Cougar Package Designers, West Chicago, has formed an alliance with ARPAC-Hefestus USA to market a line of modified-atmosphere packaging equipment in the U.S.
| Courtesy Cougar Package Designers
The ARPAC-Hefestus Hera atmosphere packaging system doesnât subject perishables to a vacuum environment, so itâs gentle on fresh produce, according to Cougar Package Designers, West Chicago, which markets the equipment in the U.S.
The key component of the ARPAC-Hefestus Hera technology â at least when it comes to the fresh produce industry â is that the atmosphere packaging system is vacuumless, so itâs gentler on delicate perishables.
âThe atmosphere we put into the packaging is injected at a fairly precise angle between the tray and film. That causes the current atmosphere to be flushed out,â Cougar president Mark Cottone said, comparing the system to the process of sucking cigarette smoke out of a car by cracking a window. âIt creates a flow inside the packaging that lets new gases in and old gases out.â
Because the film rests only about three millimeters above the tray contents, Cottone said the film settles, clamps down and gently seals the product.
âIf you put a watermelon in a packaging system with a vacuum, itâs not going to be too kind to that watermelon,â Cottone said.
Cottone said the system, which will become part of Cougarâs Spiritus Food Packaging Solution, uses 90% less power than conventional packaging systems, is faster, uses less gas and is easier to maintain.
âWeâre just now building the first U.S. models,â Cottone said. âItâs been in Europe 3-4 years now. Iâve never seen anything create more excitement in our industry than this.â