Huhtamaki, an international consumer packaging company based in Finland, has built a moulded fibre egg packaging unit adjacent to its existing production facilities situated in Ivanteevka in the greater Moscow area, Russia. The packaging facility began commercial production by the end of 2003 and represents an investment of €5 million.

Using Huhtamaki’s proprietary Leotech® moulded fibre technology, the new unit focuses on production of a narrow range of high-volume egg packaging, with complementary products sourced from other Huhtamaki units and technology licensees. The aim of constructing the facility was to bring modern, high-quality egg packaging to the rapidly growing Russian supermarket sector.

DEVELOPMENT OF RUSSIAN RETAIL PACKAGING MARKET

The new egg packaging facility in the greater Moscow area represents a wider development in the growing Russian food market. In 2002, the Russian food retail business expanded by a double-digit figure, according to Hannu Kottonen, Huhtamaki’s division president for the fresh foods business. Much of this expansion has been concentrated to the Moscow area and other major cities in western Russia.

Several industrial-scale egg packers expressed a keen interest in the egg packaging facility project, which has been constructed at the same site as Huhtamaki’s rigid packaging plant, thus providing the company with a variety of economies of scale, as well as shared infrastructure and logistical benefits.

LEOTECH® MOULDED FIBRE PACKAGING TECHNOLOGY

Huhtamaki’s new packaging facility employs the company’s Leotech® pulp moulding machinery and process technology. This technology is provided by its sister company, Huhtamaki Molded Fiber Technology BV, based in Franeker, the Netherlands, which also provides this technology to external customers worldwide.

Leotech® equipment is used to produce environmentally friendly packaging, made from recycled paper, for food stuffs such as eggs and fruit, and for industrial products. Leotech® machines process 1t to 10t of recycled paper per 24 hours, depending on the type of machine. The Leotech® machines supplied by Huhtamaki Molded Fiber Technology BV produce millions of packaging items daily, in more than 30 different countries.

ECOM® MOULDED FIBRE EGG PACKAGING

Packaging products manufactured by the Leotech® equipment housed in the new packaging facility include Huhtamaki’s recent ECOM® egg traypack. This traypack is a straightforwardly designed packaging solution that avoids excessive overpacking, which the company believes will help strengthen the competitive position of egg packers and the retail sector, due to its cost-effective, environmentally friendly qualities.

The ECOM® traypack consists of two hinge-linked trays, each for nine eggs of between 53g and 73g. A small information sticker can be applied on the hinge side. The dimensions are 300mm x 150mm, with a height of 68mm. Full ECOM® traypacks can be securely stacked in transport packs and on shelves, nested if required.

This achieves a 16mm height reduction per packaging unit, which means that more packs can be transported and stored. Re-pressing guarantees easy de-nesting and automatic workability on existing packaging machines.