no significant protection against terrorism.

SPI's comments to OMB were a prelude to filing comments with FDA in early April.

SPI commended Congress and the FDA for taking steps to protect the food supply against terrorism but maintains that extending import notification and facilities registration to packaging that does not yet contain food is too indirect an approach to improve appreciably the security of the food consumed by Americans. For the full text of SPI's comments, visit the association's Web site at plasticsindustry.org.

NPTA Celebrates Its Centennial Anniversary
FARMINGDALE, NY, USA—The NPTA Alliance (formerly the National Paper Trade Association) will celebrate its 100th anniversary at the annual convention to take place in Chicago, IL, October 24-27.

As always, the convention is a gathering for distributors and suppliers to the paper, packaging, and supplies distribution channel. Special anniversary activities this year will include a dinner and a display of historical memorabilia. An anniversary Web site, gonpta.com/100, chronicles the history of the industry as well as that of the association.


Expansions
New Business Focuses on R&D

HOUSTON, TX, USA—Kraton Polymers has formed a new business group dedicated to packaging and polymer modification.

Explains Garret Davies, Kraton's VP for the Americas, “Our new group will include dedicated research and development resources and a sales team specifically for these segments to help foster innovation and speed products to market that meet our customers' needs.”

The group, to be headed by Tracy Baugh, will concentrate on providing global packaging and polymer modification markets with focus, speed, flexibility, and growth.


Industry Studies
Report Analyzes Flexible Bulk Packaging

CLEVELAND, OH, USA—Flexible bulk packaging in the US is projected to advance 4%/yr to $6.3 billion in 2007, creating a market for more than 6 billion lb of raw materials, of which more than half will be plastics. This is the conclusion of a new report from The Freedonia Group.

The reports adds growth will be stimulated by heightened manufacturing and retail activity as well as the rise of home centers, club stores, and other mass retailers offering a wide variety of products packaged in bulk and utilizing secondary packaging for product warehousing.

The fastest growth is forecast for flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs), film wrap, and liners for drums, bins, and boxes. Growth for shipping sacks and strapping will be below average, largely due to loss of share to faster-growing alternatives. Plastic shipping sacks and plastic strapping will see healthy gains, says the study, typically supplanting paper sacks and steel strapping, respectively.

Flexible Bulk Packaging Demand

Millions of Dollars

% Annual Growth

Item

1997

2002

2007

02/97

07/02

Flexible Bulk Packaging Demand

4,406 5,184 6,320

3.3

4.0

Shipping Sacks

2,378

2,519

2,730

1.2

1.6

Film Wrap

777

1,105

1,530

7.3

6.7

Strapping

530

625

725

3.4

3.0

FIBCs

255

400

680

9.4

11.2

Drum, Box & Bin Liners

339

395

500

3.1

4.8

Other

127

140

155

2.0

2.1

Source: ©2003 by The Freedonia Group Inc.


 

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