A Move To Flexible Packaging?

Across many of the industries that use packaging machinery, there is currently a shift taking place that could significantly effect consumers, packagers and machinery manufacturers in the long term. The shift can be seen by simply looking at the shelves in a grocery store or department store. Foods, soaps, shampoos, chemicals and more are moving away from the rigid plastic bottle that has been the norm for many years now. Replacing rigid containers are pouches, bags and other flexible container, and though the rigid plastic bottle is far from an item of legend, the shift is likely to continue for a number of different reasons.

1. Creative Freedom

Rigid containers will normally use a label to introduce a product to a possible consumer. Though labels can be applied in different manners, such as wraps, front and backs and panels, the decoration and information are usually limited to the label itself. Unique container shapes and sizes can be difficult or costly to achieve with rigid containers as well. Flexible packaging allows for more creative freedom by allowing the package itself to be the easel. Pouches, for example, can pretty much take on all different shapes and sizes without excessive extra cost. Also, rather than a label, the pouch itself, and the entire pouch, can be designed and decorated to convey information to the consumer via decoration, logo, product name and other information, without the limitation of a labeling area.

2. Harder to Damage

Rigid containers, depending on the material, can be broken, marred and otherwise damaged in shipping, by dropping or when otherwise mishandled. While flexible packaging can also be damaged, it is arguably more resilient than its rigid counterpart. A simple drop will not normally shatter the package, nor will it mar the decoration via a tear to the label. Again, many different types of packages and containers are available for both rigid and flexible packaging, so there are exceptions to the common rule.

3. Environmentally Friendly

As a general rule, flexible packaging can be created using less material and less energy than rigid containers. Less material and less energy equal less waste. Add to this the potential for recycling flexible packaging and you have a new, "greener" packaging alternative. Given the current concerns over environment and raw materials, environmentally friendly packaging is going to continue to be a popular alternative into the foreseeable future.

4. Cost Savings

Not only is using less material and less energy good for the environment, it is also good for the bottom line of any business. While switching from rigid containers to flexible packaging might add cost to a process at the outset, the savings in material and energy may quickly make up the excess cost. Of course, a switch in containers or packages does not always mean new packaging machinery is necessary. Modifications may be available to current machines to allow them to handle different packages.

Whether starting over new or just starting out, it is always a good idea to involve your packaging machinery manufacturer in the planning of the product as soon as possible.  Flexible packaging may not be right for every company or product, but knowing the benefits and costs will help choose the right solution.  The knowledge of the equipment and the experience of dealing with various containers that the manufacturer can bring to the table can save a packager both time and money down the line. To discuss your new packaging line, or changes to an existing line, contact an LPS Packaging Specialist today.