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Co-packer ‘Demo Day’ stresses trend toward machine customization

In late June, an event dubbed “CPA & CO-PACKER Demo Day” brought together leaders from more than a dozen firms, all contract packagers and all members of the Contract Packaging Association.

The event was held at the Ayer, MA, offices of Shanklin Shrink Packaging Solutions, sister company to Cryovac, both owned by Sealed Air Corp. Hands-on demos on seven packaging lines showcased CT-Films and machinery from Sealed Air brands Cryovac and Shanklin—and helped reinforce the trend toward more customization on the part of industry suppliers.

Over the past several years, the packaging equipment business “has evolved from being a business of standardized machines to one where a high degree of customization is required,” says Scott Thomas, North American director of the Contract Packaging Segment of Sealed Air’s Product Care Division—and a CPA director. He has seen this trend through Shanklin’s expansion of engineering services to accommodate customization, from mechanical upgrades to servo-based automation solutions (such as the one pictured). As a result, he says that in 2013 nearly 50% of the company’s 2013 equipment sales had “some level of custom engineering.”

In his role with Sealed Air, Thomas heads-up the Co-Packer Connection, a database-driven matchmaking service that helps brand owners locate suitable contract packagers.

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