PMMI’s “Pet Food Market Assessment 2013” describes a competitive market, where brands are striving to set themselves apart. By and large, however, petfood is generally in traditional formats—60% in multi-walled bags, for example. “For the most part, petfood follows similar trends and styles in packaging as human foods,” says Jorge Izquierdo, vice president of market development for PMMI.
Not only are the trends reflecting a need on manufacturers’ parts to differentiate products, but they’re prompting increased collaboration between manufacturers and their suppliers. Manufacturers should be exploring ways to standardize sustainability in their processing lines to save on cost, time and their carbon footprint. “Petfood manufacturers are competing for human-grade raw materials as they also compete for package materials,” Izquierdo says. “At the same time, their customers, particularly the larger retailers, are actively trying to reduce costs and eliminate packaging waste."
There’s also a wealth of opportunity for all parties involved in working together to make packaging processes more sustainable, according to Izquierdo. “By collaborating, petfood manufacturers and equipment manufacturers will come up with innovations for retooling existing equipment, adding machinery to the line and better serving customers. Equipment companies will serve their customers better, and so will petfood companies. Everyone wins.”
The Adams 12 from Haver Filling Systems Inc. is a powder-filling bagger for dry petfood packaging that can fill up to 33 plastic bags per minute, reducing time and cost. Constructed with form-fill-seal technology, the Adams 12 is equipped with 12 filling spouts that synchronize bag operations. An Allen Bradley PLC controller can automate system processes.
WeighPack's VerTek 2400, a vertical form fill seal machine for packaging pet treats, uses up to 50-inch wide roll stock to form a 24-inch wide bag. The vertical back seal uses two 5/8-inch cylinder shafts. The VerTek 2400 fills one cubic foot of product at 10 cycles per minute. The machine creates pillow, gusset and carry handle bags from roll stock film. It can seal polyethylene or laminated films and features PLC controls and a servo motor.
EDL Packaging Engineers' flight bar wrapping system is designed for multi-shift use, according to the company. The flight bar is designed for maintaining control of the product and pulling film tightly around collations. The film is metered out using controlled tension and, combined with the seal being in immediate proximity to the product, a snug sleeve is created. EDL builds rugged and reliable systems that run with 98% efficiency, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, while lowering energy, film and productions costs, claims the company. Their signature double tight wrap technology pulls gable top bags tightly together with low density polyethylene film to produce consistent brick like packs that can be palletized without pallet overhang.
Robert's Packaging Inc.'s IMFS Series intermittent motion fill-seal machines offer an array of filling options, including multi-head weighing, augers and cup fillers for wet petfood packaging. The machines can accommodate small to large packages in various package styles and offer automatic and manual fill options, not only making the system versatile, but also energy-saving and sustainability-friendly.