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Quality of Retail Packaging enhanced by Overwrap

When it comes to wrapping products in film simply to provide protection or to secure a collation of items, a number of options are available, but for retail applications where shelf appeal is paramount the preferred choice for wrapping cartons and other uniform objects is an end fold overwrap.

End fold overwrap

This style of wrap provides several advantages including a wrinkle free appearance, neat seams, which can be placed out of site if required, and a hermetic seal which keeps out dust and moisture and can help prolong shelf life in many instances. As a bonus, this style of wrap can also work out to be more cost effective than an equivalent shrink wrap. This is because polypropylene film is less expensive than an equivalent thickness polyolefin, which has to have at least a 30% shrink property. The film cost per item is therefore often lower.

The Marden Edwards Group is a world leader in overwrapping systems and offers both shrink wrappers and end fold overwrappers and so is able to advise customers on the most suitable system for every application. A popular misconception is that an end fold overwrapper requires a higher capital expenditure than an automatic L sealer and tunnel. In addition, an overwrapper’s running costs are considerably lower as the absence of a shrink tunnel means power consumption is far less.

Quality Wrapping Solutions

As Sales Director Mike Patey says, “since the basic trend in the retail sector these days is towards ever higher quality, in many instances this does favour the end fold overwrapper. We work with customers in the food, beverage, perfume, cosmetics and tobacco sectors amongst others and everyone is striving to provide the very best presentation on the shelves, in gift shops, in duty free outlets and department stores as well as supermarkets. In fact almost all the supermarkets now offer an upmarket own-label range of foods which feature packaging every bit as luxurious as that used by brand owners”

The importance of a high quality wrap in the quest for shelf appeal is illustrated perfectly by the case of a major tea producer which decided to eliminate the overwrap from its cartons, considering the print quality of the cartons was sufficient to attract shoppers. Unfortunately sales began to fall as the public not only found the unwrapped cartons less appealing but, since the cartons did not provide a hermetic seal on their own, a certain amount of dust was able to escape from the tea inside and settle on the printed surface, giving a dull look.

The UK’s fastest growing chocolate retailer, Hotel Chocolat, is another company that has also decided the end-fold overwrap provides the best presentation for retail applications. Hotel Chocolat has been supplying the corporate gift sector and been running a very successful, internet-based mail order operation for a number of years but last year moved into the retail sector and is now opening shops throughout the UK.

While the shrink wrap used on mail order products provides protection and a reasonable finish, two Marden Edwards B225FF overwrappers have now been installed on the lines producing the retail cartons. The style of wrap these machines produce is not only considered to provide a superior appearance but is also more tactile. As John Hadley, Operations Director at Hotel Chocolat, puts it, “When customers are actually handling the products in-store, there are no raised seams and the film is not shrunk tightly against the carton surface, which gives a better feel.

The perfume and cosmetic industry is one where end fold overwrap is prevalent and Marden Edwards has been supplying machinery to manufacturers in the industry all over the world for the past forty years. However, until recently the company had enjoyed little success with French manufacturers, who large dominate this sector.

Development of the New TM Series Overwrappers

The breakthrough came with the new TM85 and now the TM100, which is able to handle a wider range of carton sizes. Both have been specially developed to meet the exacting standards of the French producers and during the development of these units, engineers from Marden Edwards consulted existing and potential customers about their requirements as far as pack presentation is concerned as well as operational considerations. They also received feedback from the company’s agent in France and benefited from their many years of experience in providing machinery to the French perfume and cosmetics industry.

As well as wrap quality, the wide range of carton sizes used in this industry meant that simple “de-skilled”, rapid product size changes were a major concern. With the TM100 the operator not only has the total control over the quality and repeatability of the overwrap but they are also able to vary the lateral sealing position and the size of the lateral seal to suit the item being wrapped. In addition there is greater visibility of the wrapping process and changeover from one size to another is extremely fast. A number of TM85 machines have now been installed in France and orders have already been received for the TM100 from perfume and cosmetic producers.

“To most people, luxury packaging and extravagance go hand in hand” Mike Patey says, “but in many cases we are able to provide high quality wrapping systems that actually save money and help manufacturers meet their environmental concerns”.

“For example we have developed collating and wrapping systems for the tobacco industry that enable cigarette manufacturers to wrap collations of cigarette packs in a high quality, printed film for sale in duty free and other outlets. As a result they are able to produce a pack with a quality appearance and do away with the outer carton, saving both money and space in shipping containers.”

“We have also supplied an end fold overwrapper to a French producer of herbal infusions who is very concerned that any packaging they use should have a minimal effect on the environment. The fact that the machine is able to operate with a biodegradable film and is very energy efficient met the company’s environmental criteria, while at the same time providing excellent presentation”

“While the overwrapping market is relatively mature it is certainly not standing still”, Mike says. “For one thing, product and packaging designers are constantly throwing new challenges at us, which means that we have to develop our equipment all the time. Also developments in China and Eastern Europe mean that producers are upgrading their packaging as they start to export to the West, which means that we have to be able to provide machinery that suits their needs and the back up to ensure they get the best from the equipment.”

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