iPak5: How to Achieve Operational Excellence & Sustainability Goals

Thong Guan iPak5 Eagle Eye for operational excellence and sustainability goals, full visibility and traceability

There is a lack of visibility in the packaging industry. 

This means brand owners and packaging businesses are not tracing or tracking many vital variables necessary for operational excellence. 

Some of which includes

  • Downtime caused by film breaks
  • Inefficiency in your multisite factories
  • Film usage
  • Stretch percentage
  • And more

Additionally, the purchasing department continues to buy the cheapest film. 

While the production manager screams whenever the production lines go offline due to film breaks.

And the cycle goes on.

Excellent operations require business owners or packaging businesses to look at their entire system holistically. 

This means from the beginning of the entire operation to the end matters.

Thong Guan Newton Lab iPak5 production floor smooth operations factor

We understand the pain of not having visibility over your entire operations.

Questions like the following often materialised without answers.

  • Why is one site doing better than the other?
  • Why does this particular line always go offline?
  • Why do we have high unsaleable goods?
  • How do we reduce unsaleable goods?
  • Which film is the best for what I need?
  • What are my stretch film requirements?
  • How to ensure the most optimum usage of my films?

And when there is a possible answer, the investment in existing solutions may not justify the yield.

A Data-Centric Ecosystem Designed with Holistic Solutions in Mind

That is why Thong Guan, in partnership with Newton Europe, came up with iPak5.

It’s a simple solution that brings impact to your business at an affordable price.

Thong Guan great visibility traceability iPak5 Newton

By seamlessly connecting your wrappers with our IoT solution developed in-house, you will now have an eagle eye view of your entire operations.

From the machine rolls to the wrapper, despite shift changes with different operators, you will retain consistency while tracking productivity and performance.

Thong Guan how iPak5 works

We will capture and analyse your operational data for valuable insights. 

So, as brand owners, you will not just know what is going on in your factories worldwide but make necessary business decisions to optimise your bottom line. 

Some of the insights and benefits you will gain are

  • Total films consumed
  • Alerts on downtime
  • Multisite monitoring
  • Stretch percentage
  • Estimated CO2 savings 
  • And more

The Implication of Optimum Operations

1. Performance visibility & traceability

Manual tracking of your entire operations at multiple sites around the world can be a pain.

But running a top-notch system that comes with a high price tag is not feasible in the long run.

Therefore, with iPak5, you can access the necessary data anywhere and anytime at a flexible, affordable price.

This also means speed to action when there are issues is attainable.

2. Reduction of product damages on arrival

Reducing unsaleables is a genuine problem every business owner is trying to achieve. 

But that usually comes with a high price tag.

Therefore, it is now possible with wrapping optimization using data at an affordable price.

So you can have peace of mind and a better bottom line in regards to product damages on arrival.

3. Safety improvements along the supply chain

Knowing the best-fit films, the optimum wrapping force, and film usage, your loads will get the most secured wrapping for transportation. 

This means no more unnecessary predicaments that lead to road safety or human safety issues.

4. Productivity boosting

With data, you could quickly and easily pinpoint the source of problems and act on them. 

This means less downtime.

With less downtime and more optimised operations, you can increase the productivity of your assembly line. 

That, in turn, impacts the entire supply chain and logistics.

5. Cost reductions in the long run

At an affordable price to integrate the modular-based iPak5 into your system, you can quickly turn all your wrapping machines into a network of data-centric equipment that comes with a smart feedback loop. 

Turning cost reduction plant-wide or multisite-wide possible, iPak5 helps you reduce film usage, unsaleables, and downtimes. 

These are all significant factors that contribute to costs incrementing and overrun resources.

6. Sustainability

Through optimum film stretch percentage that couples with data-driven test results from the Newton Lab, you will easily reduce the need for unnecessary wrapping.

With the estimation of carbon dioxide savings, you can easily collect the data for your sustainability goals report.

Branding wise, it’s a plus point to walk to talk with real data in terms of sustainability goals. 

As such, you are increasing your brand score among your customers.

7. Modularity & Portability

iPak5 can work with almost 99% of wrapping machines in the market. 

So you don’t have to obsolete all your wrapping machines to get started.

The barrier to entry towards operational excellence becomes so much attainable for you.

The Future Potential of iPak5 to Your Benefits

With the iPak5 ecosystem in place, there are endless possibilities for further optimisation of your operations. Which, in turn, will lead to an improved bottom line.

Some of which may include

  • Smart inventory management based on film usage that reduces warehouse costing
  • Optimisation of best-fit film based on past data and simulation test data through the Newton Lab top-notch facility that gives the best value for your investment
  • The fast expansion of production line by duplicating successes
  • Smart distribution centres and packaging logistics system

The possibilities are endless.

In Summary

To optimise your operations and achieve your sustainability goals, you will need big data. 

However, solutions should not be unattainable or overly costly.  

That is why we all need simple yet impactful solutions. 

This may not be achievable until now.

With iPak5, you can have an eagle-eye view of your entire operations that boosts your operational excellence and help you many steps closer to your sustainability goals.

For more information or to get started, contact info@thongguan.com.

How to Make Your Food Last Longer in the Refrigerator

A young woman standing in front of the refrigerator

A young woman standing in front of the refrigerator

A refrigerator is more than simply a box that keeps food cold. It’s a high-tech device that employs sophisticated controls to keep humidity, light, and temperature at optimum levels for food storage.

Food wrap is essential for keeping food fresh, safe, and odourless until it’s time to eat. Mould and mildew can spread if foods aren’t stored correctly, so odours are only one aspect of the problem.

It is possible to retain nutrients and guarantee that meals do not grow stale by learning to store foods in the correct areas of the fridge using plastic food wrap.

Beyond helping to store your food, food wraps also give your food a beautiful look in the refrigerator.

For example, if you are into selling packaged goods on store shelves, Thong Guan’s Klarity plastic food wrap catches the eye of passers-by and is extremely noticeable! It’s also great for branding because it’s so transparent.

 

Proper Areas to Store Food in the Refrigerator

1. Top and Middle Shelves

The top and middle shelf are perfect for ready-to-eat foods like dairy products, ready meals and packaged foods, leftovers, cooked meats, and prepared salads.

To avoid infection, keep everything covered with Thong Guan Klarity plastic wrap or in sealed containers.

Ready-to-eat foods are kept on the top shelf of the refrigerator, away from raw foods, to prevent dangerous bacteria from spreading from raw to cooked meals.

 

2. Bottom Shelf

To prevent raw meat, poultry, and fish from contacting or leaking onto other items, place them in sealed containers or plastic wrap.

To avoid cross-contamination, raw meats should always be kept at the bottom of the fridge.

Make sure each item is wrapped or in a sealed container to avoid cross-contamination with other foods.

 

3. Salad and Fruit Drawer

The salad drawer is perfect for fruits, vegetables, and salads that have been washed and dried before being stored. To keep your fruit, veggies, and salad safe from contamination, wrap them in paper or plastic with air holes.

To prevent salads and herbs from drying out and to keep them fresher for longer, you can wrap them in a wet paper towel before storing them.

 

Here’s What to Do to Make Your Food Last Longer in the Refrigerator

  • Check to see if your refrigerator is keeping items cold enough. Set your refrigerator to 4 degrees Celsius or below. If you’re not sure, get a fridge thermometer to make sure everything is in top condition.
  • Make sure your refrigerator isn’t overloaded. This will generate heated pockets, which may cause food to spoil more quickly.
    Use the additional humidity in the crisper drawers to your advantage. Keep leafy greens and other vegetables in the enclosure that will benefit from the excess moisture that accumulates. Set the drawer’s dial to the high-humidity setting and your fruits and vegetables will last longer.
  • Food packaging should not be reused. Transfer your food especially proteinous foods to a fresh, dry airtight container or plastic food wrap once opened.
  • Familiarize yourself with the recommended period for keeping food, including condiments, in your refrigerator. Some foods have a shorter shelf life than you would expect.

Tip: To keep track of when you opened the jars, use a roll of tape and a permanent marker to date them. This will serve as a reminder to consume them so they don’t go stale before their time.

 

In a Nutshell

Thong Guan plastic food wrap isn’t just for covering food bowls. Plastic wrap can be used in a variety of ways. Fruits, such as bananas, can be wrapped to keep them fresh.

To store herbs and leafy vegetables like lettuce in the fridge, wrap them in plastic wrap. If you are making sandwiches but don’t want to keep them in a container, plastic wrap is great for storing sandwiches.

You can also prevent bottle leaking by covering the mouth of the bottle with plastic wrap before placing the cap. Fruits like cherries, berries, and grapes can also be wrapped to avoid freezer burn.

It will keep the food fresh for a longer period. Wrapping your meals and keeping them at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit will help your food stay safer for extended periods by inhibiting the growth of bacteria.

Why Should We Focus on Post-Consumer Recycled Resins?

Thong Guan Why focus on post-consumer recycled resins global plastic waste

As Thong Guan progressively adopts the sustainability culture, we continue to engineer and innovate products with post-consumer recycled resins.

The post-consumer recycled (PCR) resin market is projected to reach USD 31,420 million by 2026 (from USD 30,070 million in 2020). 

It is also expected to grow with a healthy growth rate of more than 0.7% from 2021 thru 2026.

With the growing trend of recycled resins market, we look into why PCR and explore the advantages and opportunities of using post-consumer recycled resins.

Defining PCR & PIR Plastic Resins

The ISCC Plus has clearly distinguished the differences between PCR and PIR resins.

Briefly, PCR plastic resins are

  • Plastic materials generated by end-users products 
  • From end-users of households, commercial, industrial & institutional facilities
  • Products that can no longer be of use for their intended purpose
  • Also, materials return from the distribution chain

Why Post-Consumer Recycled Resins & the Climbing Growth Rate of PCR Resin Market

Every year, the global primary production of plastics amounts to a whopping 359 million tonnes

The plastic waste itself, when improperly managed, is at risk of leakage to the environment every year—an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastics enter our ocean every year.

Thong Guan Why focus on post-consumer recycled resins global plastic waste

(Source: UNEP and GRID-Arendal, 2016)

The production of plastics is expected to continue rising steadily.

This means more plastic waste.

That is why it matters to us that we address sustainability as everyone’s responsibility—because it takes more than just one party to make the recycling and circular economy work.

Plastic is undeniably one of the greatest inventions of the last century. Without plastics, many inventions became almost impossible.

Therefore, plastic is not the problem.

Poor plastic waste management is the issue, as indicated in the statistics below.

A considerable percentage of our plastics still end up in landfills where

  • 92% of the collected waste in the United States and
  • 69% across Europe are diverted to landfills or waste incineration plants, and
  • only 14% of the world’s plastics wastes are collected and recycled.
Thong Guan Why focus on post-consumer recycled resins plastic waste management

(Source: The United States Environmental Protection Agency)

As such, we see more stakeholders—policymakers, governments, manufacturers, companies, and institutions jumping on the PCR resins bandwagon.

Of course, there are other reasons like crude oil prices, Covid-19 global pandemic effects on global production and demand, supply chain and market disruptions, financial impacts, and more.

Though sustainability is not the only reason. But holistically, it impacts the overall business ecosystem and global economy.

However, we want to take the perspective from your company as our customer. 

Here are four reasons why using post-consumer recycled resins in your new products will help your company.

Advantages of Post-Consumer Recycled Resins in Your Packaging Films 

1. Lower your company’s carbon footprint, improve sustainability score, and enhance your ESG goals

Using post-consumer recycled resins can lower your company’s carbon footprint (greenhouse gas/carbon gas emissions) compared to virgin resins in your new products. 

Contrary to general perceptions, using post-consumer recycled resins in your new products versus virgin materials

  • is more cost-effective, and
  • use more energy and emit more carbon.

According to the report published by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), it concludes that using post-consumer recycled resins in your new product reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to virgin material.

The study has taken into consideration the lifecycle impacts, which means 

  • fuels required to run collection trucks,
  • resources needed at material separation facilities, and 
  • energy to process the materials into flakes and pellets.

Here’s the concluded table showing all 84 categories investigated.

(source: https://plasticsrecycling.org/images/library/2018-APR-LCI-report.pdf)

Similarly, the recently published research by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality also highlighted that using recycled content has environmental benefits relative to virgin materials. (source: https://www.oregon.gov/deq/mm/production/Pages/Materials-Attributes.aspx)

2. Improve your ROIs and be less dependent on petrochemical market pricing volatility

The petrochemical market is volatile.

This means crude oil prices will continue to increase (as seen throughout most of 2018). As such, plastic resins price is subjected to surges constantly. 

Fortunately, the cost of PCR resins is much more stable compared to virgin resins.

So, you don’t have to subject yourself to the volatility of the market.

Also, let us help you with ‘thin’ gage films that also reduces the amount of virgin resins required in your films.

Thus, improving your total costs and return on investment as well.

Furthermore, under the law of supply and demand, more PCR resins adoption means marginalising the PCR resins cost in the long run.

3. Enjoy the same, if not better, benefits as pure virgin materials films

At Thong Guan, we constantly preach about, “there is no such thing as wrong film, only inferior vs quality films.”

And achieving quality films means meeting the film requirements of our customers based on their needs—as we have detailed how we can achieve that in our #RecycledPlasticsSeries articles, comprehensively.

As such, we can proudly say you will still enjoy the benefits of all the functionalities of standard virgin-material films, while achieving your sustainability.

You may check out our latest NanoGreen high-quality machine film, or you can email us at info@thongguan.com to ask about our recycled garbage bags for your next purchase.

4. Be more regulatory friendly & exempt from taxes 

Lastly, due to the demand for sustainability adoption, regulations favour recycled content packaging and products. 

PCR resins are becoming increasingly regulatory friendly.

Therefore, with sustainable packaging on your inventory, you can meet environmental impact regulations post on your company by your local government.

Additionally, you can get the plastic tax exemption if you are shipping to the UK with plastics packaging that contain more than 30% recycled plastic

This will take effect from 1 April 2022 onwards.

Conclusion

There are many more benefits of using post-consumer recycled resins packaging to add to the top four benefits we believe matter to your business. 

For instance, 

  • better branding
  • better customer relations in fulfilling consumers demand for sustainable products
  • better margins with higher price points, again due to the demand
  • long term sustainability for economic growth

All the more reasons why we should focus more on post-consumer recycled resins.

If you are ready to get on board. Talk to our sales representative by emailing us at info@thongguan.com.

5 Plastic Alternatives When Running into Resin Shortages

plastic resin

plastic grains

The COVID-19 pandemic has massively disrupted the global supply chain. As a result, more and more organizations are looking for reliable and efficient alternatives to plastics to overcome resin shortages.

As many companies are suffering from material shortages, it causes price fluctuations and adversely affects the production of plastic-based components.

The good news is that there has been a lot of innovation in material development processes, and more manufacturers are exploring alternatives to resins.

Whenever an industry faces challenges like material shortages, they have the opportunity to explore more options and optimize processes with the help of modern tools and technology.

Nowadays, many alternatives are available; they act as a reliable replacement for common plastics like polycarbonate.

Different types of plastic wraps and stretch wraps are now available that allow consumers and large-scale organizations to overcome shortages and continue with their business processes.

Following are the top 5 plastic alternatives to resin shortages:

 

1. Polysulfone (PSU)

This resin is a crystalline, translucent, pale-amber high-performance thermoplastic with reliable melting stability.

As a result, it is capable of being processed with the help of standard thermoplastic processing methods. PSU is a highly popular component often used in various types of plastic wrap.

PSU also has good chemical and hydrolytic stability, as well as exceptional mechanical, electrical, and thermophysical characteristics.

The resin’s properties combine to make it ideal for components such as plumbing components, sterilizable plastic parts for medical equipment, and membranes for water treatment, gas separation, and other applications.

 

2. Polyphthalmide (PPA)

Semi-aromatic polyamides, such as PPA, are frequently a less costly alternative to fully aromatic aramids. PPA has a mixture of aromatic and aliphatic groups.

It significantly decreases moisture absorption that leads to less dimensional changes and more stable characteristics.

The material is ideal for goods that must be exposed to harsher chemicals and temperatures over extended periods of time.

Motor components, coolant pumps, bearing pads, resonators, and other items are examples of typical uses.

 

3. Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS)

PPS has a high melting point and low solubility, that that’s why it requires specific processing to make components out of it.

However, its aromatic ring structure gives it excellent heat and chemical resistance, good dimensional stability, and high tensile and structural strength.

PPS is a commonly utilized polyphenylene because of its flame-retardant characteristics and excellent electrical properties.

Electrical and electronic parts, as well as mechanical parts in vehicles and precision engineering, are common applications of PPS.

 

4. Polyphenylene oxide (PPO)

PPO has good tensile and impact strength and is resistant to a variety of chemicals, including steam and water.

However, it is susceptible to stress cracking, and that’s why it has limited applications. PPO has a problem with melt processing because it requires a high glass-transition temperature.

As a result, it’s frequently mixed with high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) for use in pump components, fan impellors, catalyst supports, and other applications in the automotive and electronics industries.

Moreover, it is also used in high-quality plastic wraps by large-scale organizations.

 

5. Syndiotactic polystyrene (SPS)

The plastic alternative, known as Xarec, is the first syndiotactic polystyrene (SPS) resin. The unique structure provides for a wide range of desirable features.

SPS is heat resistant, hydrolysis resistant, and chemically resistant to corrosion by different acids and alkalis, including vehicle oil and antifreeze. It also has a low specific gravity, which reduces part weight and cost.

SPS is a suitable material for electrical components in a variety of hybrid electric cars, as well as an important component in common household products. It’s also seen to be a good choice for the environment.

The Eco-friendliness of SPS is a major reason why it is becoming highly popular among customers as well as stretch wrap manufacturers.

 

The Bottom Line

Plant-based plastics, or bioplastics, are becoming very popular because they are biodegradable and do not reduce the quality of stretch wraps.

Now is the best time for companies and plastic wrap manufacturers to explore alternatives like the ones discussed above and implement the best solutions to overcome shortages.

There is no doubt that current shortages are causing great issues in the global supply. Plastic wraps are needed in every industry.

With things going back to some semblance of normalcy, these shortages will be overcome, and industries will continue operating with better and more efficient packaging options.