1977 - 1979

1920s and 1930s
1940s
1950s
1960s
1970 - 1973
1974 - 1976
1980s
1990 - April 1993
May 1993 - 1994
1995 - 1999
2000 to present

The Late 1970s...
January 1977
It Worked!
The NFPA's letter-writing campaign succeeded in convincing US government to retain the service of publishing MQ-26F, the Converted Flexible Shipments report, what Rigney called in July 1976 editorial, "the only reliable data on the shipments of a $2.25 billion industry."

HDPE Hits Stride in 1977
Core of the Matter columnist Dom Perino: "I told you so." He wrote: "My many years of advocacy of the importance and future of high density polyethylene in converting may have been in advance of our time.... The new gas phase polymerization process will yield better and cheaper resins....HDPE's functionality, along with better, lower-cost film-making equipment, makes it a natural candidate for a converter's vertical expansion plans."

February 1977
EPA Cracks Rotten Eggs -- "New source air-pollution standards for kraft pulp mills that will reduce the 'rotten egg' smell coming from 'poorly controlled mills' have been proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The proposed standards would regulate emission of particulate matter and total reduced sulfur compounds (TRS), the latter being associated with the ‘rotten egg’ odor."

Adhesives Research, Inc., Glen Rock, PA, "is the first pressure-sensitives coater in the US, and one of the first in the world, to convert to a 100 percent solventless silicone system for coating release liners. Besides meeting strict air quality standards, solventless coatings have reduced energy consumption because they require less heat to cure, and oven exhaust can be cut back."

March 1977
Converterscope reports several price hikes: St. Regis Paper Co. upped multiwall bag prices by 8 percent; National Starch and Chemical upped all natural- and synthetic-based liquid adhesives by 6 percent; and International Paper increased unbleached and bleached kraft multiwall papers $20/ton. One supplier attributed increases to "spiraling costs."

Laser Die-Cutting -- New generation of cutting and creasing dies is available through Cutting Dies and Forms Ltd. "With makeready costs and machine downtime becoming increasingly expensive, it's imperative that costly capital equipment such as high-speed die-cutting be in constant use. Speed and accuracy are the all-important factors, and more accurate and reproducible dies are the answer."

April 1977
Energy Crisis Then
Rigney: "At press time, President Carter's energy policy was just being issued. Whether such policy will be sufficient to stem the onslaught of the 'energy crisis' remains to be seen and whether Congress will take any affirmative action on the President's proposals also looms as a large question."

May 1977
E for Effort: "PMMI (Packaging Machinery Mfrs. Institute) and nine of its member companies have been recognized by the US Dept. of Commerce for export-promotion efforts. PMMI has received the ‘Excellence in Export Promotion’ recognition from the dept., and the nine firms received the distinguished ‘E Award.’ Some of the firms are: Hayssen, Hercules, Kartridge Pak, Markem, Nordson, Pemco, Sheldahl, and HG Weber."

June 1977
Bolton-Emerson unveiled its Paper and Plastics Research Center, located adjacent to Lawrence, MA, headquarters. "Heart of the laboratory is company's new generation 30-in. Park mini-coater, which is capable of applying hot melt and 100 percent solid silicone coatings."

High Maintenance: "Working Woman Handles Mechanics"
While it's conceded the working woman is no longer a new thing -- what with better than 48 percent of the workforce now women -- there still aren't that many women working in skilled trades. But one is Mamie Masters, maintenance mechanic helper at RJR Archer Inc., Greenville, TN. One of 13 maintenance employees, she joined Archer in May 1976, and repairs rewinding machines and sets up, oils, and cleans paper-rolling machines."

July 1977
FDA FINALLY Clears Retort Pouch
"’[FDA] Clearance of the retortable pouch launches a new era in packaging,’ Bruce C. Kemp, industry manager - packaging films, ICI United States, [says]. The laminate that was okayed for use: polyester film/foil/polypropylene. ‘If all 32 billion cans used for food were suddenly switched overnight to retortable pouches,’ Kemp adds, ‘they would use up about 75 MM lbs. of 5 mil polyester film.’...The OK by the FDA had been stalled for about two years [due to FDA's concerns about adhesive migration] into food at retort temperatures. New adhesives were developed that satisfied the FDA."

World's Largest Cast Film extruder was installed at St. Regis Paper Co.'s Hazleton, PA, plant. "...believed by industry sources to be the largest cast film extruder in the world....Though a large part of the actual engineering and machine work was done elsewhere, the equipment was shipped to Dallas for assembly [and moved to plant via six convoy trucks.]" Extruder No. 3 was able to produce 130-in.-wide film.

August 1977
Drupa Power -- June Show Follow-Up
"Most exhibitors we talked to were bubbling over, despite weariness from 14-day show duty. Said one, 'We've never had so many serious prospects.'" Drupa attendance topped 303,000, 43 percent of which came from outside Germany.

Environmental Awards to: Mosinee Paper Corp. for air-pollution control; Westvaco Corp., forest management; ITT Rayonier, energy management; and Temple-Eastex, Inc., water-pollution control. "These four companies were named winners of the Environmental Improvement/Energy Management Awards presented by the Paper Institute and National Forest Products Associations."

September 1977
Food Contamination Down Due to Industry
"Portion packaging has made restaurant eating safer, research by The Packaging Institute, USA, says. Pointing to major decreases in food-borne infections the last decade, PI says, "rather than having to take sugar, coffee whitener, jam, catsup, or salad dressing from a pitcher or dish that has been used by a stranger, food customers can use factory-sealed individual packets. This unit packaging is expose to 'neither people nor air.'"

Fox Valley Begins Flexo Training
"Flexographic industries located in the Wisconsin Fox River Valley are joining forces with an adult-education district to train students for employment in [flexography.] It's a joint program of the Fox Valley Technical Institute and the Graphic Art Industries of Fox River Valley. The two-year program, geared for post-secondary students, began including the flexography training in response to inquiries from printers looking for graduates in the field...."

October 1977
PFFC celebrates it 50th in this issue. Editor Rigney praises his staff for "their fine work" on the issue, adding, "We hope our anniversary issue recalls good memories and reveals some of our past that you never knew."

Offering Converters Vital Info Now... and Then
PFFC announces its four-day conference that will be in conjunction with the first CMM show, January 1978. Via a six-page gatefold, PFFC promotes its conference: " Paper, Film & Foil CONVERTER presents a series of practical, hands-on seminars designed to help you daily!"

November 1977
It Happened!
"Welcome to the Future" predicts working environments (in and out of the industry) for the future. "3M's Special Enterprises Dept. suggests in the future, users of the nation's highways may find the automatic identification concept at toll booths. The auto's point of entry at the freeway and other pertinent information could be automatically recorded and the drive billed monthly for the toll charges."

Sound Familiar? Postal Increases
"The 1976 increase in postal rates, which caused panic among direct-mail advertisers, was expected to cut into the envelope market. Electronic funds-transfer systems were touted as the replacement for conventional billing systems and spelled doom for envelope converters. Now the Federal Government, the largest user of envelopes, has gone into production and has taken a large slice out of the market for private converters. Still the envelope industry survives...."

December 1977
Attack on Packaging!
Both this month's editorial and the "Attack on Packaging Spreads to California" feature cover the campaign to limit and restrict new or revised packaging. (Similar legislation already had passed in Minnesota, according to the article.) Writes Rigney: "Earlier this year, a [California assemblyman] introduced [a bill], ostensibly designed to protect the environment and natural resources by controlling the introduction of new packages and packaging materials in the state. Its real effect, however, would wreak havoc on the converting industry, if it were forced to comply with the burdensome provisions of such legislation."

Envelope Manufacturers Assn. (EMA) meeting tells envelope converters, "1978 will be a better year," but meeting presenters reported the business trend was up in 1977. Walter Hoadley, VP of Bank America addresses the member envelope manufacturers: "Most indications show that we are in the greatest period of prosperity in history. We have a confidence crisis, not an economic crisis....The principal fear is that if you make it, then it will be taken away...and the cleavage between government and business is getting wider and wider."

January 1978
Getting the Good Word Out...
Container Corp. published 20-page booklet The Paperboard Package: Something of Value and promoted image of packaging industry, which Rigney says is a result of: "encouragement from PFFC and other trade pubs...to stem the tide of anti-packaging sentiment and legislation. Rigney describes the booklet: "A slick piece of reading filled with hard facts and figures, which tells the true value of paperboard packaging in our society."

First CMM is January 23 - 26, 1978, Philadelphia. Event is coordinated by National Expositions with Paper, Film & Foil CONVERTER producing the conference. "The PFFC conference is designed to pinpoint specific converter needs to help them in their daily operations and longer range planning." Although hit by a "freak" snowstorm (which Rigney reports on in his February editorial) "the event proved to be a success...." The first CMM Expo saw 8,000 visitors and 175 exhibits, and more than 600 converters attended one or more of the PFFC conference sessions.

February 1978
PFFC part of Maclean-Hunter Publishing, sold from Peacock Business Press. "Beginning in March," writes editor Rigney, "our masthead will feature the [new] logo and mark our association with one of the world’s largest international publishing [organizations]." All key personnel were kept, he adds.

American Can Co.’s three-ply, thin foil "Redi-Serve" retortable pouch in full compliance with FDA and receives verbal acceptance from USDA.

In Core of the Matter, Perino predicts the growth of polypropylene. "The big news today and for the next few years will be the rapid growth of polypropylene film in world packaging markets."

March 1978
What’s Newsworthy
"The largest flexo press built for packaging printing has been delivered by Windmoeller & Hoelscher for installation in a converter in Southern Germany. The machine covers a print width range of up to 70 3/4 in. with six color units arranged around a 79 3/4-in.-diameter CI cylinder."

"Gloucester Engineering Co., Inc.’s board of directors has approved in principle the acquisition of the firm by Battenfeld Group of Meinerzhagan, W. Germany, a subsidiary of Schloemann-Siemag A.G. Battenfeld is a major European mfr. of injection molding machines and also produces blow-molding and RIM equipment for the plastics industry."

April 1978
National Flexible Packaging Assn. (NFPA) 22nd Flex-Pack Awards -- President’s Award: "Ameri-Pak, a div. of American Bag & Paper Corp. for Champion Valley Farms. The product was formerly packed in composite cans. New package is air-tight, water-proof with foil liner. Printing is gravure process."

May 1978
PFFC moved operations from Park Ridge, IL, to downtown Chicago. "We’ve taken up residences with our publishing cohorts in the Maclean-Hunter stable," Rigney writes.

Ozone Awareness Rumblings
"The government will prohibit virtually all manufacture of aerosol products beginning in Dec. 15, 1978, according to US Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare....Since 1976, manufacturers have switched to alternate types of dispensers, the agency says; industry estimates that cholorfluorocarbons released from all use of aerosols has dropped about 40 percent since 1976."

In "Folding Cartons Industry Posts Two New Records," PFFC documents: "The folding carton industry posted its first $2-billion year in 1977 and set a record for tonnage volume as well, S. Edward Iciek, president of the Paperboard Packaging Council, told the 1978 annual meeting in Chicago."

June 1978
"Perino’s Death an Industry Loss," Rigney titles his editorial. "Unexpectedly, on May 15, Dom A. Perino died in his sleep. For the past 14 years, Dom had been a renowned consultant to the converting industry. His monthly column Core of the Matter graced the PFFC pages for the last 13....His provocative, challenging style evoked debate, research, and accomplishment within the converting industry...and respect for the man because he had the facts and figures and imagination to back up his case."

W&H in USA
"The newly formed Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp., subsidiary of it W. German namesake, is building new 20,000-sq-ft facilities in Lincoln, RI. The moves comes after W&H in its first quarter as a new company, achieved 44 percent of its business goal for the entire year."

July 1978
OSHA Has Even More Impact
"OSHA is preparing to write regulations aimed at preventing workers from eye and skin hazards, and they’re expected to have broad impact -- skin disorders are reported to be the most prevalent of occupational diseases...."

August 1978
PFFC gets new look with "redesign of our logo and department heads to project a cleaner, more modern image," Rigney writes. Also, Legal Briefs column (which is still going strong in PFFC in 2002), then authored by Malcolm MacArthur, begins.

Material Handling Trends
"Two trends in materials handling are developing, a study by Predicasts, Inc. says. The first is a change toward a handling system approach with firms offering a variety of handling products rather than specializing...; the second is a growing use of computerized controls and equipment."

September 1978
Recycling Forecast
"The future of recycling will become more economically attractive, in the opinion of J. Rodney Edward, VP of Paperboard Group, American Paper Institute. Speaking at the 22nd annual Pulp and Paper, Edwards noted the industry must go to higher speeds in repulping, deflaking, or in parting fibers and must develop continuous, non-stop cleaning operations. Pressman will refuse to run recycled fibers if the contain contaminants that can jam up a press, he said. ‘We will see a much more rapid advancement in technology because management will put more research funds into recycling into the future.’"

National Flex Pack Assn. (NFPA) feature "Big Brother Isn’t Watching, He’s Acting" addresses increasing legislation affecting industry: "If converters aren’t aware of regulatory activities, vociferous in expressing the circumstances and limitations of our industry, and positive in presenting our position, then all the technical and marketing advances we develop for new materials and package designs will be for naught. Communicating its unique positions and specific problems to government is the most important job in the flexible packaging industry...."

Cleaning Up Industries' Act
"About 40,000 industrial plants across the country will have to clean up their discharges of toxic water pollutants under a new [EPA] strategy. The agency will require industries to ‘pretreat’ wastes to remove chemicals that cannot be treated adequately by municipal treatment plants. Industries that discharge toxic waste directly into waterways already are being required to install treatment equipment. EPA will set pretreatment standards for 21 industrial categories by December 1979....Compliance is required within three years after standard issuance."

October 1978
More Design Means More Biz
"New products and new venture activity should continue on a strong basis through 1979 - 90, a study by Charles Biondo Design Associates says. Their conclusion is based on a survey of package and industrial designers, which shows these firms working at a strong pace. Since design is usually for products 18 to 24 months after the design function has begun, the product activity is expected to be strong through 1980...."

November 1978
"Average pay for folding carton industry hourly employees increased 106 percent from 1967 - 77, while Consumer Index price rose 83 percent during same period...."

January 1979
With funding from OSHA, Graphic Arts International Union launches first health-and-safety study/program for industry. "GAIU study is designed to assess safety and health needs in the industry and develop a training module for GAIU members in more than 300 local unions across the country."

"Ronald Reagan, former California governor and a leading conservative spokesman, will address the annual meeting of the National Flexible Packaging Assn., Boca Raton, March 20....Reagan will tailor his talk to complement the NFPA annual meeting theme -- Opportunity 79. More than 500 members are expected to attend."

February 1979
Interpack Too Big for Its Own Good
"Exhibits of converting equipment will not permitted at the next Interpack show scheduled for May 14 - 20, 1981, in Düsseldorf. Organizers have concluded that the show is too big for its own good. Also excluded will be components for machine building."

PFFC warns: Prepare for Slowdown in 79. "Growth in the country's GNP failed to hit four percent mark in 1978. The inflation rate reached double-digit proportions, and there is general skepticism President Carter's anti-inflation measures will have any significant impact in 1979." However, PFFC adds this ray of hope for 79: "Most segments of the converting industry enjoyed record sales and shipments last year, and experts in many of these converting fields see 1979 as another good year."

"The Great Snow Job... Or Whatever Happened to my February Issue of PFFC?"
The February issue was delayed to severe snowstorm in upper Midwest. "It has taken a couple of weeks," wrote editor Rigney, "but we've finally been able to dig, burrow, and otherwise push enough of this big snow job aside to wend our ways back to our editorial desks and be about the business of publishing a magazine."

March 1979
79 Ain't So Great
Rigney's editorial, "The Not-So-Rosy Future," identifies double-digit inflation and the Iranian debacle as aggravating economic factors. And he comments on the labor scene -- unions were ignoring the President's ceiling recommendations on wage increases. "It's time to prepare for the worst and hope the government or somebody will come to their senses and start straightening out the mess."

Ovenable Board Gets Better
Peerless Machine & Tool Corp., Marion, IN, effects "major" processing advances that "propel ovenable board into its second generation of design and application. With improved substrates and newly developed machinery, ovenable board now can be produced in 2- and 3-compartment styles, as well as deep drawn roaster pans, broiler pans, and steam-cabinet trays."

April 1979
Flexographic Technical Assn. (FTA) Helps Industry with EPA Compliance with Clean Air Act workshop. Norm Abrams, PFFC Profit Probe columnist was slated to speak at event.

NFPA President's Award -- Reynold's Retort... "Big winner: Reynolds Metals Co., for specialty seafoods. The retortable pouch, called Flex-Can, replaces a clear plastic pouch. Product shelf life is upgraded to a minimum of two years. Holiday gift possibilities are enhanced."

May 1979
In "Inflation Diminishes Folding Carton Earnings," (Paperboard Packaging Council, author), PFFC reports the folding carton industry made solid progress in 1978, but inflation significantly reduced the apparent robust growth rate. "The recent inability to keep up with inflation has had a major negative impact on earnings."

EPA Regs May Be Tough for Cali
"The flexible packaging industry in California could be faced with tremendous operational problems in a few years, according to Richard A. Lillquist, president, FPA. The time now allotted for compliance with the proposal for the control of VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions from the graphic arts industry could prove harsh on the packaging operations in California."

June 1979
"Polypropylene soon could become the leading material for US food packaging industry, according to Shell Chemical Co.," writes Rigney in his June editorial. "A unique thermoforming process invented and developed by Shell has been adapted successfully in a commercial US operation, producing clear, non-breakable 4- and 6-oz cups....The possibilities [for the newly developed PP] range from think-walled food containers to thicker shapes found in appliance and auto components."

Battling the Packaging Backlash
Converterscope reports: "Few Americans realize that packaging dramatically reduces the burden on the municipal waste systems. For example: an average of 48 percent of fresh vegetables is inedible and must be discarded, according to US Dept. of Agriculture. When the same foods are packaged, 100 percent of the vegetable is edible, leaving only an ounce or less of waste to form in a carton, bag, or can."

July 1979
Polytype reports coaters and laminators in its Polynorm line were commissioned in Egypt, Indonesia, and India. Most of these installations were designed as multi-purpose installations, permitting double-sided lacquering of aluminum foil in one pass as well as dry and wet lamination of foil to paper and plastic films. Two of these installations were able to laminate and pre-lacquer foil in one pass.

Use of a new Bolton-Emerson coater and hot melts gives Custom Tapes, Chicago, IL, a "competitive edge." Said a co. official: "With hot melt, we avoided the large initial investment in a solvent system, the considerable additional expenses of operating with a solvent system and possible hassles with the EPA. We chose the Bolton-Emerson Park coater because we found it to be the most compact, easy to operate, and efficient system available."

August 1979
Flexible Packaging Assn. urges US Dept. of Energy to provide industry with priority status if diesel and kerosene fuel rationing were instituted. "The proposed rule that provides consumers engaged in agricultural production with their middle distillate needs should emergency allocation be required is being supported by FPA. The FPA is asking that packaging for food and pharmaceuticals be included because packaging is needed to maintain food operations. The FPA's testimony points out that diesel oil is needed for trucks transporting flexible packaging to food processors, and kerosene is a key lubricant in the production of aluminum foil.

Hot Melts Help with Hot Energy Issues
"Hot Melt Adhesive Coatings: Energy Savings and Production Efficiency" reports: "Converters applying hot melt adhesive coatings can save up to 94 percent on energy application costs. This is one result of a recent Shell Development Co. study, which reveals application energy costs for hot melts are only six percent of that for solvents and 20 percent of emulsion-based products."

September 1979
Disposable Diaper Ban
"A bill introduced recently to ban the sale of disposable diapers in Oregon as of Jan. 1, 1980, is now before the Oregon House committee on environment and energy. Supporters of the bill claim that too many paper and plastic diaper sold in the state end up along highways, in rest areas, and in campgrounds and forests."

Environment Effects Flexo
"Changes in Flexo Inks Linked to Environmental Pressures" reports: "The Clean Air Act is about to alter dramatically the formulation and the cost of using flexographic and rotogravure inks."

October 1979
"The world's thinnest commercially available polyester film 1.5 µm thick is introduced by DuPont. Developed as a dielectric for metallized film capacitators in electronic equipment, the new film will be used by many manufacturers in Europe...."

November 1979
Minnesota packaging case "has wide implications for entire packaging industry, because similar legislation is pending in other states." Environmentally oriented legislation that would force review of sold packages by government.

Industry Fortitude
Although during this time the industry was experiencing increasing and varied governmental regulations, the flex pack industry "has never been in better shape than it is today," said FPA president Richard Lillquist in his report: "Flexible Packaging Healthy Despite Many Regulations."

Pulp and Paper Did Its Part
"'The US pulp and paper industry reduced it consumption of scarce fossil fuels and purchased energy per ton of production by more than 18 percent between 1972 and the first half of 1979,’ notes Dr. Ronald J. Slinn, VP, Pulp, Materials, and Technology, American Paper Institute."

December 1979
Legal Briefs Warns Converters: "Hazardous Waste Rules Coming -- The regulations, which already have been published in proposed form, will implement provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976."

The biodegradable bag again made news in Europe. European editor, Richard Wood, writes: "...new U.K. introduction currently being evaluated in a major bakery. Results to date are encouraging but bags will not be commercially available until later."

Click here to view the 1980s.


Subscribe to PFFC's EClips Newsletter