Your Guide to Different Track & Slider Applications for Flexible Packaging
Using reclosable features with flexible packaging adds value for the end user and can set your brand apart from other products on the shelf.
However, once you’ve chosen to add a closure like a track and slider to a standup pouch or other type of flexible package, there are still decisions to make. Different kinds of track and slider systems provide specific features and benefits that apply to the consumer as well as manufacturers, converters, and co-packers.
We asked Tom Morsheimer, business development manager for Fresh-Lock® Slider Zipper, to help explain the various types of tracks and sliders our company makes and how they can be used in your go-to-market strategy.
You’ll find links to all these options as well as press-to-close zippers on our Products page. Download product sell sheets as PDF files for additional details. With the exception of Child-Guard®, which is a complete child-resistant slider system, most Fresh-Lock® Slider Zipper tracks and sliders are interchangeable.
For those who want a solution providing simple resealability for flexible packaging, Morsheimer calls the Standard Slider an economical choice.
“It’s a general purpose slider designed to add value-added ease of open and close for consumers,” he says. “It’s generally designed for small to medium-sized pouches.”
Slider functionality is an excellent way to boost brand loyalty, but you want to make sure the consumer has a good experience.
For instance, the Standard Slider is not recommended for larger bags or heavier products. For that, you’ll need a slider with increased strength and durability.
The “S” Slider from Fresh-Lock® Slider Zipper is designed for more demanding applications such as large flexible packages containing pet food or lawn and garden products, which can weigh anywhere from five to more than 25 pounds. You can view our pet food packaging infographic for insights into consumer preferences and industry trends.
“With the “S” Slider, you get added retention, which limits the possibility of the slider becoming loose, allowing contamination or even becoming a choking hazard,” Morsheimer explains.
Retention value refers to the ability of a slider to remain fixed to the zipper part of the closure. That’s important both before and after a consumer makes a purchase.
“The zipper is typically on the top of the bag, Morsheimer says. “So it serves as a grab point or handle for packages in many cases. You really want to make sure you have the highest level of retention for that slider.”
We’ve developed the “S” Slider with industry-leading retention value. That means the closure stays attached and sealed during transportation, stocking and shelving on the retail side, as well as when the consumer is using it.
Particle Plow Slider
“I’m sure we can all appreciate instances with packages where it’s difficult because there’s contamination of the zipper, maybe its pieces of shredded cheese or powdered products, where you can’t reclose because something gets stuck in the locking members,” Morsheimer says. “The Particle Plow Slider clears that product out for a successful reclose.”
The Particle Plow Slider is ideal in flexible packaging applications for products like powdered protein, sugars, and other granule items. Morsheimer says the benefits of keeping the track clear of any particles adds a lot of value on the consumer end.
As you can probably tell from the image, this slider is designed for better gripping using the thumb and forefinger. However, Morsheimer says the Ergonomic Slider was also created for use on a specific type of standup pouch.
“It has a very low profile, sleek design, and was developed for hooded pouches, which are common in consumer food packaging like shredded cheese, snacks, dried fruits, and nuts, all sorts of applications where consumers need an additional level of security at the point of purchase,” he explains.
Hooded pouches are a great way to provide security for both product safety and freshness, however they also add to packaging costs and waste by requiring additional film that is not part of the container once they are opened. The Ergo slider design is intended to reduce the amount of film required in this area vs larger slider designs. Therefore reducing cost and waste inherent to this style of package.
The 2-Piece Track is often used with the Ergonomic Slider on pouches with hoods or other point-of-purchase tamper evidency. It’s ideal for these applications since a tamper-evident feature would not be needed on the closure itself.
Morsheimer says the 2-Piece Track is straightforward. You shift the slider and can immediately access the product. However, it provides an additional benefit during packaging.
“It can also be used in an application where a pouch can be filled with product through the closure opening,” Morsheimer points out.
The two-piece design helps meet the demands of fast cycle times for a manufacturer or converter while offering ease of use and simplicity to the consumer.
Tamper Evident Track
For products requiring resealability as well as added security, we developed the Tamper Evident Track. This track system is designed to make sure packages remain sealed until consumers first open them.
“You open the slider and there’s basically a membrane there,” Morsheimer says. “You can’t get to the package contents without breaking through the bottom of that flange or membrane.”
While you wouldn’t need this type of closure on a hooded pouch, it could be crucial for flexible packaging where the track and slider are exposed before purchase.
“With top slider applications where the slider closure is exposed on the store shelf, you want to have that tamper-evident membrane,” says Morsheimer. “You need that additional security attribute on the package so when the consumer gets it they know they’re buying something safe.”
Easy Open Track
Morsheimer calls the Easy Open Track the “Mercedes Benz” of slider tracks. It was developed with some impressive package engineering in order to offer benefits for both the packer and the consumer.
The drawback of a typical tamper evident track and slider system is that it requires the same amount of force on the inside and outside of the package. This creates a potential challenge to consumers and can lead to frustration when it becomes too difficult to access a product for the first time.
“Our Easy Open Track provides a differential tamper evident membrane. You get the highest level of security for the product during filling, distribution and shelving but a very easy and enjoyable opening from the consumer side, it’s the best of both worlds.” Morsheimer says.
Child-Guard® Child-Resistant Track and Slider
One of the latest innovations to come out of Fresh-Lock® Slider Zipper is the groundbreaking child-resistant slider, Child-Guard®.
“Child-Guard® is really revolutionary to the market,” says Morsheimer. “It allows flexible formats to have a reclose option that’s child-resistant.”
He adds that one of the things that makes Child-Guard® unique is that it’s both child-resistant and resealable, whereas other flexible packages only provide child-resistance for one-time use applications.
When properly closed, this track and slider system requires an extra step in order to get it open, which adds security and gives parents more time to respond to dangerous situations. Child-Guard® meets the requirements for child resistance stated in the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, Title 16 CFR 1700.
Child-Guard® is already being used on select standup pouches containing popular laundry packs, which deliver concentrated detergent in the soluble unit dose (SUD) format. Morsheimer says it will be helpful to many other product types as well.
“The Child-Guard® slider provides a new opportunity for regulated product markets to take a look at flexible material as a viable packaging option.”
Learn more about this innovation and our efforts to educate the general public at Child-Guard.com.