When Nature’s Path Foods decided to offer its products in large stand-up bags and folding cartons of up to 44 oz. (1.25 kg) for wholesale warehouse clubs and supercenters, the company reached out to Syntegon Technology (formerly Bosch Packaging Technology). The Vancouver-based cereal and superfood manufacturer offers organic and planet-friendly products while using more environmentally friendly packaging. By upgrading its case packing equipment, the company reports it has significantly reduced cardboard consumption and boosted production efficiency.

Although market factors and consumer trends influence company processes, they are not the only driver, according to Nikhil Mehrotra, packaging engineer at Nature’s Path. “Every decision we make must align with our triple bottom line—being socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and financially viable. In 2010, we became zero-waste certified and pledged to become completely carbon neutral by 2020. This step consequently entailed looking at the environmental impact of our packaging,” Mehrotra says. As a result, the company strives to use its packaging material as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Nature’s Path worked with Bosch Packaging Technology, now Syntegon Technology, for a number of years, starting with a complete packaging line for cereal bars in Blaine, Wash., in 2012. Over the years, the company expanded its production capacities to accommodate its growing 100% organic product range, including cereals, oatmeal and granola, says Mehrotra. 

Format Flexibility

With a goal of finding case packing solutions for production sites in Sussex, Wis., and Blaine, Wash., that would address the challenge of packaging delicate products into large, household-size packs—which can be tricky in terms of filling level, bag roundness and form stability—the packaging experts suggested the Elematic 3001 WA wraparound case packer for medium and large sizes for the Wisconsin site. The machine cartons 11.5 oz (325 g) and 35.25 oz (1 kg) boxes of cereal. 

The Washington production site needed a new cartoning solution for boxes of cereal bars, so Nature’s Path purchased the Elematic 3000 WAH for hooded wraparound cases. Syntegon Technology also suggested the Elematic 3000 WAH XXL case packer to carton the 8 oz (225 g) and 23 oz (650 g) stand-up bags of the Qi’a superfood breakfast cereal at the Wisconsin site. These case packers are suitable for shelf- and retail-ready products that are transported, stored and displayed in large cases—such as corrugated display bins placed on end caps of supermarket aisles.

“The team proposed a case packing solution that offers us high production speeds, maximum flexibility and an improved user experience. In doing so, they have helped us become more sustainable. We managed to reduce our need for corrugated case material by up to 15%, which translated into substantial cost reductions as well as a significant contribution to our environmental mission,” Mehrotra says. 

Efficient Format Changes

The Elematic 3001 WA allows for loading blanks into the machine ergonomically and hasslefree. The case packer’s open and easy-access framework boosts visibility throughout the cartoning process and enables operators to quickly clean and adjust the machine. The Elematic Click System, which is a standard feature on the Elematic 3001 series, allows for tool-free and reproducible format changes. An audible clicking noise indicates to operators when the parts have successfully locked into place. This eliminates the need for adjustments and minimizes errors, while helping Nature’s Path to reduce scheduled downtimes. Format changeovers can be performed in about eight minutes, depending on the grouping pattern. The machine also features an external hotmelt granulate container and an HMI intuitive control panel, which enables operators to program format selection, position, speed, timing and glue position.

For more information, visit  www.syntegon.com.