(R)evolution of the food packaging industry

(or how to create a more modern and efficient process)

Goods and products must be protected and preserved if they are to get from the place where they were produced to the place where they are used. And while modern packaging does a remarkable job of protecting the contents, smart companies now understand that packaging safety must start much earlier in the process.

THE EVER-CHANGING FOOD PACKAGING INDUSTRY

Humans have been dealing with packaging issues for almost the entirety of civilization. Indeed, some of the most beautiful objects in our museums - clay or earthenware vessels and jars - represent our ancient efforts to create appropriate packaging.

Food packaging has undergone extensive transformation over the years, from the Stone Age to the Industrial Revolution and beyond, with successive waves of technology creating better and more efficient packaging. And while packaging has certainly evolved considerably since the days of Stone Age pottery and ancient glass containers, moving from modified mulberry bark to modern containers made of metal, plastic and other materials, the primary problems remain. Packaging is designed to protect its contents from the weather, prolong its life and limit contamination. Before it can do this, however, it must get safely from the manufacturing plant to the consumer.

Did you know that?

Two of the most common packaging materials were discovered quite by accident. The world's first prefabricated cardboard was created when a printing press broke down and cut up a whole stack of paper bags. Similarly, polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), the main ingredient in saran wrap, was discovered by accident when a Dow Chemical lab worker came across a bottle he couldn't scrub. Once the colour was removed from this unyielding dark green film, it became the world's most popular food packaging material.

NOTHING STARTS ON THE SHELF - IT HAS TO GET THERE.

Modern packaging equipment must be able to safely handle bags of raw materials, drums, tubs or containers of raw materials and then safely lift and weigh the finished products. They must be able to fit large rolls of film into the packaging machines, wrap them in stretch film and pack the raw materials (such as boxes, bags and drums) onto pallets, all while maintaining the integrity of the packaging. Nowhere are these challenges more evident than in the food industry.

The Napoleon Prize for food preservation

In 1795, French Emperor Napoleon needed to find a way to feed his army. He offered a prize of 12,000 francs to whoever could invent a better way of preserving food. The prize remained unclaimed for another 15 years until Nicolas Appert, whose method of cooking and then sealing food in airtight glass containers is still used today, claimed it.

PACKAGING IS A NECESSITY - BUT ALSO A BUSINESS

The sheer variety of weights and sizes in food and beverage packaging poses a major operational challenge. Of course you need to handle products and ingredients safely, but also - and even more importantly for the efficiency and profitability of your business - there is the issue of worker safety and ergonomics.

TAWI motto: ergonomics = economy

The way you manage your handling and lifting practices can have a significant impact on your bottom line. The math is fairly simple:

  • Increased handling safety = increased efficiency.
  • Increased efficiency = better customer retention.
  • Inefficient lifting operations = wasted labor.
  • Unnecessary labor = unnecessary costs.
  • Employee injury/unemployment = reduced productivity.

A LITTLE ABOUT MSD

Musculoskeletal disorders (or MSDs) primarily involve upper extremity disorders and back injuries and include chronic injuries such as tenosynovitis and carpal tunnel syndrome resulting from repetitive tasks, as well as chronic back pain caused by repetitive or uncomfortable lifting. MSDs related to spine and back problems are a common part of wrap surgeries, with typical results being wear and tear on joints, vertebrae and intervertebral discs.

MSDs related to food and beverage packaging range from nerve problems to neck, shoulder, back and lower back pain due to repetitive work and severe back strain or injury due to lifting uncomfortable or heavy loads. In fact, approximately one-third of reported injuries in the food and beverage industry are due to handling and lifting. Other problems include indigestion, leg pain, heart and circulatory problems, sciatica and more. Workplace injuries are the most common cause of absenteeism or lost productivity and place a huge burden on your operations and bottom line. However, there is good news. Most of these injuries are preventable. And it starts with creating a sustainable and ergonomic workplace.

Evolve towards a more profitable process with:

  • A more flexible workforce.
  • A safer and healthier workplace.
  • Reduced absenteeism due to injury.
  • Minimizing damage and loss.

Whether it's rolls, bags, boxes, cans, cartons, pallets or drums, or even direct handling of food products, TAWI's stainless steel handlers and trolleys provide safe and ergonomic lifting at all stages of your packaging process. TAWI lifting equipment is low cost, low maintenance, requires minimal effort to use and is easy to clean and sanitize - a critical requirement in many food packaging environments.

IS IT TIME TO JOIN THE (R)EVOLUTION?

With a TAWI solution for the food packaging industry, you can optimize operations, reduce damage and waste, make your employees' jobs easier and safer, and ensure compliance and company growth.

Contact us today to discuss how you can streamline your packaging operations.