Two worlds unite — woven fabric meets FFS
On the one hand, there is the FFS (form, fill and seal) filling
concept for bulk commodities, on the other, there is woven tape
fabric as a packaging material, write Bernd Hartmann, product
manager at Starlinger & Co. GmbH, Mario Gerber, marketing
manager at Haver & Boecker, and Karin Katzer, market manager of
The Dow Chemical Company. Both offer important advantages in
their respective fields of use. To combine these advantages and
to make something happen that up to now seemed impossible,
poses a unique challenge – and a compelling reason for Dow,
Starlinger and Haver & Boecker, three companies known for
developing innovative high-end products, to form an active
cooperation and take a step into the future.

FFS technology is a fully automatic low-cost packaging method
for powders, resins, flakes and many other free-flowing goods.
The concept: on the filling machine, a roll of tubular plastic
material is formed into bags, which immediately are filled with
the product and then sealed shut. The sealing jaws
simultaneously weld the top of the just filled bag and the bottom
of the following bag. Due to the advantages of the FFS system
for the value chain, FFS bags hold by far the biggest market share
— 63 % — of all plastic heavy-duty shipping bags in Western
Europe today (open mouth bags 30%, valve bags 7%).
Woven tape fabric is a packaging material made from
stretched and woven plastic tapes. Since its introduction as a
packaging material, tape fabric has come a long way. Formerly,
woven tapes were only used for industrial packaging such as
FIBCs or AD*STAR® cement bags; nowadays, however, coated
tape fabric is the material of choice for high-gloss printed
consumer packaging and carrier bags found in department stores
and supermarkets all around the world.
Until now, processing woven fabric on FFS packaging lines was
not possible. Based on a wide range of expertise and a mutual
desire to optimize existing possibilities and capture new
markets, Dow, Starlinger and Haver & Boecker endeavoured to
combine the advantages of the two successful concepts.
For the first time it is now possible to process woven tape
fabric, produced on Starlinger machinery using Dow resin, on
Haver & Boecker FFS packaging lines. The innovation is aimed
especially at filling companies in the chemical processing
industries, as well as in the building materials and food
industries. The ‘woven*FFS’ technology provides a welcome
opportunity to cut down energy and raw material consumption
as well as costs in the bulk material packaging process.
Because if joined, their individual advantages can help to solve
some of the most persistent problems in secure and costeffective
packaging. Bags made of woven tape fabric are resistant
to dropping, squeezing and bending, and even when handled with
a hook or damaged on a nail, they do not rip open and spill their
valuable contents. Furthermore, woven tape fabric is very thin
compared to currently used films, making it lightweight but
durable and resulting in reduced material consumption. And in
addition to that, it is fully recyclable; thus, also the environment
benefits from this new type of packaging.
The great advantage of the FFS method is that it uses a
sealing process for closing the bags — FFS machines neither
require needles, which are prone to breaking, nor sewing thread,
which has to be constantly replenished. Thus, there is no
contamination of the filling material with thread ends, and the
bags are hermetically sealed because there are no stitching
The advantages of woven*FFS bags
  strong but lightweight packaging material;
  protection of the packaged goods by an all-around closed,
water-impermeable type of packaging;
  operator time is reduced to roll and format changes since
Haver & Boecker FFS machines are fully automated;
  optimized bags: bulk density is constantly monitored and the
bag length adjusted accordingly;
  higher load security due to tight bag shape and clean bag
surfaces; and
  less raw material which, at the bottom line, saves resources
and money
During the extensive development work that was needed to
accomplish the set goals, Dow, Starlinger and Haver & Boecker
paid special attention to make the shift from PE film to woven
tape fabric as easy as possible for fillers. In other words,
customers with existing Haver & Boecker FFS lines do not have
to undertake any major conversions. All it takes to make use of
the benefits of woven tape fabric are slight modifications to the
FFS system — and simply use another type of tube roll.
Also companies, which until now were not able to use FFS
filling machines because they have been processing woven fabric
due to customer and market requirements, are able to benefit
from this fully automatic, low-cost packaging concept. The
investment for a new system is offset easily by the high
production capacity and the reduction of operator and
maintenance time/costs that these machines offer.
The new packaging concept was shown for the first time at the
K 2010 exhibition in Düsseldorf from 27 October to 3
November this year. A joint press conference, where the three
companies presented ‘woven*FFS’ was held on 29 October.
Dow is always ahead of market requirements and develops its
products with the aim of delivering improved solutions to final
end users and plastic converters. For ‘woven*FFS’, Dow resins
meet the requirements necessary for a demanding FFS
application, facilitating easy processability on conventional FFS
Haver & Boecker OHG, a global technology specialist and
solution provider for packaging equipment, has been up for the
challenge to develop innovative cutting edge technology. To the
woven*FFS project, it contributed its long-term experience in
handling and sealing tubular FFS bags.
Starlinger & Co. Ges.m.b.H. is best known as a major global
supplier for the production of flexible woven packaging made of
stretched plastic tapes. Its technological know-how and
expertise on tape extrusion, weaving and coating provided
valuable input for the development of woven tape fabric suitable
for FFS applications.
Global coverage for Goodtech Packaging Systems
 Goodtech Packaging Systems AS is part of Goodtech ASA, a
leading Norwegian supplier of engineering, technology and
environmental solutions to a variety of segments, including
materials handling and associated technologies. The Goodtech
Group, with its international experience provides a wide variety
of product applications which in combination with its technical
expertise and environmental innovations are the driving force in
its business.
Goodtech Packaging Systems AS has a good pedigree and a
long association with the materials’ handling industry, including
the fertilizer, minerals, cement and feed sectors and has
continuously extended the scope of its business into new
markets and product segments, by means of adapting existing
and new technologies to a variety of customer requirements.
Under its well-known PORTABULK® brand, Goodtech has
steadily built up a complete system for FIBC technology, handling
and packaging to customers throughout the world. The
PORTABULK® licensing concept remains a mainstay of the
company’s commercial activities and is the pathway for
introducing innovative equipment and programmable systems to
meet steadily more demanding market requirements.
Goodtech’s current PORTABULK® partners are: Ameriglobe
(USA), Bangkok Polysack (Thailand), Chempack (Russia),
Conterra (Romania), Cotesi (Portugal), Fairflex (Sweden),
Flexituff International (India), Kingpack (Venezuela), Lasheen
(Egypt), Lucky Star (Thailand), Pithampur Poly Products (India),
Plastchim (Bulgaria), Uritus (Estonia), Zakkencentrale (Holland).
Goodtech operates a global supply and representation
network comprising market leaders in their respective countries
and product segments.
Goodtech is working closely with Latin American partners in
order to consolidate its presence in this region. The company
looks forward to developing the undoubted potential in this
expansive and multi-faceted market.
Two new commercial partnerships, with Masanes Industria y
Servicios and Haver Trading Spólka z o.o. respectively, have also
been established. Goodtech is very pleased to be collaborating
with leading representatives in the Iberian and Polish markets.
Its existing commercial and supplier partners are SGH
Equipment Ltd. (UK), Baobag (France), Norensacados
(USA/Venezuela), Haver & Boecker (Germany), Cimbria
(Denmark), TMT (the Czech Republic) and Damec (Sweden).
The reputation of the PORTABULK® system continues to pay
dividends for Goodtech as the company has been awarded new
contracts for net and gross weight filling systems by producers
within the fish-feed, fertilizer and minerals sectors, to Havsbrun
(Faeroes) Azomures (Romania), Svenska Lantmänn (Sweden) and
Densit (Denmark). Associated coding and labelling equipment as
well as handling and internal transport systems are invariably
supplied in parallel with the filling equipment.
In addition, Goodtech has entered into new projects, many of
which also include fully integrated track and trace technology
adapted to industrial IT solutions. Several of these are
scheduled for implementation in 2010 and include fully
automated PORTABULK® bagging equipment at the Norwegian
fish-feed major – Biomar – as part of its development at Myre; a
major Felleskjoepet project, also including fully automated
PORTABULK® bagging equipment, at its Kambo site, as well as
projects at Ammophos, part of the Russian Phosagro
conglomerate. This brings the total number of PORTABULK®
filling rigs supplied worldwide to over 120.
Further afield, Goodtech has progressed the development of
PORTABULK® FIBC supplies to a major Japanese federation
within the fertilizer segment. It is also actively developing
international contacts with leading logistics providers and raw
materials suppliers as a means of extending the scope of its
With its broad portfolio of high-quality products,
technologies and services, with its network and as part of a
cutting-edge technology group, Goodtech Packaging Systems is
committed to customer satisfaction throughout the world.
Future growth will be based on developing its current
technology portfolio, enhancing its competencies, investing in
existing and new partnerships and through acquisition.
Mondi: global provider of industrial bags and FIBCs
Mondi is an international paper and packaging company, with
production operations across 31 countries and revenues of €5.3
billion in 2009. The group’s key operations are located in
Central Europe, Russia and South Africa and employed 31,000
people on average in 2009. Mondi is fully integrated across the
paper and packaging process, from the growing of wood and the
manufacture of pulp and paper (including recycled paper), to the
conversion of packaging papers into corrugated packaging and
industrial bags. The group is principally involved in the
manufacture of uncoated fine paper (UFP), packaging paper and
converted packaging products, as well as speciality products.
Mondi is a dual listed company, with primary listings on the
Johannesburg and London stock exchanges under the ticker
codes MND (JSE) and MNDI (LSE) respectively. The group has
been recognized for its sustainability performance through its
inclusion in the FTSE4Good UK, Europe and Global indices in
2008 and 2009 and the JSE’s Socially Responsible Investment
(SRI) Index in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Mondi Industrial Bags is the leading manufacturer of paper-based
industrial bags delivering over 3.7 bn bags yearly. The company
produces advanced packaging solutions used in the construction
sector, food industry, agriculture and other segments. A
dedicated research centre takes care of sustainable quality
assurance measures and new product developments, most
recently including the Terra Bag, the world’s first compostable
and biodegradable industrial bag offering moisture protection.
Through an international network of plants and sales offices the
company offers its customers flexibility and local assistance.
From R&D and operations to sales and customer service, highly
qualified staff, reliably develop and deliver industrial bags made
from top-quality materials and optimized processes. Mondi’s
long-standing experience and integrated value chain go hand in
hand with a comprehensive knowledge of its customers’
businesses and packaging markets.
Working together for the customer’s success. Excellent
relationships with its customers, verified by a regular customer
satisfaction survey, enable Mondi to jointly improve processes
and develop tailor-made solutions. Mondi Industrial Bags finds
the solutions exactly matching the customer’s specific
requirements through joint development projects and process
improvements implemented on the customer premises.
Technical bag expertise at its best. From extensive paper to
filling know-how, Mondi Industrial Bags offers significant
expertise for optimized bags constructions. Through high-quality
papers, state-of-the-art processes and continuous development
the bags meet industry’s specific requirements with regards to
product protection and high-speed filling. Mondi’s kraft paper
R&D facility, the partnered Bag Application Centre and the filling
equipment producer Natro Tech reflect the core strength:
delivering innovative solutions customized to customer needs.
Bag to nature — caring for the environment. Mondi
Industrial Bags cares for the environment with several Mondi
Green Range products. Its unique biodegradable Terra Bag with
a corn-based free film for humidity protection can be composted
within weeks and thus reduces the environmental impact.
Another sustainable solution is ONE/ONEPlus, the exceptional
one-ply bag solution that conserves scarce resources while
reducing weight at the same time. Easy Seal, the ultrasonic
sealable valve speeds up productivity and helps reduces energy
Mondi is a specialist in:
  •   paper-based bags for high-speed filling;
  •   reliable and efficient one-ply bag solutions;
  •   biodegradable cement bags;
  •   leakproof bags and valve seals; and
  •   filling equipment.
Mondi has an ideal solution when it comes to quick and easy
packaging for all kinds of loose, granular and bulk goods:
mondiMAXX. This FIBC, or big bag, is made of 100% recyclable
polypropylene fabric and has a safe working load of 500 to
2,500kg and a filling volume up to 3,000 litres.
Advantages include:
  •   quick and easy packaging for bulk goods;
  •   minimum storage and transport costs;
  •   available in various designs; and
  •   recyclable.
A mondiMAXX for every application
Customers can choose from a wide range of materials with
various properties. These include special options for keeping the
contents dry or preventing powders from escaping, making
mondiMAXX ideal for simple transportation of all kinds of bulk
goods. mondiMAXX is manufactured in accordance with DIN
EN ISO 21898 and therefore complies with standard tolerances
and test procedures.
mondiMAXX is suitable for transporting hazardous materials
for packaging groups II and III. Independent testing institutes
guarantee that the UN guidelines for FIBCs are met. Mondi
holds the necessary certificates for all mondiMAXX options.
Electrostatic materials
Mondi recommends mondiMAXX type C or D for fillings where
static charges build up during filling or emptying. These types
ensure that the electrostatic charge is safely dispersed and they
are therefore also suitable for use in highly flammable
atmospheres. Independent testing institutes have verified the
electrostatic properties of both types.
Food safety
mondiMAXX is manufactured exclusively by partners who are
certified to international quality standards. In addition,
mondiMAXX FIBCs for foodstuffs also comply with HACCP or
ISO:22000. To guarantee that the FIBCs are suitable for use with
foodstuffs, Mondi demands that its partners meet the highest
standards in terms of the materials used, production and storage
of the goods.
Wide range of options
To ensure quick and easy filling and emptying, Mondi provides a
large number of top and bottom shapes with various closure
options, e.g. single, 2- or 4-point lifting; open, duffle or
filling/discharge spouts as filling/emptying systems.
Mondi’s filling equipment company Natro Tech, based in Italy, also
produces equipment especially for FIBCs. Natro Tech was
founded in 1925 as Natrocellulosa Spa (paper bags and filling
machine producer). In 2001, it became a spin-off of the Mondi
Packaging Group with a new name of FIP Natro-Tech. In May
last year (2009), it was rebranded as Natro Tech Srl.
Core business
Natro-Tech’s core business is twofold:
  •   modular filling-packing machines for paper valve bags. It offers air-type and impeller-type, with capacities of more than 450 bags/hour per spout; and
  •   automatic bag placers; single or centralized store, single or multiple thread, in line or circular threading.
Production output is 30–40 machines/year.
Secondary and auxiliary business
  •   rotary packers (up to 4,000 bags/hour);
  •   bag placers for rotary packers (3,000–4,500 bags/hour);
  •   palletizer for paper bags (600–4,000 bags/hour);
  •   bagging plant accessories (belt conveyor, check- weigher, bags flattener, bag expeller-reject); and
  •   stretch hooding and wrapping machine (60–100 pallets/hour).
Production output is 15–20 machines/year.
Natro Tech is the main contractor for the entire bag filling and
packing process (turn-key project);
  •   analysis and engineering;
  •   complete new plant dry test on site at Natro Tech;
  •   erection – assembly – start-up – training services;
  •   customer care and spare parts services;
  •   on-site technical attendance;
  •   tele service attendance.
Chronos BTH: company integration goes full steam ahead
Good progress has been made on the integration of BTH and
Chronos Richardson to create a team of specialists and experts
with profound industry know-how.
From October 1st 2009 the combined Chronos Richardson
and BTH operated under the name Chronos BTH in Europe as
part of the global Industrial Equipment Group of Premier Tech.
The Chronos BTH complete range of products now includes
Premier Tech Systems' Processing and Packaging solutions, along
with its own packaging lines that cover the entire process
between production and transportation: dosing and weighing,
filling and sealing, palletizing and load securing for packed pallets.
Recently Chronos BTH Limited secured a plant upgrade
contract valued at more than £1million for a fertilizer blending
plant in Malaysia. The project will involve upgrading a range of
weigh belt feeders that were originally supplied by Richard
Simon Limited (RSL) more than 15 years ago.
One of the key factors that enabled Chronos BTH to secure
this major contract was its access to the original project files
and original RSL design authority documentation and drawings.
Since early 2003 all of the original RSL design materials have
been available in Nottingham for use by fellow Premier Tech
company, Chronos Richardson (now known as Chronos BTH
The upgraded machines were produced as exact mechanical
replacements to the previously supplied feeders, even working to
the original production schedules and documentation. All of the
feeder upgrades involved the replacement of all the feeder
frames with fertilizer grade stainless steel housings and material
contact parts.
“Up-time and equipment availability are the key words in the
modern process plant”, commented Chronos BTH Ltd's General
Manager, Peter Orme. He concluded, “Utilizing all of the original
paperwork has enabled us to quickly respond to the needs of
this fertilizer company, thereby keeping their downtime to a
minimum and providing a more robust version of their original
Chronos BTH Limited incorporates Richard Simon Limited,
Verville and Premier Tech Systems for European spares,
refurbishments, service, installation and commissioning.
Recent fertilizer handling and bagging projects have included
fixed and mobile bagging installations in East Africa, North Africa
and South America; high throughput nett weighers for FIBC
filling in the UK; with further CHRONO-WEIGHTM E55 fixed
bagging installations completed in the UK, Pakistan and India.