Shelf Life Booster allows packages to be gas-flushed without drawing a vacuum, making it suitable for delicate products.

Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is a well-established technique to extend shelf life and improve the appearance of perishable foods. Now, an American and an Israeli company are partnering to introduce a new technology that will enable absolutely any product to be packed in MAP.

Arpac-Hefestus USA is a joint venture between Arpac LP of Schiller Park, Ill., and Hefestus Ltd. of Cesaria, Israel. Arpac is a leading manufacturer of end-of-line packaging machinery, including shrink bundling, shrink wrapping, corrugated tray and case packers and erectors, and a full line of automatic and semi-automatic stretch wrap systems. Hefestus was established in 1993 as a manufacturer of customized primary packaging equipment for the food industry, specializing in MAP systems.

The Arpac-Hefestus venture will introduce Shelf Life Booster (SLB) to North America. SLB has already seen hundreds of successful installations throughout Israel, Europe, Asia and Africa. The major advantage of SLB is that it operates without drawing a mechanical vacuum, making it suitable for even the most delicate products such as fresh produce, baked goods, fresh pasta and more.

SLB can flush packaging with carbon dioxide, nitrogen or a mixture, leaving a residual oxygen level of 0.5% or less (if needed, it can go as low as 0.01%). This delivers the standard MAP advantages of extended shelf life without preservatives or freezing, enabling storage and delivery of the freshest food products at room temperature or chilled.

But SLB goes beyond the advantages of conventional MAP. Because the patented process does not require drawing a vacuum prior to flushing, it doesn’t present any danger of harming delicate products. It also works faster and more efficiently than competitive systems, while using less energy.

Other advantages of SLB include:

Compactness. SLB offers better performance with significantly smaller machines for easy addition to, or in combination with, existing production lines.

Low noise. Quieter operation makes for a comfortable work environment.

Low cost. Reduced energy consumption and significantly fewer returns of expired goods thanks to extended shelf life generate substantial operational savings.

Versatility. Systems are available with two or more sealing heads to fit a variety of products.

User-friendly operation. SLB machines are easy to operate and maintain. Setup takes as little as three minutes, with no special tools required.

Potential applications include the meat industry (fresh, frozen and processed); fish (whole fresh, sliced, smoked or frozen); ready-to-eat meals; frozen foods; baked goods (whole baked cakes, quality cookies, chilled pizza or half-baked pastries); dairy products (cheeses, yogurts, creams); fresh pasta; nuts; and dry goods (powders, dried fruit, mixes).

All Arpac-Hefestus SLB systems have been re-engineered for the U.S. market and will be manufactured at the Arpac facility in Schiller Park. Arpac-Hefestus USA will also service and support every installation from Chicago and through a growing network of qualified packaging distributors.

Arpac LP