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ABX Engineers a Custom Solution for Wolverine: a Case Study

It’s hard to overstate the importance of the impact of flexible packaging across a variety of markets – and the meat industry is a shining example. When packaging issues occur, the hiccups reverberate throughout the supply chain. When Wolverine Packing Co., an industry leader in the manufacturing and distribution of meat and meat products, faced a packaging quality issue, the potential immediate effects were critical. Wolverine, based in Detroit, MI, stocks over 250 different brands and 4,000 different protein products, including private labels of some of the nation’s most recognizable meat and protein brands.


The Problem:

Wolverine faced two issues on their packaging lines: pinholing in the film and seal integrity. Addressing both issues was critical as they could have a dramatic impact on product freshness and protection.

The ABX team had two problems to solve: quickly identifying and substituting a better-performing film that could be used by Wolverine right away all while ensuring that the film was robust enough to solve both the pinholing and sealing issue that had plagued their lines. The film also needed to be compatible with the auto case packers and palletizers which had been an area of frustration and costly rework.


The Solution: Engineering a Custom Product that Worked Without Sacrificing Package Integrity or Efficiency

Key to a solution for this issue was a depth of knowledge. First, the ABX team mobilized its technical team to analyze the existing supplier’s film used for the products in question. The Wolverine team required that any film recommendations work on their lines immediately; disruption of production while switching to a new supplier was not an option.

While ABX had no prior relationship with Wolverine, what the ABX team did have was a deep understanding of the equipment Wolverine used to package their products.  Additionally, one ABX team member in particular had a historic knowledge of the machine. This knowledge meant that any issue or feature of the machines themselves was taken into account while creating a workable product solution. In short, ABX expertise provided an additional layer of guidance to ensure a correct, workable solution could be found quickly.

ABX’s technical team engineered a custom solution. In this case, the solution was a “one-off,” customized film made from a new formulation of  EVOH with exceptional barrier properties. In addition to the custom EVOH, an improved sealant also had to be developed providing for a lower seal initiation allowing for sealing through liquids, and eliminating leakers.

Not only did Wolverine get a timely fix to this crucial issue, but it was also able to deliver on promises of superior shelf life for its meat products.

Wolverine’s packing lines continued to move continuously as the new formulation also ran exceptionally well.

Additionally, the rework bin quantity was reduced to a fraction of normal amounts, ensuring the packing line ran as efficiently as possible with the highest quality.


Custom Solutions Require Deep Expertise

ABX’s unmatched expertise and product and equipment knowledge meant that a custom solution could be achieved quickly. This holistic approach and understanding of both materials and machines meant that ABX could understand and pinpoint any potential issues or shortcomings.

ABX’s efficient and effective solution allowed Wolverine to keep moving and keep their promises to their customers regarding their own dependability, service, and quality.

After ABX engineered a working solution, it delivered on its promises with on-time deliveries of its products and ongoing support. As ABX proved it could deliver when it mattered most, a new, long-lasting partnership between the two companies was formed.


Partner with ABX to Develop High-Performing, Sustainable Packaging Solutions

From distinctive design to maximum performance, the ABX team will work with you from start to finish for a winning packaging solution. We’re dedicated to helping you find the effective and sustainable packaging solution that works for you. Let’s innovate together. Contact us to learn more.

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