High performance returnable packaging for glass containers and cans

ER&GE pioneered the use of plastic as an alternative to paper based layer pads.

At the start of the 1980's, ER&GE was the first manufacturer to develop a solution to eliminate the problems of dust, cardboard fibres and instability of pallets due to moisture absorption. Following extensive research and development, we designed an integrated system for the production, distribution and cleaning of plastic layer pads. Our business continues to be founded on the excellent product characteristics of our extruded plastic sheet.

Key aspects include hygiene, grip, durability, economy, recyclability and flexibility of design. With the development of the latest Mk. 5 co-extruded PP layer pad, ER&GE manufactures probably the best plastic flat sheet layer pads available today.


Foodstuffs packing application
Background

The requirements of the foodstuffs industry in the early 1980's demanded new concepts for a more hygienic packing standard. Automation and the increasing tendency for filling glass containers with fresh product without cleaning or other pre treatment meant that the existing packaging materials proved inadequate.
  • Paper packing: As a purely disposable solution, this was not only to be of limited economic benefit but also extremely negative in its impact on the environment. The hygroscopic characteristics and friction on the paper was also hygienically unattractive.

  • Reusable fibreboards: Fibreboards represented an attempt to introduce reusable packing materials. The boards proved non-viable with a service life of just 6 to 12 uses and they remained hygienically suspect. Neither washing nor disinfecting were possible and splinters of timber material fell into the glass containers. Bottled foodstuffs were often spoiled or tended to produce foam. Even coating the fibreboards with PVC brought no improvement as PVC is unsuitable for foodstuffs and could not be recycled.

  • Open ended corrugated plastic layer pads (twin wall boards): Like corrugated cardboard, this plastic packing consists of two very thin outer layers with vertical elements sandwiched between them. During the washing process, moisture and dirt can enter the interior of the board through the open side channels or through the easily damaged surface. Particles of dirt and microbiological impurities represent contamination risk for glass containers and cans. Sealed edged corrugated plastic layer pads gave some improvement but was far from satisfactory.

layer pad corners
ER&GE layer pads

Solid plastic layer pads (separadores plásticos) provide a solution to these problems. ER&GE layer pads represent an economical, reusable system that permits washing and disinfecting processes suited to the foodstuffs industry. Manufactured from polypropylene, the pads are very durable and are not subject to contamination from wear and tear, even after a large number of trips.

ER&GE plastic layer pads offer a high level of cleanliness, hygienic and microbiological quality. They are manufactured using virgin raw materials conforming to FDA approved standards, are free from odour and taste and fully comply with the strict provisions of German foodstuffs law.


Washing and disinfection

ER&GE designs and builds its own dedicated plastic layer pad washing machines. The whole process is handled by efficient systems, washing up to 1,200 pads per hour.

The layer pads are sprayed with hot process water containing detergent and disinfectant and brushed twice. The pads receive a final rinse in fresh water before passing through hot air dryers which remove residual moisture and kill any remaining bacteria at high temperatures. The clean, dry layer pads are stacked on pallets mechanically and shrink wrapped in polyethylene film.

The entire process operates inline so that contamination through handling is kept to a minimum. The fresh water supply, chemical dosing and process water recycling is computer controlled to ensure a consistently optimum result. Both the process water and fresh water systems are built from stainless steel. This enables high standards of hygiene to be maintained throughout the process.

Regular washing helps prolong the useful life of layer pads and assists in maintaining surface grip. Please consult us regarding layer pad washing, surface embossing or slip angle requirements.

Layer pad rinsing
Quality and Food Safety

ER&GE (UK) Limited is a BS EN ISO 9001 registered firm, UKAS accredited, certificate number 441454.

We recommend that production areas are subject to HACCP procedures and regular microbiological checks by an independent laboratory such as PMS Micro Limited. The cleaning plant itself should be tested, as well as the process and fresh water, the drying air and finally the layer pads before and after washing. In addition, random samples should be taken for testing to provide real time monitoring of cleaning process effectiveness. We recommend using Biotrace, an ATP based measurement system. A statistical trend analysis has been developed, that considers the variability of our cleaning effectiveness over a given period.

Efficient packing benefits

ER&GE plastic layer pads have many economic advantages over disposable packaging. This is especially true for volume container production where stocks are rotated frequently. The system is complimented by outstanding hygiene, logistical and handling benefits as part of a comprehensive economical solution. In addition, ER&GE layer pads offer handling advantages including automated stacking of pads which eliminates the need to tear open the corners of cardboard trays or collect and compress used cardboard.

Layer pad depalletisation

ER&GE layer pads allow depalletisation systems to be exploited to the full. Production down times and glass breakages caused by wet or deeply indented cardboard trays are avoided, whilst the durable elastic properties of plastic layer pads improve the pack stability of palletised containers. The mouths of the containers are sealed off by the pads, thereby preventing the entry of dirt particles.

Reusability and recyclability are also important factors. A company's success is not only determined by direct economic viability alone, but increasingly by the ability to embed business activities in a socially responsible concept. The fact that ER&GE products are ecologically sound helps in an ISO 14000 environment.

In normal use, ER&GE layer pads will survive more than 100 cycles. Damaged layer pads can be regranulated and extruded to produce other plastic products. ER&GE layer pads were awarded the environmental symbol of the United Nations in 1984 for their high level of environmental sustainability. Particular praise went to the layer pad's long service life and to the fact that the plastic material is fully recyclable.

blue angel
Product range

During layer pad production, it is important to incorporate mechanical flexural rigidity, resistance to deformation, elasticity and impact strength together with thermal, electrical and surface characteristics. If a large number of these characteristics can be combined, the result is a product designed for a broad range of containers.

Only a small number of layer pad types are therefore required to cater for many different containers without limiting quality. Whether processing small jars, beverage cans, PET bottles or heavy glass bottles, there is a layer pad to suit.

  • type 0.5 mm cover sheet for wooden pallets
  • type 0.8 mm mono layer pad for can pallets
  • type 1.8 mm mono layer pad for shrink wrapped glass bottle pallets
  • type 1.8 mm mk.4 co-extruded layer pad for compressed strapped pallets
  • type 1.8 mm mk.5 co-extruded layer pad with superior slip angle
  • type 3.0 mm co-extruded layer pad for heavy glass bottles
  • layer pads with bespoke specifications to suit by design

Logistics

Layer pad logistic services are provided by ER&GE Transport, which provides a flexible response to delivery demands. Vehicles are maintained to a high standard of cleanliness thereby eliminating the risk of cross contamination.

ER&GE Transport
In summary

ER&GE plastic layer pads and separator sheets are remarkable for their simplicity, in handling, disposal and cleaning. We aim to provide well designed products and services that work.
  • hygienic packaging suitable for foodstuffs
  • washable
  • securely packed goods
  • durability, high resistance to damage and weathering
  • returnable packaging system with logistical benefits
  • ease of handling compared with other packing materials
  • progress in automation of production processes


ER&GE (UK) Limited | Unit 8 Gelderd Trading Estate | West Vale | LEEDS | LS12 6BD | T 0113 242 7341 | F 0113 242 7045