Innoform – New world of pouches (Interview series)

Thomas Fischer, applications development manager at Herrmann Ultraschalltechnik
Thomas Fischer, applications development manager at Herrmann Ultraschalltechnik talks about ultrasonic sealing technology for stand-up pouches

The new world of stand-up pouches – this is the headline of the fifth European stand-up pouch conference. The reason for covering this type of packaging during one and a half days – and for the fifth time – is more than reasonable: The use of stand-up pouches (SUP) across all areas is growing. The event took place on 13-14th October in Osnabrück, Germany.

Organised by Innoform, the event covers the market trend for stand-up pouches as well as the technical issues which have led to a continuous growth of this type of packaging since the 1980s. Topics included different types of packaging such as bag-in-box and self-standing pouches, “mono material” stand-up pouches. Other topics regarding recyclability, paper stand-up pouches as well as the correct ink and adhesive combination will be discussed.

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In order to illustrate the diversity of this conference, we’re publishing interviews provided by references and independent consultants to help interested readers understand why pouches are such a growth market for this type of packaging and why the different aspects are so relevant. This is the first in a series of interviews – our next issue will include a report on the event itself.

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Thomas Fischer, applications development manager at Herrmann Ultraschalltechnik

In this segment, Thomas Fischer, the applications development manager at Herrmann Ultraschalltechnik talks about ultrasonic sealing technology for stand-up pouches.

You gave a presentation during the 5th European stand-up pouch conference. What was the basic premise of your presentation?

When using the US sealing technology, the best possible quality level for the head seam is guaranteed in the field of SUP packaging. At the same time, potentials to reduce the costs will be created and the output will be increased. Ultrasonic sealing for SUP can improve the quality of production, as far as the quality of the head seam is concerned.  The ultrasonic sealing technology has proved to be the standard sealing technology for many SUP applications. The digital ultrasonic generator with its interfaces, measurement values and options for an automated adaptation to the changing environmental influences is the basis for industry 4.0 packaging processes. Future mono-layer SUP packaging will be sealed better by ultrasonic than by thermal sealing technologies.

What kind of audiences did you hope for and why?

Food packers who are responsible for the production processes and quality; those who develop packaging; manufacturers of packaging and packaging materials; product managers for packaging lines. I would like to present the achievement of potentials of the ultrasonic technology for the improvement of the sealing quality, the early integration of the ultrasonic technology when qualifying the packaging materials and packaging as well as wow-effect of higher benefits for the final customer and differentiation, all of which offer new possibilities in the market.

How do you estimate the development of the pouches relating to your activities?

The positive development of the SUP as a type of packaging confirms our focus on the field of the SUP head seam because of different developments. The ultrasonic technology has established itself as a sealing for the critical head seam as it is often wetted by the product, and is used as the standard today. Moreover, the request to optimise the packaging processes leads to an increasing number of modifications in the market from thermal sealing technologies to ultrasonic sealing. The demand for data and intelligent supervision of sealing processes increases and also the collaboration between manufacturers of packaging and packaging materials and specialists in ultrasonic sealing has been effected.

What are your recommendations to a brand owner who is going to start with pouches?

  1. Identify in time the intended advantages of the US sealing for your production.
  2. Define the quality requirements and test methods for the SUP head seam and trust in the experience of your ultrasonic specialists.
  3. Bring the right people together and give them time and resources to create good quality.

Which innovations are of the greatest interest to you, especially in the flex pack market – disregarding the SUP?

The trend of using aluminium free packaging material will widen the requirements of the sealing technology. High speed packaging machines for large orders and the flexibility of these machines will determine the flexible packaging market. This will lead to changing requirements such as reliable sealing systems for short sealing times or continuous operation with high flexibility. Packaging material having a weight-reduced basis such as foamed plastics or material using less polymer and having an ecological base and functional layers will become more popular.

Thanks for the interview. We will have a write-up about the event in our December issue. This is the first in a series

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