The United States Europe and the Far East probably spring to mind first when one thinks about strong packaging markets around the world. Yet in the future much of packaging's global growth may be in other regions in countries that the investment community refers to as "emerging markets." Egypt is such a country. In the Egyptian city of Housh Eysa is a company called El Jawhara a firm that just entered the salty snack food business in 1995. In less than two years it has grown into the second-largest producer of these products capturing about a 30% share of the market in this North African country of nearly 60 million people. Reaching that status is impressive even if it doesn't quite compare to constructing Egypt's Great Pyramids. In sheer financial numbers Egypt's snack food market pales in comparison to the U.S. but bear in mind that this is a fairly new offering in a country with a population about one-fifth that of the U.S. Also a substantial amount of the bagged snacks produced by El Jawhara sell for what converts to mere pennies in the U.S. "Before 1995 we were not in the snack food market" notes El Jawhara's technical manager Belal Hagag. "We are [known as] the largest tea bagging company in our country. But with the snack food market continuing to grow quickly every year we made the decision to enter it." Hagag is especially optimistic when it comes to potential potato chip sales. To take a bite out of this market El Jawhara built a new plant in Housh Eysa located southeast of Alexandria and about 100 miles from Cairo the nation's capitol. Between early 1995 when the plant opened and late 1996 the company made a major investment in packaging equipment from The Woodman Company (Decatur GA). El Jawhara uses 16 Woodman VT510 twin-tube volumetric vertical form/fill/seal machines for its extruded corn and rice snacks which Hagag says presently account for about 80% of the new plant's production. These snacks are fairly sturdy consistently shaped and are relatively inexpensive. Those characteristics are well-suited to the volumetric fillers that move the product mechanically through the filling process. The twin-tube volumetric fillers produce bags containing 10- or 16-g quantities at speeds to 75/min/tube. Potato chips on the other hand are more costly than extruded snacks. They're also more fragile with less consistency in shape. That combination makes them a natural for Woodman's Gemini twin-tube vf/f/s machines. Instead of a mechanical system gentle vibration is used to convey the chips to the seven vf/f/s systems employed by El Jawhara. Each Gemini vf/f/s machine is integrated with a Woodman Commander 216 multi-head weigher. Each integrated weigher/bagger produces primarily 25-g bags of potato chips as well as 90- and 180-g "family" bags. For the 25-g size each tube produces up to 70 bags/ min or 140 bpm on each system. The Gemini and VTS10 systems run as much as six days a week three shifts per day. Besides their output the machines use minimal floorspace another advantage for El Jawhara.