Turf management specialist Floratine Products Group, Inc., Collierville, TN, formulates and markets 48 liquid and six dry nutrient products to promote grass growth, heat-stress tolerance, and endurance on high-traffic lawns, golf courses, and other sports fields. The company operates two packaging lines—one for 10-L PET jugs and one for one-gal PET jugs. The 63-mm copolymer threaded screw caps are applied by hand-held pneumatic capping machinery.
While Floratine provides outstanding turf management products to U.S. and international markets with diverse climates, the company wanted to improve its packaging to keep pace with product quality. The products contain organic components that can cause off-gassing. This off-gassing can make the containers bloat in warm temperatures or contract in cooler temperatures. Jugs with leaks and other defects can result.
Floratine’s director of operations, Darryl King, recalls, “Packaging became tedious. We were tightening all the caps, using a hand-held pneumatic capper. If we didn’t get the cap tightened just right, it resulted in a phone call from an unhappy customer with a leaky or bloated jug. We knew it was time to call in the packaging experts to resolve this dilemma.”
The triple-threat packaging team they called in consisted of cap supplier TricorBraun, cap liner supplier Performance Systematix, Inc., and sealing equipment supplier Enercon Industries Corp. TricorBraun and Performance Systematix collaborated to find the optimum cap and liner combination for Floratine’s products. And Enercon offered an induction sealing system suited to the task. The new system became fully operational at Floratine in May 2009.
The new cap incorporates a 0.188-in. hole allowing the container to vent. The vented Circumvent foam liner and a vented Airfoil heat-induction seal provide a tamper-evident and leak-proof seal that allows the product to breathe without leaking. This three-component venting system enables the jugs to vent during transport and after the heat-induction seal is removed by the end user. The jugs avoid leakage, bloating, and collapsing problems.
Sealing the deal
Floratine first tested the induction sealer during an on-site demonstration by Enercon’s local representative, George Richardson of PMMR, Inc. (901/466-5191). Floratine staffers also visited Enercon’s headquarters to take advantage of their free lab testing. And they were able to see the Enercon Super Seal™ induction sealer in action on a commercial packaging line at Riceland Foods in Stuttgart, AR. Floratine even was permitted to test some of their own jugs on the Riceland sealing line.
King says, “All of the supplier companies were extremely helpful in providing specs for the machine, caps, liners, and vents. But we also conducted our own independent tests to assure that we had the right caps, vented liners, vent placement, drive belt speed, and heat settings. The true test was when my 300-pound co-worker took off the cap and stood on the bottle with only the sealed liner holding the product. The jug didn’t burst.”
The Super Seal system creates a hermetic seal to provide leak-proof protection and tamper-evidence. When the capped jugs enter the sealer’s electromagnetic current, the foil of the inner seal generates electrical resistance, heats the Airfoil vented liner, and bonds the seal. Floratine uses the “All-In-One” Enercon sealing head, which provides the flexibility to shift the induction sealer between their two packaging lines without having to change the sealing head.
King comments, “People pay greens fees, not brown fees. Superintendents and greenskeepers rely on our products to keep their turf in top condition. In turn, we rely on premium packaging equipment to protect our premium products. About 99 percent of our packaging problems have been solved by our new induction seal capping system.”