Here are 3 web handling rules Tim Walker keeps forgetting to tell you.Read more
Music City plays host to converters attending the Flexographic Technical Assn.'s annual conference and exhibition.Read more
When looking for process, product, and profit improvements for your PSA tapes and labels, consider going back to the drawing board.Read more
Folding carton and corrugated converters will find equipment displays and educational opportunities in die-cutting, foil stamping, embossing, and more.Read more
News | New Products
Company says market for resealable bags in Brazil and Latin America is growing rapidly, and lab will provide shelf-ready samples for customers
The PX-721 system, called affordable and gentle, is part of the company’s Phoenix line
Companies excelling in technical innovation, print excellence, and sustainability as well as industry leaders are among those honored by FTA
The 18th edition of the show is said to be the gateway to 380 million consumers in the East African Region
Shingle stream method uses company’s Tornado technology to enable automated variable overlap shingling for variable length sheeting and stacking
The 9th Annual IMDA Awards Competition will recognize IML packaging, IMD durable products, and labels in multiple categories
The companies will develop inspection solutions for sectors including labeling and packaging and also will co-develop print quality assurance solutions
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.
- 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.