Media and Press Coverage

Maxipack Block Top Bag

Australian based Amcor St. Regis Bates has been manufacturing sacks for the export of Dairy based powders for many years. The market has grown at between 5 and 10% over the past 10 years and is now the largest export earner for Victoria Australia. The predominantly skim and full cream milk powder is exported in 35,000 containers to destinations all around the world.

The sacks for these products have evolved significantly since the 1980’s. The once manual manufacture and filling processes are now completely automated. This, combined with improved shelf life and easy-open requirements, has driven a continuous evolution of sack design. ASRB have been at the forefront of these innovations and have worked closely with the Dairy Industry including our major customers of Murray Goulburn, Bonlac and Tatura Foods to maintain a leadership position in Australia.

The Maxipack concept was driven from the need to optimise the downstream supply chain for the Dairy industry which incurs over $100 million of distribution costs annually. The challenge was to develop a sack that:
- held 25kg of powder for a wide variation of densities
- had a removable fully sealed inner plastic pouch
- retained the patented ASRB easy-open feature – Tear Top
- retained the efficiencies and automation of the existing manufacture and filling processes
- improved the pallet optimisation of the filled sacks.

The result was a concept of both product and equipment that is a quantum leap for the sack industry. The Maxipack design is a world first and has achieved Patent coverage in the major markets around the globe.

The innovative design changed the sack shape from an irregular wedge to a regular cuboid (much the same as a cement bag). The resulting sack enables pallet and container utilisation to increase in excess of 10% for the majority of the range of bulk densities. Full implementation of this throughout the Australian industry will save more than A$10 million.

The design requires modifications to existing manufacturing equipment to make the new sack design. The major requirement of the new system involves new sealing-closing equipment in the Dairy Plant’s filling rooms. This product/machine system has had a number of secondary benefits such as:
- reduction in the material requirements for the pack,
- reduction in pack damage throughout the supply chain
- improved pallet stability

This development will radically change the dairy powder packing industry offering increased pallet and container utilisation and subsequent transport savings. A completely new sack style will enter the market and become the standard whilst new closer technology will be created. The Australian and New Zealand dairy powder sacks have led the world in recent years and this will further strengthen the leadership position of the Australian Dairy Industry.

The industry has embraced the Maxipack concept and both our current and potential customers in Australasia have been so excited by the project that they have committed significant resources to its commercialisation. It will be necessary for customers to invest in the closing equipment for Maxipack but it is clear that the return on investment for the customers is attractive. The benefits of the innovation are such that both our customers and competitors are keen to access the ability to both manufacture and use the system. ASRB will therefore have significant opportunities to be able to license the technology throughout the industry.

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