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Industry Updates

November 15, 2010

As we all know pricing in the packaging industry can be crazy (especially this year). To help you see these price changes coming I have added a new section to my blog called Industry Updates. This should make it so you can easily stay ahead of price changes and other industry trends. You can sign up for free updates or just watch my Twitter to see when I am posting about a new update. Check out this new section by clicking the Industry Updates tab in the menu on the top of this page. After you take a look and tell your packaging friends so everyone can stay ahead of the Industry for free.

Lex Cisler

Biodegradable Packaging: Raise Bottom Line, Improve Company Image and Six more Reasons to Make the Switch

November 1, 2010

Are You Tired of Fighting Off the Onslaught of Customers and Co-Workers Telling You it is Time to Go Green?

Here are six reasons to make the switch and these reasons don’t even consider your bottom line or company image. Ask yourself: Do your customers want you to be more eco-friendly? Would it enhance your brand image? Is the rest of the world going Green without you?

Reason 1: Biodegradable products reduce the amount of solid waste in landfills. These products tend to degrade in three to five years depending on landfill conditions.
Reason 2: Because of the speed of decomposition there is more space to be utilized in landfills.
Reason 3: Biodegradable products are recyclable and therefore limit harm to the environment.
Reason 4: The production of biodegradable products better utilize materials. Less raw material is wasted during the production process.
Reason 5: The production of biodegradable products requires less energy.
Reason 6: The manufacturing of most biodegradable products give off less pollution than traditional products. Likewise, as they degrade they produce significantly less amounts of harmful toxins.

Give me a call if you want to talk more about biodegradable packaging.

Lex Cisler

How a Stretch Wrapping Machine Can Save You Money!

October 24, 2010

If you’re shipping out products on pallets and stretch wrapping them by hand there is a chance you could save money by using a Stretch Wrapper to automate your operation. Although there is no set number of skids you would need to wrap per day to have a machine show a return on investment, typically you will start to see a ROI when you are wrapping around 50 or more skids by hand per day.

The money a Stretch Wrapper will save you comes from:

  • Stretching film tighter thus using less stretch film
  • Having your team members spend less time wrapping skids by hand (time is money)

I have found the companies I work with usually set their machines to wrap at about 250% prestretch. This means the machines stretches the film by 250%. Obviously, this is much tighter than a person could stretch by hand which is how a machine allows you to use less film. Using less film will save you money and reduce the amount of waste your facility is producing. Many machines are Semi or Fully Automatic, so the guys or girls that would usually be spending their days wrapping skids by hand can be used in a different area while the machine does the work. Using the same amount of workers to do more will reduce labor costs.

“Ok, I want one, but how do I show purchasing it’s worth it?”

This is a question I get asked a lot and it’s actually one that’s very easy to answer. Machines can be set to always wrap the same way so there are formulas to show how much money a machine would save you. This cost analysis can be easily done by a packaging specialist and may make investing in a machine a no brainer. I had a company I was working with who wanted a machine but didn’t think they could afford it. When we did the cost analysis they saw leasing to own a machine would save them hundreds of dollars per month as soon the machine hit their floor. This eased any concerns they had of investing in a machine.

My Favorite Stretch Wrapping Machines


With the heavy-duty steel construction and the best warranty in the industry this machine will still be the best investment you have made a decade from now. It’s also amazingly easy to install and use. Set up just requires you to plug it in, put the film in the machine and press a few buttons. From then on out all you have to do to wrap a pallet is set the pallet on the base, and press the green button. If you want a fully automatic machine you will have to invest more up front, but you can have a machine that only requires you to set skids on a conveyor belt. The machine will move them onto the platform, wrap them, cut the film, and send them down the next conveyor belt without a human doing a thing. It’s so easy Geico would be jealous.

Aetna Robot

This machine is ideal for companies who use long or irregularly shaped pallets or who currently stage many skids on their floor at once and then go through and wrap them all by hand. Many times these companies find it wouldn’t make sense to invest in a stationary stretch wrapper because they would have to move all of the skids to the machine after they have finished staging them and this double handling would take to long. The Aetna Robot is a portable stretch wrapping machine with a photo-sensing eye. All you have to do is drive it up to a pallet, stick the stretch film to the pallet, and press a button, then you can walk away while the Robot does the work. The photo-eye allows the machine to see when it has reached the top of the skid and when it has finished wrapping. It’s amazing to watch how smart this machine is. It’s not quite to the point that I would let it babysit the kids yet but it is impressive to see it wrapping pallets all on its own.

I help companies all over North America invest in Stretch Wrapping Machines so if you want me to help you decide if going automated is right for you just shoot me an email and we can talk more.

Lex Cisler

What People are Really Thinking about Void Fillers

October 12, 2010

A Look Inside at What Your Customers Think of Common Void Fillers

Packing Peanuts

The good old packing peanut. Compared to new void filling solutions they are a hassle, not to mention hard to dispose of.


This was once a great solution to holding things snugly in place. Now it is frowned upon because of its chemical compounds and the harm it does to the environment.

Packing Paper

An excellent solution to holding things in place for an inexpensive price. Plus you and your customers can give back to the environment by recycling it!

Inflatable Film

Another excellent solution to packaging. These types of films are manufactured with an additive that attract microbial organisms in landfills to help with the decomposition process. They are also recyclable!

Great packaging companies will constantly review new packaging products and promote materials that can be reduced, reused, and recycled. A simple example is PadPak which can be used as an eco-friendly alternative to bubble, foam-in-place, and peanuts. In 1999 alone, customers utilizing our PadPak systems converted over 1 million cubic feet of recycled and recyclable multi-ply packaging. This equates to over 325 truckloads of packing peanuts that will not enter our landfill systems. For more void fill solutions check out our Website or you can call me to talk more.

Lex Cisler
Packaging Kid on Twitter

IntelliPack Foam-in-Place System: 5 Impressive Features That You Don’t Want to Miss!

October 5, 2010

Foam-in-place (FIP) protective packaging has been around for more than 30 years, but never has there been a solution quite like this. IntelliPack foam-in-place systems transform mature technology into a cutting edge approach. With five degrees of separation from the competition, IntelliPack offers customers cost-effective productivity via its multiple features:

• Telemetry enables proactive, preventative maintenance 24/7. Costly, unexpected downtime is an inconvenience of the past!

• Bar-coding controls the amount of consumables. By removing the guesswork – materials and packaging components are better managed; pack consistency and line efficiency are improved.

• Equipment design is safe, intuitive, ergonomic and easy to use. A machine you can rely on. Changing parts takes only seconds!

• Customer focused means speed, service and satisfaction, guaranteed.

• The Advantage Program enables us to customize FIP solutions for changing customer needs.

How it Works
Foam-in-place polyurethane is molded in real-time by combining two liquid foams in a pre-fabricated mold, high density polyethylene (HDPE) bag or film. The mixture expands rapidly around the product being protected, creating a custom protective shell. IntelliPack foam-in-place is a time-tested, field-proven packaging alternative designed to help the busiest, high-volume warehouses, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities work simpler and smarter. Whether the need is protective void fill, blocking and bracing, cushioning, or pre-molded pads, IntelliPack systems feature the most cost effective, time-efficient foam-in-place packaging technology in the industry. IntelliPack foam-in-place systems deliver the highest degree of packaging protection across multiple applications, fast.

Pregis’ IntelliPack foam-in-place systems are designed for operator convenience. Champion Container offers multiple options to meet small, medium and large application needs. Whether the requirement is protective void fill, blocking and bracing or cushioning, users can be confident that the product packaged is optimally protected during the entire shipping and handling process.

Void-Fill: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

September 22, 2010

Customers know their pack lines like the back of their hands, knowing the most efficient and effective way to get a package from point A to point B. But, sometimes, it’s what they don’t know that can negatively impact packing times and material usage. While warehouse space generally dictates the size and configuration of a pack line, customization of the lines and the equipment used in the space can make measurable improvements in performance.

Ranpak’s system engineering services group can help customize the size, speed or placement of equipment to help maximize the effectiveness of the people and the machines involved in packing. “Ranpak’s innovation is in our machines; the performance is in our paper and our engineering services group brings the complete solution to customers by determining where inefficiencies lie and how the process can be refined,” said Joe Harding, director of technical operations. “Whether it’s devising a unique pack station or recommending an off-the-shelf product for the job, our team provides an invaluable service that distributors can rely on when selling the equipment and customers can use when it’s installed.”

While Ranpak engineers can tailor solutions to fit specific customer requirements, some common approaches include:

PadPak® Customization

Beltway Conveyor System delivers pre-determined pad lengths continuously to multiple packing stations. The operators remove the PadPak pads from the beltway conveyor as needed to provide cushioning in shipping cartons.

Pad Slide System allows for unattended operation of the AutoPad®. The system automatically stops totes on the conveyor, generates a pre-determined pad length and slides the pad into the tote.

Above Conveyor AutoPad System allows a conveyor to run underneath the converter allowing for packaging station expansion to occur in height and not width.

Ready Pad System for the AutoPad converter generates a pre-determined pad length that is dispensed onto the custom drop gate device. The drop gate horizontally queues three or four pads on the tray so that they are available to the packer as needed.

FillPak® Customization

FillPak Turner Bar turns the fanfold paper 90 degrees so that the paper can be loaded on the operator’s side. The packaging material is dispensed parallel to the conveyor.

Extra Wide Turner Bar works in the same format as a regular FillPak Turner Bar except that it is ideal for extra wide conveyors.

FillPak Chute Extension allows for the FillPak material to be dispensed completely over the top of one conveyor onto a second one that runs parallel to the first.

FillPakTT® Integration

FillPak TT converters are ideal for multiple packing station operations. A FillPak TT converter can be installed at every workstation without interfering in the packing process.

AccuFill® Integration

An AccuFill System works with the existing customer conveyor to optimize the entire packing process. AccuFill measures the amount of material needed to fill the void in a box and communicates that amount to the FillPak converter.

Additionally, Ranpak’s package engineering services group customizes packaging techniques to ensure proper padding is used to protect products. The group provides customers with a report that shows precisely how to pack an item (with PadPak or FillPak paper) to maximize space, time and material constraints. Ranpak can also test the package via International Safe Transit Association (ISTA)-approved procedures and provide the results on the paper fill material, as well as changes to corrugated and box configurations.

For more information on how to incorporate or customize a pack line with Ranpak products give me a call.

Lex Cisler



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