All posts by Jeff E

US Box Shipments Outpaced GDP – Why This Is Big News

2016 was a big milestone in the production and manufacturing of container-board and corrugated boxes.  According to Vertical Research Partners, corrugated box shipments in the US expanded by 2.1% on an annual basis, to 376 billion square feet, surpassing the country’s GDP growth of 1.6%.

This is big news when you look at the trend over the past years.  From 1984 until 2016 box shipments grew by just 1.1% per year, when the US GDP for the same period averaged 2.6%.  Ok great, so everyone would lump this together in the paper space and say, with paper usage falling behind over the past years, and plastic film has taken over in packaging, it would make sense box capacity has slipped.

But just hold on their folks, that is why this milestone is big news.  And now the Ahh Haaa Moment – wait for it, wait for it —– Amazon!!.   When was the last time on your front stoop was a plastic box of your Amazon goods – let me answer – never.  That’s write – corrugated box.  And I know you are saying, there is just no way, that with the takeoff of Amazon it signal handily increased this number past the GDP.

Well it is not 100% Amazon, but they are the main factor.  The other driver is eCommerce is common place today, everything is shipped in a box.  So is this just a blip or are we in a trend?  Data so far this year points to a trend.  US box shipments are up 2.8% year-on-year from January until July.

The other key point to watch here if you are an Investor, maker or supplier is pricing of the material.   In the past quarter-century, the global corrugated box industry has doubled and right along with this has been the need for OCC – old corrugated containers.

So just follow me for a second here.  80% of global containerboard capacity is predicated on the use of recycled fiber.  Meaning rarely is virgin soft wood used to make corrugated boxes.  Here is the interesting part.  With the recycling of corrugated boxes, the fibers break down so they are not as strong, so it is not like we have this endless supply.  After a couple of cycles, the material is no longer able to be used.

What we are seeing now is we are starting to use all of the recycled corrugated box material in the market, and we are starting to see virgin Kraft being used to fill the void.  The concern here is the regions with this attractive softwood trees for containerboard production are limited.  As a result, global corrugated box prices could rise a bit faster than inflation.

We at Cheever have seen these requests from new and existing customers asking for different coatings, colors and textures.  Definitely an exciting time to actual be in a growth mode when we are talking in the paper space –  this time around we are ok being “boxed” in..

Steady Growth Forecast for Global Specialty Paper Market During 2017 to 2027

The global speciality paper market is estimated to be valued at nearly US$ 31 Bn in 2017 and is projected to reach approximately US$ 54 Bn by the end of 2027.  Based on end-users, packaging & labelling industry is expected to remain dominant.

“Sales of specialty paper will reach nearly 25000 thousand tons in 2017, and this number is further estimated to exceed 40,000 thousand tons by 2027-end, according to a report by Future Market Insights (FMI).

FMI’s report projects the global specialty paper market to register a steady 5.2% volume CAGR during the forecast period 2017 to 2027. The market is estimated to exhibit an absolute $ opportunity of US$ 21.59 billion during the forecast period.”

Learn more about the major drivers in this article from PaperAge.

First Modern Ag Residue Paper Plant in NA Under Construction

Making Paper out of Wheat Straw – the first modern paper mill is officially under construction in the sate of Washington to make this happen.

“On September 27 FeedStock (Chicago, Ill., USA) reported that for the past 15 years, environmental not-for-profit Canopy (Vancouver, Canada) has been advocating making paper from commercial agricultural residue a reality. Columbia Pulp, the first modern mill of its kind, is now slated to make pulp for paper and packaging out of wheat straw; it is now officially under construction in the state of Washington.

By securing the support of large consumer corporations and creating focused demand, Canopy claims it has helped position straw papers and packaging as a strong alternative to products made with virgin tree fiber. Through Canopy’s Second Harvest initiative, corporations such as Staples, EarthColor and more than 100 fashion brands have expressed clear interest in buying agricultural residue paper, packaging and/or textiles as they become available.”

Read more about it in this article from Naylor Network

What Is Driving Growth in the Specialty Paper Market

The Global Specialty Paper Market is expected to grow by 5.7% from US$31 Billion to US$54 Billion by 2027, according to July’s PaperAge magazine.  Driving this growth is more convenient and lighter packaging, tea bags, security labels and sustainability.

Lighter Packaging

Packaging is always about protection and transport, but it is the promoting of the shape, color, texture and even smell that makes thing move off a shelf.   Specialty coated papers provide better performance, lower weight, less scope of contamination, increase in shelf life of products and all while enabling seamless transportation handling.   In Western Europe they have seen growth in pouches, bags, wrapping and paper based flexible packaging.

Its Tea Time!

Europe being one of the largest consumers of tea has seen an increase driven by “packet tea”.  Tea bags have a low market share in the region, but the demand has by taking off due to tea bags made of specialty paper and the fact that specialty paper is biodegradable helps promote the environmental side of this paper.  From non-woven materials to lighter filter papers has played a part in this.

Labels Stop Counterfeiting

The world has started to take notice of the ease of certain items can now be counterfeited and more importantly with the Internet sold at a pace that has never been seen before.  Working to stop this dead in its tracks are QR code and NFC technology used in labels.  By having these codes on merchandise, has provided the ability to make items unique. While providing the consumer with a mobile app on their phone, they can easily scan this code that proves it is not a fake.  All this is due to the various specialty papers that been showing up in label’s, a good example of this is Johnnie Walker Scotch with its mobile app and label of authenticity on each bottle.

Sustaining This Growth Going Forward

An example of this is the increase of water-based barrier coatings, as well lightweight and special performance coatings.  This is all been due to the constant research and development in the enhancement of specialty papers.   Stemming from this work we are now seeing high performance composites, biodegradability and nanomaterials all starting to make their way into the market.   We at Cheever have been working with a local mill that is using Nano Cellulose fibers to produce a specialty parchment like paper without having to use the harsh chemical’s that are used to produce parchment paper.

Ultimately it has been the consumer pushing for these changes and we are now listening and making products for these end-user preferences.  It is an exciting time for the Specialty Paper Market and we at Cheever can’t wait to embrace this growth and change. Feel free to chat with us what you are seeing in your markets, we would love the feedback.

 

Cheever Specialty Paper & Film Conversion Chart

At Cheever Specialty Paper & Film we are always looking for new ways to provide the best service to our customers.  Our services include designing, sourcing and inventorying specialty paper, film and tape for the manufacturing and packaging industries, as well working with customers to solve problems that require a custom solution.  The latest innovation we have developed to meet our customers’ needs is a dimensions and dollars conversion chart.

The Cheever dimensions and dollars conversion chart was developed to easily convert different sizes and weight of paper.  This is important as basis weight, which describes the density of a specific sheet of paper according to how many pounds one ream weights at its basic size is only used in the United States.  One ream of paper is typically about 500 sheets of paper.  Other countries around the world measure this using the metric equivalent, which is grammage weight.   Grammage weight is the weight of paper in terms if grams per square meter.  It measures the same thing as basis weight, but does not consider paper density or basic size.

Another form of paper measurement is M Weight.  This refers to weight of 1000 cut sheets of paper.  M weight is useful for paper suppliers because it is always consistent with a specific paper size, which makes calculating shipping charges easier.  Many times this information needs to be converted into different units of measurement like lbs., linear foot, linear yard, and square yardage among others.  Once this conversion is made, it is also important to know how much it will cost per this unit of measurement to order.

Our conversion chart makes easy this process for you.  With this chart no longer will you have to do all of the equations to find out the information you are looking for each time you are looking to order new products.  For more information about this chart, and how it could benefit you, please reach out to our team.

The Rise in Popularity of Facial Masks Made From Nonwoven Materials

When it comes to innovation, the cosmetic field is like any other, always looking for the next new thing that will be supported by its target audience.  Facial masks are one product that has become very popular in China over the last decade, and are now beginning to make its way to the United States.  These masks are worn to help hydrate skin, smooth fine lines and unclog pores.  A unique aspect of these facial masks are the material they are made from, which have provided many skin care benefits, not previously seen.

Nonwoven Facial Mask

Facial Mask Materials:

Previously facial masks were dominated by cotton and synthetic materials like polypropylene and nylon.  Recently though the substrates that are used in facial sheet masks have become nonwoven fabric, which can vary in fibers/fiber combinations and processing technologies/shapes. These are positioned as natural materials and include lyocell and cuprammonium which are marketed as a type of silk that mimics the appearance and skin feel of real silk.

Benefits of Nonwoven Materials:

By using combinations of these non-woven materials, interesting results have been found.  A sheet mask that combines Tencel with tourmaline and organic germanium has claimed the benefits of repairing and detoxifying by emitting infrared to maintain the skin temperature between the range of 25-30 degrees Celsius.  This is the temperature range at which cell metabolism and microcirculation are said to be accelerated and maximize the skin detoxification.  Another combination of nonwoven materials is Tercel combined with silica-encapsulated nonmagnetic powder.  This combination has been said to stimulate microcirculation and deliver the benefits of smoothing out wrinkles and slimming the face.

Consumer Comfort:

Even with all the new combinations of nonwoven materials to be used for facial masks, user experience, efficiency, and safety cannot be forgotten when creating these new products.  It is important that the materials are not irritating to the face, and that they must properly fit tightly to the face.  While new masks are being created from these nonwoven materials, making sure the comfort of the consumer is not lost is very important.

At Cheever Specialty Paper & Film we can assist with your nonwoven material sourcing needs.  We can work with you to find the best materials for your facial mask production needs.  Please reach out to our team for more information.

Earth Day and Environmentally Friendly Products

Protecting the environment of planet Earth is a job for all people across the globe no matter what country they reside in.  It is the most valuable resource mankind has, and steps can be taken by both individuals and businesses to limit the harm done to the environment on both micro and macro levels. To call attention to the potential hazards to the Earth and the environment, Earth Day is celebrated around the world each April the 22nd.

Earth Day

Earth Day is an event that started in 1970 as a way to demonstrate support for environmental protection.  The goal of the day and the events around it is to bring attention to the vital importance of protecting our planet and to bring people together while doing it.  The campaign for Earth Day 2017 is Environmental & Climate Literacy.  Because education is the foundation for progress, the best way to foster change is to teach people about the concepts of climate change and make them aware of the potential threat to our planet.  Environmental groups around the world will be hosting events to educate their community on the things they can do to limit the pollution they contribute, and the steps they can take to make a positive impact on the environment.

At Cheever Specialty Paper & Film we recognize that many of our customers would like to take steps to help the environment whenever possible.  Many times this can mean using products and materials that are environmentally friendly or green.  With our over 75 years of experience designing, and sourcing specialty paper, film and tape for the manufacturing and packaging industries, we have the experience to get you the products you need.  Our capabilities allow us to provide products like papers or tapes that are made of recyclable materials of various percentages to help you lessen your negative impact on the environment.  Our team can also work with you figure out the best materials for your projects requirements that are cost effective while still being environmentally friendly.

For more information on how we can assist you with your paper, film, and tape needs, please contact us.

Designing Solutions for Paper, Film, or Tape Projects

At Cheever Specialty Paper & Film we are more than your typical paper mill or distributor.  Our capabilities and experience allow us to work with you design an innovative solution to meet your needs.  Working within the framework of a 3 step process, our goal is to make sure your problem is solved.

Our 3 Step Process Includes:Custom tape capabilities

  • Design/Communication
  • Sourcing
  • Inventorying

An example of how this process can work is when we recently worked with a medical facility that was having an issue with keeping their operating room totally free of contamination.  After first communicating with them, we learned the problem they were having is when they used a portable overhead lamp to provide light to the area of the body they were working on, sometimes germs or bacteria would bounce off the light lens and into the open area of the body.  This could cause infection and was a serious health risk for patients under their care.

After learning what the issue was, we discussed possible solutions with them and came to the realization that a piece of film that you place over the light lens that is sterile and clean could solve their issue.  The next step was the sourcing process to determine what material would work best.  Once the material type was determined, then figuring out the best size, thickness, and adhesive type.  This process involves trying out different options to make sure the best one is found.  After a few iterations of trial-and error we were able to find the correct product that would cover the light lens without affecting the amount of light shining through, and would not allow germs to bounce off of it.  This was a big benefit for the medical facility as they were able to solve their contamination problem with this lamp lens film.

As part of our full service offerings we also were able to offer this medical facility the option to hold this film inventory for them with our inventory program.  This option allows 30, 60, 90 or even 120 days to hold inventory of this new product.  With delivery times of 1-3 days, you can easily plan and schedule your ongoing needs.

For more information on how our custom innovation capabilities can meet your needs, please reach out to us.

Corrugated Packaging Stops Bacteria

One of the most popular forms of packaging for food items are returnable plastic containers or RPCs.  They are widely used in the food industry because the plastic used to make these containers creates a durable packaging option that can be used multiple times, while keeping the food items inside fresh.  Recently new scientific research has been done that shows evidence that a better packaging option to keep food fresh is corrugated packaging.  The findings from this study could lead to a shift in the packaging of choice for food storage and shipment.

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A research study conducted by a research team at the University of Bologna’s Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, and published in Frontiers in Microbiology, had results which showed corrugated containers keep fruit and vegetables fresh up to three days longer than RPCs. The study showed that bacteria or microorganisms would get trapped in the paper fibers and die due to lack of water and nutrients.  Without the corrugated material to trap them, bacteria would survive much longer on plastic surfaces.   The goal of this study was to study microorganisms that could cause foodborne illness and see how they reacted when exposed to both plastic and corrugate packaging materials.  While the study was carried out with both materials under the same environmental and correct storage conditions, it was clear that the corrugated packaging material was able to stop bacteria and keep food fresher longer.

At Cheever Specialty Paper & Film we strive to satisfy our customers by exceeding to meet their needs and expectations.  We offer numerous commercial packaging supplies including items such as bubble wrap, stretch film, dispensers and tape among many other products.  Our team will work with you to put together a full packaging solution that will meet your needs and fit your budget. Contact us for more information on who we can help you with all of your packaging needs.

Many Choices of Packaging Film for the Baking Industry

When it comes to the baking industry, there is a long history of different films being used for packaging going back years.  Waxed paper was the initial wrapping material of choice for many decades with paraffin wax serving as the exclusive coating material for bleached paper stock of suitable weight.  As the years went by other types of films were introduced to the baking industry including cellulose film and plastic polyolefin films.  Below we explore some of the films being used in the baking industry today, and the characteristics that make them popular choices.

Packaging Film for the Baking Industry

 

Cellulose (Cellophane):  Plain cellulose is a glossy transparent film that is odorless and tasteless as well as biodegradable.  Easy to tear, it also is tough and puncture resistant which is important for the baking industry.  The folding properties of cellophane make it suitable for twist-wrapping, but it is not heat sealable.  Ideally it is used for foods that do not require a complete moisture or gas barrier like fresh bread and some types of sugary sweets.

Polyethylene:  Commonly less expensive than most films, low-density polyethylene is heat sealable, odor free and a material that shrinks when heated.  While it is a good moisture barrier, it is a poor odor barrier since it is relatively permeable to oxygen.  Generally it is used for bags, coating papers and as a component in laminates.  High-density polyethylene is stronger, thicker and less flexible than low-density polyethylene and is often used for bread bags and bulk bun wrappers.ldpe_film

Polypropylene: Used widely to pack baked foods, biscuits, snack foods and dried foods, polypropylene is a clear glossy film with good puncture resistance and a high strength.  It stretches and has a moderate barrier to moisture, gases and odors, while not being affected by changes in humidity.  In Europe it is used to wrap baguettes and rolls.

Coextruded films:  A common choice for baked foods, confectioneries and cereals, coextrusion is the simultaneous extrusion of two or more layers of different polymers to make a single film.  Compared to other types of film these have very high barrier properties, and are thinner than laminates and therefore easier to use on filling equipment. A coextrusion typically has 3 layers including an outside layer with high gloss and printability, a middle bulk layer, and an inner layer for heat sealing.

 

At Cheever Specialty Paper & Film we are experienced with working with the baking industry to find the best films that will meet your needs.  Working with well over 100 variations of films and siliconized release films, we are an experienced release liner source that understands the requirements of our customers. Contact us for more information.