Stepping Up To The Plate—Packaging Solutions

In this December 2013 Meat & Poultry article, General Films' BG/2M film is highlighted; showcasing how using better-engineered, coextruded films with multiple layers may cost more up front, but saves money and increases productivity and profitability over time.

General Films Inc. (GFI), Covington, Ohio, recognized for years that the vertical form/fill/seal “space” for fresh chicken suffered from high leaker rates. This realization led to development of BG/2M film, says Tim Weikert, president.

BG/2M is a coextruded film with nylon barrier, featuring two-sided sealing, Octene LLDPE sealant layers and a nylon interior ply. It’s a nine-layer structure, so it provides excellent physical properties, ranging from the sealant to impact strength, says Tom Granata, vice president of sales. This film was designed for fresh poultry packaged on a vertical form/fill/seal machine.

GFI began BG/2M trials in 2012 with a medium-sized US chicken processor. Although experiencing good results, the customer initially balked at its higher pricing. “But we kept sampling and they kept trialing. One year ago, they replaced their previous film with our product,” Weikert says.

Pricing of the new product (on a mil-to-mil basis) resulted in a price increase of about 70 percent more when compared to more traditional packaging. But when factoring in down-gauging opportunities this new film affords, the price goes down. Granata explains the processor was using a 3.25 mil film at one plant that was replaced with a 2.5 mil film that still reduced leaker rates. And the processor achieved much more yield compared to previous yields. With the printing cost factored in, the increase is closer to 40 percent. The film prints well and labels designed for PE films readily adhere.

On this processor’s line, each 10-lb. sealed, formed pouch of fresh chicken now withstands the rigors of rugged processing and distribution. After making the switch, leaker rates greatly diminished. Overall profitability grew substantially through enhanced productivity, fewer product rejects and increased customer satisfaction.

The processor is seeing a minimum leaker reduction of 50 percent, Granata says.

“BG/2M features higher impact strength, higher tensile strength, a substantially wide-ended heat seal window, the film is about 50 percent stiffer than the traditional solution, which benefits the vertical form/fill/seal machines,” he adds.

This processor banked a 20-percent throughput improvement on its packaging lines. This allowed expanded production with a lower footprint on labor. Increased throughput allowed the temperature on the seal to increase so it runs a little faster yielding increased productivity.