Some would say that it all started with a family assembly line in the basement of Harvey F. Martinez’ Milwaukee South Side home. But it started well before that. After working his way up at well-known plastic packaging manufacturers in Wisconsin and Illinois, Harvey ventured off on his own as an industry consultant and a manufacturers’ representative. His penchant for chemistry, experience in product development, and likable personality landed him some of his first opportunities to provide pouch design and conversion services for medical supply companies.

“Dad wanted to build a family-owned company to the point where growing up we had an old pouch machine in our garage. We never did use that pouch machine, but it represented his vision from the start,” says Paul Martinez, Harvey’s son and current president of HFM Packaging, Ltd.

Paul partnered with his father in 1987. Little did they know that two years later Harvey would pass away suddenly from a heart attack, and Paul would not only carry on his father’s legacy for customer service but also bring Harvey’s dream to fruition — and then some.

This year, HFM Packaging will celebrate 40 years in business. Paul, his sister Lynn, and her husband, Jon Riggs, have established HFM Packaging as an industry leader in recloseable flexible packaging. Their 35,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, and 20-person staff have developed packaging for healthcare, beauty, and personal-care markets as well as for industrial markets. Now their engineering expertise and solid infrastructure offer them a strong competitive advantage as they expand market share in the food industry.

The tip of the innovation iceberg: recloseability

Pouches with a zipper closure or spout, as well as peel-and-reseal bags and trays are in high demand as manufacturers look to improve shipping efficiency and minimize the environmental impact of packaging materials. Flexible packaging design and engineering are rapidly changing as consumers want convenience, extended shelf life, recloseability and product ingenuity to fit their on-the-go lifestyles. HFM Packaging has the engineering proficiency to meet these manufacturer and consumer challenges.

Many hours are spent in the planning and design phase to ensure:

  • Functionality – a pre-moistened wet wipe will stay wet and the package can be used again and again.
  • Safety – food grade recloseable packages effectively keep air out to maintain freshness and ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Efficiency – packaging lines run the way product fillers want and expect them to run.
  • Branding – a custom-designed package is as much a part of the brand identity as the product itself.

Over the years, the HFM Packaging team has worked closely with their customers to help them develop long-term solutions to their unique packaging needs. For example, before the existence of pre-saturated automotive industry cleaning wipes that utilize flexible packaging, rags and buckets were used to apply caustic chemicals to unpainted vehicles, emitting harsh fumes into manufacturing plants and creating dangers to employees and the environment. Before microwavable pre-moistened cleansing cloths were available in flexible packages, sponge baths required the washing, drying, and sanitizing of cloths and towels and posed a higher risk for infection.

Most recently, HFM Packaging introduced a new recloseable solution to the food packaging space. This new application uses a peel-and-reseal label with an easy-open lift tab incorporated onto lidding material that is hermetically sealed to a tray. HFM invested in custom-designed and manufactured high-speed equipment to produce pre-converted rolls with up to four lanes across in order to match the requirements of the filling equipment where these products (such as deli meats) are packaged. The resulting packages can be opened and resealed, again and again, delivering reliable closure for freshness and convenience.

Ready for anything

Harvey Martinez brought HFM into the flexible packaging industry on the ground floor. He had built a reputation for himself as being reliable, collaborative, and dedicated — so much so that when he passed away, Paul retained all of HFM’s customers and most are still with HFM Packaging today.

“We have an advantage because we have worked with all types of companies and know how to line up the right suppliers to meet the requirements of an application,” says Paul. “We have the capabilities to provide pouches of every type, size, and volume for every industry.”

With its foray into the food industry, HFM is more focused on growth than ever before, and they are ready. Systems are in place. Engineers are primed. Their impeccable, 100 percent traceable production process is intact.

“Packaging is the first line of defense to ensure product quality,” says Paul. “We are serious about our promise to be on spec, on time, every time. Our customers know they can trust us to be the packaging materials experts so they can focus their expertise on the finished product.”

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