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Pickle tub packs foodservice benefits

A shelf-stable, high-density polyethylene container of sliced pickles from Dean Foods, Franklin Park, IL, ensures that Oakbrook, IL-based McDonald’s operators and its customers are well served.
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Developed by Fabri-Kal (www.f-k.com) the patent-pending 100-oz (0.8-gal) HDPE FS-100 container saves labor for operators and enhances food freshness for customers. It also cubes better in replacing a larger 1.2-gal round HDPE container from which operators would transfer pickles to a stainless-steel tub. The single-use HDPE tub fits directly into a food preparation table where the stainless-steel tub did before. The new tub has been rolling out system-wide in the chain in the United States since late ’01.

The tub measures 7’’ x 63/8” x 8’’ deep which makes it one of the deepest-draw thermoformed HDPE containers around according to F-K’s Tim Joseph director of marketing. That depth required thermoforming process adjustments including plug design development. FK molds the part on a Lyle (www.lyleindustries.com) machine at its Hazleton PA plant using resin from BP Solvay Polyethylene North America (www.bpsolvaype.com). Container sidewalls and flange uniformity were crucial Joseph relates. The latter also affected seal integrity since brine is a particularly challenging material to seal through.

The container was designed in conjunction with new denesting filling and sealing machinery from FEMC (www.femc.com) installed at several Dean plants. The round containers had been manually denested so these operations have been automated. Dean’s declines to comment about the packaging. —RL

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