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Edible packaging made from food by-products reduces use of plastic

1st April 2013


University of California food scientist Professor John Krochta has developed an edible food coating derived from the dairy by-product whey.

He believes that the protection, which can either be a smooth, glossy coat or a thin, plastic-like film, can be used to make foods spoilage-resistant. It will reduce the amount of packaging needed and finds a use for a by-product that now ends up mostly in low value products or is thrown away. Manufacturers of edible film also have a selection of starches to choose from, including wheat, potato or corn.

Scientists at Oregon State University's department of Food Science and Technology have already designed an edible film made from natural ingredients that protects foods coated in the material from spoiling. The film can also hold vitamins and other nutrients within it to boost the nutritional value of the food.

The scientists combined chitosan, a fibre found in crab and shrimp shells, which is also a raw material for nutraceutical products, and the protein from egg whites, lysozyme, to create an anti-microbial food wrap.

CCL Container has developed packaging that it claims is virtually impossible to replicate and is tamper-free. It uses aluminium because it is 100percent recyclable and differentiates itself from competing brands in plastic and glass containers.

To make the package especially difficult to replicate, CCL will deboss the user's logo on the side of the container and add intricate lithography with a monochrome screened photo image.

CCL incorporates tamper-evidence functions by increasing the surface area of the lip of the bottle to accommodate a pressure-sensitive liner that serves as the protective and consumer-preferred seal. Additionally, an outer plastic band covers the neck and closure of the package.

Curvy carton

Elopak has developed a new curved carton which features an extra face that provides a prominent space for branding or slogans. Called Diamond Pure-Pak Curve, the company says the new package combines the technical and ergonomic design features of their other designs to create a totally original shaped carton.

The pouring spout diameter has been increased by 38percent to give improved pouring properties while the cap has a better grip. Elopack says over 80percent of consumer decisions are made at the store shelf and the new curved packaging concept is both eye catching and functional.

Italian packaging group PFM has just launched an innovative flow pack line comprising the Scirocco Super Long Dwell and an automated feeding system complete with video camera. The loading system features an electronic arm capable of locating and picking products up from the transport belt and placing them onto the flow-pack wrapper.

PFM says that the system has been improved by the new Super Long Dwell cross sealing system, which offers increased packaging speeds up to 200ppm with guaranteed hermetic seals. This makes the product ideal for the modified air-packaging sector that is booming due to increasing sales of ready meals.

One variation has been designed for the packaging of granular products, chips, snacks and sweets, where high production speeds are required. The new Super Long Dwell sealing system increases the machine's packaging speed to 180mechanical packaging cycles a minute.

The Super Long Dwell system is based on a concept that PFM claims guarantees extended working safety and stability over time. The rotating mechanical components are placed in an oil bath inside a box, and the system also features on-line servicing, touch screen control and a new diagnostics system.

Biscuit packaging

The group has also introduced an on-edge packaging of biscuits composed of a portioner, Tagada high-speed transfer system and Modulo flow-pack packaging machine that treats products with extreme delicacy.

The portioner is an automatic device for both round, rectangular or square biscuits. It identifies the number of biscuits to be collected and then loads them onto the flow-pack packaging machine.

Tagada is a patented circular-motion transfer system that enables up to 200units a minute to be loaded onto the infeed belt of the Modulo flow pack horizontal packaging machine. It collects the biscuits coming from the multi-section loader, by means of a pick up unit, which is designed to take into consideration product shape and, due to the circular self-following motion of the system, the biscuits are inserted and perfectly phased between the pushers of the packaging machine infeed conveyor.

The company says the system should enable average productivity to be increased by around 60percent in complete working safety with no risk of product breakage.

Lantech claims that the patented self-threader forming head on its new SW-5000 shrink-wrapping machine delivers perfectly centred lap seals without the need for adjustment.

Rated at 75packages per minute, the high-output machine is ideal for products ranging from food to pharmaceuticals. It eliminates operator intervention in setting up the lap-seal. The forming head automatically aligns the film for a perfect result.

Designed as a zero-maintenance machine, the SW-5000 helps packagers reduce cost with its use of flat film ­ typically 8­13percentless expensive than centre-folded film ­ and elimination of film scrap. The machine has an optional hot block available to close the lap seal. Lantech's Ever-Clean end seal system is reliable and maintenance-free with a seal bar that cuts and seals with separate heated surfaces.

All set-up parameters, including electronic film collapse and product spacing, are displayed in a single view on the colour touch-screen LCD control, mounted on a swing arm.

Meat packaging represents one of the largest applications for stretch film, and is a sector that has seen significant innovation in recent months. Packagers in this industry require film that has enough oxygen permeability to allow the formation of oxymyglobin, which gives the desired fresh red look to the meat. So the new machine from Lantech will enable food packagers to take full advantage of a growing market.

Printing solutions

Many of Domino Printing Science's coding solutions have been developed to print directly onto food and food packaging and these integrate seamlessly into existing lines and comply with FDA, MAFF and EEC regulations.

Typical applications include eggs, PET, flexible packs, flow wrap, cartons, cans and corrugated outer cases. In addition, the company has worked closely with wine, spirits, beer and soft drink suppliers.

Foremost in Domino's line-up is its A-Series range of continuous ink jet printers, which have been developed to offer a wide range of reliable coding solutions. The A300 prints up to four lines of text with a variety of print formats that include logos, bar codes/dot codes, automatic serial numbering/batch coding and real time clocks.

The company's S-Series line of scribing laser systems is designed for high quality coding applications using CO2 laser technology which produces permanent marking of text, graphics and variable data on a variety of substrates such as paper, plastic, glass and cartons.

Its C-Series of high-resolution large character ink jet printers prints barcodes, text, and graphics onto porous substrates such as corrugated outer cases, trays and sacks. It features high quality print, simple operation and can be networked.

Metal detection

Lock Inspection Systems says its new MET 30+hf metal detector offers up to 30percent higher sensitivity than standard detectors. The unit employs a single high frequency, crystal controlled oscillator, and is designed primarily for snack food and bakery industries.

The company says its MET 30+3f is the world's first fully automatic triple frequency detector, capable of highly accurate inspection of both poly-film and metallised packaged products. The 3f operates at three crystal-controlled frequencies and automatically chooses the optimum frequency for the packaging.

Krones has launched a newly developed buffer system that provides an intermediate container storage system for a host of containers, including PET, metal cans, cartons and shrink-wrap trays on packaging lines.

The Accutower opens up automatically when a malfunction occurs to provide an appropriate buffer length to prevent any damage to the packaging and its contents. When all the machines in a line are functioning normally, the containers pass through equipment by the shortest route.

Buffer zones are crucial if a bottling line is to become an organic system, able to remain fluid and to respond promptly to malfunctions at individual units without the entire line having to be halted. The section just downstream of a cooler or pasteuriser is particularly critical, for instance.

Buffer zones constitute a dilemma: on the one hand, they are required to be able to accommodate as many containers as humanly possible in a short space of time; but on the other hand they must take up as little factory floor space as possible.

Krones says it has designed the Accutower around this problem, providing a system that exploits vertical storage. To do this the containers are stored in a spiral configuration. The basic system comprises a coaxial double spiral, with an infeed and discharge conveyor track.





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