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RockTenn’s Meta System cuts packaging weight and freight to save shippers money

Norcross, GA-based RockTenn, one of North America’s leading vertically integrated packaging manufacturers, has introduced a pair of products that can provide produce shippers substantial savings on materials and freight, as well as allow for better packouts and more product per pallet.

The “Meta” case and the “Meta Tray-8” have already helped some shippers save money and increase efficiency in produce distribution. The products, part of RockTenn’s trademarked “Meta System,” are engineered to provide greater strength and product protection while utilizing as much as 11 percent less fiber in production. The result is a lighter product that provides more support in critical areas and allows more produce to be packaged in the same amount of space as traditional materials.RockTenn-2A double-body wall with single-wall flaps provide a unique structure that increases stacking strength and reduces labor, waste and handling costs for producers. (Photo courtesy of RockTenn) The new designs also let shippers add an extra layer to a pallet to cut shipping costs.

At the core of the “Meta System” technology is the proprietary mandrel-forming technology that precisely forms cases from corrugated blanks. The “Meta” technology also produces a wide range of two-piece packages such as the “Meta Belt” design, which creates a double-body wall with single wall flaps, a unique structure that reduces overall fiber weight “yet meets or exceeds the performance of the existing case and improves the sustainability quotient,” said John Eaton, vice president of sales, marketing and automated packaging systems. “The ‘Meta System’ solutions deliver trays and cases that are consistent in confirmation, have increased stacking strength and reduce labor, waste and handling costs for producers.”

RockTenn’s Automated Packaging Systems Business Unit makes over 70 custom, proprietary and standard machines covering the full spectrum of packaging needs. It claims to be the only in-house machine design, manufacturing and technical service division within a corrugated packaging company in North America.

“The RockTenn team is tenaciously focused on delivering industry-leading innovation in packaging solutions for our customers,” said James Porter, the company’s corrugated packaging president. “This exciting technology brings new opportunities to reduce the total cost of packaging and to improve print options to better sell our customers’ products and do so in a more sustainable fashion.”

The latest engineering advances were made possible via a recently announced licensing agreement with England’s DS Smith Plc., which gives RockTenn exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute proprietary corrugated packaging designs and distribute innovative packaging equipment in the United States.

“This alliance with RockTenn brings the advantages and value of our patented technology to a wider audience, and allows us better to serve our global customers,” said Miles Roberts, DS Smith’s chief executive officer. “The extension of our licensee network to the U.S. market, combined with our extensive European corrugated manufacturing footprint, means we now have one of the world’s broadest capabilities for the creation of innovative corrugated packaging propositions.”

The “Meta System” technology also has unique predictive software that considers all the steps in the supply chain and possible production efficiencies. RockTenn’s analysts and designers employ an integrated holistic approach in the design of cases and trays and stacking devices to optimize and reduce packaging weight and minimize environmental effects.

“The ‘Meta System’ has helped our customers save money and make money,” Mr. Eaton said. “The ‘Meta Tray-8’ design is an eight-corner tray that outperforms any other tray in the produce market by delivering increased stacking strength with less fiber and reduced waste, transportation costs and storage footprint and better operating efficiency while also providing strong graphic-intense brand messaging opportunities at the retail level.

“The ‘Meta’ family of machines is highly reliable, easy to operate, easy to change over, and run faster than comparable standard case formers and produce cases that use less fiber, reducing waste and transportation costs while providing increased stacking strength,” Mr. Eaton said.