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CON-Pearl Looks to Grow North American Sleeve Pack Market


Leading lightweight board manufacturer is expanding its reusable sleeve pack and custom packaging business through collaboration with reusable packaging manufacturers and working with end users on logistic solutions.




When it comes to moving products such as preforms, closures, granules, textiles and a range of other products, the benefits of the versatile reusable sleeve pack in such applications are just not well enough known in much of the North American market, says Stefan Hoedt, Vice President of CON-Pearl NA. CON-Pearl is looking to create in North America the same sort of presence as it has in Europe, where it is the leading provider of sleeves for reusable sleeve packs.

Stefan’s point of view is echoed by venture capitalists supporting the CON-Pearl expansion of production facilities to the United States. “They recognized how established the sleeve pack is in Europe, and agree that it should have a much larger presence than it currently has in the U.S,” Stefan says. With its initial American production facility now established in Greenville, South Carolina, the development of the sleeve pack market is CON-Pearl’s number one goal in the U.S. Additionally, the versatile CON-Pearl board is attractive to other segments including converters, automotive companies, truck floors and recreational vehicles.

CON-Pearl board is a lightweight polypropylene product with exceptional non-directional strength and stiffness characteristics. Rather than fluted, CON-Pearl is formed with a middle layer that consists of small pearls sandwiched in between the two outer layers. The result is a board with higher load bearing capability than unidirectional sleeve materials. Additionally, the board can be laminated with a variety of textiles for usage to provide superior protective packaging for sensitive products.

Stefan says that for shipment within the NAFTA zone, reusable CON-Pearl sleeve packs are a highly effective alternative to corrugated cardboard sleeves. CON-Pearl sleeve packs typically achieve payback after only 8 or 10 cycles – usually in under 6 months. In some applications, he reports, payback is achieved in as low as 2 months.

The CON-Pearl sleeve also measures up well against the plastic bulk bin in lighter applications. “For loads in the 600-700 lb range, a sleeve pack has no disadvantage versus a bulk box,” Stefan comments. The sleeve pack can be stacked 2-high on the truck or 4-high in the warehouse.

“The most important differential between a bulk bin and a sleeve pack is the weight, “ Stefan states, “where a sleeve pack can perform the work at 30 to 50 percent of the weight of a bulk bin. For trucks weighing out, this is important.” The return ratio is also impressive, he says. Where bulk bins might have a 3:1 return rate, sleeve packs compare at a 6:1 or 8:1 ratio. In an international pooling company application, the Con-Pearl sleeve pack is achieving a 10:1 return ratio.

Stefan cautions that the sleeve pack application has its niche, and is definitely not something for heavier loads such as axles or cast iron. “It has a limit of roughly 1000 lbs. dynamic and 2,000 lbs. static,” he notes.

“We are talking to people who make bulk bins who are looking to add sleeve packs to their product line. In fact, at Pack Expo 2013, four different exhibitors were displaying sleeve pack systems that were utilizing CON Pearl sleeves.

One of the important features of CON-Pearl sleeves is the Living Hinge. The Living Hinge is thermoformed into the board and has been tested at 200,000 movements. PACK EXPO also provided the stage for CON-Pearl’s North American launch of its Octa-Flow Box™. The Octa-Flow Box is designed for the transportation of flowable goods, without running the risk of bulging container walls. It delivers a 6:1 return ratio. Stefan is emphatic that the way forward for CON-Pearl in the reusable packaging market is through a collaborative approach with other providers. While acknowledging the successful partnerships the company already enjoys with several companies, he says that CON-Pearl will continue to explore partnerships with both reusable packaging manufacturers as well as end users. “We will treat everyone fairly and equally,” he concludes. For more information, please visit

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