Kerry Foods, a leading supplier of value-added foods to major supermarket chains, has installed a PA2016 heat-sealing machine, equipped with modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) capability, at its production plant in County Wicklow, Ireland.
"We were looking for a heat-sealing machine when we launched a new line of chicken pieces," said the plant's engineering manager John Crowley. "We had heard of Packaging Automation, of course, but my colleagues said we really should take a close look at what they had to offer. So I visited another of our sites to see their PA machine in operation, decided Packaging Automation could offer what we needed, and we soon had a PA2016 on order."
And after exhaustive trials, Crowley claims that the PA2016 is performing as expected. "It is going well, no problems at all," said Crowley. An initial rental period is now set to be replaced by outright purchase.
The PA2016 is a semi-automatic machine, which incorporates an automaticindex rotary table. It is most often produced, as in this case, as a MAPmachine, and a high oxygen model is also available.
At the moment the Kerry Foods' chicken pieces are being sold solely to one of Ireland's biggest supermarket chains, Dunnes Stores. But the company provides a lot of own-brand products for Tesco Ireland and there are high hopes of them taking the line. And talks are underway with supermarket chains in the UK as well.
"Obviously if volumes rise as we hope they will, we will be looking for more machines," said Crowley.
Ready meals is one of the fastest-growing food production sectors - as a result, easy-to-use packaging has become a highly dynamic industry.
Indeed, convenience is now one of the overriding trends in the packaged foods industry. Grab-and-go soups, seasoned tuna salad in pouches, vacuum-packed steaks and chicken breasts, ready-to-brew coffee in pods are all changing the way consumers eat and cook.
Innovations are appearing on the market all the time. For example a new ultra high-barrier thermoformable PCTFE film laminate has been developed. Tekni-Films, a Tekni-Plex company, has described its new product as the highest-barrier clear film currently available.
The company says that the speciality film lamination has applications where ultra high barrier qualities and clarity are needed in a food packaging applications. Sample data sheets for the PVC-based 4-milimetre high barrier films can now be reviewed at the company's website.
Tekni-Films is a leading supplier of blister films for the food and nutritional markets. In addition to Mono PVC, the company's product line includes PVdC, Novinex COC/COP films, TekniFlex PCTFE (usually referred to as either Aclar or VapoShield), plus a wide range of other film products for specialised applications such as Barex and PETG films and laminates.
There have been a number of recent developments in the barrier protection packaging sector. Appleton for example has just introduced MoistureBloc for Ream Wrap, a completely repulpable and 100-percent recyclable ream wrap, which the company claims offers excellent moisture barrier protection.