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A new way to personalise flexible pouches

Back in 2014, the creator of a brand new shop for DIY cleaning product kits was on the hunt for a local partner to manufacture small volumes (a few thousand items per model) of leak-proof containers for powders and liquids. Through a mutual acquaintance, she contacted Delta Neo, as one of our activities is forming flexible pouches.

Two types of formats were needed:

refillable 500 ml and 1 L pouches with a corner cap for the basic ingredients and 3 L ‘wine pouch’ type pouches with handles and tap closures on the front for white vinegar. These stand-up pouches are made from laminated plastic film, have welded seams on two sides and sport a gusseted base for stable upright positioning. Delta Neo then fits them with the required caps and closures. A completely routine service for Delta Neo, seeing as our Packaging division has been automatically forming such pouches by the millions since its inception.

However, the client wished to personalise her bags in a unique way, something different from ordinary printing.

The first attempts at manually embossing the Delta Neo logo having been carried out successfully on a handful of small pouches for the company’s own greeting card, Delta Neo likewise offered our client the possibility that we could emboss her company’s logo on the front of her pouches. The idea was accepted, insofar as this solution stayed affordable, being a particularly innovative and differentiating process.

Only one process proved possible: incorporating the embossed stamping operation into the pouch forming process. The design and production of the brass embossing die and its counter die were entrusted to the technicians in Delta Neo’s Engraving division, well-versed in such 3D machining creations. However, its integration into the forming machine absolutely had to involve Delta Neo’s engineering department, seeing as a significant part of the ‘manufacturing’ process for the packaging needed to be redesigned.

Normally, the pouch forming process entails a succession of heat sealing, cutting and accessorising that takes place in record time, starting at a reel from which the taught film runs continuously at high speed, as a result of very meticulous but well-controlled placement and timing adjustments. And herein lies the difficulty: adding the embossed stamping stage without slowing down the entire usual pouch manufacturing process, while ensuring that the operational and functional quality of every other stage is maintained. The marking must be as flawless as possible as well as repeated exactly on each package.

The challenge for the technical teams began with finding the right balance between the speed at which the film would unwind and the stamp’s pause time – which would have to be short but suitably powerful – on the film for optimal marking. Next came finding the right temperature (around 200°C) for achieving a hermetic seal on the sides of the bag and at the base of the cap and for executing sufficiently consequential embossed stamping without burning. Finally, the purchasing department needed to find the right material to tolerate all these technical factors and satisfy the client’s specifications.

Mixing some characteristics that weren’t obviously compatible was made possible by Delta Neo’s extensive range of skills and the heavy involvement of several of the company’s departments.

After scores of tests, clarifications with the client, prototypes and pre-production runs, the client was delighted with the results obtained and is now widely distributing her products in this flexible, innovative and distinctive packaging. No doubt the end-user is unaware of just how much technological prowess is actually involved in achieving this result.

Delta Neo and now Sealester are  proud to be able to add this new personalisation solution for flexible pouches to their repertoire.

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