PRIMIR study provides the latest word on ultraviolet and electron beam curing in printing.Read more
Ellis Paperbox added Eagle Systems' cold foil unit to a new Komori press, pleasing customers looking for shine at an affordable price.Read more
Fluid preparation and delivery may be ancillary to the coating process, but they are critical to the coating outcome.Read more
PFFC's "Static Beat" columnist Kelly Robinson is part of expanded "Ask the Experts" program. Kelly and "Coating Matters" columnist Mark Miller present at CEMA …Read more
News | New Products
EcoCortec VpCI films and bags, available in custom sizes and shapes, are said to offer strong protection for metal parts
Program allows companies to personalize FTA books with their logos as gifts to customers, prospects, etc.
A WorldStar 2015 Packaging Award honors company for fold-over blister card aimed to maximize billboard space and minimize material usage
The 2nd edition of Cartons, Crates, and Corrugated Board includes expanded data on tests, designs, materials, and regulations
Line is said to offer high performance and long bath life plus many environmental benefits
Printing solution, which can be integrated inline with converting machines for disposable sanitary napkins, applies patterns on inside of napkin
The NEOS Series, which will be introduced at ICE Europe, is said to be powerful and intelligent and to operate at high speeds
Directories | Reports
PFFC brings you exclusive White Papers from our online sponsors.
Visit Kelly on Static from Static control expert Dr. Kelly Robinson, president of Electrostatic Answers; Kelly has 27+ years of experience in problem-solving and consulting.
Visit Tim's Web Lines to handle and wind your paper, film, foil, and similar products. Take advantage of Tim’s 25+ years just like over 100 converters have.
Visit Mark's Coating Matters from fluid coating expert Mark D. Miller; Process improvement and project management for precision roll-to-roll coating applications.
Visit Marketing Mojo for dynamic marketing insights from Stephanie Millman that inspire new ideas on how to stay on top of your customer’s mind.
Visit Yo’s Yarns to share the thoughts, impressions, experiences, and news that impact the converting industry. . . or anything else that happens to be on her mind!
Visit Tom's Poly Ploys, where Tom will be writing on various topics that the typical polymer processor would encounter on the job.
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- July 16, 2010
Yup… the old adage is true. All things being equal, you get what you pay for. Since my days at Cryovac, Mobil Plastics, James River Corp, et al, and then consulting with many, many companies, I have seen the full gamut of quality in the blown film / cast film / extrusion coating and laminating / packaging / converting industries. The larger, more reputable companies offer excellent quality products and excellent service at a price commensurate with those attributes.
It is a well known business model in academia that any company offers only three things to its customer: Quality, Service & Price. Over the long term, each company can optimize only two of those three attributes. The classic example is the French restaurant compared to the fast food restaurant. The former optimizes quality and service and sacrifices price, i.e., charges more for its services. The fast food restaurant on the other hand, offers lesser service, but at a better price. It is possible to optimize all three variable in the short term, especially with government subsidies, to capture and entire market and put your competitors out of business. The Japanese did this in the electronics market in the ’80s. However, that strategy of excellent quality and excellent service at the lowest price is not sustainable in the long term. The same holds true in the converting world.
Quality comes in two flavors: Quality of Design and Quality of Manufacturing. End users of barrier films for example expect to receive the product that was designed and made to exacting specifications, without deviation from those specifications. It is possible to design a flimsy product, but build it to specifications perfectly, which results in a well built flimsy product. It is also possible to design a tough, durable product, and manufacture it with poor quality control techniques so that the product is a sometimes-functional, sometimes failing well-designed product. Let me give an example to illustrate.
A small co-ex barrier blown film/bag manufacturer wants to compete in the food packaging industry. Let’s just say it chooses to produce films for the cheese industry. The supplier meets with the end-user, mutually agrees upon a product construction, materials, and other specifications. Knowing it must compete with the larger players in the industry, who have excellent quality and excellent service, the small blown film house must enter the market with a lower price strategy. It does so, but quickly realizes that a 10-15% gross margin is insufficient to cover all expenses, including routine maintenance, quality control equipment and personnel, a maintenance shop, proper personnel, etc., etc. The converter then realizes that the fastest (and maybe only) way to increase profits is to reduce raw material costs. The most likely candidate is the costly EVOH layer, which the converter reduces from 15 microns to 6 microns. It does this without letting the end-user know of the change. So, down the slippery slope it goes.
Not possible you say? I was just an expert witness on a case in which this was the exact situation. It did happen, and it does happen all the time. Buyer beware. There are many things that happen when the EVOH layer is reduced by 60%. The obvious is that oxygen transmission increases (gets worse) due to a thinner layer. This means that extruder screw speed is 60% less, which means that the bulk residence time in the extruder is much longer, which means the EVOH is exposed to more thermal history, which means that it degrades into bubbles, gels and carbon at a greater rate which is further detrimental to product quality.
This supplier only measured film thickness, and occasionally bag burst strength, and it did so manually at that. It had no test equipment, no good manufacturing practices, and no preventative maintenance. It eventually went out of business, and left a domino effect of destruction in its wake.
Caveat Emptor (Let the buyer beware). More on this later.