PLASTICS NEWS

Nine-layer coextrusion enables for high-barrier performance to meet any need

SUGAR LAND, TEXAS (July 31, 12:30 p.m. ET) — Accredo Packaging Inc. is increasing capacity at its Sugar Land plant with the addition of several new machines.

“We’re expanding in all the segments we identified as our target markets and need to add significant capacity to keep up with growth,” said Rex Varn, executive vice president, in a news release.

The flexible packaging converter recently installed a 41-inch-wide Windmoeller & Hoelscher flexographic printing press —a Miraflex CM 10 — and placed an order for another W&H press, a second 67-inch Vistaflex CL 10, according to a news release from W&H.

The plant also houses 10-color W&H Novoflex CL presses.

Accredo is also adding two W&H five-layer Varex blown film lines. The new lines, scheduled for installation in 2013, join the plant’s existing three- and nine-layer film lines, according to the release.

Accredo, part of the Advance Polybag Inc. family of companies, started operations in 2009 and will begin construction on a 175,000-square-foot expansion this month. That expansion is slated for completion in early 2013.

“We aim to be a major player in the U.S. flexible packaging market,” said Malcolm Cohn, sustainability director. The company makes coextruded barrier films; overwrap film; shrink bundling film; laminated, printed and unprinted rollstock; pouches; and wicketed bags.

It also emphasizes sustainability, operating out of a 200,000-square-foot, wind-powered facility that has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver certification.

Using state-of-the-art equipment, like the new presses, makes the plant more efficient and helps limit greenhouse gas emissions, Cohn said.

Advance Polybag, also based in Sugar Land, had sales of $260 million in 2011, according to Plastics News’ most recent ranking of North American film and sheet makers.

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In order to further its social and environmental commitment, Wholesome Sweeteners is consistently searching for new ways to reduce its carbon footprint. As a result, Wholesome Sweeteners has partnered with Accredo Packaging, Inc. to supply the sweetener company with its existing packaging requirements, as well as to develop new, innovative, alternative sustainable materials.

Wholesome Sweeteners chose to collaborate with Accredo because of the high-quality, sustainable packaging products it offers. These products, offered at a competitive pricing, helps the company embrace more environmentally responsible solutions that will benefit the bottom line.

“Accredo is a great match with our corporate values,” says Marjorie Duyongco, Director of Product Development & Packaging for Wholesome Sweeteners. “Since the business landscape continually changes, we are always seeking to partner with suppliers and vendors that offer more environmentally responsible alternatives and innovations. Therefore, we are very excited to work with Accredo on exploring sustainable packaging solutions utilizing renewable and recyclable materials.”

Also based in Sugar Land, Texas, Accredo is believed to be the first high-barrier, flexible package manufacturing facility in the U.S. granted LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. According to Malcolm Cohn, Director of Sustainability for Accredo, Silver certification is the highest level that a manufacturing company can receive and it is very difficult to achieve.

Commissioned in 2009, Accredo’s facility is a 200,000-sq-ft, state-of-the-art flexible packaging converting plant, which uses 100 percent wind-generated electrical power as well as processes designed to eliminate waste and minimize carbon emissions during the production process. Building materials were sourced locally, and recycled materials were used whenever possible. As a result, everything produced at the facility has a greatly reduced carbon footprint, even when manufactured to the same specifications as at conventional plants.

Cohn points out that Accredo runs exclusively expanded color gamut process printing. The proprietary ink delivery system supplies ink directly to the ten-color, 2,000 feet-per-minute printing presses, which reduces ink consumption by up to 35 percent and ink waste by up to 95 percent. Similarly, solvent usage is also significantly reduced. Because of this technology, Accredo is able to produce even conventional packaging material in a much more sustainable way than other suppliers.

As mentioned, Wholesome Sweeteners chose Accredo for their packaging needs because it is, and remains, one of the only LEED® silver certified flexible packaging manufacturers in North America. The fact that Accredo’s factory is located less than two miles from Wholesome Sweeteners corporate office is an amazing coincidence. Beforehand, Duyongco had to travel to other cities to conduct press checks on packaging. This was not only time consuming and costly, but did not help in reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

Duyongco is quick to praise the packaging company. She states that the print quality is phenomenal, the material is of the highest quality and the customer service is excellent. She adds that Accredo was the first company to introduce the first-of-its-kind zippered standup pouch made from certified compostable components.

It was Carl Moccia, National Account Manager for Accredo, who first approached Duyongco at a trade show approximately three years ago. The facility was still in the planning stages and Duyongco admits that she was skeptical because it sounded too good to be true. “I told Carl that I would believe it when I saw it,” she recalls. Once the facility was completed and she saw firsthand their capabilities, there was no question whether to use Accredo.

Duyongco notes that she had previously worked with various other packaging suppliers but jumped at the opportunity to join forces with Accredo because they provided the ability to develop and test new sustainable packaging solutions. She explains how she has been working on a concept for new packaging material for six years and had many other suppliers approach her with ideas on how to tackle the problem, but never offered any tangible sample that she could test.

That has now changed. Working together, Wholesome Sweeteners and Accredo are now at the forefront of experimenting with biopolymer and renewable packaging material, and are currently working on developing a viable biofilm for a standup, zipper pouch. Duyongco explains it is critical that the biofilm has the right properties to preserve the sweetener throughout the supply chain cycle. The biofilm structure is currently undergoing shelf-life evaluation.

Although Accredo only began formal operations less than three years ago, the facility has grown significantly due to increased production, requiring new equipment and employees. Cohn reveals that later this year the company will begin building a new plant adjacent to the existing one, which is scheduled for completion next year.

“Our collaboration with Accredo helps with our branding because we are working with a supplier that shares our same environmental philosophy, which is not only important to us but important to our customers, says Duyongco.”

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In addition to its commitment to the research and development of new and innovative all-natural, low calorie sweeteners, Imperial Sugar Company (ISC) is also consistently searching for new ways to reduce its environmental impact. As part of these efforts, ISC recently partnered with Accredo Packaging, Inc, a company that produces conventional and compostable flexible packaging solutions, primarily targeting the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) segment.

Like ISC, Accredo is based in Sugar Land, Texas and is believed to be the first flexible packaging manufacturing facility in the U.S. granted LEED® Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED® promotes a whole building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health:

  1. Sustainable site development
  2. Water savings
  3. Energy efficiency
  4. Material selection
  5. Indoor environmental quality

According to Rex Varn, executive vice president of Accredo Packaging, its state-of-the-art flexible packaging converting plant uses 100 percent wind-generated electrical power as well as processes designed to eliminate waste and minimize carbon emissions during the production process. Building materials were sourced locally, and recycled materials were used whenever possible. As a result, everything produced at the facility has a greatly reduced carbon footprint, even when manufactured to the same specifications as at conventional plants.

Furthermore, Varn points out that Accredo Packaging runs exclusively expanded color gamut process printing. The proprietary ink delivery system supplies ink directly to the ten-color, 2,000 feet-per-minute printing presses, which reduces ink consumption by up to 35 percent and ink waste by up to 95 percent. Similarly, solvent usage is also significantly reduced.

“We are excited that Imperial Sugar Company has partnered with us to further its goal of lowering the environmental impact of its packaging while producing competitively priced offerings,” said Varn. He added, “Our sustainability efforts feed directly into our customer’s Corporate Social Responsibility objectives.”

Accredo will produce packaging for any ISC product that requires a pouch or poly bag. This will include the new 2-pound pouch for Steviacane® that is set to launch later this year, which will provide consumers with more ease of use.

PLASTICS NEWS
SUGAR LAND, TEXAS (Sept. 20, 11:40 a.m. ET) — Advance Polybag Inc.’s entry into flexible packaging, Accredo Packaging Inc., began production in 2009, running two nine-layer blown film lines at a 200,000-square-foot plant — and already, the company is building an addition in Sugar Land.

Officials broke ground late last year on a 175,000-square-foot expansion and it should be completed next year, said Rex Varn, executive vice president for Advance Polybag and Accredo Packaging.

Accredo makes blown film and does printing, laminating and conversion — with an emphasis on sustainable products and manufacturing.

Varn said expansion was in the plans from the beginning.

“We’re a full-service converting, fully integrated operation, and so the fact is that we aim to be a major key player in the flexible packaging converting industry,” Varn said. “So it was the plan that we would continue to build and grow our business. That building goes hand in hand with the vision of expansion in mind.”

Overall, Advance Polybag has sales of $260 million, according to Plastics News and industry estimates. That makes it No. 26 in the Plastics News ranking of film and sheet makers, published in this issue.

The company does not break out sales for Accredo, but the Sugar Land operation marks a major diversification for API, known for its T-shirt bags. Accredo focuses on barrier-layer packaging, standup pouches, roll stock, wicketed bags and bundling film for consumer products.

API is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The family-owned company was founded by Hank Nguyen, who is chairman and CEO, and his brother Chinh Nguyen, the president and chief operating officer.

The first of five API factories was established in New Orleans in 1986. From that modest beginning, API has grown into the second-largest supplier of polyethylene T-shirt grocery bags.

“Throughout our 25 years of operation, we have developed strong relationships with our customers and embraced the loyalty and commitment of dedicated associates,” Hank Nguyen said.

For a flexible packaging startup, Accredo started out with a bang: two nine-layer Windmöller & Hölscher Varex blown film lines. Since then the company has added three-layer equipment. Officials are not releasing the total number of blown film lines at Sugar Land. “We’ve more than doubled our extrusion capacity,” Varn said.

All the blown film lines and flexographic printing presses are from W&H.

Malcolm Cohn, sustainability director, said the owners invested in state-of-the-art machinery. “They’re really reaching out to be a very major player in the United States in high-barrier flexible packaging. They want to give us the tools to compete at that level,” he said.

The plant employs about 150.

Green operations, printing expertise

Cohn said the Nguyen’s built sustainability into Accredo from the time API announced plans to build the plant in 2007.

“We support the initiatives of recover, reuse, reduce and recycle with our customers through a variety of programs,” Chinh Nguyen said.

Officials say Accredo is the first flexible packaging plant in the United States granted silver certification under the LEED rating system — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED promotes sustainable site development and material selection, water conservation, energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality.

Also, 100 percent of the energy the factory consumes comes from wind power, much of it from wind farms in west Texas. “The production processes are designed to eliminate waste, while minimizing carbon footprint,” Cohn said.

Accredo extends sustainability to printing — an area of specialty that uses a proprietary ink delivery system developed in-house. The firm has three 10-color W&H printing presses: two Novoflex lines and a new Vistaflex line, installed at the start of this year.

The company prints exclusively using expanded color gamut printing, never using “spot” color printing, which uses specific-color inks. Instead, Accredo uses only process inks to build the colors for each graphic image. Cohn said expanded color gamut printing allows for fast job changes, and reduces waste because the ink stations don’t have to be cleaned. That means there is less wasted ink and a major reduction of solvents, with enhanced color and quality accuracy.

“We feel that the market is changing in that direction. Someday, all flexible printing will be done this way,” Cohn said.

Accredo has made a major push into the fast-growing market for pouches, including developments in compostable pouches. Cohn said the company has applied for patents on compostable zipper pouches and pouches with spouts, where even the zipper and spout are compostable.

He said Accredo uses biofilms, but declined to disclose the material. The company partnered with other firms to develop the compostable zipper and spout.

Accredo has made a zippered, gusseted standup pouch that is made from certified compostable components, which the company believes is the first such package.

“As technology is improving and more products become available, we want to stay ahead of the curve,” Cohn said. “We do consider ourselves as one of the leaders in sustainable packaging, and so as new materials become available, we investigate them.”

Accredo uses Totani pouch-making machines.

Pouches offer makers of consumer products and foods several advantages, including eye-catching graphics that stand out on store shelves, he said.

AIB Member 2011SUGAR LAND, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Accredo Packaging, Inc., is pleased to announce that it has recently earned its certification for Food Safety with AIB International (the American Institute of Baking). During a daylong audit by an AIB representative, Accredo’s 200,000-square-foot facility and processes were examined and found to meet or exceed all AIB standards for food safety, including policies and operations, as well as the physical condition of grounds, buildings, production, and storage areas.

“The AIB and LEED certifications are independent assessments that support our continuing environmental stewardship efforts.”

While food handling does not take place at Accredo per se, the company manufactures flexible packaging for a variety of fresh and processed foods, and AIB Certification recognizes Accredo’s compliance regarding same. Last fall, Accredo earned its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and practices.

Accredo Packaging is an independent operating member of the API family of companies, celebrating a quarter century of excellence in the thermoplastics industry this year.

“The owners of API family of companies believed that a new flexible packaging division could be grown from the ground up embodying the principles of business, social, and environmental sustainability,” said Rex Varn, executive vice president. “The AIB and LEED certifications are independent assessments that support our continuing environmental stewardship efforts.”

Accredo Packaging produces conventional and compostable flexible packaging solutions, primarily targeting the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) segment, paper and tissue companies for bundling film applications, and purveyors of organic products. Products include coextruded, laminated, printed or unprinted barrier roll-stock, pouches, wicketed bags and bundling film, predominantly for the pre-packaged consumer product markets.

Accredo is a registered member of the EPA’s Green Power Partnership and the Organic Trade Association, and is a Certified Minority Business Enterprise.

SUGAR LAND, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Accredo Packaging, Inc., a member of the API Group of Companies, has recently achieved a milestone in its quest to be the world’s lowest carbon footprint manufacturer of flexible packaging and extruded films. Accredo’s year-old production facility is now Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“The company owners envisioned a new flexible packaging division that, from the ground up, would embody the principles of business, social, and environmental sustainability”

“The company owners envisioned a new flexible packaging division that, from the ground up, would embody the principles of business, social, and environmental sustainability,” said Kevin McCarthy, vice president and general manager of Accredo. “Furthermore, every major piece of equipment in our silver–certified, 200,000 square-foot plant is state of the art, in terms of low environmental impact, high quality, and world-class productivity.”

McCarthy said that, since Accredo began production in August 2009, brand owners and retailers have enthusiastically embraced the company’s twin goals of lowering the environmental impact of flexible packaging and extruded film production, while producing competitively priced offerings. He added, “Our sustainability efforts feed directly into our customers’ Corporate Social Responsibility objectives.”

Sustainable Production at Accredo Packaging

The Accredo production facility is 100 percent wind powered. The design of the facility minimizes carbon emissions during the production process. Building materials were sourced locally, and recycled materials were used whenever possible.

Accredo’s printing process is exclusively expanded color gamut process printing. The proprietary ink delivery system supplies ink directly to the ten-color, 2,000 feet-per-minute W&H Novoflex CL printing presses, which reduces ink consumption by 35 percent and ink waste by 95 percent. Solvent usage is 80 percent lower than similar speed presses and 99.5 percent of solvent emissions are scrubbed clean. Press uptime is 40 percent above previous generation printing systems. The plant also features state-of-the-art nine- and three-layer extruders, a 1,500 feet-per-minute laminator, and stand-up pouch and wicketer bag-making machines.

Accredo Packaging films and flexible packaging products are sold to food manufacturers, paper and tissue companies for bundling film applications, and purveyors of organic products. Accredo is a registered member of the EPA’s Green Power Partnership and the Organic Trade Association, and is a Certified Minority Business Enterprise.

Eye on Sustainability
Flexible packaging converter, Accredo Packaging, Inc. has been up and running for just over a year, but is already an industry leader recognized for its comprehensive focus on sustainability. The 200,000 sq ft., state-of-the-art Sugar Land, TX plant was designed and built to meet LEED® Silver certification standards, and utilizes 100% wind-generated electrical power, with a focus on eliminating waste while minimizing its carbon footprint.

Accredo Executive Vice President, Rex Varn, says their commitment to producing sustainable flexible packaging solutions, primarily targeting the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) segment, is supported by a sizable R&D budget. Adds Malcolm Cohn, Director of Sustainability, “we’re researching compostable and recyclable solutions, but we also want to find new ways to produce conventional polymeric packaging in a more sustainable way. Reducing waste, using less resources and increasing productivity equates to better sustainability.”

Some of the company’s biggest breakthroughs to date are in the area of stand-up and flat bottom pouches, as well as wicketed bags. Accredo was the first to produce a zippered stand-up pouch made entirely from certified compostable components, providing a major area of growth for Accredo. Utilizing the most efficient machinery is part of Accredo’s equation for sustainability. The facility houses 3-layer and 9-layer VAREX blown film lines as well as 10-color NOVOFLEX presses from W&H, with more equipment scheduled for installation.

Opportunity Houston

Accredo Packaging, Inc., recently opened its new 200,000-square-foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility on Cardinal Meadows Drive in Sugar Land. The facility is an ecofriendly, green manufacturing plant that is the first of its kind in the state of Texas. The project was recently selected as a finalist for the Houston Business Journal’s 2010 Landmark Awards in the Industrial category.

The project broke ground on November 16, 2007 and was completed in June 2009. The impact of this project includes more than $60 million in new capital investment and 60 new jobs for Sugar Land.

Accredo Packaging, Inc., is on the forefront in the development of sustainable flexible packaging solutions. The new Sugar Land facility was designed for LEED Silver certification. This highly efficient production facility and the company’s expertise enables the company to convert traditional polymer resins to produce high-barrier packaging solutions (at reduced gauges), using fewer VOCs, less energy, less waste and less water. This equates to less packaging, reduced cost and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Accredo Packaging is committed to the use of renewable energy with 100 percent wind generated electrical power. The company also focuses on environmental and community-oriented initiatives and implementing recycling programs internally with customers.