It's no secret that consumer trends have changed... drastically. Some are temporary but some are only going to become more relevant.
Our experts are equipping participants with the information you need to leverage these trends to maximize sales, improve operational efficiencies and delight your customers with your VFFS packaging.
So, good afternoon, Good morning, Good evening. Welcome wherever you're joining us from. This is Rovema's webinar on increasing retail sell through and improving operational efficiency remarkably with a single important choice- picking the right VFFS bag style. I am Ed Marsh. I'm a consultant to Rovema And I work with a number of industrial manufacturers in the capital equipment space, particularly packaging. I'll be moderating today and I'm thrilled to be joined by two Rovema's experts in this space. Alex Floto inside sales manager who jumps back and forth between Rovema's German location and the US location. And David Hart, the southeast regional sales manager who has years of experience and you're going to hear him as he begins to talk about some of these details. That's, he's an amazing resource. As we get started, there's a quick poll that we've popped up. We would love for you to just let us know what function you're coming from. One of the important themes we're going to touch on today is how marketing and engineering and operations and finance all fit together. So as we're talking, please go ahead and fill that poll in. We'll share the results. If we find something that's interesting. Let's have a couple quick housekeeping notes. First of all, the inevitable question yes, we are recording this and we We will share the recording, you'll receive a follow up email, which will include not only a link to the recording, but also to the deck and a handy bag style reference checklist as well. We anticipate a really vibrant discussion, particularly with questions at the end. And would ask that you use the q&a function in the bottom of your screen to submit questions, we'll group them, we'll answer as many as we can at the end, and any that we don't get to, we'll reply by email to answer your question. So we're going to kick it off with David talking about some of the macro market forces that we believe are at play that ultimately impact your decision of bag style. So David, start talking about the role of packaging and where we stand in 2020.
Thank you, Ed. Um, you know, one of the biggest demands from the consumer in the packaging world today is convenience. For example, this could be as simple as utilizing preapplied zipper film that makes a package easy to open, easy to get into and easy to reseal. Something that is very simple as it adds significant value to your product by making the package more convenient for your customer. Secondly, with everything that's going on in the world these days, the consumer also wants to quickly identify what they want, check it off their grocery list, move on and get out of the store as fast as they possibly can. With this being said, I think product recognition through packaging is key, the consumer easily identifies the product and the next thing you know the product is in the cart and ready to be purchased. The retailer on the other hand, wants a wide range of aesthetically appealing packages that sell with ease and are easy to restock and be sold again. Therefore packaging quality and shelf ready packaging is becoming very popular and important in today's industry. So now the manufacturer is tasked to satisfy both the consumer and retailer with convenience, brand recognition and appealing packages that are easy to sell and restock so that the supply and demand cycle stays in high gear during these challenging times. So, Alex, so let's talk about the internal tensions that we commonly see out there.
Yeah, Thanks, David. There are two obvious internal tensions that we've basically seen in our industry. One side you have marketing, they want to sell more, gain more market share, reinvest in the brand, with innovations, get people basically get people more interested. And so that means they're always looking for some kind of way to change the brand and kind of change the status quo with the other side, which are the operators, operations, they want to stick with status quo, you know, stay in their lane, fulfill orders, you know, run production lines efficiently, without any hiccups or any surprises. And on their side, they don't really they're not really open to change. They kind of want to because they think If there is a change to the package, and that might require some different levels of training and monitoring on their side, so there's got to be this happy medium, where both marketing gets what they want- in the innovation to stand out, that kind of appeal. And then operations can kind of fulfill that or just fulfill all that change, without any new daily changes to the routine, and, you know, not much more training.
So, that middle ground, I mean, it sounds great. We all know that it's kind of hard and painful to get there. And it's always a work in progress. But the fly in the ointment, if you will, to use an expression is the fact that just as soon as any company kind of figures out how to balance those internal tensions. Well guess what the market changes, consumer expectations change, retailer expectations change. And that leads to six trends that we believe are kind of pervasive in the industry affecting retail packaging, that will also then impact our discussion of bag types. Alex, why don't you take us through those six trends?
Yeah, to quickly summarize these six trends. First I'll start off with sustainability and the options that you might want to explore with sustainability. Next stand up pouches. Consumers are demanding higher package quality. With a (Stand Up Pouch). Middle of the store shopping, consumers are stocking up on shelf stable goods and emptying the inner store shelves. Snacking and convenience how the consumer needs are changing in our market. Market differentiation, the strategy of being different and standing out. Merchandising efficiency, the rise of retail ready packaging, but before we kind of go more in depth and all these, I'm going to send this back to David who's going to kind of remind us about the typical bag styles we see in the market today.
Thank you, Alex. So basically what I want to do now is just take a packaging 101 approach on bag styles and how they may fit within your operations and/or marketing objectives. So I'm going to start out with Old Faithful here, the pillow bag. The pillow bag is the most common, easiest and economical bag to make with the added benefit of high production speeds. Per its name, it forms a pillow when made and is classified as a lay flat package. Basically it has a top and bottom seal and a symmetrical vertical seal going down the back of the bag. Now this back vertical seal can either be a fin, or lap seal. In the retail convenience sector because pill bags do not stand up. They usually feature a whole punch and placed on a pegboard for good brand exposure. Now in terms of consumer convenience, when we talk about reclosability, a pillow bag can either feature a machine applied zipper or a preapplied zipper. Another nice feature can be a transverse perforation line for easy opening above the zipper flange instead of a "cut here" note printed on the film. The perforation line can eliminate the potential need for scissors to open the bag. It can also avoid the consumer from having to tear open the package and the product goes all over the place.
So, now I'm gonna move on to the cousin of the pillow bag that is called the gusseted pillow bag. So the gusseted pillow bag is a simple variation of a pillow bag with two side gussets that are typically not deep. In my opinion, the the gusseted pillow bag is more of a functionality bag. For example, the gusseted pillow bag is commonly used in high speed bag in box applications. The gussets square off the ends so it is easier for the bag to be pushed into the carton and prevent jams. A good illustration of this is right here in that picture the left side of that slide. Now another functional advantage of the gusseted pillow bag can be used when filling powders. So the gussetted pillow bag allows you to use a larger forming tube if increasing the bag width is not an option. Because of the larger forming tube a larger auger screw can be utilized for increased throughput and accuracy. Meanwhile, The bag width does not increase because the bag is gusseted on both sides. I typically see this often in the powder industry and it can be a nice easy solution for increased line efficiency and throughput. Now gusseted pillow bags are also commonly used in bigger bag applications where bags are directly palletized the gussets square off the bag well on the pallet and then the pallet can easily be stretch wrapped. Examples of this could be fertilizers, construction material like grout. Ive also seen it in big bag applications in the flour industry. Now the gusseted pillow bag is still consider a lay down type package. But with increasing the gusset depth it could be used as an economical version of a self standing package. However, it may easily fall over on the store shelf and is not usually the best looking bag compared to others that were specifically made to stand up on their own. Moving on.
So now we're going to talk about the three sided and four sided seal pouch. And in the industry the four side seal pouch is also known as a sachet. So basically the three side and four side seal pouch is a lay down pillow style bag without the back center seal, commonly used in a nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industry, but also used in the food industry typically in smaller portion packs. Now from a marketing standpoint, when compared to a traditional pillow bag, the three side or four side seal pouch eliminates the obstruction of a back vertical seal for a full marketing billboard on both sides of pouch that can be used for improved marketing product information. Now a three side or four side seal pouch is also good for important instructions that need to be followed by the consumer for the product to work properly. The full panel exposure makes it easier to read the important instructions without the interference of a back seal. A good example of this is chemical mixing, baking or over the counter medicines. Traditionally, these pouches are made on horizontal form fill seal machines (HFFS) or multi lane sachet machines. But a three side seal and even a four size seal pouch can now be made on a special vertical bagger that can produce a wide range of package styles. Just like a traditional pillow, it can have a hole punch or zipper for added consumer convenience. Now when a four size seal pouch is made on a vertical bagger, the fourth seal is more of an aesthetic requirement than a functionality requirement. So what to think about here is a beef jerky pouch. I would say 90% of the beef jerky pouches out there are four sided and I actually think this makes sense because beef jerky is an expensive snack. Package aesthetics is very important for this industry. Moving on.
Now I'm going to get into self standing packages. The block bottom gable top style bag is the most common self standing package made on a vertical bagger. Traditionally it has wide side gussets to define the block bottom so the bag can stand up on its own on the shelf. Now the block bottom bag has a wide face that gives good billboard exposure for marketing on the front and back as it stands up on the shelf. Now typically when I talk to the marketing folks, I like to mention or recommend using a film with an outer sealant layer so that the vertical bagger can tuck the bottom and top gussets during the sealing process so that the gusset ears don't flare open on the sides. The tacked gussets give the bag a better presentation and keep the gable top intact and also preserves the block bottom after the stock person puts the bag on the shelf for its point of sale presentation. Now instead of the typical back center seal that you see here on the top. The back of the bag can have an offset vertical seal to get a full back panel exposure without the obstruction of the vertical seal going down the center of the bag. Now the marketing department can really like this feature for enhanced advertising and graphic display. A lot of times a full back panel is used to describe the company's history or just a story about the product itself. Now in terms of implementing consumer convenience, the block bottom bag can feature a machine applied transverse zipper, or pre applied zipper that can be used as a recloser feature. Also, an easy open perforation line can be included, we can even add a carry handle to the bag, as you can see in the picture down there in the lower left hand corner. So moving on.
Now I want to talk more about premium type packages. And the first premium type package is the Stabilo Bag. The Stabilo bag is a block bottom style bag with four seals vertical corners for a premium look. Very common in the coffee industry or when a company is promoting its flagship or high end product. Just in case, if you've ever asked, maybe at trivia night, the Stabilo bag was invented to give the similar characteristics and appearance as a traditional cardboard box. Like with the flat bottom bag, filled with an outer sealant layer for tacking the gussets is a winner for the Stabilo bag, actually, I think is a must when considering this package. Now the Stabilo bag stands up very well on the shelf because the corner seals add ability to the package with a great shelf presentation. The Stabilo seals also give the bag added strength, like a carton, so the bag looks the same on the shelf as it did when it came off the packaging line. Like the block bottom bag, the back seal can either be center finned or a true offset to give full back panel exposure for marketing without obstructions of that center back seal. This gives added marketing enhancement by having a full billboard for the front and back. Moving on to our next package.
Now I want to talk about the RoPack and the RoPack is Rovema's version of the stand up pouch, also known as SUP's in the industry. As we all know the (stand up pouches) out there have hit the market, the packaging market by storm, and as we know it is only going to get stronger down the road in several markets. The RoPack is eye catching. It stands out great while giving a captivating marketing billboard on the front and back of the pouch for advertising and product information. Now the RoPack presents a premium looking package and in return the consumers convinced they are buying a premium product. For example, let's talk about chocolate candy. You could be walking down the candy aisle and you first see a lay down pillow bag of chocolate from Company A on the shelf. Now right beside that pillow bag is a stand up beautiful RoPack from Company B that is filled with a similar product. Now, I think the consumer is more tempted to purchase the RoPack bag of chocolate from Company B, even perhaps pay a little little more for that product because they assume since the packaging is nicer, they must be getting a better tasting higher quality piece of chocolate. Now the RoPack also provides the consumer convenience by having easy to open recloser options like zipper and tape and they can also have an easy perforation line where I have even seen the use of pre perforated micro scored film. Now up to recently (Stand Up Pouches) were traditionally made on horizontal form fill seal machines, or even pre made bags. However as (stand up pouches) keep their high demand vertical form fill seal manufacturers have created a vertical bagger that can make these style pouches hence the RoPack which is our version of the stand up pouch that's made on a vertical bag.
So moving on, talk a little bit about the the flex can, the flex can the bag on the left here or the package on the left here is just basically a version of the Stabilo, four corner seal bag, that resembles a rigid can in a flexible format, since it is flexible and lighter than a rigid can it is a sustainable package that is good for nuts, snacks and fruits. Now the flex can stands up nice, keeps its shape, and it's a unique package that would definitely stand out on the shelf.
Last but not least, is the tetrahedron. Now the tetrahedron is a very unique package that shaped like a pyramid. It's usually very compact in size and used for single serve items. Since it is so unique. It stands out well over other single serve type packages. I actually have one right here on my desk you can see it looks like a pyramid. Kind of like a platypus. You really don't know what it is, but he kind of figured out that it looks pretty cool and interesting. But um, anyway, that's, that's it for the package styles.
So did I tell you he was an expert or what? I mean years of experience, you know somebody's an expert when they think of their area of expertise for trivia night, but the tips and tricks I mean, the idea of putting the seal layer on the outside of the film to make sure that block bottom locks in there, the idea that the bag style would actually relate to the auger size and the speed of which you could fill it. It's really amazing info. Thanks very much, David.
So we've talked about external forces. We've talked about internal forces, we've talked about trends. Now we've gone through this tutorial on the bag styles, let's figure out how to mash it all together and kind of a matrix, if you will, of considerations. How can the bag style be a competitive advantage in the factory or on the shelf or in the sales deck of your people out selling to retailers even in the consumer pantry. And one of the important things that is going to, I think be a thread through this next portion that we're talking about is how flexibility can be traded off, you can have machines that are purpose built, and run with extraordinary efficiency. And you can have machines that are inherently very flexible, and can run a lot of different materials, a lot of different bag styles all at the same machine to preserve flexibility.
Let's dive into those trends and kind of unpack them a little bit more each one in terms of bag style, and we're gonna start with sustainability. This is such a big topic and it means so much to so many people. And really, the word is loaded with a lot of implications in many ways. Rovema believes very strongly that as part of their mission to feed the world safely, that you have to understand sustainability from across the entire supply chain. That means the creation of the packaging materials the resins the pulp, the water, the power that's required transport of those materials, compare empty number 10 cans to a roll of film for certain applications, the storage of the raw material in the warehouse. How much space do you have to build and heat and cool and light and fork trucks and propane and all of that just to move the packaging materials around? The creation of the product itself. Of course, this is where most of the carbon footprint is for most products, the cooking, the freezing, the processing. What's the impact of the packaging process? How about the machines, how efficient are they in terms of air consumption and power consumption and noise? How much floor space do they need that has to be heated or cooled and and cleaned and lit and all of that? Transportation of the finished goods, the volume and the weight of the finished goods and the shelf life. I mean, there's nothing really more impactful for sustainability than having to take an entire package of finished goods and throw it out because of damage or expiration. That's far more volume than the difference incrementally that people can achieve with packaging. Then of course, there's all the questions about shelf life and some products that are high fat or particularly susceptible to oxygen or water vapor have to be protected and that can impact the recyclability of film there's terms recyclability, composability, biodegradability that have very different meanings, technically, and in perception and perception throughout this whole thing is really important. There's the perception of plastic and monolayer versus metallized, and laminated films and what you need from a graphics perspective and marketing and shelf space. Then there's the paper and the very strong movement toward paper and PLA's and some of the other biodegradable films. But by the time you look at the manufacturing of those and account for the chlorine and the water consumption and the volume of material, sometimes the trade off isn't entirely as clear.
The bottom line though, Is that all of these are really tightly intertwined. Paper may satisfy the consumer preference for, you know, kind of a sustainable looking and feeling package, but it may tear. It may need a plastic lamination in order to achieve the shelf life, it may run slower, it may take more electricity for higher sealed pressure and higher higher seal temperature. So there are trade offs as part of that process and the recloseable features that we know are a trend that are so important to the consumer experience can also, in some cases impact the recyclability. They can take a package that may be a monopolymer and make it into one that's not as easily recyclable. So, all of this means that across the entire organization from the marketing, positioning and messaging, and merchandising, to the corporate social responsibility and the finance and production and the operations, everyone has to coordinate to build the right combination of flexibility and appearance into the sustainability perspective. So for the next trend, I want to turn it back over to David and he can kind of take us through what he's seeing in terms of trends of stand up pouches and how different bag styles play into that.
Thank you, Ed. Yes, there's definitely a love affair with the stand up pouch, both on the consumer and retail side. For the consumer, it's easy to open, it reseals well and it stands up with ease in the pantry. Like I mentioned earlier, the stand up pouch also sells well giving the consumer the sense that inside that premium pouch is a better product than the competitors that's sitting right beside it, potentially in a pillow bag. Not too long ago these pouches were only available as premade or made on large space consuming horizontal form fill seal machines, but a horizontal machine is big, expensive, and changeovers take a long time compared to a vertical form fill and seal. So to adapt to this trend we are now seeing manufacturers offer a vertical bagger that can make aesthetically pleasing stand up pouches and these machines have a smaller footprint. For the most part, they're less expensive with quicker changeovers. And better yet, they have the flexibility to make pillow bags, flat bottom bags, Stabilo bags and even three sided and four sided seal pouches on the same machine. So Alex, please enlighten us about snacking and convenience as we move on.
Yeah, thanks David. Snacking is a big part of our consumer lives, and it only seems to be growing stronger. One study from the specialty food Association revealed that snacking appeals to almost half of all consumers. As of lately this trend has even grown stronger because of the recent pandemic. People are at home thinking about food and its availability more often. A food and health survey done by international food information council showed that most consumers are snacking more which is up 32% and thinking about food more than usual, up to 27%. For food producers, the snacking trend is is growing mainly around healthy or healthful type products. Consumers are leaning towards you know high protein good for you options and of course, convenience. The convenience aspect applies to both consumers and the producers. Obviously, customers want a package that is flexible to their needs. And the producers want the customer to notice that flexibility but also want the product out the door and on the shelves quickly. Example for flexibility with with customers they want easy to obtain, they want to easy open it they want easy to manipulate, they want easy to close. This kind of goes back to the stand up pouch or the RoPack bag, the purpose built bag for us at Rovema with a zipper. This also connects with the flex can with its recloseability with tape and kind of leans into even coffee and powder applications with closing with tin tie, tape or label.
Flexibility for producers- our examples are dedicated fast output machines or multi purpose flexible machines. Rovema has a twin tube BVC 145 machine that is a dedicated pillow bagger with rates up to 500 bags per minute for example. So that's 250 per side. But that's only for the pillow but that's high output, getting stuff out the door and on the shelves. Another version of the machine that we have is a flexible machine and multipurpose bagger that can produce a wide range of bag styles with easy changeover applications. This convenience tread is now going to lead us into the next market trend of market differentiation.
Marketing is about image building, highlighting what makes your brand better than the others by definition, it is a strategic process of building a competitive advantage. To be different in your market, producers can use a variety of characteristics to call attention to your package, including unique sizes, shapes, materials, and even your hallmarks. All these types of options can create automatic recognition and brand power within their niches. Because our markets are growing and becoming more and more competitive, packagers are looking to manufacturers like Rovema and their film suppliers to aid them in their quest to set themselves apart.
One way manufacturers like Rovema can help you stand out in today's market is with obviously the bag sizes and shapes and our innovations. Of course, this kind of goes back to the oddball style bags like the tetrahedron and the flex can, the stand up pouch RoPack bag and other bag styles as well that David mentioned earlier. With the snacking market moving towards a healthier option, another way to stand out would be to amplify that brand persona with sustainable films. For example, paper packaging for organic healthy style products. Another way you can stand down the market in terms of supply value and cost leadership is gonna take us into the next trend of merchandizing consistency.
Simplify the process of stocking products and you will get your products in front of customers more quickly. And this is kind of leaning into retail ready and shelf ready packaging or I'm going to call (Retail Ready Packaging) and (Shelf Ready Packaging). Growth from the previous mentioned trends of snacking convenience, merchandising differentiation, have driven demand for low cost packaging materials, even when it comes to multi packs and variety packs for brands. Retail Ready Packaging is a purpose built strategy that not only is easy for retailers to manage but should have an excellent customer appeal relevant to the type of product. Retail Ready Packaging is mainly beneficial to retailers and producers because in theory, more products moving much quicker than normal. Store employees are able to unpack and stock shelves using easy tear away openings. And these packages or trays that we call them are now display ready. The employee doesn't have to worry about displaying each individual package on the shelf and waste time with that. Brands that are making this change to Retail Ready Packaging will also be favored by retailers because ultimately there's gonna be fewer employees in the store.
Lastly, why Retail Ready Packaging is considered and should always be a consistent strategy for packaging is because new generations and their growing purchasing habits are imminent. A recent blog I read from PKG branding, they kind of reminded me that you know, the millennial generation is reaching their prime spending years. Online grocery shopping is becoming more important to them. Brands that are investing in Retail Ready Packaging will not only help retailers stock shelves more efficiently, but this will in turn help make the job of the warehouse worker and order fulfillment staff much simpler. They will be able to pick, place and sort easily, increasing speed of online fulfillment, resulting in a satisfied customer who is now much more likely to buy that product from that retailer, in the end, and again. The last trend that we would like to talk about is the middle of the store shopping and I'm gonna pass this off to Ed and his expertise to explain.
Thanks, Alex and I, you know, as you were talking about snacking and convenience that triggered a thought. I read an article at one point from the late great Harvard Business School Professor Clay Christensen talking about the jobs that people want done. And he had an amazing case study of a candy manufacturer that had switched to a flat bottom bag that could sit on the table next to the TV with a large opening on top that people could put their hand in and, and grab handfuls of the stuff and enjoy it while they're watching TV that led to an enormous increase in sales. So these trends really do tie tightly with the bag style and in some creative ways, this middle of store shopping who knows what we're going to be saying about this in a year.
For the past couple years, the news has been full of stories about the change from the middle of the store to where consumers were shopping around the perimeter to the kind of perceived as healthier and fresher, refrigerated section, even to the point that retailers have redesigned their stores. They've reconfigured it to take space away from the middle of the store. This quote, I think this coming up will illustrate that really well, take space away from the middle of the store and put it on the on the perimeter. And you see that change in the percentage of the growth in different categories. But, of course, talk about kind of a whiplash. This all changed a few months ago, you've all heard the stories about how suddenly that trend is reversed. And consumers are going back and buying those comfort foods in the middle of the store. The question is, how will that trend play out? And how do their expectations for packaging and quality and appearance now begin to weigh on how they make those decisions about the middle of store stuff, so it could be products that maybe are traditionally put in cartons now need to go into stand up pouches, because people are shopping in the middle of the store but shopping with different expectations.
So that takes us through those six trends and how we think they're kind of weighing on or impact the decision or the consideration around the package style. We've got another quick poll as we begin to answer some questions, if you don't mind sharing with us which of those six trends you believe are impacting your business most significantly? And let's jump into questions now. So we're going to start with a question from Josh and this dives in very directly into some technical details. and gentlemen, if you think some of these questions are better handled offline, because there's, you know, a lot of a lot of very kind of technical nuance to them, by all means, we'll make sure that we get followed up by email. But Josh is asking, "How does the asymmetrical vertical seam impact the bagger speed?"
Yeah, I'll take that one real quick. I don't think that should impact the bagger speed in any kind of way. I mean, maybe maybe in the Stabilo form, with Stabilo on the forming tube. But with the asymmetrical on the being done on a block bottom bag, it shouldn't be any problem because your only limitation is really how wide the film web width is because and that means you might have to kind of move your carriage over to one side. So that's that's the only limitation we really look at for speed on asymmetrical.
Well Alex what what's more important is film tracking, you got to make sure you have a good film tracking system because you want to make sure that asymmetrical seal stays in his proper spot. Also the asymmetrical seal or offset seal, you want to make sure you have good quality film. Because it's about aesthetics, you talk about the offset back seal.
Aright, next question from Julie "Which of the stand up capable pouches run the fastest?"
Im gonna go with the block bottom style bag because basically the simplest bag to make in terms of stand up pouches. Also, typically with a block bottom with the gable top you have plenty of headspace in the bag allows you to go faster than other types of stand up pouches that are made on a 90 degree.
Yeah, in my opinion, I think actually it's the stand up pouch the RoPack (VFFS made Doy Style Bag). You know, our mechanical speed of the RoPack on the bagger is probably up to 80 bags per minute. And that's with the zipper applied as well you know, and just to kind of wrap your head around this, our zipper is being applied continuously with this bag. And then in between bags, we're actually punching out pieces where the cross seal jaws will close the bag. So you don't have these crushed zippers. So the bagger is able to kind of accomplish this up to 80 bags for a minute. You know, so I think that's one of our best bags.
It's also you know, product dependent right? Yeah, that's important and bag weight and all those other variables that could affect speed.
So you raised a couple points about the zipper as part of that. And we've got several questions kind of all relating to resealable so let's see.
Matt is asking about pre applied zipper. Josh is asking about re closable features from different suppliers velcro tape zipper, what performs best Are there any packs that cannot be made with a re closable so let's try to tackle those together. Let's just talk more about recloseable options.
I'm a big fan of the pre applied zipper. It just makes the bag so much more convenient to open, get your hand in and reseal and also it's it's already applied to the film. So there's no limitations set aside by the by a vertical bag machine where you might have to To use a transverse zipper applicator to apply this zipper to the film on the on the back of the machine or on the film cage film carriage.
Yeah, just to talk about kind of re closable features mean Velcro, all the closable features run really well on our baggers, we typically only sees zipper or different styles of zippers. Other than that, tape, you know, it's like a pre applied sealant. So you can kind of fold over and peel back the film that's usually on our flex can or on another style RoPack that we have with without tape. I mean without zipper, with tape.
We use tape a lot on our SBS type machine where you do a fold down tin tie and tape down. So it's more of a more of a brick pack type package or one called a vacuum pack, but it's more of a block style type bag, brick pack.
How about demographics in terms of reclose ability? Obviously, with elderly people, you want to make it easy for them to get in. With kids, in many cases, you want to make it hard for them to get in. Is there any trend in the industry around different reclosable types for specific purposes like that? Nothing that you heard about, I guess?
I think for, just talking with my wife, she just wants something that's easy to open something that's convenient, something that's going to keep the product fresh. So that's what I was talking about the perforation feature, right? Where you're just tearing open the bag, right below the top seal, instead of tearing open the bag or using scissors. Then again with the pre applied zipper or any type of zipper applicator it just, it's easy to open the bag, get your hand in the bag and reseal it and put it back in the pantry or back in the refrigerator.
I mean some zipper styles we've seen is like fresh lock. People want more hefty style zipper to kind of keeping the fresh of the product too, so.
Got it. Alright, Michael is asking, "What's the main limitation on the speed of the RoPack bag?"
I would say depends on... It's really iffy. Are you running.. if you're gonna run zipper the zipper might be the limitation because the RoPack without zipper you can run a little faster.
Also headspace right, Alex?
Yeah head space, cargo space.
Cargo space, you don't wanna get product in the seals.
So I think that actually leads into a question that Josh asked as well about the pillow bag versus RoPack bag and anticipating different maximum fill levels of product in a finished bag. So talk us through that headspace and fill level.
Yeah, that's a difficult question. Because, depending on the size of the RoPack because the bag is not being made standing up, it's made on the side like this. Obviously, depending on what the size of the bag is, you're going to be limited to the bag actually being made on its side. So now you might have decreased cargo space. And then when the bag stands up, it might look, you know, a little less full than than you would think. But with a pillow, you can obviously get a lot better fill ratio. And that's just my opinion.
You know, bag sizing is always important. You just got to make sure you have an efficient headspace. It's just a little bit more complicated on the RoPack versus a traditional pillow bag. I think the rule of thumb is usually like 20%.
Yeah, I say two to three fingers from the top of the fill level of the product to the end seal, two to three fingers you would need.
So that kind of leads into another question that we have here from Megan. Let's see, for the stand up format is there No, actually, it's not Megan, I'm not sure who that is. "For the stand up pouch format, is there a height to width ratio limitation that a VFFS bagger can process?"
Sure, yeah. I mean, we would have to know what the, what you're trying to accomplish. And then we can kind of, you know, take this one offline, this would be an offline question where we need to get more details on what what the bag is going to look like and the dimensions and then we can kind of, you know, segue you into the right machine.
We can always make handmade samples too.
Moderators privilege here, whoever asked that question is in as an anonymous attendee, so if you want that detailed follow up answer you're going to have to drop another Q&A and to let us know who you are so we can follow up with you on that. "How about increases in ultrasonic sealing?" Is that a trend that you see developing at all?
Ah, you see it in the shredded cheese industry, the produce industry because you can actually seal through the product without getting seal contamination. In the powder industry we really don't see it, candy industry we really don't see it. There's basically those products that can be sealed through and don't really affect the production of the bag or the seal integrity.
Yeah, I've only really seen it in lately in the liquid kind of aspect of our industry because there has been a product for they wanted to seal straight through like a paste and be done with it. Keep it keep is less air out of there as possible. So yeah, I mean, ultrasonics there, but it's I would say it's, it's a pretty niche market.
For the right product, yes, it works well.
Of course, you mentioned film tracking earlier in the consistency of that offset seal. And there's ultrasonic tracking for film as well that addresses some of the traditional mechanical issues, right?
Yeah, the help of ultrasonic sealing. I mean, ultrasonic film tracking is definitely better for certain back styles might be too much for like a pillow bag, but for like a, like a four corner seal Stabilo bag, it's absolutely necessary.
For offset vertical seal, yes.
And then there's also ultrasonic sealing for even valve applications with coffee. It gives you just the extra bump in speed. Putting that valve on the back of the carriage.
Now how about ultrasonic in terms of speed in general? Mike's asking if ultrasonic would slow the machine down, you mentioned it's faster with the valve but how about the general operation of the machine?
That's a good that's a good one I would like to take offline.
There's no speed limitations with ultrasonic. Sometimes for the right application, it could help you go faster.
So here's an interesting question. Devin is asking, "Why a manufacturer would choose the RoPack bag versus the block bottom?"
Ah, aesthetics. Like I talked about, it's a premium package. It just, it makes your product more of a premium type product versus a conventional flat bottom style bag or pillow bag.
It's a good marketing question internally for how you want to present your brand out in the market, you know? Obviously, there's beautiful block bottom bags out there. And there's beautiful RoPack bags. It's really just how you want your brand to be seen by everybody. Right?
It's just more of a marketing preference.
We've got a variety of questions around maybe what we might call upgrades or retrofits, people want to know if they can put zipper on the machine later, people wanting to know if let's see. if they can run preset film on their existing machine, run pre applied film. There's a question actually about bag sizing. Can you gentlemen or some of your colleagues help people that are wondering about how to optimize the bag sizing? Is that a service or advice that you offer?
Yeah, absolutely. Whoever's asking that question, you can contact me or David anytime, and we can help you make a bag size and kind of help you in the right direction.
Cool. And I think you triggered a question with your comment on liquids and sealing through paste. Roberts asking if "Rovema can currently bag two gallon liquid bags?"
Yeah, we can do.
Absolutely, Yeah. We have a machine specifically designed for liquid applications.
And you can do two gallon size?
All right. So we've worked through most of the questions. Let's see. Juan was wondering I think, David, when you were talking about the gusseted pillow bag, you talked about large format for palletizing. He's wondering how large you can go with those bags.
So we have a machine called the BVC 600. And that 600 represents the widest bag you can make on that machine in millimeters. So 600 millimeters equates to about 23 and a half inches. So, twenty three and a half inches wide.
And not to mention, for that machine when you're making such a big bag and you're going to straight palletize it, that machine has an integrated tyvek applicator that basically pushes all the air out. So it becomes it doesn't look all floppy when you try to throw it on the pallet. And then basically you have a stack that falls over so it's a great, it's a great machine...
So Alex, I wanna go back to the liquid machine. We now offer the ability to put a fitment on our liquid bags. So that's new, new from us. Looking forward to that.
And David, you mentioned that 600 millimeter seal bar 23 and a half inches, is that the largest bagger that that Rovema produces?
Yes it is.
And in terms of kind of more common retail bag sizes, what would be the largest?
You know, we have a 400 machine which make make up to a 400 milliliter wide bag. So that would be the biggest bag.
So maybe that in pet food or kitty litter those kinds of things?
We even have been talking about doing a intermittent motion machine with 500 millimeter jaws.
So we can we go from the we'll say the 180 machine at 180 millimeters, all the way up to the BVC 600.
Cool. Alright, so those are the questions I think that we're going to tackle as a group here today. Actually one more just came in Mike's wondering the type of footprint for the BVC 600 versus 260? Or 400? How much bigger is it?
It's quite a big machine.
Maybe we're better off catching up with Mike offline with the details about that.
Yeah I can send, I can send a sample drawing to Mike if he wants one.
All right. So, fascinating discussion. You guys are amazing experts. I think one of the really interesting things is that marketing and engineering and production and finance all have to weigh in on this. And you know, just because you want to buy the fastest machine you can for the package that you're planning to make for that large retail customer today, doesn't mean that the best decision is necessarily to have the most efficient solution just for that because there's so many trends impacting it. Flexibility is required even what manufacturers have gone through for the last four months, changing so quickly to respond to shifting demand and having flexibility for package style and bag style and sizes and formats and materials and all of that is so critically important.
So let's let's wrap this up. Thank you very much for joining us today for this webinar. Just a quick reminder that you will be getting an email that will have the link to the recording, the deck and the bag style comparison matrix. Just shouting out also, calling out a couple other resources that you may find interesting that fit into this discussion. One is Rovema's guide and webinar to retail ready packaging, and the other is the paper packaging guide. There's also, soon to be released, a liquid packaging guide. There was a few questions around that, some people interested with some of that.
The bottom line, I think, no matter whether you had assumed that you had to go premade or horizontal to get the look or was stuck with a machine that would only run one type. There's a lot of retrofits available vertical form fill and seal has a smaller footprint, lower capital cost a lot of flexibility. And the folks at Rovema have a lot of expertise to talk through different options on how to improve flexibility and improve package appearance, increase manufacturing agility, reduce the footprint, increased speed, reduced material cost, all those kinds of things.
So, we'd welcome you to reach out and have those kinds of discussions, even if it's just a, "Hey, could we do such-and-such?" That's what Alex and David and their colleagues are there to do. So, it's been a pleasure having you today. Thanks very much for joining us and wonderful job, Alex and David. Nice work.
Thank you. Bye bye.