An innovative lightweighting project at Europe’s leading multi-material packaging manufacturer, LINPAC Packaging, has enabled the company to compete against the inline thermoforming (Form, Fill, Seal) market for the first time and offer packers a more robust solution in particular for fresh mince packs.
Until now, LINPAC Packaging tray and film solutions have never proved competitive in terms of cost or weight when compared with standard inline Form, Fill, Seal pack designs for mince applications.
For the past two years, the food packaging company has been working in partnership with several machinery manufacturers, packers and retailers to develop and drive forward a key initiative to significantly reduce the overall weight of some of its trays, and downgauge its LINtop lidding films, whilst ensuring they retain product performance and quality.
Project LIFE (Lightweighting For Excellence) has led to such significant reductions in material usage that the LINPAC rigid rPET tray and LINtop films combination now offers a real alternative to packers using the standard form fill seal technology in terms of overall running cost and design flexibility.
Alan Davey, Director of Innovation at LINPAC Packaging, said: “This significant step forward is as a direct result of manufacturing process technology improvements at LINPAC and a commitment to continuous quality improvement across the company.
“Project LIFE is a response to market trends and to what our customers have been telling us they want from their packaging. We are developing sustainable solutions which are lighter and yet maintain the performance of heavier, virgin material trays in terms of presentation, product protection and shelf-life.”
Packer processors which are ready to change their machinery and want to be able to offer the latest innovative packaging for mince should take the opportunity to consider the LINPAC Packaging lightweight trays and LINtop lidding films. Those already using top seal lidding machines will also be able to run the new rigid trays without changing tools.
The new rigid trays offer better product presentation and protection, and generally an improved look and feel, than the traditional form fill seal pack design. The LINPAC innovation also means packers can choose to use materials which are fully recyclable and contain high levels of post consumer recyclate to support their efforts to be more sustainable.
Other benefits of using rigid trays and sealing line technology include:
• A wide range of machine sizes and outputs to suit all businesses and applications
• Ability to deliver different pack shapes and flexibility on size – the packs are only restricted by the size of the sealing area
• Fast streamline machine performance with fast tool changes
• Potential for cheaper tooling
• Easier product loading (the system only needs to cope with the product), and better labour efficiency.
• Materials choice flexibility – no lock-ins to machines and materials
• Multi-format packing for top seal, tray skin pack, slice packs, super-protruding, multi-compartment, all on one machine.