PACK EXPO International Breaks Attendance Records

logo-packexpo_1386529104446_1As one of the many exhibiting companies at this year’s PACK EXPO International, we at WeightPack were thrilled to interact with so many of our current and future customers. We didn’t realize just how many we were going to get to meet over the four-day event. The 2014 PACK EXPO drew over 48,600 attendees, setting an attendance record with a jump of 6.5 percent over the previous record set in 2012.

Held in Chicago, the PACK EXPO is the largest packaging and processing trade show in North America. The exhibit space in McCormick Space was filled with us, as well as 2,351 other exhibiting companies – nearly a 20% leap over the 2012 event. This was clearly a successful show, no matter what you are using to judge it.

Coordinated by the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute, this trade show, like many others, provides us with a great opportunity to socialize and network with customers as well as other companies that share in our industry. The fact that this year’s expo was tied in with the inaugural Pharma EXPO increased the breadth of customers we got to deal with, and who got to see what we can offer.

While it’s not likely to draw quite the same sized crowd, we’re looking forward to taking part in the inaugural PACK EXPO Las Vegas, set to take place September 28th through 30th at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is a co-hosted event with Pharma Expo 2015 and many are expected to attend with over a thousand exhibitors and thousands attendees from the food, beverage, personal care and pharmaceutical industries will also be there.

So stop by our booth at PACK EXPO Las Vegas if you’re one of the thousands of attendees looking for the latest solution for your liquid packaging needs. We’ll be happy to chat with you and show you what we can offer.

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New Food Packaging Concepts That Get Attention

Fotosearch_k12269161When a consumer walks down a grocery store aisle, they are bombarded and often overwhelmed with product options. This is the time when packaging and design are the most important. Without an attractive design that matches up with the product and brand, that customer might just walk straight past your product. While in some cases packaging can be the thing that sells your product, it could also be the thing that keeps it on the shelves. This is why it’s important to stay up to date on the innovative new trends that are present in markets right now.

What attracts consumers to any product on a shelf is the color, structure, or graphic designs, or sometimes the combination of the three. Color is something specific most people see every day and it has been proven to have a connection to human emotions. The William Saurin Group, in its production of the innovative “casserole” dish made sure to incorporate the role of color to “recruit new customers from other markets such as fresh prepared food, by offering a premium product in an original and aspirational plastic package.” Featuring dishes like Seafood Paella and Lemon Chicken, the plastic containers are found in bright yellows, reds, and blues that catch the attention of customers walking past. Unusual colors can also attract customers to specific products. Purple isn’t a color you see often on the grocery store shelves but it’s what TriVita, Inc. chose for its Adaptuit product. Their goal in using the purple hue was to differentiate from some of their other products; the project was a success and also won awards in graphic design.

Just as color is important when designing the packaging for your product, technology in graphics is taking the industry by storm and having a significant impact on sales. For example, the family owned winery, Okanagan Villa Estate Winery, uses 3D packaging to give a new look to their products. “It has an enormous impact on sales,” said owner Wyn Lewis, “…we’ll work our way through that over the next 10 years. That’s going to be our brand signature.” Along with the 3D graphics, the winery also uses shrink wrap instead of traditional wine packaging. Clinging to the bottle, the shrink wrap creates an almost “printed” effect that’s a hit with new customers.

Take a tip from these examples: when designing the packaging for your product, don’t forget to include the best of the packaging worlds: color, structure, and graphics. It could make the difference between a customer’s buying your product or by-passing it.

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Health and Beauty Trends Add to Coconut Oil’s Popularity

coconuts,coconut oil benefits, natural health products, natural beauty productsWe’ve been seeing a lot of news lately surrounding the newest trend in the health and beauty sector – oil pulling. But what is this craze all about, and what does it mean for edible oil producers?

Oil pulling involves taking a tablespoon of pure oil – which can include sesame oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, or coconut oil – and swishing it around your mouth for anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes. Coconut oil is often the go-to because it is more palatable than others. For many people who have tried it, the consensus appears to be that while the process takes getting used to, it does result in whiter teeth and a healthier mouth in general. The effects of oil pulling are similar to using mouthwash, but the benefit is that this is a natural product. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health even found evidence of oil pulling’s role in treating plaque-induced gingivitis.

Coconut oil is used in many more applications that just oral hygiene, however. It is increasingly becoming a more common beauty aid thanks to its combination of antimicrobial and moisturizing qualities. According to the health magazine Prevention, coconut oil is great for soothing dry hands and deep conditioning hair. And for extremely dry skin that cracks, the article states that coconut oil not only provides necessary moisture, but can also speed healing.

For these reasons, coconut oil is quickly becoming a staple on many people’s kitchen shelves and in medicine cabinets.  Devotees recommend keeping two jars on hand, one for cooking and one for personal care habits. To accommodate the growing trend, coconut oil producers should make sure they are using the most accurate net weight filling and capping technology to ensure optimal productivity and value during processing. WeightPack has numerous products designed to suit these needs. Learn more about our edible oil processing machinery online.

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As Plant-Based Milk Gains Popularity, What Are the Main Differences?

PresentationPro,dairy products,glass,healthy,liquid,milk,pouring,splashLately, we’re seeing more and more ads for plant-based milk alternatives. The most popular of the bunch is soymilk, which can be found in a number of flavors to appeal to just about any palate. But what are the main differences between dairy milk and its newer counterparts? And should dairy farmers be concerned?

According to a dairy farmer interviewed by WEAU 13 News, in Wisconsin, while dairy milk consumption has been declining, dairy-based butter, yogurt and cheese consumption is on the rise in the United States. So although it is increasingly uncommon to see someone order a glass of milk at the local diner, chances are they are eating some form of dairy in the actual meal.

The article also states that aside from allergies and other dietary restrictions, one reason for the switch to a product like soymilk relates to taste. Some consumers may prefer the taste of chocolate soymilk to a glass of regular cow’s milk.

But what exactly are the differences between the various milk options (aside from where they come from)? And is there any health benefit from swapping out dairy for plant-based equivalents? An article published in The Seattle Times sought to answer this question with some basic facts about each milk option.

According to The Seattle Times article, dairy milk is a great source of protein, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and calcium. And when fortified with vitamin D, it further aids in the absorption of calcium in the body. Plant-based milks often contain added nutrients that are commonly found in dairy milk, though they may not be as easily absorbed as those coming from a naturally occurring food source. Another issue is added sugar – because many people prefer flavored plant-based milk varieties, consumers should be aware of sugar content and other ingredients. But for unsweetened plant-based milks, there are less calories and often less fat (coconut milk has a bit more fat than 2% milk) than dairy options. And for lactose intolerant individuals, or those who suffer from other dairy allergies, there is a great appeal to plant-based alternatives.

Overall, the choice of which milk to consume depends on which dietary factors are being monitored, and which taste shoppers prefer.

WeightPack offers Extended Shelf Life (ESL) packaging systems for all kinds of milk products. This includes decontamination treatment of primary packaging by appropriate sanitizing liquids with electronically controlled valves, ensuring cleanliness during packaging operations. For more information, please watch our video on ESL milk bottling in PET bottles.

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Proper Bottling and Warehousing of Olive Oil to Preserve Health Benefits

View detailsOlive oil has long been touted for its varied health benefits, ranging from reduced inflammation, healthier heart and blood vessel function, and even longer life expectancies. The key to all of these positive effects are olive oil’s monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). While most people are aware that they need to limit fatty foods in their diet, not all fats are alike. Unlike trans fats, which raise bad cholesterol and clog arteries, monounsaturated fats actually prevent arteries from hardening and can help lower bad cholesterol. Extra virgin olive oil in particular seems to have the greatest benefits.

But without proper bottling and storage, all of these characteristics are at risk. Over the course of a 3-year study, researchers found that exposure to light, oxygen, and heat were damaging to extra virgin olive oil. According to the article in Olive Oil Times, “… at higher temperatures, the compounds that cause pleasant flavours and aromas in olive oil change and instead cause unpleasant ones. Rancidity develops sooner and free fatty acid levels rise faster.” In addition, healthful antioxidants found in olive oil will actually decrease due to light exposure.

To preserve the integrity of extra virgin olive oil, it is vital to keep it shielded from light. This can be achieved by selecting bottles that have a dark tint, which will act just like sunglasses for the olive oil. Processing plants should also be sure to keep ambient temperatures low. This cool temperature must also be maintained throughout all stages of shipping and warehousing. And to prevent oxygen from spoiling the olive oil, it’s necessary to have reliable rotary capping machines to create an air-tight seal once the bottles are filled.

To learn more about specialized bottling and capping machines to streamline olive oil production for retail, please feel free to request a quote online or contact us for more information.

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Challenges and Solutions for Bottling Corrosive Products

There are certain products that require specific handling and storage methods to ensure consumer safety. One look under the kitchen or bathroom sink will often reveal a number of these items. Bleach, for example, and other cleaning products are revered for their ability to cut grime and kill bacteria. Unfortunately, the properties that make them so effective can also be damaging to people, as well as the equipment used to package and store them.

Due to their corrosive properties, chemicals like bleach and other popular cleaners need special precautions during all stages of material handling. For example, in the production line there are many materials that would corrode after extended exposure to chlorine bleach. Using a material like Super Duplex steel offers much higher resistance to corrosion, pitting, and cracking. Coating stainless steel pipes and tanks provides an additional layer of protection against corrosion.

The caustic agents themselves aren’t the only concern in processing, though. Fumes can also be hazardous to workers. Having an effective exhaust system in place is crucial to ensuring workspace safety. And keeping sensitive drive components and weighing system electronics separate from the bleach machine table is also important to mitigate the threat of spills and splashes.

Integrating a corrosive products net weight filler/capper system helps to ensure that all safety measures are being taken to protect your production line and the workers who keep it moving. This system can handle a wide range of hazardous materials, including acids, chlorine bleach, toilet bowl cleaners, paint thinners and additives, and more.

For additional information about adding a corrosive product net weight filling/capping station to your facility, contact WeightPack to request a quote.

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How Net Weight Filling Can Reduce Food Waste

Standard Filler CapperFood waste has become a pressing issue, with experts from all walks coming together to find solutions. The packaging industry in particular has recognized this growing problem and is actively working to lessen the amount of waste.

This month, experts will convene at Pack Expo Las Vegas. Yasmin Siddiqi of DuPont will be delivering the speech, “Factors impacting food security.” She will discuss the large portions of food that go uneaten each year to raise awareness and foster more discussion on this important topic.

WEIGHTPACK will also be present at the expo, and will be showcasing net weight filling capabilities at booth #C4201. Net weight filling is one way food and beverage manufacturers can do their part to reduce waste.

Anti Drip NozzleThe process involves weighing products at all stages of filling. Products are measured and weighed before and during the course of filling/bottling. The finished product is weighed again to ensure it precisely matches the specifications, or “recipe.”  This process reduces the amount of product waste during the production cycle which in turn, increases the total output by reducing the amount of time the machine has to be stopped for cleaning.  Unlike volumetric filling that can vary depending on the product, temperature, and other external factors, net weight filling is precise, guaranteeing an accurate and steady measurement.

When a consumer is shopping and picks up a bottle of milk, for example, the net weight listed on the label will be accurate. So if they need a specific amount to last just long enough to avoid expiration, knowing the exact weight of the container will ensure that none of the milk goes to waste. Having access to this information is especially important for perishable items that will spoil if more is purchased than can be used in a set amount of time.

Please visit our website for more information about net weight filler technology. We also look forward to meeting you in booth #C4201 at the Pack Expo!

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Electronic and Mechanical Cappers

Cappers are an important part of the net weight filling process. With 10 years of building net weight filling lines behind us, we know a thing or two about a variety of capper models. Most net weight filler lines we offer at WeightPack incorporate a capping turret built on the rotary-capping-machines-fullcommon base and synchronized to the filler. These cappers can be a part of filling/capping multiblocks or standalone machines.

There is more than one type of capper. Some net weight lines would benefit from using a mechanical capper, while others would do best with an electronic capper. The mechanical models feature things like a double track main cam to give more positive control to the capping heads and minimize wear and maintenance, three separate chucks on the capping jaw to allow more positive control of the cap, drive gears that are matched with materials selected to reduce maintenance and noise, and low hysteresis magnetic capping heads which offer accurate torque regulation while eliminating any cap damage due to the “wratcheting” effect usually found with permanent magnet type heads.

For companies that need a little bit more, electronic cappers offer all of the benefits of mechanical models as well as an individual servo motor driving each capping head. This extra feature allows for things like cap orientation, torque control with statistical readouts, total control of capping head revolutions, and quick release capping heads for swift changeovers.

Companies should also take specialty designs into consideration when purchasing a capper. Mechanical cappers can be made with press-on capping heads for items like Olive Oil bottles, and spout inserters used to insert pour spouts into products like laundry detergent bottles. Electronic cappers can have spray nozzle inserters with separate and independent servo motor controls, which lower the pump tube into the bottle and screw the cap on the bottle while the spray nozzle is held in position.

After a decade of experience, we know net weight filling line machinery. Cappers play an important role in net weight filling processes, and getting the right type of capper is extremely important. Find out more about cappers on our site!

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Rotary Vs. In-Line Net Weight Fillers

If you’re in the filling business you’ve probably tossed around the pros and cons of in-line fillers and rotary fillers. Something to consider for this is that you don’t want to build up a rotary-in-line-net-weight-filling-machines-fullmajor production line with a whole bunch of in-line fillers. In-line filling equipment only needs low production speeds, which can be appealing to smaller production companies. The problem is that at some point in time, you’re looking at higher speed production equipment. When this happens, you have to go rotary.

Rotary fillers make more sense for high-speed production lines. These net weight fillers are efficient at producing large volumes on an automated filler or capper line with a minimum number of operators. More important than anything else is the rotary filler’s ability to perform net weight filling, which can reduce product waste so greatly that the savings will cover the cost of the equipment.

With true net weight filling that’s offered by the rotary filler you can measure to a more precise number. This is done by continuously weighing the container during the fill cycle and again once the cycle is finished.

Don’t take this as an insult to in-line fillers. Saving money in the production department makes sense for smaller companies that aren’t putting out as much product. The distinction is that once your company grows – and hopefully it will! – it’s a better investment to replace your in-line with a rotary filler. Adding more in-line fillers will delay the issue, not solve it.

There’s no answer to whether in-line or rotary fillers are better. Each meets different needs depending on the company that is buying them. While rotary fillers are more practical if a company has a heavy output, smaller manufacturers would benefit from the simplicity of an in-line filler.

You can find out more about net weight fillers at WeightPack!

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Net Weight

People see it on labels every day, but not everyone knows what goes into the net weight process for food products. With a few misconceptions about the process itself, as well as what the term net weight can refer to, here are five things you didn’t know about net weight.

  1. In true net weight filling, the weight of each container is continuously monitored during the filling cycle. There are companies that perform a pseudo-net weight filling but don’t weigh each container while it’s being filled. Instead, companies will track the amount of fluid passing through a tube and estimate how much reached the container. This method doesn’t include weighing the filled container. True net weight filling involves weighing the container after it’s been filled to get an exact measurement.
  2. The fill nozzle is closed only when the weight cell determines that the correct fill weight has been reached. A proper net weight system will be based on the weight of the container when the process starts and stops. Some weighing systems will base this on time, flow volume, or displacement, but actual container weight gives the most accurate results.
  3. Every container’s final fill weight is checked one more time after the fill nozzle is closed, and any variation from a perfect fill is noted. Anytime the fill isn’t perfect, minor adjustments are made automatically to the control system. The filler automatically achieves greater and greater accuracy when running continuously. Not only is the weight checked and the nozzle turned off when the weight is reached, but to make sure no mistakes are made a final check is done after the nozzle has been turned off.
  4. Any container falling outside of an acceptable fill weight range is automatically channeled into a reject lane. This range is pre-entered into the recipe by the customer and needs to be met with precision. Based on the final weight the computer that controls the filling machine automatically calculates how much needs to be added or subtracted from the next round. This makes for more accurate filling over time.
  5. Accurate fill is not affected by any outside elements. Different things like temperature and density can cause a temporary change in the products, which in other circumstances could affect the final weight. If true weight is what is being measured, these changes won’t have an effect on the end result.

Not all weight filling methods are equal. These five points are what make true net weight the most accurate filling process.

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