Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, once said, “Out of adversity comes opportunity.”
Indeed, the most useful innovations have always come on the heels of arduous challenges. Consider the case of Wayne Summerford, for instance. In his 30+ years of experience in the shrink packaging space, Summerford had witnessed numerous challenges when it came to manually applying preformed shrink bands to secure closures of bottles and containers. He not only found the process labor-intensive but also expensive and time-consuming as packaging companies first had to pay freight costs and other tariffs to import preformed shrink bands of different shapes and sizes from China (its biggest exporter).
“How can we optimize the time and money for the shrink packaging process?” Summerford often found himself asking. He kept scouring for a solution that would save the packaging companies the headache of importing preformed shrink bandsand avoid additional cost. At the same time, he was also exploring if different techniques are available to automatically place tamper-evident banding on diverse containers and bottles, as this would drastically reduce packaging time and labor. But, when he realized there was no such offering in the market, he donned the mantle and took it upon himself to devise the solutions. As a result, eatSafe—an automatic shrink banding machines provider—was founded in 2013 from Summerford’s garage. It took Summerford several years of trial and error, but two trailblazing products: eatSafe Ringer (an automatic tamper-evident shrink banding machine) and eatSafe film (an environment-friendly shrink film), were developed by the company soon after.
The eatSafe Advantage
Within just a few years, eatSafe’s solutions have taken the shrink packaging industry by storm. The company’s eatSafe heat shrink film is designed to save money on packaging costs, and as an added bonus, it is also more environment-friendly than PVC films. “The amount of preformed shrink film that usually needs two to three truckloads of space can only fit in a pallet for us; that’s the eatSafe advantage,” says Summerford, the company’s founder and president.
The company’s eatSafe heat shrink film is designed to save money on packaging costs, and as an added bonus, it is also environment-friendly
Moreover, eatSafe film is designed to work in conjunction with the eatSafe Ringer shrink banding machine. The tamper-evident banding process begins by placing the container on eatSafe Ringer’s conveyor belt. Then, the machine’s arms detect the containers and precisely place the eatSafe film around the container automatically. Notably, eatSafe Ringer can place a secure, tamper-evident seal on a variety of container shapes and sizes—including square, oval, party platter, and holiday-shaped containers—and the changeover time between sizes is usually less than 30 seconds. This equates to great cost savings on direct manual labor for applying the preforms and the indirect labor and costs associated with material/film freight, 16-week preform order lead times, warehouse space maintenance, and supply interruptions.
Putting the Customer First
Even though eatSafe’s machines are the definition of simplicity, eatSafe goes above and beyond to train its customers and get through the initial learning curve. eatSafe brings in its expert engineers with an average experience of 20 years to fulfill each of its customers’ equipment requirements. “We do whatever it takes to support our customers. All our machines come with a full satisfaction guarantee,” says Summerford. This dexterity has led eatSafe to cater to different industry realms, such as contract packaging, consumer goods, pharmaceutical, and more. To that end, eatSafe has even worked with market leaders such as Independent Can—decorative and specialty can manufacturers—to protect the graphics on their tins while shipping.
With the zeal of carrying on this robustness, the company is now looking forward to setting up distributors throughout the nation to provide superior technical support for eatSafe Ringer. Furthermore, eatSafe also plans to introduce a new business model where a customer can enter into a contract to buy eatSafe film with the company and get the eatSafe Ringer on a contractual basis. “And, while renewing the contract, eatSafe will take back the old machines and provide an updated one,” informs Summerford. This business model will help customers immediately save labor and material costs without any cash outlay. Such smart business thinking and innovative technologies are making eatSafe leave its stamp in the shrink packaging space today, “and we want to continue moving ahead with this mission in order to supply fresh food to people in a cost-effective and environmentally-responsible manner,” concludes Summerford.