Published: October 29th, 2012
After several years of repeat orders of parts it’s easy to forget about the significant investment you made in tooling way back when you placed the first order.
No worries. Shepherd Thermoforming maintains your moulds and dies no matter how long you continue to order. In fact you will probably never know how many times we have re-ruled your trim tool or made other repairs. Tooling wears out with continuous use and must be kept in good condition to keep part quality up to your initial standards.
At Shepherd we store you tooling in a clean organised rack system and if you place part orders regularly we will inspect it after every run. If necessary our in-house tool shop will make repairs before it goes back on the production machine. This way we are not rushing to do the work when your next part order comes in.
Our racks hold over 1000 tool sets that can be pulled and installed onto the production lines in less than 3 hours. If something does fail during a run our in-house engineering staff is on hand to fix it right away.
In 1987 Shepherd, along with almost every other packager providing blister sealing was using PVC blisters. Today, it’s hard to find PVC on the retail shelves, not that you could easily identify it from what is used today, which is predominantly recycled PET (RPET).
Twenty five years ago large corporations like Johnson and Johnson were telling us that they wanted an alternative to PVC for their blister packaging because of the issues related to its chlorine content and more recently, the problems it causes in the recycling streams. Back then we started supplying PET which was more expensive than PVC and which was quite difficult to heat seal to blister cards. At the same time the environmental issues in the packaging industries were becoming more of a hot topic, especially in Europe and the push was on to recycle PET bottles. Within a few years RPET became more available however heat sealing it to a coated card was still difficult. The card suppliers blamed the RPET suppliers and visa versa. At Shepherd we were always in the middle and we became experts in adjusting the sealing equipment to find just the right seal temperature, pressure and dwell time that would work for the combination of card stock, plastic and heat seal coating.Although our business has taken us into many different markets and heat seal blisters are probably less than 5% of our total business today, the blister pack is still a secure form of packaging providing an attractive an sturdy way to display and market smaller products. It requires a heat sealing machine but once that is set up correctly it is an efficient method of getting the product to market.Improved heat seal coatings and seal technology has made RPET the material of choice over PVC for blister packaging today.
John’s been with us for 3 years and is semi retired. John and his family had a difficult year last year after the sudden and tragic loss of his daughter. Although John had planned to stay with us for a number of years, this event changed his outlook on life. John and his wife have begun semi retirement with the odd trip together like the Rock & Roll hall of fame he has planned this week, something I know he’s looking forward too. John will still be helping out with his current clients as they transition to Simon over the coming months. John will continue prospecting for Shepherd and helping out in other area’s on a part time basis.
We will miss John’s positive attitude and great demeanor, at least he is only semi-retired and we will still enjoy his company.
Shepherd Thermoforming & Packaging is becoming a Food Certified facility! Shepherd has started down the road to the highly recognized SQF 2000 (Safe Quality Food Institute). Last week marked the first step in working towards the SQF standard with HACCP training for almost half of our staff. The training will continue over the next 3 months from Guelph Food Technology Institute and implementation to follow in early 2013. Our goal is to be a fully certified SQF operation in the fall of 2015.
Having the SQF designation will put us in an elite class of Food Packing Materials & Distribution companies throughout the world. There are very few thermoformers in the world that are certified SQF suppliers and only a hand full in North America. We looked at traditional (AIB, FSSC, BRC, IFS…) and decided to go with SQF due to the intense food safety management system that requires commitment from Management and all staff.
Shepherd is very excited about opportunities that this market will open and we expect much growth over the coming years in the food industry. It will complement our current markets well and with our advances in contour print has already raised a great deal of interest to customers/prospects that have seen our contour print samples or capabilities. Click the video below or visit http://www.shepherdthermoforming.com/contour-printing-package.html to view Shepherd’s printed plastic package.
Last month I spent a week in Texas at a recycling conference. I use these conferences to help understand what’s happening outside the thermoforming world. The information helps direct our employees and clients on what’s happening and what’s best for their project.
Here is some of the interesting information I picked up form the conference:
-Currently it costs $30-$40 per household per year for curb side recycling in the US. The EPR method (Extended Producer Responsibility) changes this to the consumer by being integrated in product cost. The producers are saying if they are paying for recycling they want the packaging back. All eyes are on Ontario to see how it works. Speakers commented that rumblings from the recycling industry didn’t like what Ontario was doing.
-Recycling percentage in 1960 was 6% now 35% in USA.
-Oregon department of Environment; stated that if we recycled 95% of packaging we would only reduce emissions by 6%. We need to work on other area’s in order to make an impact on emissions.
-Reclaimers are retro-fitting to get more thermoforms in with the bottle flake, apparently you can add up to 6%-10% without effecting the bottle flake regrind.
-NAPCOR & SPI have 3 thermoform reclaim plants in startup and have produced 180,000lbs of material.
-Plastics to Oil is great for non recyclable plastics (like non clear materials), 4 plants running in the US.
-The paper board industry has a shortage of recycled container board paper. China’s growing need for paper is driving paper pricing up. Current supply and demand is neutral but the next couple years will see a shortage in recycled fiber forcing a need for virgin fiber and clear cutting trees. The industry is preparing for the activist.
-Is it worth recycling plastic, yes…… it takes 84% less energy to use recycled plastic feed stock compared to virgin.
Summary; we are not recovering enough bottle flake and there is a need to recover all the plastics (other goods as well). The tone at the conference was that we are wasting resources. There are still some struggles with best method to make recycling recovery a viable business. Ontario’s EPR is government driven and the US hates Government getting involved so it’s a bit of a mess in the US figuring out how to recover for recycling. My father mentioned the other day that Toronto announced on the news that they want all PET containers put in the blue box. Their equipment can now identify resins better so they want people to recycle all clear containers. Maybe Ontario is leading the way or maybe Dad’s picture in the lobby is working?
Sign up for the Thermoforming Seminar.
Our next free “Thermoforming 101” seminar date is fast approaching! We will be meeting Tuesday, October 23rd at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in the The Vaughan West II conference room for the morning, followed by a Plant Tour at our facility in the afternoon (Shepherd is located just a few minutes away from the hotel, see map at the bottom of the post).
Please RSVP or if you have any questions. Feel free to contact Todd Shepherd (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 905-459-4545 ext 232 or Brenda Silveira (email@example.com) at 905-459-4545 ext 225. Click here to sign up online.
We are looking forward to seeing you at this complimentary, no obligations event.
Light refreshments and introductions
10:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Presentations by Todd Shepherd
·What are the different methods used in the plastics industry and Materials for Thermoforming.
·“What exactly is Thermoforming” a 6 minute DVD overview of Shepherd Thermoforming’s facility and processes.
·The Processes used in the Industry
A visual presentation and detailed account of the various forming and trimming machines used today along with typical post packaging applications.
·Part Design and Prototyping
A look at part or package design features such as living hinges, snap features and positive vs negative forming. Also we will review using CAD, prototype tooling and sample making.
A review of tooling options that can be used and how molds and trim dies are made
·Materials for Thermoforming
An over-view of the types of material used in Thermoforming, with a focus on sustainability options and the impact these are having on the recycling process.
Operations like heat sealing, RF welding and other tamper-proofing methods and update you in the plastics market and perception.
12:00 p.m.- 12:45 p.m.
1:00 p.m.- 2:00 p.m
Tour of Shepherd’s Plant
·A guided tour of all the Engineering and Manufacturing operations performed at Shepherd’s 5 Abacus Rd. building.
Seems our technique for running a business and sharing this with employees has created a trend. For the 3rd time one of our employees has started his own business. This time our sales manager Chris Cook has started a home improvements business in Barrie. During our last get together with Chris, he left us with this:
“Worked 5yrs 8 mos (275 wks)
Drove 75,000 business kms.
Made about 2,700 trips back and forth to work for a total of 150,000kms.
We processed about 800 quotes this year, and overall I have had a hand
in about 2,500, of which we’ve built something like
200 -300 new tools?
More importantly, we had about 875 pizza lunches in your office. (Chris and I love pizza!!!)
I bought around 3,000 large teas from Tim Hortons.
All kidding aside, I also worked with 40 or so really great people !”
All of us at Shepherd have best wishes for him. Over the last 5+years we have all marvelled at Chris’s home improvement projects. We could hear the pride and enjoyment he got out of doing this. It’s great to see him doing something he really loves. Chris will be missed by all of us at Shepherd but know we will probably see him for our own home improvement projects in the future. Simon Mangos & myself (Todd Shepherd) will be filling the void left by Chris and you should hear from one of us shortly. If you need some home improvements, you can contact Chris at 705.309.5533 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is http://tallhouse.ca
I recently blogged about the re-shoring presentation I’m doing at the SPE conference in Grand Rapids. And as I’m preparing the presentation another re-shored project shows up. Not exactly the client partnership you want but this client gives us an order occasionally and of course we are happy to produce it for them. After some investigation we learned why we get the orders that always seem in a panic and can’t happen soon enough.