News in the Packaging Industry

Challenges in the Stretchhood Market: Sustainability and EU- Legislation Updates with innovative solutions: Retrofit and Service - implementing Industry 4.0

Discover the latest challenges in the stretchhood market and packaging industry. With insights packing more environmentally friendly and Updates on the EU packaging legislation. To meet these challenges we are focusing on trends and innovations in retrofitting and service of stretchhood machines to enhance their performance, extend their lifespan, and improve their overall efficiency.

Current Challenges of the Stretchhood Market

The stretchhood market is currently exposed to many internal and external developments. Factors such as social trends, EU regulations and digitalization are influencing the industry. Especially social trends and EU regulations are putting a lot of pressure on many manufacturers to reduce plastic waste. This often cannot be implemented overnight – after all, the goods need to arrive safely packaged at the customer’s premises.

Packaging experts are generally pursuing two approaches: The thickness of stretch films is being reduced, and more and more companies in the packaging industry are trying to close the loop in order to move away from single-use plastic. Recently, for example, more and more recycled-based films have come onto the market, using so-called post-consumer recyclate. These films cannot always be processed in the same way as previous films.

In addition, there are the new EU packaging regulations. This specifies that stretchhooding (counts as “other packaging”) must contain 35% post-consumer recyclate from 01.01.2030

In order to meet these new legal requirements, it is important to successfully implement these developments in the packaging process. To do this, it is important to consider all points for safe and sustainable packaging: The changeover to sustainable packaging with recycling content (PCR) requires inputs from packaging machines, packaging films, pallet stability and sustainability and coordinate these for an individual solution i.e. machine settings and film formulations must be matched to each other in order to find a solution

EU Legislation

Targets for recycled content recovered from post-consumer plastic waste, per unit of packaging (minimum percentage)

Type of packaging

From 1 January 2030

From 1 January 2040

Contact sensitive packaging made from PET



Contact sensitive packaging made from plastic materials other than PET (except single-use plastic beverage bottles)



Single-use plastic beverage bottles



Other packaging




Trends and Innovations to meet the challenges of the stretchhood market

Innovations to address the market challenges: Retrofitting and Service:

Common to all retrofit types is the replacement or significant modification of one or more of the main components in the stretch hood machine. We use the term “retrofit” as it accurately describes the process of making old machines new again. Beyond cost-effectiveness and sustainability, retrofitting aligns perfectly with a forward-thinking approach to packaging. It’s about breathing new life into your existing equipment, making it more efficient, and extending its longevity.

Possibilities of Retrofit:

  • Enhancing Automatization: Connect your machine with Remote Support to reduce downtime and enhance productivity. Through Remote Support its often possible to support you without the need for a technician to be on site. This means you can be helped as quickly as possible in the event of problems to reduce downtime and save CO2-emissions. Installing the remote function makes your process smarter and more productive.
  • Stretching Frame and Gripper Renewal: Retrofitting allows to construct new frames that are fully electric and which eliminates the need for hydraulics. Construction a makes it also possible to change the size of the stretchhood that is processed with the machine. Through new developments in the stretchhood film industry, it is often possible to use a smaller stretchhood to reduce the packaging material and costs while achieving the same pallet
  • Software & HMI Upgrades: Upgrading the Software and HMI ensure to be up to date with the latest technology. This can include a new control panel for operating the machines more easily
  • Customized Programming: Through progamms that are tailored to your needs, the packaging process is getting optimized in its performance and efficiency.
  • Suction Box Enhancement: Flexible Sunction Boxes ensure that the film is always taut and smooth on the suction Box, eliminating any waves. This guarantes that the film is securely fixed in place before winding onto grippers – this also avoids wasting materials. Additional Film line: to speed up the packaging process.

Benefits of Retrofit:

  • Cost-Savings: Retrofitting makes it possible to avoid the expensive investment in a new machine. Energy-saving and material- saving measures can also reduce the running costs of processing.
  • Usage of the latest technology: Retrofitting allows you to benefit from the advantages of a new machine without having to make an investment equivalent to that of the new machine
  • Enhanced Production Efficiency: Modern features and technologies boost productivity through less film tearing Issues.
  • Environmental Friendly: Reduce your environmental footprint by upgrading existing equipment. Updates on the process of packing with stretchhood leads to better handling of thinner stretchhoods reducing material consumption and waste while maintaining performance.
  • Extended Lifespan: Maximize machine utility and delay replacement costs.
  • Tailored Solutions: Retrofitting can be customized to meet specific needs of each customer and their budget.

Retrofitting can be a cost-effective solution to stay competitive in the packaging while minimizing the environmental impact.

Possibilities of Service – Maintenance Plans with 4.0 technology components

Creating an effective maintenance plan begins with a thorough analysis of each packaging line, considering various factors such as machine performance reports, historical data, packaging cycles, consumable usage, breakdown records, and spare parts history, among other critical aspects. With the integration of Industry 4.0 technology components like remote access communication and real-time machine information services, the development of preventive and even predictive maintenance plans has become more accessible than ever before. It is essential to strategize maintenance and customer service activities to ensure efficient resource allocation, including personnel and materials, thereby minimizing errors and rework. Prioritizing maintenance during machine downtime is crucial to offer customers minimal disruptions in their operations.

Online or remote training

With the globalization of technical support and the introduction of hybrid working models in the post-Covid era, online and remote training methods have become more prevalent. These training options are now widely available, providing resources and materials in both text and video form to meet the needs of customers, whether they are based at home or abroad. The integration of video tutorials with webinars and machine-based remote training is becoming more common.

Benefits of Service:

  • Minimized Downtime: Timely and efficient service ensures that your stretchhood machines remain operational, reducing costly downtime in your packaging process.
  • Resource Conservation: Efficiently running machines consume fewer resources, including packaging materials and energy, contributing to a greener and more sustainable operation.
  • Extended Equipment Lifespan: Regular servicing helps extend the lifespan of your stretchhood machines, delaying the need for costly replacements and preserving your
  • Enhanced Safety: Regular service checks can identify and rectify safety issues, ensuring the well-being of your operators and minimizing workplace accidents.

Conclusion: In this edition of “Mastering Stretchhoods,” we’ve looked into the packaging industry’s challenges and innovations. As the industry undergoes significant changes driven by sustainability, EU regulations and digitalization, we’ve seen the value of retrofitting, Service, and remote training. These solutions offer cost-effective, environmentally friendly ways to enhance your packaging operations, maximize efficiency, and adapt to evolving demands. RHM Packaging is here to support you on this journey, because packaging can only be successfully converted to a sustainable packaging solution if the film and machine work well together.

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