A successful year of advisement on Packaging Technology by the Southern Branch of the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) in Melbourne culminated when two companies allowed members access to their facilities to see first hand the operations of some of the technologies spoken about in face to face meetings over the previous ten months.
Established in 2007, newleaf packaging, a fast-growing company dedicated to serving the packaging needs of Australian industry. The members who attended the Campbellfield factory were given a comprehensive briefing, which turned into an open exchange of ideas on many packaging and manufacturing related topics.
They, being suitably briefed, were then allowed to inspect the stretch blow moulding and injection moulding facilities. The manufacturing facility is only 12 months old there has been considerable investment by a team that is passionate about their work and ready to accept any new packaging challenges.
newleaf packaging have developed many unique products that have found markets locally and in the case of their sterile surgical instrument tray overseas too. The company entered a competitive arena when setting up to manufacture products such as PET bottles and jars but came to the marketplace with a number of advantages taken from the team’s experience in experience in stretch blow moulding and injection moulding.
For instance tooling is made and tested before it is sent from Japan by Nissei Plastic Industrial, which means commissioning times are reduced. A single preform can be used to make many different end products as long as the preform design, weight and shape suits the stretch ratios of a particular end product.
newleaf packaging elected to use Nissei ASB single stage stretch blow moulding equipment (SBM) because of the versatility and quality. Nissei global users have an internet based network where issues can be discussed and assistance given or taking to solve any problems encountered.
Although output of single stage SBM is lower than two-stage equipment, the preform is made within the single stage machine and ensures that the quality is totally under newleaf packaging control. The cycle time of the equipment is determined by the design and weight of the packaging item. The size also determines how many items can be made with each cycle.
Reject rates are very low, and newleaf packaging uses all virgin material to ensure the quality. But the team have been experimenting with a variety of material combinations to produce packaging items with specific characteristics. Some of the materials they have combined have improved the barrier properties of PET, increased the thermal stability range and clarity of Polypropylene.
A nod and a wink indicated that there could be some interesting developments in biodegradable materials. There is also interest in the use of nanotechnology and the benefits that can be gained in material specifications with the right additives.
An interesting concept in marketing and joint venturing was also disclosed. A company called Silverlock Packaging are distributors agents for newleaf packaging and other packaging suppliers. If a client approaches Silverlock then they can draw on expertise at newleaf packaging and deliver a product that fits the customers needs better. Silverlock also have a range of stock bottle/container tools that they can send to a local manufacturer.
The host for the visit was Andrew Bearman a director of the company supported by Andrew Baroutas also a Director, Andrew Pickett, and Kim Marstaellar; and those who attended to a person commented upon the professionalism of the people and the production.
Some members whose interests were in labelling rather than stretch blow moulding chose to visit The Labelmakers Group. Labelmakers is a privately owned Australian company, established in 1987. They are label producer with manufacturing sites in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Labelmakers supply pressure sensitive, wet-glue, roll-fed wrap around, pallet ID, promotional labels and shrink sleeves into both domestic and international markets.
Since investing in self-adhesive coating technology back in 1993, the first step towards establishing a vertically integrated supply chain to service a rapidly growing market many innovations have been added. One innovation is new coating capacity has been added to supply the next generation of adhesive technology to a broader customer base. Innovation and continuous improvement are vital to meet customer’s expectations in branding, scanning and tracking products
Rod Bryan (General Manager sales and marketing) and Graeme Lang (Technical Manager) hosted the visit and gave the packaging people full and open access to the operation. There are three distinct areas of the business:
- Coating division
- Roll Feed: mainly Flexo printing process
- Sheet feed: mainly offset
The clear message was that the corporate aim is to deliver innovative, commercial solutions to their customers. Those who listened and viewed intently could not disagree.
The executive of AIP are aware of the effort required by companies to allow virtual strangers to enter their premises and the gain access to senior staff. On behalf of the Board, executive and members AIP show their gratitude to the employees of newleaf packaging and Labelmakers mentioned in this report.