By: Mike Verespej
November 12, 2012
CHICAGO (Nov. 12, 1 p.m. ET) — Flexible packaging material manufacturer Rollprint Packaging Products Inc. is getting a huge boost from its anti-counterfeiting color-changing sealant technology for flexible heat-seal applications, and from the addition of a clean room for medical pouch and bag manufacturing.
“We just had the best show in the history of the company because of this product” technology — named Chameleon because of its ability to change the color of a package when it is opened, said Dwane Hahn, vice president of sales and marketing in a phone interview after Pack Expo, which was held in Chicago in late October.
“The anti-counterfeiting aspect has caught the attention of people in our industry because of the inherent simplicity of our product, because it is cost-effective, and because you get a quick bang for your buck” as it is priced only about four percent more than regular film, said Hahn.
The proprietary Rollprint technology allows a film of one color to transfer a peel indicator of a different color providing strong visual indication that a package has been opened, he said. “We control the way the pigment is transferred so only some elements of the color transfer.”
Hahn said he expects companies who package costly products in the operating room will be early adopters of the technology and that it will also gain traction as a packaging option for products such as sutures, scalpels, pre-filled syringes, catheters, IV connection sets, suturing devices, blades, artificial joints, catheters and surgical gloves.
“We have had inquiries from many high-level pharmaceutical and medical companies,” said Hahn. “We’ve learned that simplicity transfers much more quickly to marketplace understanding. Some of the other technologies — RFID and holograms — are too difficult and costly to use.”
The company said it expects chevron pouches and lidding materials for trays are expected to be the first commercialized applications.
“Companies can use this without reinvesting, but you’re adding color throughout,” said Hahn, who added that counterfeiters would have difficulty duplicating the product because of the $9 million investment Rollprint made in the technology.
The Addison, Ill., company said the coextrusion-coated sealant could be applied to any thermally-stable web including polyester, nylon and polypropylene or on any of the company’s ClearFoil® barrier structures.
It can also be applied applied across the entire web to accommodate many color combinations and help support corporate branding initiatives.
“When you peel open a standard chevron pouch, there is a subtle white indicator to show that the contents have been accessed,” Hahn said. “What we’ve done is engineer a way to leave a strong visual reference with a desired color. We view this new sealant technology as a game changer to help manufacturers grow market share, while also enhancing security.”
Hahn said the addition of the 6,000 square foot clean room for sterile medical pouch and bag manufacturing—-which received ISO Class 8 certification in mid-September—has triggered a 40 percent increase in inquiries and requests for work from customers.
“We hadn’t lost any business because we didn’t have clean room manufacturing, but we decided to be the first medical pouch manufacturer to get the certification to enhance our quality image,” said Hahn.
Even before the clean room was up and running in the second quarter at its Addison manufacturing plant, pouch manufacturing had been “one of the fastest-growing parts of the company,” said Hahn.
But the $5 million investment—which includes filtration equipment, web cleaners and other equipment bought in preparation for the addition of the clean room— has led to increased business — on the order of 20 to 30 percent, he said.
“We are ordering new pouch equipment because of the spike in demand” to make products in the clean room, which has five production lines that produce header bags, chevron pouches, three-sided weld seals, vented and corner peel bags, Hahn said.
“We started preparing for this two years ago with investments in vision systems, web cleaners and other equipment and procedures needed to minimize particulates in our film converting areas,” in response to industry changes, he said.
“Our industry is catering to smaller and smaller groups and has shifted from a small number of high-volume SKUs to a high number of low-volume SKUS creating more opportunities” for companies like Rollprint, he said.
Similar to its anti-counterfeit Chameleon technology, Hahn said there is “not a lot of cost premium to our customers” from purchasing the pouches and bag now that they are being made in a clean room. “It is a win-win because our customers can reduce their risk and not increase their unit costs.”