GrainPro bags

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GrainPro bags

Postby Andrew Hetzel on Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:12 pm

I'm getting quotes for GrainPro 60kg bags in the range of USD$3 ea for qty 1,000, including from a local farming group in Hawaii and GrainPro's Asia/Pacific office. Does anyone have a better supplier? ...maybe someone buying at higher quantities that can resell more cost effectively?

Ideas appreciated.

Andrew
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Re: GrainPro bags

Postby lukeharris on Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:22 pm

Not really an answer to your question, but for what it's worth...

From what I remember of my conversations with people at GrainPro, they scale their prices according to the assumed buying power of the customer. Specifically, if you are a producer in a developing nation then you will pay much less for the bags than if you are a rich importer in, say, North America. (This is a bit of an oversimplification.) I have no personal experience purchasing the bags so I can't comment specifically on pricing, but I have talked extensively with GrainPro in the past about a number of topics, and I support their business practices on principle, even if some potential buyers might find them very frustrating. I have also talked to some struggling farmers with smaller operations who were delighted to find that they were paying less for GrainPro products than the neighbouring fazendas.

As a cautionary note, I have also heard anecdotally of a few situations in which importers partnered with producers to have the producer purchase the bags more cheaply for shipping to that particular importer, which was well and good until the producer was billed at the importer's rate instead of the producer's rate... Again, anecdotal, but you get the idea.

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Re: GrainPro bags

Postby Andrew Hetzel on Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:24 pm

No, that is helpful. As I am buying on behalf of a producer, perhaps it would be an interesting experiment to see if they get a different response than me.
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Re: GrainPro bags

Postby chris.hallien on Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:02 am

I haven't had pricing info in the last year but $3/each is higher than in my previous experience. Regarding price differences, R. Luke's insight is most likely correct and a good piece of info to be considered. I recall contracts often stipulated that producer would supply the bags and service at .XX/lb with any additional costs divided by XX% between the parties. This would indicate that the producer may have access to better pricing, perhaps through bulk buying with other producers.

Regarding the GrainPro bags; after hearing the bill for these bags and then actually seeing what we purchased. I did some investigating. GrainPro has a variety of products and I was familiar with the Grainsafe, when we received the poly bag I went on line and discovered that there was no patent for the poly bags (patent pending on the website). This indicates to me that they may not represent a unique product aside from printed instructions and a handy size. It is worth investigating othe poly bag suppliers and determining if there are similar/same products on the market at a lower cost.
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Re: GrainPro bags

Postby nick on Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:03 am

Side-note,

I heard from someone that GrainPro bags were developed in Israel, originally as a food-barrier for protection from chemical and biological weapons. I haven't found any evidence online or otherwise to substantiate this, though I'm sure you'd agree that it's a great story that I REALLY want to be true! Can anyone help?
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Re: GrainPro bags

Postby lukeharris on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:12 am

I, too, heard rumours that elements of the GrainPro bags were originally developed in part as a military application (but not by the current owners). Again, my conversations with GrainPro personnel never touched on this.

The unique component of the bags is, I believe, the inner layer of the three--proprietary plastic of some sort. The outer layer is standard poly, and I can't remember the exact composition of the gas barrier between the two plastics--possibly just nitrogen. What is particularly outstanding about the bags, in my opinion, is their incredibly low permeability to oxygen and water vapour, as well as their low UV transmission. The latter might be especially surprising, but it has to do with transition energies as the light traverses the boundaries of the 3 layers. Unless I am much mistaken the values for O2 permiability, H2O vapour permeability, and UV transmission of the SuperGrainBag 2 are all lower than for mylar, although I don't have the numbers in front of me. I could look them up if anyone is interested, but I am away from the office so it would take a couple of days.

I would be very surprised if anyone else has a "comparable" product.

I should probably add the disclaimer that I have no financial interest whatsoever in GrainPro.

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Re: GrainPro bags

Postby lukeharris on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:14 am

Regarding "handy size" there is also the TranSafe Liner that lines an entire container--I have heard that some producers/importers have had a lot of success with these. They avoid some of the problems of the 60 kg bags when it comes to hooking and so on. Also reusable/recyclable.

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Re: GrainPro bags

Postby Andy Schecter on Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:29 am

lukeharris wrote:The unique component of the bags is, I believe, the inner layer of the three--proprietary plastic of some sort. The outer layer is standard poly, and I can't remember the exact composition of the gas barrier between the two plastics--possibly just nitrogen.


It's a three-layer, all-plastic laminate: an interior layer of film such as saran or EVOH that inhibits oxygen transmission, sandwiched between polyethylene layers. There is no "gas" between the layers.

lukeharris wrote: What is particularly outstanding about the bags, in my opinion, is their incredibly low permeability to oxygen and water vapour, as well as their low UV transmission....I would be very surprised if anyone else has a "comparable" product.


I believe you are the victim of misunderstanding, fueled by marketing hype. Any number of companies can probably deliver a plastic film with similar specifications. I say "probably" because GrainPro contradicts itself with widely varying figures for oxygen permeability: 5 cc/m2/day here and 55.0 cc/m2/day here.

Even if we assume the lower figure (5 cc/m2/day) is more accurate, that performance can be matched or improved upon by other manufacturers. It would be a matter of shopping around to see who has a bag in stock with the right size and properties.

I'm not saying that GrainPro doesn't have a good product. I just doubt the "SuperGrainBag" is unique.
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Re: GrainPro bags

Postby lukeharris on Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:02 am

I stand corrected, and I apologize if I misled anyone.

Although my information was from documentation handed to me directly by GrainPro people, and in person, and for the purposes of research and not with any intent to sell me a product, what I repeated here was entirely from my imperfect memory.

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Re: GrainPro bags

Postby chris.hallien on Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:14 am

I should mention that I am not against GrainPro in the least. GrainPro offers a variety of very useful products, the previously mentioned TransSafeliner as well as the MegaCocoon, Grainsafe II and, the topic at hand, the SuperGrainbags. Grainpro, as a name, has gained a lot of attention and exposure within the coffee industry in recent years. This popularity has motivated a lot of roasters and suppliers to conduct their own versions of previous studies to determine if they want to integrate their use into their own supply chain. Word of mouth within the industry has launched GrainpPro into everyone's vocabulary and other products / alternatives may have never been considered.

The research I have done (although surpased by Andy and his data on the topic) leads me to believe that there is no current IP on this product and, considering the design (2 poly layers seperated by a barrier), there probably will not be one established. Given the size of the agriculture industry and considering that the development of these bags was geared towards a large variety of grains produced globally (rice, flour, spices), I would expect a large number of alternatives already in existence. I have discussed bags of similar design with suppliers and they seem to be easily manufactured/acquired.

Another consideration is the application of the bags. My primary concern has always been in the transit of the raw material; traditional bags can be contaminated and impart various off-flavors on the green coffee (a current problem with some orgins), hot spots of microbial activity in the green coffee and bag material can spread through the shipment, Indian meal moths and other insect infestation can spread, containers may be contaminated from previous shipments, fuels and other liquids may enter the conatianer, condensation...I'm sure we have all had to deal any number of them at some time. An ASIC report I read provided interesting data on the typical fluctuations in temperature and humidity that a container will be subjected to in general and several locations within the container specifically. I view these types of bags as a barrier to help reduce or prevent contamination, to isolate infestation / microbial activity and to help create micro-climates to reduce the swings in moisture and temperature. With those purposes in mind, the exact design of the poly bag may not be as relevant as the additional poly layer in general. I think it is worth investigating if one is considering their use and considering their cost.

Although long term storage, shelf-stability and maintaining raw material quality can be important considerations they are not my purpose for considering these types of products and perhaps that is when exact design may play a more important role. Carrying inventory is not a priority but personally I would utilize methods upon arrival/stripping.
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Re: GrainPro bags

Postby Luis Rodriguez on Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:39 pm

Andrew:

Pricing here in my country is pretty much the same plus the local taxes, ends up around US$3.39 or so ( i guess that make us on par with purchase power from growers in hawaii haha...i wish! anyhow not sure if they do discount on bigger orders only bought a couple hundreds), this year we had a very tight supply, not sure if it was worldwide due to increased demand, but if they can't keep up with demand my guess is higher prices for next year, some producers had to import them from other nearby countries where they had stocks, rising more the price for them. Hopefully, there will be more alternatives soon too. An advice could be to preorder given your needs and stock be able to surely cost them properly. This can be tricky but hey that's my 2 cents... BTW, i feel these bags are a way for me to ensure a "safer" shipping instead of a way to extend bean life even if they help on that....

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Re: GrainPro bags

Postby Andy Schecter on Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:41 pm

Luis Rodriguez wrote:Pricing here in my country is pretty much the same plus the local taxes, ends up around US$3.39 or so


How long and how wide are the bags?
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Re: GrainPro bags

Postby Philip Search on Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:14 pm

These people were pretty helpful on a different project and I'm betting can make that type of bag. http://www.dppsc.com
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Re: GrainPro bags

Postby Luis Rodriguez on Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:18 pm

Andy:

According to them: 1.28 x 0.74M x 0.078mm - 70kg volume capacity.

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