Canadian Plastics

Bagging Innovation

As luck would have it, a recent visit to Rayton Packaging coincided with an auspicious moment: the company had just made the first zipper V-shaped bag in the world. The moment was also symbolic--the c...

June 1, 2000   Canadian Plastics



As luck would have it, a recent visit to Rayton Packaging coincided with an auspicious moment: the company had just made the first zipper V-shaped bag in the world. The moment was also symbolic–the company has built the core of its business on many such inventions.

“Our general strategy as a company is not to pound out pounds of material,” says company president Pat Arnell. “It’s to be innovative.”

The V-shaped bag, which fits the shape of a cluster of grapes, was invented by Ray Sanders, a Rayton employee, in 1976. The bag is made of either high clarity polypropylene or polyethylene and can be vented on one-side or both sides. Arnell says there has been a high demand from grocery producers for an enclosed V-shaped bag for a number of years.

“Technically, it’s very difficult to put a zipper on a V-shaped bag,” Arnell says. He reports that a patent is pending for the bag and that the company should be ready to go commercial with it next year.

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The company’s patented Dewlock System was invented to replace adhesive-type closures on rectangular-shaped produce bags used by growers of fresh fruit and vegetables. The system features a polyethylene non-reopenable zipper located on the bottom of the bag, combined with a conventional PE zipper on the top of the bag. The bag will see its first full year of commercial use in the field this year at seven or eight large produce growers, and Rayton has hired personnel to train field staff on how to use the bag. Arnell says growers are enthusiastic about the possibility of eliminating adhesive-based bag systems traditionally used to pack produce.

The company moved into its current 100,000 sq. ft. facility in Calgary two years ago. The plant currently has five mono-layer blown film lines in operation and is adding a multi-layer film line. For converting, the facility runs nine V-shaped bag-making lines, and six rectangular-shaped bag-making lines. Rayton employs 85 people.

The company’s product lines serve three main market areas: produce, general/industrial flexible packaging such as shrink film, pallet covers and box liners, and security/cash.

“Our next major market thrust will be in the security/cash management bag market,” Arnell says. “A lot of cash is moved from business and facilities to banks in tamper-proof bags.”

Arnell says the company is currently considering a strategic alliance with one or more companies in order to capitalize on market opportunities in Canada and the Western U.S.

Since 1992, the company has been growing at a 25 percent annual rate, a feat he attributes to Rayton employees.

“Our greatest strength is our people,” Arnell says, noting that he and other managers at the company devote a significant chunk of their time to training, coaching and leading.

“We firmly believe there’s opportunity for innovative companies in our market,” Arnell says. “We try to make it part of the culture here.”


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