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Dutch company patents its self-designed cardboard tray

"Our sector must be ready for the impending plastic to cardboard switch"

In the packaging sector, Ronald Zwaga of Stackpack considers the flow pack to top seal, and plastic to paper switches the most significant future trends. Recently, this Dutch company, specializing in cardboard packaging, received a four-year patent on a self-designed cardboard fruit tray. "The transition to cardboard will be swift, and our sector must be ready for it," says Ronald.

Stackpack is partnered with Zalpak and focuses on sustainable top seal solutions for fruit. "Zalpak has been making fruit and vegetable cardboard trays for a long time and is a big player in conical trays. Along with Zalpak, Ronald Zwaga and partners started Halopack 12 years ago. Halopack makes gas-tight cardboard top seal trays."

"By combining the fruit and vegetable trays and top-sealing, Stackpack was created four years ago," says Ronald. The company provides solutions for tomatoes and soft fruit, but also, for example, dates and herbs. Now, Stackpack has received that patent - for which it waited four years - for its self-developed cardboard solution.

"This packaging is distinctive in that there's lots of tension on the seal ridge, which keeps the film tight. With cardboard, those ridges often rise when the boxes are stacked. We've, however, successfully found a way to prevent that. The first version has been on the market for two years. Maintaining tension on the adhesive flaps means you can't usually keep all four edges down."

"We solved that by connecting the corners during top-sealing to keep all four sealing ridges down. And it works. It just requires some extra sealing time. Research in England has also proven that this cardboard solution even improves shelf life by 71%," Ronald explains.

Inline machine
Developing this tray required well-trained professionals, which is why Stackpack also recently filed a patent for a simple inline machine. It will allow companies all over the world to make the packaging themselves.

"They can then source their cardboard locally. This new machine, which was developed especially for us, makes top sealing in this way much easier and saves considerable time doing so. We're expecting the first of these machines in October. Then we'll have inline and offline solutions, with glued corners and the unique feature that the film remains under tension."

The company serves customers worldwide. "Germany is a huge market for us, but we also work with clients from the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, the United States, and Israel. We supply all of these from Zalpak in the Netherlands," says Zwaga.

Switch to cardboard
Ronald is keeping Stackpack in motion, evident from his having filed yet another new patent. "It's for a similar tray, but one that fits into the existing top seal equipment. So you don't need to buy a new tool specially developed for this top seal. You can use this tray on our newly developed machine. We're thus good and ready for the plastic to cardboard switch."

According to Ronald, that switch is undoubtedly coming. "The developments in this regard are rapid. France was the first to make the transition, and Spain will follow next year. If a few more large countries do so, the rest of Europe will follow quickly. However, you have to be ready. There are solution innovators, but we must now find the early adopters to move to the transition's next stage,"  he concludes.

For more information:
Ronald Zwaga
82 Sluiskade Noordzijde
7602 HV, Almelo, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 651 558 464

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