The other 2020 Flexible Packaging Achievement Award Winners are: UFlex Ltd.’s 4D Bag with Handle | UFlex Ltd.’s FlexiTube | Plastic Packaging Technologies’s Hill’s Recyclable Pet Treat Bag | Amcor Healthcare’s Insura Seal Verification | Printpack’s Paqui Tortilla Chip Pouch | Amcor Flexibles’ Predilecta Sacciali Jar Shaped Pouch | Glenroy’s Premade Standcap Inverted Pouches | ePac’s Skratch Labs Mosaic Packaging | Printpack’s Stacy’s Women’s History Month Package | Paxxus’ StreamOne Silver Winners
The technology originally spun out of Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble. But now AeroFlexx has the exclusive rights to commercialize it across all categories and geographies to all partners, including P&G direct competitors.
Perhaps its most unique feature is that it uses an air frame to bring tailored rigidity to a flexible film package. With ISTA-6 approved ISTA-6Amazon.com-Over Boxing (pwgo.to/5469), it offers prep-free shipping via e-commerce channels. Plus it requires 50% less plastic than a traditional blow-molded bottle. Not to mention that, because it can be delivered to a filling facility as flat pre-made bags or roll stock, it has the potential to score additional sustainable packaging points because it greatly reduces the number of truckloads of empty bottles that have to be delivered.
A specially designed valve integrated into the package delivers spill-proof functionality with cleaner, more finely controlled, and convenient dispensing. Since there is no cap to be opened and closed, and because the package is spill-proof, product dispensing is one-handed. Plus there is no messy product residue build-up on the cap. Also part of this design is a vent that allows air back into the package after product is dispensed to allow continued use with no package deformation. Go to pwgo.to/5467 to see a video of AeroFlexx in action.
The first package to leverage the new technology was a 9-oz package of P&G’s Dawn Ultra dish soap. But since then Olay body wash, Mighty Mutt dog shampoo, and Defense soap have all come on board. Current customers are supported by an AeroFlexx pilot plant in Ohio, but the first automated commercial line is targeted for completion in Q4 of this year. It will have a nameplate capacity of 15 million units per year, says AeroFlexx.
“The technology has over 40 patents (granted and/or pending) across 10 countries, complemented by strong trade secret and know-how protection,” says the official FPA Awards entry form. “Purpose engineered and specially formulated flexible materials are folded, sealed, embossed, perforated, filled, inflated, and cut into desired shapes to form the package.”
The multilayer substrate from which the package is made includes a reverse-printed polyester laminated to a coextrusion. “Without naming the layers of the coextrusion,” says P&G Research Fellow Ken McGuire, a key developer behind the innovative concept, “I can tell you the properties it had to have. High on the list was barrier, since we want to maintain a two- or three-year shelf life. Moisture barrier was important, too, because we want to make sure consumers get the amount of product we say they’re getting. Puncture resistance, of course, was key, as was printability. And finally, we had to be able to make a laser perforation at the top that guarantees a hermetic seal yet tears conveniently in the hands of the consumer.”
Worth noting is that the package also won the top award in Dow’s 30th Awards for Packaging Innovation. For additional detail and coverage on this impressive package, go to pwgo.to/5468.