Right now, some industries are struggling to keep up with demand during the COVID-19 outbreak. According to a survey of more than 3,000 consumers by meal planning service eMeals, shoppers weren’t able to find 40% of the grocery items on their shopping list between March 18 and 23, even after visiting an average of two grocery stores. Manufacturers need a way to increase production and packaging capacity because of the impact that consumer habits have had on the supply chain, making bulk bag storage with longer storage life a good option. Nitrogen purging can help manufacturers bag and store ingredients in bulk for more extended periods during unexpected COVID-19 supply chain interruptions and shifts.
What is nitrogen purging?
Spiroflow’s bulk bag filling equipment integrates foil or plastic bag liners, which, following a nitrogen purge and heat-sealing process, can significantly extend stored product life. The innovative solution is particularly attractive to producers of nuts, seeds, coffee beans, dried fruits, or manufacturers in the pharmaceutical or chemical sectors who could benefit from extended product storage.
Spiroflow UK’s Managing Director James Podevyn, explains it like this: “Traditionally when bag filling, the bag would be inflated with air before filling commences. Filling it with nitrogen instead eliminates any oxygen within the bag, and after filling the bag can be left inflated or vacuumed, then heat-sealed, thereby no air can get in or out. Bacteria feeds on oxygen, so by removing it, products can last longer, and shelf life will be increased. A leading peanut manufacturer and Spiroflow customer said they could prove with confidence less than 1% oxygen was in the bag after using the nitrogen purging process.”
Extending ingredient storage life during COVID-19
In-store marketing and digital media specialist Catalina reported that U.S. shoppers are now making fewer trips to grocery, drug, and convenience stores but are spending more per visit. That means shelf life is essential not only for grocery stores but the end-user since they are likely stocking up. Changes in purchasing behavior have rippled up the supply chain to impact warehouse storage needs. In some cases, manufacturers have had ingredients ready for product manufacturing. Still, small, household consumer packaging shortages meant that the product sat on the warehouse floor, risking the ingredients going bad before packaging manufacturers could keep up with demand. Spiroflow’s Podevyn says, “Our enhanced bag process could benefit any product that has a shelf life, is affected by contact to air, or is hygroscopic. The scope of uptake may well go beyond the food and pharmaceutical industries, and we are excited to see how this process solution can innovate a breadth of businesses.”
Bulk bags save money
Spiroflow offers two types of bulk bag fillers. For low to medium volume applications, the C Series fillers have a modular construction that can be scaled up from a basic set-up to be modified when a change in production requirements demands it. The Cone Table Elite (CTE) Bulk Bag Filler has a densification system that can increase bag stability and filling quantity suited to high volume filing or where considerable densifying is needed. The shipping cost is reduced by increasing the densification as the bags can be filled with more products, thereby increasing cost efficiency. By increasing the bags’ stability, they become safer to handle and ship, which could reduce costs.
Spiroflow designs powder handling systems, including specialized conveyors and bulk bag handling equipment for food, chemical, mineral, pharmaceutical and other process industries. Spiroflow also manufactures Aero Mechanical Conveyors, Tubular Cable and Drag Chain Conveyors, Flexible Screw Conveyors, Vacuum Conveyors, Bulk Bag Fillers, Ingredients Handling and Weighing Systems. The company’s technical and engineering expertise has led to it developing an international reputation for an unrivaled range of products with state-of-the-art control systems.