Hazle Township, PA – It is 2019 and the winds of sustainability are blowing hard across packaging markets. Climate issues, the growth of e-commerce, a backlash against single use products and ever-present cost reduction pressure are pushing packagers to find ways of reducing packaging waste. Strapping systems supplier EAM-Mosca Corporation is working diligently to anticipate changing requirements and provide solutions to assist customers in achieving cost and sustainability goals.
Corrugated packaging, a major segment of the greater packaging market and an important market for EAM-Mosca products, illustrates how packaging is changing and several ways EAM-Mosca is supporting those changes.
The Move to Smaller Boxes
E-commerce, now representing more than 10% of retail sales, is a major driver of packaging evolution. Internet purchased products are shipped as individually packed parcels rather than in shipping cases. Amazon, which represents more than 50% of online sales, claims to have an 85-person team focused on improving packaging by eliminating overpacks and redundant packaging using lighter weight board with more recycled content. Combine this with the “Dimensional Weight” algorithms used by parcel delivery services to motivate customers to minimize the volume of their packages, and the net effect is a strong move to smaller, lighter boxes.
In turn, smaller boxes motivate box makers to run their lines faster to maintain volumes and revenues in the face of the changes. EAM-Mosca has developed bundling solutions to efficiently handle the smaller products and higher speeds so that box producers can meet the new challenges productively. The Company’s SQ4A series of squaring bundlers offers a small bundle option that enables effective squaring of box bundles as small as 7”x7”. A single SQ4A can strap as many as 24 bundles per minute, adequate for many flexo lines. For the highest speed lines and for customers using techniques like bundle slitters and breakers to increase throughput, there is the SQ4A tandem which includes two strapping units in series with appropriate conveyor, bundle management sensors and software to effectively strap up to 36 bundles per minute. With so many SQ4A-Tandem systems operating successfully throughout the Americas, it is truly the state of the art for high speed corrugated box bundling.
Retail and Shelf Ready Packaging
In the brick and mortar retail arena, the principles of minimizing packaging, reducing waste and maximizing convenience, while providing a professional presentation, are increasing the use of Retail and Shelf Ready packaging as well as free-standing displays. These items, typically made on a specialty folder-gluer, require special consideration due to their unique designs and esthetic requirements. They normally exit the production process in a shingled stream, relying on an operator for stacking prior to securing into a bundle. EAM-Mosca believes its S-ATRS6-Sonixs to be the most practical option for the application. It features an operator station with stacking table and squaring plates, a side seal strapper with backstop, side pusher and top compression. Electronic tension control provides sensitive and extremely consistent strap tension bundle after bundle, a necessity to avoid damaging the graphics on the package. While throughput is highly influenced by operator dexterity, speeds up to 15 bundles per minute are achievable. The combination of feature suitability and system cost make the S-ATRS6-Sonixs a must see prior to investing in a strapping station for a specialty folder.
A growing segment of the corrugated packaging market that addresses the key issues of the times is on-demand packaging. It means that packagers start with z-fold or corrugated sheet, rather than a premade box. Product dimensions are programmed into a special machine that then cuts, scores and folds a box or wrapper from the sheet that “right-sizes” the package, minimizing volume and filler requirements while reducing packager box inventory and shipping costs. Often these packages require strapping for package completion and security reasons. EAM-Mosca’s Evolution series strapping equipment provides excellent solutions for this application whether it is operator assisted or fully automatic. Strappers progress from the economical ROM-F Fusion series of footswitch or sensor cycled machines to fully automatic ROMP6 and TR6 belt or roller conveyor based fully automatic machines. Both offer Mosca’s long lived dc brushless direct drives, electronic tension control, precision enclosed track system for unsurpassed feed reliability and Sonixs ultra-sonic sealing system for high strength, emission-free strap sealing for millions of cycles.
Minimizing Strap Use
So far, the article has focused on corrugated packaging and how EAM-Mosca supports corrugated packaging producers and processing systems. In fact, the Company offers systems that strap innumerable different products of all shapes and sizes, from small bundles to large pallet and shipping units. Because of its industry leading strapping system technology, the company specializes in providing the minimum size strap necessary to meet the packaging requirement, as contrasted with competitors who often supply heavier than needed strapping to compensate for weaknesses in their equipment’s feeding or sealing systems. A key competitive strategy for gaining market share against entrenched competition is to provide a demonstration with Mosca equipment and EAM-Mosca strapping to show how a lighter strap provides both a secure package and reliable operation while reducing customer costs. Certainly, minimizing the quantity of strap per package is a valid and important way to support the need to reduce plastic usage.
The fastest growing segment of EAM-Mosca’s strapping portfolio is its polyester strapping. Polyester strap is made virtually exclusively from recycled polyester, mostly PET bottle flake. Like pre and post-consumer waste, used PET strapping is recyclable more or less indefinitely after use because commercial technology is available that can restore it to near virgin quality. The Company’s polypropylene (PP) strapping is made from virgin PP resin but is also recyclable after use. EAM-Mosca assists customers in their recycling efforts by providing data on the material content of the strapping, providing guidance on preparation of waste strapping to make it attractive to recyclers and potentially by coordinating with multiple customers in local markets to bring recycling volumes to levels that may be attractive to recycling businesses. So while plastic strapping is a plastic packaging product it by no means has to be single use. EAM-Mosca and many customers are able to recycle waste material, often at a price, so that it can be reused multiple times in many different applications.
The Sonixs-PET Strap Combination
Finally, Mosca’s unique Sonixs ultra-sonic sealing system, which creates strong, emission free seals with both PP and PET strapping, is opening new applications to PET, the more sustainable strap. Most high speed bundling equipment on the market uses a hot knife to heat seal the strapping. This method is effective on PP strap but has issues with PET due to both melting characteristics and potentially toxic fumes emitted during the sealing process. Sonixs, which is powered only during the brief sealing cycle, is essentially emission-free with both strap types. This has enabled many EAM-Mosca customers to convert to PET straps on products formerly strapped with PP, gaining the benefits of higher feed reliability, lower maintenance requirements, and better retained strap tension. These gains can be achieved at a neutral cost level while avoiding the oil price driven volatility of the PP resin market and delivering a more sustainable package.
Making Steady Progress on Both Cost and Sustainability
Whether the topic is providing systems that enable other packaging companies to improve productivity, reducing the quantity of plastic strapping consumed per package, providing assistance to customers who want to recycle used strap or providing a market for recycled PET material, EAM-Mosca is working to be an effective and responsible provider of high performance strapping systems in the fast changing packaging world. We believe that it is possible to do well by doing good and are committed to meeting the needs of both our customers and our planet in constructive ways.
EAM-Mosca Corporation provides high-performance strapping system solutions to a variety of industries, including food, graphic arts, mailing, fulfillment, logistics, corrugated, wood, and other industrial or consumer goods. The company combines innovative equipment with strapping materials manufactured to maximize machine performance, and customer support programs that help customers meet their performance and productivity goals.
To learn more about any of EAM-Mosca’s productivity enhancing strapping systems, please call 800-456-3420, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also connect with EAM-Mosca on YouTube (www.youtube.com/EAMMoscaCorp), Twitter (www.twitter.com/EAMMoscaCorp) or LinkedIn and FaceBook via the links above.
We invite you to visit us at CorrExpo, Oct. 14th-16th, in Denver, Booth # 825.