Expanding Your Horizontal Packaging Horizons - Issue 2
Expanding Your Horizontal Packaging Horizons
Flexibility Wipes Away Inefficiency – Issue 2
Following our previous issue highlighting how pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers can ensure consumer safety through vision detection and bar coding equipment this article provides insight into how wet wipes manufacturers can benefit from flexible packaging lines with easy changeovers.
Whether scrubbing the floors, wiping your hands, or changing a baby, cleaning is one of life’s necessary evils. Fortunately, wet wipes bring convenience to a once daunting task. A task that previously required gathering soap, water, buckets and towels can now be more easily accomplished with individually portioned packets. Whenever and wherever they’re needed, users can simply grab a clean wet wipe and discard it when finished with no risk of contamination from previous jobs, unlike using the same rag repeatedly.
While the dominant personal care market requires mass production of smaller packets of wipes that can be tucked into a purse, the health care market will soon experience a surge in wipe demand due to an aging population and growth of nursing homes. Unlike in personal care, these institutional services require larger packaging formats that contain abundant quantities.
To accommodate packages with different heights, widths and lengths, contract manufacturers need packaging lines with a high degree of flexibility. In addition, packaging lines with quick and easy format changes cause little interference with production and thus, sharply decrease downtime. Because the operator is responsible for maintenance and cleaning, tool-less changeovers and easy operating technologies increase overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). For example, color-coded change parts are a simple way for operators to match like-colored components.
Because of the soft nature of wet wipes, inverted flow wrapping technology provides a major advantage as the wet wipes are fed directly onto the film. For example, Bosch’s inverted flow wrapper gently transports wet wipes on top of the film from the former to the cutting head, which reduces jams and ensures superior package appearance.
Flexible packages with re-sealable closures have the versatility of being distributed as is, or used as re-fills for hard packs. Die-cut technology can be easily incorporated into a horizontal flow wrapper lines to create a re-sealable opening from which to extract the wipes. Compared to solid tubs, flexible packaging also has the benefit of higher material savings and is lighter weight, which saves on transportation costs.
And one thing’s for sure – there’s nothing useful about a dry wet wipe. Hermetic sealing technology is necessary to lock moisture into the package. For example, Bosch has flow wrappers that incorporate a long-dwell sealing system that runs independently of machine speed, ensuring an air-tight seal on wet wipe packages even during the ramp up and down processes.
The health care market also requires a higher level of control with wet wipe packaging. Manufacturers can install vision detection systems to validate that the label and SKU bar code are correct and properly aligned.
Once the wet wipes are packed into their flow wraps, manufacturers can also incorporate robotics for speedy secondary packaging. A single source supplier of both primary and secondary packaging, such as Bosch, gives manufacturers the advantage of a complete solution with seamless integration. This also eliminates the need for wet wipe manufacturers to coordinate between multiple suppliers, decreasing overall project costs.