H.B. Fuller invested $1m to create the Packaging Center of Excellence at its North American headquarters in Minnesota. The facility will be open all year round to offer engineering and technical assistance on packaging projects.
Steve Ringsdore, vice president of the Americas for packaging and converting, talked to FoodProductionDaily about the freshly opened Packaging Center of Excellence, and how such a facility helps food firms and brand owners optimize their packaging.
Adhesives are an oft-overlooked part of food packaging; why is it important to avoid forgetting about adhesives?
Packaging heavily influences consumer buying decisions, whether that’s because of aesthetics, functionality, reliability, or all of the above. All it takes is one negative experience to put a brand on the defensive.
Although adhesives make up less than 3% of packaging’s total cost, they play a critical role in maintaining the integrity of the packaging, which helps protect brands, their products and their reputations. Having the right adhesives in the right place can also help customers maintain a competitive advantage and can lead to new packaging innovations.
Why did H.B. Fuller consider it important to open such a center?
First and foremost, we listened to our customers. The feedback was they needed a solution to help them innovate quickly to solve packaging challenges. Customers also want a solution that works the first time and minimizes downtime.
Downtime on an average production line costs at least $150 a minute, so manufacturers simply cannot afford to have the wrong adhesives in place
Another reason that we opened the Center is because it’s important to have a collaboration and research hub to bring packaging experts and customers together in order to advance innovations and solve packaging challenges.
What resources and equipment will customers find at the Center?
We’ve developed the Packaging Center of Excellence to connect customers to what matters—expertise, technology, and equipment. Customers will have access to our dedicated teams that guide them from start to finish.
From the beginning, these technical teams help customers nail down exactly what they want to achieve by utilizing the facility. The in-house lab managers assist customers in choosing the best adhesive solution for whatever packaging challenge they might have.
In terms of technology and equipment, the Center has a wide range of state-of-the-art systems and applicators that allows customers to test on multiple machines in one place, all without shutting down their line, saving them valuable time and money.
By having all of the equipment in a single room we are able to eliminate customers from having to troubleshoot one supplier at a time. Dorner, Graco, ITW Dynatec, Krones, Nordson, Robatech, and Valco Melton all have equipment housed in the Center.
What benefits might a customer gain from visiting the Center that improve upon the interaction of, say, a phone call or email exchange?
The importance of having access to expertise, technology and equipment in one place cannot be understated. By using all of the resources at the Center, customers will have to make just one visit instead of a dozen phone calls or emails to different suppliers or other packaging resources.
Customers who visit the Center will have unprecedented access to a multitude of machines and a supplier’s insights and expertise onsite, ensuring projects are done correctly the first time. That experience can’t be replicated over the phone or via email.