After dashing through the expanse of new product developments gathered from all corners of the world last April at Interpack, Emballage 2002 presents an opportunity to take perhaps a more leisurely stroll around the innovations that capture the packaging industry today, and offer a glimpse of tomorrow reports Louise Hunt
According to Emballage organisers Exposium, out of the 2680 exhibitors over 230 new products will fill seven halls of the Paris-Nord Villepinte parc des Expositions between 18-22 November. 105 of these developments come from the packaging sector, while 125 will be in packaging machinery. A total of 137 are being presented exclusively at the show.
Emballage is said to be the only exhibition of its size in the world to organise stands by sector. A total of 12 sectors will be represented comprising: Packaging – food, cosmetics and all products; primary packaging machines; Secondary packaging; materials; printing, marking and coding; converting machines, handling and storage.
The food industry has a strong presence and makes up 57% of the product launches. For the second year, the combined exhibitions of Emballage and IPA – the World Food Process Exhibition – make this one of the world’s largest food technology events, with 60% of the projected 160 000 visitors looking for solutions.
With one badge for both exhibitions an increasingly global contingent is attending. International numbers are up 26% since 2000. 50% of visitors come from outside France. Italy has the largest international presence with more distant countries such as Taiwan crossing the threshold. The UK, however, will not have a pavilion this year.
Along with food, 107 of the new products come from the cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries. A luxury products showcase situated in the heart of the health and beauty sector in hall six is said to be a fast growing feature, with 67 new products making up this year’s shining contingent. A label village is also located in Hall 4.
To help focus the mind, Exposium has identified the main trends running through Emballage 2002.
Thanks to technical progress and the reduction in production costs, more packs are crossing borders between markets.
Forms and materials can be used in all areas. If cost permits, a new material can be found in food, detergents, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.
Although production processes still ultimately dictate the form of a pack, there is demand for structural innovation to better identify the brand and product.
As a result, multi-sensory packaging that adds a number of tactile experiences to the pack is a growing area. There are examples of flat-bottomed plastics pouches with a paper-like feel or have a metallic or fluorescent sheen.
The soft or satin touch is provided by varnishing or by the application of an elastomer or by co-extrusion of PP, reinforced by frosted inks. A layer of polyamide is applied to the other side to give the shine.
The plastics sector is good example of dynamism in packaging as it adapts well to all marketing concepts, says Exposium. The obvious example is the development of transparent PET bottles for mineral water. For the perfume sector, it is the introduction of copolyesters with properties very similar to glass. Eastman Chemical is one company at the forefront of resin development for transparent plastics.
As well as traditional use of plastics films, there is a movement towards multi-material assembly with aluminium, paper and cardboard to create more complex combinations.
One example is a rigid plastics liner fitted into metal or glass. The development by exhibitor Virojanglor is a box with a cover that can contain a glass bottle. It comprises two embossed metal parts with coloured transparent rigid plastics in between.
There is a growing harmony between the product and the chosen packaging material with a focus on mono- or bi-material raw materials which are better suited to the contents.
This is the case for a tray made of cardboard on the outside and cardboard fluting covered with a PET film, jointly developed by Kappa Packaging France and Walki Wisa.
Packaging tailored to the needs of fragile fresh produce is coming onboard. A tray with several flexible components from CGL Pack has been made out of thermoformed plastics to separate salad ingredients.
In terms of technology, Exposium has identified RFID as being one of the pivotal developments in today’s packaging industry. It may still be at the dawn of its evolution, having so far been held back by its cost and possible applications, but its promise grows as it is adopted by larger end-users such as Marks and Spencer in the UK. At Emballage, two RFID machines will be shown by Eticoncept.
Also significant is the improvement in control tools which are easy to use on the packing lines and provide improved reactivity.
This might be in checking labels, metals, temperature sensors, fault detection and in-line measurements. New products in this area will be presented by Elcowa, Cintex and Lock Qualimatic.
Increased automation, particularly when incorporating robotics, is boosting efficiency and is clearly a major theme of the show.
Visitors to Beaurain Frères stand 4B31 will, for the first time in France, be able to see the unity of robots and packaging machines in action. Carton machinery specialist Bradman Lake, based in the UK and US, will demonstrate its Propack LJ vertical race track collator loader with the ABB robot FlexPicker. It will be teamed with Bradman Lake’s 2/60 single-head 3-flap carton erector and FCC Compact R (right angle) closer to produce a fully automated production line.
Another robotic packing develop-ment comes from Newtec Case Palletizing situated on stand 5A J110.
The Pal-Pack 4410 is a 4-axis articulated pick and place robot from Fanuc fitted with a full layer gripping head and a layer forming system. Load capacity can reach 450kg/cycle.
It can be used for collated products such as cartons at high throughputs on one or several production lines. It can also be used for non-collated items, such as display products, with specific product dimensions.
Also in the world of case packing, Cermex is to exclusively reveal three developments on stand 5AF70.
A new top loading case packer with numerical axes has been developed to meet increased hygiene and access requirements, as well as offer smooth and fast performance.
Cermex has redesigned its combined function SD39 top loader to feature a cantilever concept. On the stand, it will demonstrate the handling of shampoo bottles at 216 products/min.
The company will also bring to light a new palletising concept to provide easy management of different case in-feed heights, reduction of conveyor length between the case packer and palletiser along with multipalletisation options.
As an addition to its TS Evolution range, Cermex is also introducing a sealless shrink wrapper for 200-300ml cartons, running at 32 000 products/hr.
Gerhard Schubert will be showing its new TLM Toploading concept. Shown on stand 5AH31, it is designed to pack all types of products into cartons, boxes or containers offering flexibility for re-tooling.
The manufacturing process of the machine is new. During the pre-assembly stages, a basic machine structure is batch produced in two days. But in the final assembly stages the tools are installed and tailored for the product and packaging material. As a result, the majority of functions have been incorporated into the control software.
The RPC Group is responsible for a number of developments in plastics that identify the growing need for high temperature processable plastics packaging to be revealed on stand 6F81.
RPC Tedeco-Gizeh Bouxwiller will launch a 1.2kg PP pot for dairy products and RPC Bramlage-Wiko will preview two further sizes – 100 and 150ml – for its Saphir cosmetics jar range.
A range of trays for MAP applications and examples of multi-layer packaging will be demonstrated by RPC Bebo Plastik, while RPC Corby is to unveil extensions to its Ultra, Sapphire and Finnesse jar ranges.
The highlight of RPC Cresstales stand will be the latest in lipstick technology and compacts that demonstrate advanced decoration techniques.
GPI UK will be exhibiting its range of new thermoformed carry-home containers on the Group Guillin stand 6F10. All three packs have been designed for the burgeoning ready meal and snack markets.
Marmipack is a lidded container for hot food and deli counters in 500cc, 1000cc and 1000cc twin compartment sizes. PP allows hot filling, microwave heating and oven warming. A black base was chosen to show off the meal and give the impression of home cooking.
Designed to highlight sushi and other premium snacks, Snackipak consists of a PET rigid black tray and crystal clear transparent cover. A snap shut lid is easy to open and re-close.
Archipack is a range of clear PP containers for hot filling and heating of ready meals and can be frozen. It is available in 250, 375, 500, 750, 1000 and 1500cc. Snap shut lids give secure, leak proof closures.