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Sustainability News from Mars at PACK EXPO

An ISBM jar for Mars brands and two new systems for pharma products were just a few highlights at the busy Chicago show.

   Read the full transcript below.
Pat Reynolds: Hello again, Pat Reynolds here from Packaging World Magazine with a look at day two highlights on display at PACK EXPO International in Chicago. 

Berry Global Group is collaborating with snack and treats leader Mars Incorporated to launch it's popular pantry size treats in polyethylene terephthalate jars that have been optimized to be lighter weight and include 15% post consumer resin. With the shared mission of creating more sustainable packaging solutions, Berry and Mars will launch the new jars for the M&Ms, Skittles, and Starburst brands later this month. At Berry Global's PACK EXPO booth North-4727 the new container was featured prominently. The easy grip square jars are injection stretch blow molded at Barry's manufacturing facility, using a single pellet food grade resin to assure a clean consistent substrate sourced from mechanical recycling. With a history of results in lightweighting. Barry approached Mars with the new concept including PCR. Berry brought it's problem solving and technical expertise to the table to help members make progress toward their sustainability goals. In addition to the inclusion of PCR, the jar is also widely recyclable. 

"By leveraging our material science, expertise and technical resources, we proactively created a solution for Mars without disruption to product performance," said Brian Hunt, Berry Global's EVP and general manager for consumer packaging North America. "Through partnership and creative thinking such as this, customers look to Berry for unique solutions for their sustainability challenges," Hunt added. The jars which come in three sizes 60, 81, and 87 ounces, offer the same look and feel and will eliminate approximately 300 tonnes of virgin plastic per year. For the 81 and 87 ounce jars. Barry also was able to reduce the weight by 10 grams per jar, saving 374 metric tons of Co2. The Co2 savings are equivalent to 42,084 gallons of gasoline consumed or 72.8 homes electricity use for one year. As part of Mars ongoing commitment to sustainability, the company is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to reimagine and redesign its packaging. The firm has set an aggressive science based strategy to innovate its packaging, and the firm sees this change to 15% PCR for these large format jars as a significant step towards a more sustainable future. 

As a leader in the food packaging industry, Barry leveraged its unmatched global capabilities, sustainability, leadership, and deep innovation expertise to help bring this more sustainable bottling solution to market. Barry collaborated with Mars to develop a jar that runs seamlessly through its production and distribution systems, while delivering on consumer interests in more sustainable packaging experience for three key Mars brands. 

Meanwhile, over on the pharmaceutical side, a new vibratory feed track for the FA1 compact pick and place system was on display at Pharmaworks' Pack Expo booth North-5650. This new feature means that now even difficult to handle solid dose pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals—such as fragile, unusually shaped, and orally dissolving products—can be smoothly and gently handled. Previously the FA1 relied on gravity to move product on feed tracks set at a 45 degree angle. But now the enhanced FA1 can convey even challenging products more gently with fully horizontal vibratory feed tracks by leveraging vibratory motion. The new system has also eliminated the chance of shingling—where one solid dose gets jammed under another and creates blockages. Once products have been conveyed to the end of the feed track, the FA1 servo driven pick and place vacuum head positions and array of solid doses correctly oriented into their blister cavities. Ideal for smaller batches, the enhanced FA1 can change over to a new format in as little as three minutes with no tools required and minimal change parts involved. 

And finally, also on the pharma side, hybrid printing systems where flexo and digital are combined in a single system have been around for a while now. But like anything else in the packaging arena, they can always be optimized. And a good example was on display at Pack Expo booth South-2501. It was the H382 hybrid from Hapa. This system is part of the EVO+ family of printing systems, a greatly optimized approach to printing the lidding material on blister packs, or other lidding materials in the pharmaceutical manufacturing space. The advantage of hybrid of course, is that you can do short runs relying on digital and longer runs relying on flexible or you can do variable data, like expiration date or serialization information. By way of digital and non variable information by way of flexible. Where Hapa optimized things on the H382 Hybrid is in the machines operators experience. What Hapa has been hearing from customers is that hiring talent to run hybrid systems, or any packaging systems for that matter, has never been more challenging. So they've tried to make this machine more connectable and adaptable and easier to use than ever. For example, OPC UA is standard for easy integration into higher level production systems. So if lot and expiration data need to be downloaded from a centralized ERP, it's easy for a machine operator to do it. Hapa, a Coesia company, also embedded a vision system in the machine. It's actually embedded in the printer. So the data flow is from a single point rather than the more conventional approach, where the vision system is external to the printer. You're validating one machine instead of validating a printer and a vision system. Last but not least, notes Hapa, ease of maintenance and service of ability have been vastly improved. That's all for now, folks. I'll be back tomorrow with another report from PACK EXPO international.

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