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Packaging Sustainability

As with most things in the fast-paced flexible packaging market, the expectations around what a pouch should do are changing.  Along with providing the barrier properties required to keep food fresh, serving up convenient reclosability, and wowing consumers with dynamic graphics, it seems pouches of today and the future will, more often than not, be required to offer up an attractive sustainability advantage, as well.
Sustainability has been the buzz word in packaging for more than a decade, ushered in by the renowned Walmart Sustainability Scorecard.  The confusion that ensued was infamous, and with cost considerations, it seemed “sustainability” might burn itself out.  But, fast-forward to a market today dominated by demographics that not only embrace Corporate Social Responsibility - but expect it. 
This article will not cite statistics on the growth of sustainable flexible packaging, nor quote recycling rate projections. There are plenty of subject-matter experts armed with studies and statistics to last into the next millennium.  
Instead, we’d like to talk about ideas and solutions to help you, the converter, the brand owner, the business person, to prepare for the demands of producing quality pouches, at a manageable cost, with a sustainability advantage - for you and for your customers.

Pouches Offer Sustainable Advantages Over Rigid Containers.

Most polymer-based substrates offer a lower overall carbon footprint than cans or boxes.  They generally use  less source material, require less fossil fuel to ship and have production processes that are efficient, with less impact on the environment,  Oh, and let’s not forget about a lower cost.

Recyclable or Recycle-Ready Pouches
Materials providers have blanketed the news with the “recyclable or recycle-ready” pouch – made possible by the development of an all-polyethylene blend used to convert a stand-up pouch with comparable performance and the potential for cost-savings that is also fully-recyclable (in locations with PE recycling.) This is the type of promise today's sustainability-conscious buyers are looking for, and early-adopting converters will gain the market advantage.  Having equipment with a wide processing window, flexibility and sophistication to anticipate, adapt and succeed with exotic blends, will be a significant advantage for tomorrow’s converters. 

Recycled-Content Pouches

To make packaging more sustainable, there is continuing discussion regarding the commercial  feasibility of  recycled-content pouches.  Given the need for very consistent film properties when making pouches, this idea has some work before true commercialization.  Once it comes to fruition - and if the market need is there, it will - pouch converting systems will need the sophistication and  finesse to adjust to challenging sealing and web-handing requirements. 

Make Your Equipment Work for You

Robust machine performance - choose a system with strong structural integrity and have your system laser-aligned upon installation and whenever it is moved.  Along with traceable sealing parameters, a solid machine offering less chance for process variability will be of great value with new and emerging film structures because it will minimize variations in the process and produce a higher quality pouch with lower waste and downtime.

Advanced Sealing Technology -  new, sustainable materials must not only pass the technical tests, but they need to be made profitably.  To do so, converting equipment should feature sealing technology that tracks seal parameters and adjusts machine settings.  This is important, to reduce costs associated with materials waste and machine downtime, and to deliver verifiable quality pouches to your customers.

Simple, accurate  quick changes - the variability of adjustments between jobs opens up the possibility for error, and wasted precious materials as well as potential lost product, and profits. Clear and easy visuals for mechanical adjustments, as well as recipe storage and a super-easy HMI color touch screens help improve operational efficiency and reduce errors and waste.

A trusted partner - your OEM should have the resources and technical skill set to make sure you get the most out of your  equipment investment.  Look not only for training and operational support, but also a commitment to advance technology  so you stay ahead of changing customer demands.  They should have a well-equipped facility for you to test the convertibility of new materials and products, and the stability and commitment to support you as your needs and requirements change.

Arming yourself with the right equipment technology to adapt to variations inherent with the inevitable new and changing substrates positions you well against your competition for the next new market demand. 


Let's Meet at the Show!

We're excited to meet with old and new friends, customers and colleagues at this year's forum in Rosemont!  Stop by booth #70 for the scoop on the latest converting technology, news on our AEA lab and reports on the new 760-SUP Stand Up Pouch System in the market!

Scott Fuller
Pouch Sales and Product Line Manager
Email Scott

The Shape of Things to Come
CMD 760-IDC Shaped Pouch Die Cutter

Expand Your Pouch Converting Capabilities and Product Portfolio

The CMD 760-IDC is proven technology for efficient, low-scrap production of shaped pouches.
For simple or complex shaped pouches -including large sizes, heavy gauges, and intricate shapes. CMD's advanced cutting technology delivers shaped pouches in up to 4-lane configuration, for optimal output.

Designed for machine widths up to 760mm, the unit can portably mount to the delivery end of any existing pouch machine - the existing conveyor or stacking table can be removed to conserve floor space. The 760-IDC includes the die-cutter, a pick-off separation nip, an intermediate conveyor with culling capability, a single-stream trim winder for the ‘skeleton’ material, integration hardware (i.e. encoder, cables, interconnections, etc.), and a control panel. 



Continuous Improvement and Continuous Support 

The flexible packaging market is constantly changing and shifting – and keeping your important equipment assets running at peak performance can be a challenge when suppliers change, merge or go out of business.  CMD knows the value our customers place in having a consistent partner to turn to for technical service and have honed these skills in the 40 years we have been designing, building and supporting converting equipment.

For our pouch converter friends and colleagues, we offer the same solid support, and add to our vast experience as an OEM, the specialized technical experience and skillset of our European division – CMD-Flex4.

From solutions for enhanced productivity or managing obsolete components or controls, to process optimization, CMD and CMD-Flex4 offer the parts, service and technical consultation that will help you grow your pouch business profitably.

Since CMD-Flex4 has serviced and supported pouch and bag  converters  since 2011, they have extensive experience with many OEM brands of pouch and bag equipment and have developed effective, affordable solutions. 

Controls integration/upgrades
Mechanical and electrical refurbishment
Machine rebuilds
Specialized attachments - knife, punches, etc..
Data Collection Analysis System
Stand-alone systems to affordably add capabilities and enhance efficiency
Process optimization services
Service contracts



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Warnings That Your Pouch Machine Needs Alignment
By Michael Wormley, CMD Technical Services Manager

When it comes to making money producing pouches, you are competing on pennies or fractions of pennies.  To be profitable, it is essential to control costs.  One obvious cost source is the price of production, which is greatly impacted by downtime, waste due to poor product quality and, of course, the scrap associated with starting jobs or machine stoppages.

Investment in stabilizing your production process can pay back with significant return on investment.  Protect your important business assets by planning for critical technology service and upgrades.

One of those critical investments should be 3D laser alignment of your pouch systems.  An unaligned pouch machine can result in a host of production inefficiencies, including but not limited to:
1) Increased machine vibration levels
2) Higher energy consumption
3) Bearing failure
4) Shaft breakage
5) Inconsistent and/or inferior pouch quality 
In general terms, a 3D laser alignment results in lower owner operating costs for replacement parts, less downtime and smaller electricity bills.  A system out of alignment will result in more stress on components and shorter life for wear parts.  Frequently changing these parts requires more maintenance downtime (sometimes unscheduled, which is even more problematic.)   Keeping your system operational except for schedule maintenance and job changes helps to lower your overall utility usage, as well.
Correctly aligned machines reduce the risk of expensive breakdowns and downtime.  Unexpected equipment downtime can damage your reputation and your business.  Missed deliveries, unexpected costs.
It is recommended your equipment be laser aligned upon installation in your facility, whenever the system is moved and as part of your regularly scheduled preventive maintenance plan.  If your machine exhibits excessive vibration or you are noticing product quality issues, it’s time to give us a call and discuss a 3D laser alignment.  
CMD offers professional laser-alignment services with the latest technology and trained technicians.  Now, for a limited time, get a discounted 3D laser alignment service with every new service contract.  [Back to TECHNOLOGY NEWS menu]



5 Favorite Features of the 760-SUP Profit Advantage

Of course, we have our own favorite features of the new Profit Advantage stand-up pouch converting system, but we’ve heard from pouch manufacturers throughout the country, who have visited us at trade shows or saw in-plant demonstrations and have been generous in sharing their reactions to this inventive, ground-breaking new system for stand-up pouches. 
We’ve collected this feedback and below are five of the favorite features that converters tell us they can’t wait to try out on their own.

#1) “Love the Unique Design” A new machine creates interest, but a new machine that looks like the 760-SUP creates a buzz.  The striking blue-and-white design  isn’t only skin deep. 
What surprised and delighted folks were the value-rich details that ensure high-quality output with the lowest waste and downtime.  From the step-in frame for quicker adjustments and easier access, to the precise alignment and positioning of tooling with scales and magnifiers as well as the easy access for thread-ups and adjustments, “with no light curtains to trip!”

#2) “Solid Machine”

– square, aligned, robust.  “You can hear how robust the system is – no tinny-sounding rattling, like the system will fall apart.”  Even with smaller pouches in 2-up configuration at high speeds, the 760-SUP provides solid, repeatable performance.  Built to last, yes, and built for constancy, for predictable high quality pouches.


#3) “Operators will love this!” 

The color touch screen features simple, icon-based graphics and clear direction, so training operators is very easy. Yet, the sophistication of the program design allows for rich data collection, and verifiable seal quality combined with the mechanical aspects of CMD Intelligent Sealing Technology.  Clear, identifiable guides for adjustments and positioning will help the newest to the most seasoned operator.

#4) “Amazingly Fast Changeovers”

"...Not just minutes faster than the competition, but hours faster.”  And this, of course, means less downtime, more productivity, lower costs and higher margins.   A die change in under 2 minutes was demonstrated by a volunteer converter at the CMD Pack Expo 2018 booth.  Just one example of the quick-change elements designed into the 760-SUP. 

#5) “Scrap and Waste Savings”

In the competitive world of flexible packaging, business is won and lost on pennies or less.  From the scaled web-clamp on the unwind that controls tension and minimizes scrap on roll changes, to the ability to make some adjustments while the system is running, saving material is in the DNA of the 760-SUP.  Sophisticated programming collects and analyzes data that can   identify maintenance wear items before an unplanned downtime, and maintenance is performed in significantly less time with the new machine design.

We also heard suggestions which we have already addressed, including cutting the size down a bit – which we have addressed with a smaller unwind and L-shaped configuration.  We were told, by the robust nature of the system, that she was “excitedly pronounced in the auditory department” (a little loud.)  Now, a simple, effective noise-insulation adjustment quiets the machine.  

Virtually every converter who has run the 760-SUP has commented on how easy it is to work on the machine, due to its open design, which helps to make set-ups simpler and quicker. They’ve also been highly complementary of the machine’s simplicity, from a maintenance perspective. Fewer touchpoints, and easier access to the items you do have to work on, are benefits that really seem to be resonating with converters.


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