PD_Packaging Digest

Packaging Digest, April 2013

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30 BEST PRACTICES // APRIL 2013 www.PackagingDigest.com Several years later in 2008 he bought a second Viking Masek system; GSC Packaging's newest Viking Masek Model ST560 stickpack machine, built with the latest automation controls including servo drives, was being commissioned during our Q1 2013 visit. It can produce six stick-pack styles. Te stick-pack machines run at 50 cycles/min, and with a 6-up system the output is 300 packs/ min. Product netweights are from 2 to 10 grams. Recently, one line produced 180,000 sticks on one shift, Shapiro boasts. "Te Viking Maseks are extremely A half dozen of the plant's HFFS systems such as this one were well-made, just beautiful machines refurbished with new components at a cost of $10,000 each. With a that have been refined over the faster ROI versus new, the upgrades enhance the machines' functionality years," states Shapiro. "When we as well as "curb appeal" for visitors in keeping with the new facility. bought our second line, it just made sense to buy another one because, sustainability and for environmental friendliness— beyond their reliability, the operators' familiarity and flexible packaging is extremely conducive to allowed them to operate either line. Tat familiarity decreasing the amount of packaging needed to was also a big plus for our maintenance staff where package a product. Retailers like Walmart/Sam's standardizing also permits us to maintain a reduced Club continue to push companies to reduce the number of spare parts. Tat has worked out well for amount of packaging. For example, a conversion us. When it came time to buy our third machine, I from a bag-in-box to a stand-up pouch with a went right back to Viking Masek. Te people there zipper eliminates 30 percent of the packaging are nice and their technical support is tremendous." material. Tese flexible formats we offer are highly In one example, Shapiro made a call at noon sustainable and on-trend." for a critical problem and the technician from the Te company remains as flexible as its company's Minnesota headquarters arrived at the packaging. "Tat large-format bag was something Atlanta plant by 7 p.m. that same day. we didn't do a year ago," says Shapiro. "We went Shapiro claims that stick packs are the least from producing zero of those to about a million a flexible of the packaging it makes due to the fact month now. If someone came to us and said 'this is that, though the package length is adjustable, the a format and volume I'm interested in,' we'll take a stick packs have a fixed width of 22 millimeters. look at it." However, they can be produced with a pour-spout Picking—and sticking with—a winner seal and with a tear notch. Shapiro feels stick packs continue to have staying Products arrive preblended in 50-lb bags, 500power. "We still view stick packs as one of our big kilo bulk sacks and everything in between. GSC opportunities for growth," he emphasizes. "Tere Packaging prefers to use flexible screw conveyors are few companies with our capability in the U.S. from Flexicon to make the product transfer from and none in the southeast. I receive one or two bulk packages to its packaging machines. Due to inquiries a day on stick packs." the powdery nature of many of the products, the screw conveyors are paired with the plant's stateof-the-art dust control from Donaldson Torit. "We have an enormous system for collecting dust throughout the plant for environmental and product quality reasons," notes Shapiro. Rather than following food processing guidelines, Sticks packs have become one of the most GSC Packaging adheres to the more stringent popular packages the company produces. Tat's pharmaceutical-level standards for all products. little surprise to Shapiro, who had such confidence Examples include: in the potential of the format that he bought • A formal internal audit program is supplemented by the company's first stick-pack machine about six monthly unannounced audits by GSC's QA staff; years ago without having a single customer. "I • Card-access security systems and surveillance considered the trend of such an efficient, handy cameras throughout the facility control personnel access format and thought it would be successful and to manufacturing areas and provide 24/7 inspection of all lucked out," says Shapiro. products and processes; Obviously, it was more foresight than mere luck. • Electronic inventory management system relies on Te VFFS maker, Viking Masek, had been the scanning of printed bar codes to ensure thorough recommended by a consultant. "It ran well and we ingredient identification, as well as forward and had success with it," he says of the first machine. backward traceability; "It's the only machine I've ever had that was • Sanitation and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) uncrated on a Monday and running product at are augmented by validation of cleaning processes production speeds on Tursday. Tat's uncommon through lab testing of product samples. for a major piece of equipment." On rebuilding equipment vs new GSC Packaging CEO Bob Shapiro knows a lot about the concept and reality of refurbishing something old to make it new again. He's done it not only for more than a half-dozen packaging machines, he's had it done to the very building in which all this machinery resides, whereby most of the interior has been gutted and rebuilt from the ground up with new systems and walls installed. We asked him more about his lessons learned from the pouching machinery upgrades that were done over the past six months: "To me, rebuilding is a good solution. The capital expenditure is lower so the return-on-investment is quicker. You give existing and familiar equipment a new life and bring it up to the standards of new equipment. We have had a very positive experience considering cost, timing and recommissioning of the equipment. Feedback from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive as well since the equipment looks great and functions at or above original OEM specifications." "Dazzling" improvements in HFFS Most of the HFFS machines are from KHS Bartelt, though GSC Packaging also operates other makes as well. He purchased his first KHS machine in 1999 and has added several more since. "Tey really own this market," he says of the decision. Te most recent addition was a used RPM (rotary pouch machine) Model 950 KHS Bartelt started up in early 2012 that produces pouches with widths from 4 to 9.5 (hence the model designation) inches and from 4 to 15 inches high and with a 4-inch gusset for standing upright. Te machine was rebuilt by KHS with upgraded electronics and new photoelectric sensors. Shapiro likes that the Model 950 maintains positive control of the pouches using two clamps rather than one while they are transported through the machine. "You can drop a large dose and it maintains a solid grip, which then helps produce a good seal," Continued on page 32 Adhering to a higher standard magenta cyan yellow black Ingredients kept under lock and key limit access to help raise the company's food safety and quality standards from food processing level to those of higher pharmaceutical-level compliance. ES220899_PD1304_030.pgs 03.27.2013 01:59 UBM

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