Cyril Touchet, sales manager, FEMAAG, told BeverageDaily.com that its EOP system – which it will unveil at Emballage in Paris from November 17-20 – imposes negligible costs for brands and avoids the weaknesses of other systems.
He said that existing systems used pre-perforations that are difficult to adjust to ensure that they do not open or enlarge in the shrink tunnel.
“And from a consumer standpoint if the perforations are not big enough it is difficult to open the pack,” he said, adding that although producers can use a special film that is easier to tear crossways, this is an extra cost.
FEMAAG promises no strings attached…
Aside from using special (more expensive) films that are easier to tear but remain difficult to perforate, leading some producers to add their own perforations, Touchet said strings were also inserted into film (as is found on some flow wrapped packs), again at an extra cost in terms of money and manufacturing complexity.
“Because of production issue/extra costs and weak added value for consumers there are very, very few shrink packs on the market with an easy opening system. We will change that,” he said.
FEMAAG claims its EOP system (see illustrative images above and below) is “intuitive, convincing and reliable” for consumers, can we used with standard films of any nature or thickness and requires no modification of existing graphic design.
Rather than using perforations, the film is only stamped, and the weakened opening zone is precisely delimited to preserve its integrity and avoid jeopardizing pack sturdiness.
“Because of production issue/extra costs and weak added value for consumers there are very, very few shrink packs on the market with an easy opening system. We will change that,” Cyril Touchet, sales director, FEMAAG
Interest from French and US bottlers
Touchet said FEMAAG had interest from large soft drinks bottlers and waters brands in France and the US, and although he insists the product holds global potential, expects EOP to start strongly in North America and the UK – on big cash and carry bottle packs.
“They showed a great interest, but – quite logically – are awaiting our final tests. The packaging director of one premium water brand is ready to consider a test in his factory,” he added.
Although EOP can be used with any packs wrapped in plastic, which particular segment did Touchet believe would spur adoption – bottled waters, for instance?
“Yes, you are right but also soft drinks. Mainly because we are acting a lot in beverages industry. By the way, the more we move forward the more we are discovering interesting markets,” he said.
For instance somebody raised to our attention that the EOP will be great for tissues as we do not perforate the film (then remain waterproof, good for tissues).
Nested packs now North American bottled water standard – FEMAAG
EOP will also exhibit its system for nested packs (gathering bottles in staggered rows prior to shrink wrapping) at Emballage, and Touchet insists that strong growth in North America for this technology – especially applied to 500ml bottles in packs of 24-35 – can still take off in Europe, where uptake was been minimal.
Although some manufacturers have fought them for years, he claimed that nested packs were proven to provide the most strength and stability to collated packs, while they allow brands (without changing their machinery) to reduce use of pre-form and shrink film and eliminate the need for cardboard trays and sheets.
“We’ve already converted 45+ lines to nested packs. A lot in North America but also in Europe (Cristalline in France). We also started the concept with SPA in Belgium and this is now in production since April.”
Overcoming fears of consumer upset
Touchet said FEMAAG was overcoming brands’ fears that consumers may reject any switch to nested packs, with ongoing projects in Europe covering water, soft drinks, glass jars and tinned vegetables.
“Some are very near to being ordered. We’ve also had a huge quantity of discussions. These triggered a lot of interest but many people are afraid by changing packaging. But as soon as some ‘big names’ switch to nested packs, the rest will follow.”
Asked what was unique about FEMAAG’s nested packs system, Touchet said the company’s nest’packer module is the only one to propose an easy way to convert line and with three shapes of nested packs
“Our patented nest'packer module, allows us to easily produce the "asymmetrical shape" and the "semi-nested" shape is patent-pending. Competition (shrink-wrapper suppliers) propose only "symmetrical" shapes,” he added.