When is a stand-up pouch not a typical stand-up pouch? When it’s the conical Sempack flexible packaging format from Semco, a Monaco-based plastic packaging company.
What follows are 10 things to know about this alternative format based on PlasticsToday’s interview with the supplier and with resin supplier Nova Chemicals (Calgary, AB, Canada).
1. Sempack is a soft, conical-shaped flexible package that combines the attributes of a tube, bottle and pouch, yet is distinctive from all three.
The packaging was inspired by pastry chefs’ piping bags used to contain and manually dispense icings and frostings onto pastries and other desserts.
The Sempack pouch functions the same as other squeezable pouches, yet offers more variety in accessory options and the ways in which it can be filled and sealed.
2. It performs as a stand-up or inverted pouch.
A unique attribute of the Sempack pouch is that it can be marketed and shelved as a stand-up pouch or reoriented 180 degrees as an inverted pouch, depending on the brand owner’s desire.
3. It is compact, lightweight and easy to fold.
Compared to other common packaging formats containing the same volume, Semco claims the Sempack pouch is at least 53% lighter than plastic bottles.
4. The pouch is suitable for a variety of products, ranging from liquids to pasty or semi-pasty substances to powders.
It is applicable for a number of markets, including food and beverage, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and industrial. The Sempack pouch is suitable for squeezable food and non-food applications.
5. It is fully customizable in a range of sizes and other options.
The following options are available:
- Sizes of 200-, 300- and 600mL;
- A wide range of possible film structure designs;
- Numerous accessory choices, including standard caps, flip-top caps, disc tops, caps with valves, and more;
- Various collar sizes/adaptations;
- Decorating options include conventional direct printing methods including flexographic or digital, and it can be surface- or reverse-printed.
6. The Sempack pouch is currently available as a premade package, but that will change.
It is currently fillable using conventional premade-pouch filling and lidding equipment, but Semco is working on the second generation of the Sempack manufacturing process with a form-fill-seal line as the next step.
7. It is internationally recognized as an innovative package.
The Sempack flexible packaging format was invented and patented in 2012 by Semco S.A.M., which was founded in Monaco in 1971. The product was first introduced in 2015 and is patented in 47 countries.
Since launching Sempack in 2016, Semco has won several high-profile awards for its inNovative stand-up pouch. In 2016, it won a SIAL 2016 InNovation Award at the world’s largest food inNovation conference in Paris.
In 2018, it was selected from among more than 2,350 entries as a second-time winner of a SIAL InNovation Award for the new 100%-recyclable Sempack design.
8. Sempack is now available as a 100% recyclable structure.
The original Sempack structure was a non-recyclable, mixed-material triplex laminate that was designed to give stiffness, barrier, and sealability to the fitment, base, and lap seal on the pouch body section.
The new structure is made of two multilayer polyethylene films that are printed, and then made into the finished laminate to form the pouch body plus an all-polyethylene formable film for the pouch’s base. The fitments used are also made of PE, enabling a secure seal and making the entire package 100%-recyclable in the high-density PE stream where facilities exist.
Due to the 3D-shape of the Sempack as well as the heavier weight of the package—film and closure—compared to traditional flexibles, recyclers have indicated that the Sempack may be successfully sorted from various recyclates and into the rigid HDPE stream. Plans to test this with sorting trials are being developed.
Convertors and producers of consumer-packaged goods are actively looking for solutions to enable recyclable structures to be used as a replacement for current materials, as well as for lightweight alternatives to heavy-gauge options. In addition, many companies have made sustainability statements, committing to make recycle-ready packaging by 2025; the Sempack pouch is one option that can help them achieve this important goal.
9. Nova Chemicals led development of the recyclable new packaging.
Nova Chemicals has assisted customers’ conversion to all-PE films to replace non-recyclable structures for the last few years. A combination of proprietary resins delivered the performance needed to make the packaging recyclable. After making contact with Semco, the vendor provided commercial-quality films for internal testing.
The biggest challenges were to produce a film that would process well on conversion equipment and provide the right quality of pouch for the end user. PE does not have the same temperature resistance as non-recyclable mixed-material laminates, so sealing can be an issue when the films are thicker.
Nova design engineers and application development specialists used its Bonfire film development platform to help redesign the print web, the sealant webs, and the base film such that all production issues were overcome.
Nova Chemicals is excited about the prospect that the Sempack could be suitable for curbside recyclable in the U.S., which is a key driver of higher recyclate collection rates in this market.
10. The Sempack pouch is available in North America.
Semco is currently seeking converters and brand owners to launch the format in NA.
All of the resins that are used are commercially available from Nova Chemicals. Users can either purchase conversion equipment or premade pouches directly from Semco with or without accessories/caps.
Sources: Wenael Regnier, CEO, Semco S.A.M.; and Rob Clare, Applications Development Specialist, Nova Chemicals.