Video: Creating a Stand-Up Pouch

Video: Creating a Stand-Up Pouch

December 7, 2016

Have you ever wondered what goes into making your Stand-Up Pouch? Associated Labels and Packaging has created this quick clip to demonstrate what goes into this complex process.

Once your artwork has been thoroughly examined and approved by our in-house art department, we are able to create printing plates. These plates are sent to our press for set up. Our quality control team will conduct checks at various stages of the printing process to ensure our premium standards are met. Once the stock has been printed (and if required), we then send the printed rolls to another machine to be lacquered, followed by an additional machine to be laminated. Still two more machines left in the process! We need to slit or cut the rolls (which can be printed more than one across) to be able to fit our pouching machine. Finally the pouching machine folds, punches, heat seals the zipper and finally cuts the Stand-Up Pouch off the roll, ready for use!

As the flexible packaging industry gets more and more complicated, Associated Labels and Packaging is at the head of the pack. After four years of research and development, our team produced North Americas first Non-GMO, Backyard Compostable, Stand-Up Pouch. We are proud to be able to offer companies this environmentally sustainable alternative.

We also want to give a shout out to Sugar 2.0; such an amazing company to work with. It’s also nice to work with companies who are doing things to change the face of their industry. Sugar 2.0 “started with one father’s desire to lower his kids’ sugar intake — with a solution they’d actually love.”

For more information on flexible packaging and stand-up pouches click here: Stand-Up Pouches

Contact sales@associated-labels.com  to get your order started.

Written by Jay Ashworth

Business Of The Year Nominee: “When You Do The Right Thing, People Take Notice!”

October 6, 2016

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After joining the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce last month which serves Coquitlam, Port Moody and Port Coquitlam, we were welcomed by the community of over 500 local business members. Associated Labels and Packagings decided to join after speaking to a council member while volunteering at the creek restoration project next to our facility. Our goals for joining were to connect with local businesses, as well as, our community on a deeper level.

Business Excellence Award Nominee Criteria:

  • Exemplary record of business sustainability, growth and prudent financial management
  • Excellent customer and/or employee relationships
  • Uses an innovative approach to business growth and development
  • Proactively contributes to the community and is established as a strong corporate citizen

 

Some of our noteworthy achievements have been developing the first Non-GMO Backyard Compostable Stand-up Pouch in North America; Supporting local hockey and lacrosse teams; starting a cycling and hiking club for employees and installing two bee hives on our property.

When you do the right thing, people take notice! We are so proud of our staff for making this possible and we look forward to continuing this amazing trajectory.
Written by Jay Ashworth

 

Tri-Cities Article

 

“Communities in Bloom” National Competition Pays us a Visit

July 20, 2016

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Today Associated Labels and Packaging participated in the national “Communities in Bloom” competition in collaboration with the City of Coquitlam. Associated Labels and Packaging represents the only commercial business out of 22 locations selected for national judges to evaluate. Other sites include a golf course,  hatchery, community gardens, and multiple parks. This year City of Coquitlam (CoQ) staff are determined to win the “Communities in Bloom” on its 125th birth year.

Associated Labels and Packaging has been recognized for, and will be evaluated on Community Involvement, Environmental Action and Landscaping. A short list of our Community Involvement includes staff donating over 36,000lbs of food in the past six years to the Coquitlam food bank; sponsoring the Coquitlam Adanacs Lacrosse and Hockey teams.

Environmental Action has been Associated Labels and Packaging’s strong points. Our research and development team after four year of hard work, has developed a fully backyard compostable non-gmo, stand-up pouch (a first of its kind in North America). In addition, this past April saw two bee hives installed on the properties edge nearest to Como Creek. Not only do the bees help pollinate our local plants; they also help strengthen our company culture as staff participate or watch bee inspections on their lunch breaks. The timing coincided perfectly with the CoQ Como Creek restoration project located next to our property (which employees also volunteered their time for).

Landscaping at Associated Labels and Packaging has included surrounding the bee hives with flowers for the bees and snap pees for employees to grab on their way by. Future plans for the area include fork-liftable employee garden plots along the south side of our building; an updated compost system for lunch waste; and lastly converting our surrounding vegetation areas to native plants or a native food forest.

Our company is always looking at ways to be relevant to our local community, business community and finally our environmental community. We hope that our  efforts encompass all that is good about our company and we look forward to being leaders, as well as, mentors to other companies wishing to make positive impacts to their communities as well.

If you have any questions or inquiries, please contact me at jay@associated-labels.com

Written by Jay Ashworth

 

 

About Communities in Bloom

Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering community pride, environmental responsibility and beautification. It uses friendly competition between communities to bring together local businesses, service clubs, residents and civic government to focus on enhancing their community.

Judges visit the City over a two-day period in the summer to assess the performance of four sectors: municipal, business and institutions, residential and community involvement. Each of these sectors is judged on their performance of six categories. http://www.communitiesinbloom.ca

NEW Instagram account for Associated Labels and Packaging

June 10, 2016

artists-interpret-instagram-new-logo-designboom-011Here at Associated Labels and Packaging in Vancouver, we are always finding ways to better communicate the vision of our fun and fulfilling company to our customers. What better place to know who your dealing with than seeing the everyday workings of our business. Be it labels, film, flexible packaging or compostable stand-up pouches we are here for your viewing.

We look forward to this new platform and connecting with you on a new level.

 

Come find us

Instagram @associated_labels_packaging

Twitter @AssociatedLabel

Facebook @associatedLP  

 

Written by Jay Ashworth

Art by @jarrett.hendrix

Brands Explore the Darker, More Uncomfortable Side of their Identity

May 9, 2016

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Brands are starting to explore the darker, more uncomfortable side of their personalities in order to be more distinctive and believable to consumers with their labels and packaging.

Over the last 35 years, the branding world has undergone a revolution. The once false, perma-smile perfection of beautiful people beaming at us from a fabricated place where the sun always shines and everyone is happy has been trumped by a darker, realistic, if more uncomfortable, truth. This truth is manifested in all corners of our culture – from the products we use to the docudramas we watch.

Brands are now toying with and exploring the darker side of their identity in order to be more distinctive, relevant and believable. Traditional notions of beauty have been subverted, imperfections are being celebrated, the taboo is becoming permissible. What was once deemed ugly, undesirable and unacceptable is now being used as a means of unlocking emotion and empathy in a way that consumers may truly relate.

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From the household goods aisle to store cupboards essentials, Mother-In-Law’s Kimchi is an exemplar of our often unspoken love/hate relationship with that other woman we inherited as family when we married our beloved. While Korean food is becoming increasingly popular, kimchi is still a befuddling food entity to mainstream America. As part of the process of popularizing the pickle and making it more accessible to the masses, the brand named its product after what many a TV sitcom and stand-up would call ‘your worst nightmare’ – your mother-in-law. Yes she’s annoying, tactless and blunt, and yes she knows exactly what to say to get your back up, but there’s no denying that she makes damn fine food. And it’s this very essence that manifests in the brand identity and on the final product pack design of Mother-In-Law’s Kimchi – bold black typography on a white background gives a brutal, unfiltered, say-it-how-it-is simplicity, just like your mother-in-law when she shows disapproval of your style of dress.

These are just two of many examples of brands which ‘embrace the shadows’, but the consensus is this: controversial and risqué campaigns resonate, live on and, by virtue of their controversy, almost achieve iconic status. While this contrary approach is mired by risks that threaten to damage a brand’s credibility, achieving a delicate balance of ‘wrong’ can be an effective way of driving engagement that repudiates ideals and perfections and speaks to consumers on a level that’s much more about real life. In this process of embracing the dark side, brands must ‘flip’ the unexpected.

 

Written by Ed Silk

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The First “Information Age” Inventing the Printing Press – History 101

February 26, 2016
Circa 1450, Johannes Gutenberg (1400 - 1468) inventor of printing examines a page from his first printing press. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)

Circa 1450, Johannes Gutenberg (1400 – 1468) inventor of printing examines a page from his first printing press. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)

The History of Printing
Some assert that no invention in the history of man has had a greater influence on society than the introduction of printing in the 15th century. The development of printing has made it possible for books, newspapers, magazines, and other reading materials to be produced in great numbers, and it plays an important role in promoting literacy among the masses.

Even our cave dwelling ancestors knew the importance of painting and stencilling over 40,000 years ago by leaving impressions of their hands or depicting their stories through hunting murals. In Mesopotamia some 5,000 years ago, impressions were made on clay tablets for a variety of uses. Nearly 4,000 years later China created paper, water colour inks, woodblock printing, and moveable printing types.

Circa 1450, Johannes Gutenberg (1400 - 1468) inventor of printing examines a page from his first printing press. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)

Circa 1450, Johannes Gutenberg (1400 – 1468) inventor of printing examines a page from his first printing press. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)

The Father of Printing When paper became widely available in Europe c.1400AD, Germany’s Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1398 – 1468) invented the hand operated mechanical “Moving Type,” also known as the Printing Press. Contemporary commentators say his work led to an “Information Revolution” that can be likened to what has happened with the development of the internet today.

The early modern wine grape press (earlier used for olives) was a screw press which was modified in Europe for a wide range of uses and provided Gutenberg with the model for his printing press.

While he was developing the press, Gutenberg also invented oil based inks which was needed to create successful impressions. To top it off, he decided black and white wasn’t good enough and invented the first colour prints halfway through the 15th century. Historians mark this period as the “Age of Printing” in Europe, when standard typography and fonts were established for the first time.

It wasn’t until 1476 that England established their first printing press; while the first arrived in British North America (Cambridge, Massachusetts Bay Colony) in 1638. This original press made its way to the newly opened Harvard College and printed exclusively for the colony.

The Gutenberg press (240 impressions/hour) was much more efficient than manual copying and still was largely unchanged over 300 years later. By 1800, a press constructed completely from cast iron reduced the force required by 90% while doubling the size of the printed area; press efficiency was still only 480 sheets per hour.

1280px-Hoe's_six-cylinder_pressTwo ideas altered the design of the printing press radically: First, the use of steam power for running the machinery (1843), and second, the replacement of the printing flatbed with the rotary motion cylinders. Mass production of printed works flourished after these inventions and rolled paper were used. It’s at this point that conventional printing history continues on and where “Flexographic Printing” branches off.

Flexography Printing History In 1890, the first such patented press was built in Liverpool, England by Bibby, Baron and Sons. The water-based ink smeared easily, leading the device to be known as “Bibby’s Folly” (aka Foolishness). In the early 1900s, other European presses using rubber printing plates and aniline oil-based ink were developed. This led to the process being called “aniline printing”. By the 1920s, most presses were made in Germany, where the process was called “gummidruck,” or rubber printing.

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During the early part of the 20th century, the technique was used extensively in food packaging in the United States. However, in the 1940s, the Food and Drug Administration classified aniline dyes as unsuitable for food packaging. Printing sales plummeted. Individual firms tried using new names for the process, such as “Lustro Printing” and “Transglo Printing,” but met with limited success. Even after the Food and Drug Administration approved the aniline process in 1949 using new, safe inks, sales continued to decline as some food manufacturers still refused to consider aniline printing.

The Packaging Institute’s Printed Packaging Committee narrowed the selection to three possibilities from 200 submissions: “Permatone Process”, “Rotopake Process”, and “Flexographic Process”. Postal ballots from readers of a printing magazine overwhelmingly chose “Flexographic Process.”

Typical products printed using flexography include brown corrugated boxes, flexible packaging including retail and shopping bags, food and hygiene bags and sacks, flexible plastic, self adhesive labels, and wallpaper.

Associated Labels ad Packaging Flexography printing has always been a part of Associated Labels and Packaging history. Our research and development team is always on the look out for new processes and technology to advance our company. With over 35 years of experience, we will continue to grow along side history. We have even created our own history as a partner in the creation of the first backyard compostable stand-up pouch.

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Associated Labels and Packaging Collaborates with Partners to “Revolutionize the Food Industry”

February 15, 2016

 

Alter Eco switches from a previous, plastic non-recyclable structure to a “Gone4Good” backyard-compostable stand-up pouch made from non-GMO (genetically-modified organisms), plant-based materials.

The new compostable stand-up pouches replace previous packaging for the brand’s popular organic Royal heirloom quinoa products, including Rainbow, Pearl, Red, and Black.

“Sustainability is the core of our business, and as a leader in the space we’ve worked tirelessly to pioneer the first non-GMO stand-up pouch made with compostable materials that will truly revolutionize the food industry,” says Mathieu Senard, co-founder and co-CEO of Alter Eco, who responds to our questions about the compostable stand-up pouch structure, vendors and challenges of this innovative packaging introduction.

Please describe the before and after packaging.

Senard: Our previous packaging was a mixed-material film laminate (PET/ink/adhesive/LLDPE) stand-up pouch. Like all stand-up pouches with this similar structure, they were not recyclable so eventually would end up in landfills. Prior to our development of this new stand-up pouch made with compostable materials there was really no better alternative to the plastic, unrecyclable format. Approximately 17 billion plastic pouches were made in 2013 and not one of them was recyclable or compostable. In the United States alone, 30 million tons of plastic is generated annually and only 7% is recycled.

We reduced the size of the stand-up pouch from 14 and 16oz pouches to a 12oz stand-up pouch. The decision to decrease the size was made in order to offer more competitive pricing in a category where prices have increased in the recent years. Consumers clearly prefer the stand-up pouch format and now Alter Eco is offering a stand-up pouch you can feel good about.

What’s the specific stand-up pouch structure?

Senard: Our new “Gone4Good” stand-up pouch is made from Innovia’s NatureFlex laminated to a Novamont Mater-Bi product. The NatureFlex is made from Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified birch and eucalyptus wood pulp, and the Mater-bi is made from non-GMO corn starch. The stand-up pouch is printed with certified commercially compostable non-toxic ink. We’re proud to be able to offer the first-ever, renewable, non-GMO and plant-based stand-up pouch available nationwide. In our own trials, we have found that it disintegrates in about 3 to 6 months.

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Why was this structure and these vendors selected?

Senard: Both Innovia Films and Novamont have a strong commitment to making environmentally friendly packaging materials that is backed by years of research as well as certifications. Not only do these suppliers support sustainability, but they responsibly source their materials and guarantee quality performance and safety. These core values align with our vision to bring full-circle sustainability to life throughout our all of our products. In order to do this, creating a better stand-up pouch package was an initiative we knew had to be done. This good-for-the planet innovation is extremely important to us as a brand. We feel it will pave the way for other companies to follow and enable consumers to eliminate the massive amount of waste currently being produced by standard plastic stand-up pouches.

Can the stand-up pouch converter be credited?

Senard: We worked closely with our printer,  converter, and laminator partner Associated Labels and Packaging in Coquitlam, BC, Canada, via our manufacturing partner Elk Designs in Los Angeles, CA. Their openness, drive and belief in the project was key in how we were able to work through the inevitable challenges in working with these new materials.

Were any packaging performance aspects reduced with the change?

Senard: As far as production, the stand-up pouch performs similarly as a standard PE stand-up pouch during printing, converting, laminating and filling. There was definitely a learning curve with the lamination process using various materials and some adjustments had to be made on the equipment. We tested the stand-up pouch extensively for shelf life impact as well as transportation tests. As the material inherently wants to break down, it’s important that it is not stored in high humidity environments, which will start the process of disintegration. Our supply chain will need to be managed a bit more closely than usual to ensure that both temperature and humidity are kept consistently low. A grocery store environment is the sweet spot of both these measurements.

How is the sustainability messaged on the pouches?

Senard: We feature the compostable benefit at the bottom of the pouch, highlighting our new tagline for our compostable packaging movement, “Gone4Good,” which perfectly communicates what we intended this pouch to do: a pouch made with compostable materials that will disintegrate and not add to the estimated 17 billion pouches made in 2013 that will end up as waste in our landfills. We are excited to highlight this new packaging, and will continue to feature our dedication to full-circle sustainability.

In addition, the stand-up pouches display our promise of “organically grown, fairly traded and hand-cultivated,” and highlights our promise to the farmers we work with on the back of the packaging. Each of our products is crafted to not only taste delicious, but to have a positive impact on the environment as well as the farmers who help cultivate and produce our products.

 

Is any compostable certification information printed on the pouches?

Senard: Our own information appears on the stand-up pouch front as seen above, though we plan to add our compostable certification, which is in process now, to the packaging within a year.

Who is your typical consumer?

Senard: Our classic consumer is passionate about the environment, the food they put in their bodies and feed their families, as well as the impact their purchasing decisions have on the world socially and environmentally. All Alter Eco foods are produced with this consumer in mind, based on the concept of full-circle sustainability to make a positive impact on people and the planet in every bite. As a commitment to this promise, all our delicious chocolate bars and truffles, Royal quinoa, heirloom rice and unrefined sugar are all USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Carbon Neutral Certified, Non-GMO Project Verified and Certified Gluten-Free. Consumers are increasingly seeking more from their food, as knowledge and education about commercial food systems and how they affect local communities and eco-systems continues to spread. We’re grateful to deliver foods for this globally conscious community of shoppers, who realize there is power in numbers and together we have the ability to spark positive change not only in our own homes, but around the world.

How strongly will this new stand-up compostable pouch resonate with those consumers?

Senard: When we announced our truffle wrappers made from compostable materials in 2013 the response was overwhelming positive, and so far our Gone4Good packaging has had a similar response. Once people understand that the pouches on grocery store shelves everywhere are not recyclable and end up in landfills, they realize the problem and want to be part of the solution.  Plastic packaging makes up more than one sixth of the waste in U.S. landfills, and many of our consumers are passionate about supporting a shift in this reality toward a more sustainable future.

What was the biggest challenge in the switch? 

Senard: One of our biggest challenges was finding the right converter (Associated Labels and Packaging) and supplier partners who were aligned with our vision, and who were willing to take risks with us. We needed to make sure we ended up with a package that printed and looked as good as our current pouch, performed as well in distribution, and of course protected the product. We had a goal of making sure all inputs had compostable certifications, as well as the materials themselves being non-GMO and from sustainably managed forests. It was truly a reach and very much a gold standard goal.  Our partnership with Innovia Films and Novamont successfully helped us achieve our ground breaking goals.

What’s next? Are there plans to roll this packaging out to other products?

Senard: Yes – sustainability is the core of our business and our vision is to eventually accomplish compostable packaging across all product lines.

 

Associated Labels and Packaging has always been at the forefront of cutting edge technology. Our recent recognition further pushes our capabilities to unexplored areas of the industry. Our team of professionals will work with your company to ensure that we deliver the finest product. Please contact sales@associated-labels.com for any information or if you wish to propose collaborating on a project.

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Your 2016 Food Packaging Safety “To-Do List”

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Review and act upon these 5 recommendations and you’ll be more informed and prepared to identify and address the food packaging safety issues within your operation. You, your facility and management will all benefit.

Feedback collected from professionals connected to the food packaging industry suggests that years after the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has gone into effect, gaps remain between food packaging customer expectations and food packaging supplier safety control.

Gary Kestenbaum writes:

I’ve taken the liberty of interpreting information that I’ve collected in the 4 plus years since the FSMA was broadly announced to the food and packaging industries.  Broadly speaking, we in the packaging industry are not food scientists, we are not microbiologists, we are not HACCP experts, nor are we attorneys.

We are engineers, chemists, production managers, process developers, logistics and implementation experts and packaging material scientists. Hopefully, some of our cross-functional colleagues are quality-control professionals.  We respect them, and, maybe, once a year, we listen to their presentation at the annual division or department team meeting.

As packaging professionals, we exist to develop, commercialize and manufacture (or use) packaging and/or materials to convert them. In our business, quality refers to the integrity of the threads on the finish of a rigid container, the wall thickness at a critical point on a thermoformed part, the integrity of a die-cut ECT 36 corrugated display shipper or the COF (coefficient of friction) on a roll of printed film.

If we’re equipment-related engineers, quality relates to consistency of operation, proper design, assembly and satisfactory completion of the factory or customer acceptance test. Rarely do we walk through the halls of our technical centers or the aisles of our manufacturing facilities burdened by worries that the packaging or related equipment we sell, use or distribute is at risk of causing a food safety breach at the customer or consumer level.

Avoid the safety sin of omission

We are all aware of food packaging safety “events” which get occasionally publicized and we are oblivious to the ones that aren’t.  We are certainly experienced enough to understand that safe, suitable food packaging materials conversion doesn’t magically “happen.”  But we are often guilty of acting to the contrary. Many of us are oblivious to day-to-day food safety risks, or we act in a manner which makes us appears unprepared or uninvolved.

Food packaging safety awareness may never get to the level of importance applied against food ingredient safety, but it is well-advised for those of you involved in every aspect of food packaging, contact or not, to understand the basics of food safety in relation to the component(s) that you are providing.  In order to become or feel more connected to the food safety and quality discipline, I make the following recommendations:

 

  • Facilitate, organize or attend basic food and packaging safety training or introductory education.
  • Attend an “introduction to HACCP” course.
  • Attend a client/customer “supplier quality expectations” course or seminar.
  • Organize or become a member of a “food safety team” within your facility or organization.
  • Subject your internal food packaging safety programs (be you supplier or client) and vendor expectation requirements to external review.

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Coffee Snobs, The Wave of the Future…

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For many, coffee doesn’t feel like a luxury—it just feels like a necessity and a way to get the day started. Coronini Cafe is a way to make the cup a day a lavish experience. Their aim is to make the coffee experience a sophisticated and refined one in the growing business of micro roasting cafes.

Coronini Cafe oozes opulence. Black on black gives off an air of confidence, while the font and graphics look like they’re fit for a king. Gold and silver foil immediately express a sense of premium quality, attracting customers who truly want to revel in a delicious cup of coffee and not just get one and go.

“The concept is using labels on matte coffee stand-up pouches with glossy foil print of the logo. Labels are printed with touches of gold and silver foil, which would indicate prestige/luxury and sophisticated characteristics and a higher price point of their coffee. Using monogram is created and pattern, which can be used for various applications— such as flexible packaging”

Associated Labels and Packaging is here to help you every step of the way, for more information please contact sales@associated-labels.com

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Seven Generations of Caring Now Includes Packaging

January 25, 2016

seventh_generation_1Plant-based household cleaning products company Seventh Generation has a notable track record for innovation around eco-friendly packaging.

The new pouch is a multilayer Polyethylene film structure that provides functional and aesthetic advantages comparable to a mixed-material film structure, but solves the recycling challenge.

Their latest developments have all served to help Seventh Generation move closer to its 2020 sustainability goals around packaging, which include replacing all virgin petroleum-based plastics with recycled or bio-based materials, and making all of its packaging recyclable.

Until recently one packaging format that proved especially challenging from a recycling standpoint was the stand-up pouch used for the company’s Dishwasher Detergent Packs. Made from a mixed-material film laminate, the stand-up pouch could not be recycled, meaning 100% of the packages ended up in landfill.  Seventh Generation launched into retail a multilayer all-polyethylene stand-up pouch in Q4-2015 that is 100% recyclable.

“Our goal was to produce a recyclable stand-up package for our dishwasher pods, without sacrificing performance or aesthetics,” says Derrick Lawrence, Director of Packaging Development for Seventh Generation. Customers were asking for a more recyclable option, and turned demand into a reality.

Associated Labels and Packaging is here to work with customers on their sustainability packaging options. Please contact sales@associated-labels.com for more information.

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