Major risks in the investment of egg tray production

risks of egg tray machine investmentSevere competition:

In China, the egg tray or other paper pulp production is very centralized, which will cause severe competition between enterprises. When the raw material increase, it’s very difficult to move this stress to the downstream purchaser. The price competition is the only solution for the egg tray machine owners. By merging small scatter manufacturers, this situation will be much improved, as well as the pricing and profit margin percentages.  In that circumstance, the threshold of entering egg tray production will be higher, the poorly-managed producers will be eliminated. Apart from that, it will be difficult among producers to compete each other by reducing prices. The price alliance will be established so when the raw material increased, the cost will be moved together instead of cut-throat competition.

Raw material risks:

The raw material is a major cost for egg tray production, it occupies 70% of the total investment, making all producers sensitive in its price fluctuation. It’s a major factor deciding the final profit rate.

Technical risks:

Although most egg tray can be recycled, but once poorly managed, the unqualified products will still cause pollution against the environment. The existing fragment will remain in the natural, causing damage to soil, water and air. Therefore, the technical feature of the egg tray remains a big headache for most producers.

 

Features of pulp molded products

pulp molded productsThe paper pulp molded products adopts wasted newspaper, carton box, etc, together with some chemical agents to re-shape or re-molded certain kind of product after hydration and hot press. The products can be oil-proof and water-proof, and most importantly, recycled. It’s an excellent alternation for foam made package product. Apart from that, during the production, such as egg tray machine operation, the water is recirculated within a close loop, making no pollution to the environment.

The technique of paper pulp product, such as egg tray, egg box, had been stabilized after years of innovation.  Now in China, the cost to produce pulp molded products almost equals of that for foam products, some are even cheaper. Technical speaking, the pulp has advantages in shock absorption, and oil/water proof, in terms of environmental protection, pulp has much more signification.

During production, the virgin pulp, water paper, carton box, cardboard are shred and milled into fibers and float inside the water. Base on exact requirement of different product, the pulp consistency can be controlled for different production. Dye and chemicals are also added, if needed.

Majorly, there are several ways for the pulp production: Vacuum suction solution is the most common way. Based on different structure, there are rotary suction, flip suction and reciprocating suction.

Rotary suction solution has higher efficiency as the production is continuous with higher accuracy. For such production, the initial investment is higher, such as mold, which requires higher accuracy, costs higher and needs larger quantity. It’s suitable for large quantity production of standard sized products, such as egg tray, tableware, bottle tray, etc.

Flip suction solution is lower in speed, normally, it’s adopted for special production for non-standard products. However, since the mold is specially designed, the mold cost is also not cheap.

Reciprocating suction is similar in speed as that from flip one. Since there is only one mold (male part and female part), the cost is much more cheaper and it’s very common in small business that only needs lower capacity.

 

Folding type egg tray

new egg tray

100 years ago, one Canadian, Joseph Coyle invent the egg tray to prevent eggs breaking during long distance transport. This perfect design was hand-made firstly until the first world war, made be egg tray machine. The trays now we find in various super market are invented by H G Bennett after 1950, molded by paper pulp or plastic injection, each egg is provided with a separate space. As the food industry prospers, there are numbers of innovation for milk sterilized package, fish and meet packages, etc, while in egg tray, it almost stayed the same since 1950.

folding type egg tray

Now, one student from Hungary, Eva Valicsek brought us a revolution for egg tray.

This design is future oriented, the egg tray, which had attracted many attentions of manufacturers, is made simply by a paper cardboard and one elastic.

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“There are various problem for the egg trays we find in supermarket”, said by Eva, “the tray size fixed, it doesn’t prevent small sized eggs from scrolling inside its private space.”

“The tray protects the eggs, when we purchased the eggs, we don’t hope the trays block our vision. Just like buying vegetable and fruits, we want a visual contact directly !” That’s the first element that Valiscek thought. “At the beginning, I want a folding box to hold eggs with various size, after many experiments, one elastic happened to inspire me for the the final solution. ”

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The egg tray that Valicsek designed can be folded easily for long term transport, no glue is used in the tray. The folding design is the key for egg fixing.  Compared with traditional open top egg trays, people has doubts about

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The egg are fixed on the tray due to the holes in the box and the inwards strength of the elastic. The box size can be adjusted slightly according to egg size. The eggs can hardly fall. The new design is also environmental friendly, it can be recycled for many times.
“This is only a concept, not yet in commercial production”, said Eva, “but someone had reveal there interests. Last month I got a phone call from Croatian manufacturer, we are now discussing about feasibility.”

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The difference between domestic and oversea egg tray production

Egg tray machine in productionThere are big difference and discrepancy existed between China’s egg tray machine and that from oversea countries.

In terms of egg tray packaging units, there aren’t too much difference. In terms of molding units, rotary molding solution are used for both China and oversea countries. Chinese egg tray machine had also been exported outwards with stable quantity every year.

In terms of drying units, the technique from oversea has more advantages. According to special parameter of the egg tray, temperature and humidity are supervised constantly during the whole drying process by computer engineering, such technique reduces the consumption of fuel and increases the drying efficiency.

In terms of automation, the labor cost is much more higher in oversea regions where the automation technology had been used commonly. In China, apart from low labor cost, various egg tray, egg box products are produced, the automatic production line doesn’t provides much convenience during molding changing and speed adjustment. Therefore, the automation is used partially in molding and drying. For the hot pressing, manual work and semi-automatic is used.

The mold manufacturing is paid with more attention in oversea countries as the final customer requires egg tray with better appearance and precise accuracy. Also as the environmental protection and plant management are taken care of, the waste water treatment section had been utilized commonly and most of the pulping section adopts stainless steel or anti-corrosion material.

 

 

The features of pulp molding industry in oversea regions

Egg tray moldsPulp molding products, such as egg tray or egg box, are widely used in oversea counties. Take U.S. for instance, almost all the pulp molding products come from waste paper. The yearly consumption of waste paper is 45000 tons, with annually increasing rate of 40%. The total consumption reached 810000 tons up to 2000. In 1989, there were 600 factories focus on pulp molding production, 200 of which targeted on waste paper, the other 300 used 50% of waste paper. The features of the pulp molding industry in oversea countries include:

Wider application, such as automobile, metal ware, pharmaceutical, furniture, stationery, etc. The paper pulp molding products can be said to penetrate into every aspect of people’s daily life.

Computer engineering had been used for the assistance of mold design and development. Some software, such as Pro/Engineer, Solid works are used for the 3 dimension design of the mold with more accuracy and rationality. The data developed and collected from those software can be utilized directly in mold

The shaping, drying and hot pressing of egg box

egg box productionNormally, the products coming out of the egg box machine is loosed and soft in texture, it’s necessary to condense the egg box into a solid consistency, or density. One of the solution is to use condense machine, the semi-fiinshed egg box is placed between two molds, when the molds are closed, the extra moist will be squeezed out. This function is included in the egg box shaping sections.

The water proportion ranges between 100%~300% after coming out of the egg box molding machine, the desired proportion is 9%~10%, sometimes even 3%~4%.  The drying of egg box is finished inside a closed continuous and circulated tunnel. Direct solar drying is also adopted in some egg box plants, even though the drying result can not be described as satisfactory. There are several kinds of drying oven: fuel type, steam type, electric type. The microwave type had been developed in recent year but is not in commercial use yet.

For a perfect appearance, the egg box should be hot pressed to adjust the shape. For egg tray production, this section is sometimes removed as there is too much requirement for egg tray appearance. After hot press, there can be a edge trimming machine to cut off the extra burr on the box products.

 

Raw material of egg tray and the molding process

egg tray molding sectionVirgin paper and other recycled materials can be used directly for the egg tray machine. The composition of wasted paper is very complex, some in straw-based printing material, such in wood-based waste newspaper, some in grass pulp mixed waste cartons. Egg tray produced by the different components have different properties, therefore, to obtain better economic results and performance, different pulp composition can be mixed in the real egg tray production.

The egg tray molding solution in China is called vacuum shaping solution. The molding equipment are a copycat from British Thomson’s two-station molding equipment and transmission type linear automatic production line. Two-position device is currently is mainstream models. It also includes rotary types and reciprocating types.

Rotary type machine has higher level of technique, whose midge process is commonly known as “reverse suck” type, it can adapt to higher productivity and larger products, but the price is slightly higher. The reciprocating type is cheaper in price ,  the molds sink into slurry tank during production, commonly known as “upper suction” type, it could normally cause uneven thickness in large molding products.

Definition of egg tray pulp packaging industry

Paper pulp packaging industry adopts paper pulp, virgin pulp or waste paper, as raw material, by shaping through molds with filtration mesh, the water will be hydrated by negative air pressure, the remaining fiber will form the final package shape. Now the typical Chinese paper pulp industry follows below procedures:

Hydra pulping – pulp pools – shape molding – drying (naturally or by force) – hot press shaping – edge cutting – packaging.

egg tray puling system

Compared with other packaging stuffs, there are lots of advantage for paper pulp packaging stuff: research shows that in the same condition, the buffer features of paper pulp is better than EPS. According to social survey, there are two major industry that the paper pulp package are active: food container, such as egg tray and egg box, and industrial package, to be specified, including food package, egg tray, pharmaceutic package, phytosanitary plant package, medical tools package,  electric package, fragile package, military package, etc.

The current situation of China’s paper pulp industry

At the beginning of 1900s, the paper making had become a world-wide industry instead of family-size mill, various types of paper and paper pulp products had enter all aspects of people’s daily life.

The industry is very prosperous in France, U.S., Japan, Canada, Iceland, U.K., Denmark, Singapore and Netherland with large scale production. The development of China’s paper pulp industry starts very late but with rapid speed.

current development of China's egg tray machine

The first paper pulp production line was introduced in 1983, since then, the total quantity of paper-pulp related enterprise had reached 200~300. However, until 1990s, we only focus on the simple production such as egg trays, fruit trays and fast food tableware. It’s only until several years ago we start focus on producing paper pulp product with delicate appearance and complicate technique. Now, in terms of production equipment, product varieties, techniques, we have reached top level of the world, with the penetration into the world market.

The stimulation of paper pulp industry

In recent year, there are three major ways in the world to deal with the pollution that caused by wasted packaging stuffs: 1, avoid packaging, 2, recycle the packaging, 3, using decomposable material to the the packaging dissolved natrually without making any damage to the environment (also called 3R1D protocol). In some countries like U.S., Canada, Japan and E.U had established strict laws against disposal of wasted packaging material, material such as EPS can in no ways be used in packaging or retailing. Paper pulp material should be used instead.

Now in China, when some oversea investment placed the order, statement are strictly made that the package material should be environmental friendly. After China joint WTO, this rule should also be obeyed not only to increase self image but also follow the world trend.

For all reason above, the world start focusing on one packaging material that can be both old and new: paper pulp packaging.