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“The majority goes to the bread and pastries industry”

 

Every time you take your bread out of the bread bin in the mornings, you’ll find yourself holding a plastic square bag closure made by Schutte bagclosures from Uden, The Netherlands. Of course you won’t be aware that whilst you’ve been making those sandwiches every morning, this shutlok bag closure has been the topic of court proceedings. The judge in The Netherlands did not rule in favour of the competitor, the world’s leading bag closure producer from America, Kwik Lok.

 

Patent infringement

According to Schutte’s director, Mr Hans den Rooijen, the American company had accused Schutte’s plastic clips of breaking at the same angle as their patented bag closures: “We were apparently in breach of their patent. But with help from TNO, we could prove that this wasn’t the case. At the same time, they wanted to ensure that we couldn’t use the name shutlok because of its similarity to Kwik Lok. They had to back down from this one as well.”

 

From biscuit to bin bag

With Schutte’s position as European market leader in the production, sale and distribution of bag closures and binding materials, Kwik Lok had been hoping to deal them a blow. “We make 1700 different kinds of bag closure”, comments Den Rooijen. “There is the well-known bag clip with two metal wires top and bottom that seal bags of biscuits as well as the white strip ties you get with your bin bags, not to mention closures for colostomy bags. When a bag like that is full, you need a reliable way of sealing it.”

 

Various markets

Schutte supplies to four different markets. “The majority goes to the bread and pastries industry but we also gear our production to the agricultural sector, bag manufacturers and the industrial sector. We manufacture the closures farmers use to bag onions and for 10kg potato sacks, as well as ties used in the chemical industry for bags of pigments; bags that need to be resealed after use.”

 

Existence through plastic

The company was established in 1957 as a result of the arrival of plastic. ”In the 1950s, bread was still wrapped up in paper bags which were rolled shut. Then came plastic, which couldn’t be closed in quite the same way. This led to the need for something else. And by the way, bread stays fresher in plastic bags than it does in paper.”

 

Progress never stops

Schutte Bagclosures has 46 members of staff – more than twice as many as its closest European competitor – which includes two to man the R&D department. “We are continually developing new products. One of our latest developments is a biodegradable closure that will breakdown in an environmentally-friendly manner when thrown away. This closure is made from milk and yoghurt.”

 

June 2010 – De technologiekrant



  Johan Volmer, M.Sc. (Dutch & European Patent Attorney (managing partner))

EP&C, Postbus 3241, 2280 GE RIJSWIJK, tel (070) 414 54 54, fax (070) 414 54 99, http://www.epc.nl