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March 4, 2001

10 Min Read
Market Focus:  Packaging

Fragrance manufacturers are moving toward simple shapes to highlight what’s inside the package.It’s been said before, but we’ll say it again: Packaging sells the product. Market studies show that 25 percent of consumers purchase a product based on its container when making a first-time buy.   Consider, for example, an experience related by Eastman Chemical about a major personal care company. The company had flat sales for a three- to four-year time period for a basic consumer product. By spending a little extra money and changing the look of the package, sales increased by 200 percent the next year. Nothing changed about the product, the advertising, or the shelf position.   It’s not hard to understand why, in light of case studies such as this one, packaging for a spectrum of consumer products is doing everything to grab consumer attention. Scott Rook, business market manager for personal care market segments at Eastman, says the material supplier sees these efforts focused on new and interesting colors. Iridescent, fluorescent, and especially iMac colors are flooding the packaging industry.   Clear packaging is also hot right now, says Rook. Whether the result of true curiosity or simply a fad, consumers want to be able to see inside the products they buy—to know what’s going on, and how they work. Cosmetics and perfume containers are following this trend, as well as one toward simple shapes (see photo). Transparent or translucent blocks, cones, spheres, and triangles are the rage for perfume companies, says Rook, because they further enable the buyer to see clearly inside with their clean, clear lines. He adds that high-end firms such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Gucci are primarily concerned with achieving a specific sheen, chemical resistance, and near-perfect appearance, meaning very small gates.   Like many consumer products today, packaging is also seeing a rise in soft-touch additions, says Rook. Elastomers on everything from a cosmetics cap to a deodorant container are providing a tactile feel. In addition to being overmolded, Rook says these soft coats can be sprayed on. 19891994199920042009Caps and closures37558595013001700Containers190270420570740Total molded polypropylene20903375503069509325% containers and closures27.025.327.226.926.2Source: The Freedonia Group Inc.Table 1. Injection molded polypropylene containers and closures demand, million lb

Polypropylene is a heavily used resin in packaging and is worth keeping an eye on in this market. As reported by The Freedonia Group (Cleveland, OH) demand for polypropylene containers and closures is expected to increase 6.4 percent annually to 1.9 billion lb by 2004 (see Table 1). This is largely attributed to increased use in food packaging, and PP’s low cost and improved performance capabilities compared to other commodity resins such as polystyrene and high-density polyethylene.On the caps and closures front, demand for polypropylene is projected to increase 6.5 percenthttps://www.plasticstoday.com/year to nearly 1.3 billion lb by 2004. Light weight, dimensional stability, stress crack resistance, and excellent sealability of pressurized and nonpressurized liquids are factors contributing to this rise, according to Freedonia.Container demand alone will rise 6.3 percenthttps://www.plasticstoday.com/year to 570 million lb in 2004, the report says. Not only are plastic storage containers becoming increasingly popular, but a move toward plastic bowls, packaging tubs, and ice cream and frozen food containers will raise the demand for polypropylene.Closure designed to remain sealedImagine arriving at your hotel, opening your suitcase, and discovering that the bottle of shampoo you packed has come open and soiled your pressed shirt. Those who have experienced this know the perils of traveling with containers that are topped with a standard disk-top closure. One designer and molder, Sussex Technology Inc., is working on a solution to the problem of disk closures that open accidentally.   The Disk-Lok, as the locking closure has been named, is not opened by solely depressing the top, as with typical disk closures, but instead requires the side latch to be pressed simultaneously (see photo). A small lug on the latch, which acts as a barb abutting the base closure, prevents unintentional opening.Chris Evans, director of business development for Sussex and coinventor of the patent-pending Disk-Lok, says that the closure had to be designed to mold simply and quickly. In addition, a number of other design elements were considered. First, the force required to push in the latch had to be precisely optimized so that a child couldn’t open it accidentally. “We designed this to become child resistant when we go to a snap finish,” says Evans. “But also an elderly woman opening shampoo in the shower, with slippery hands, needs to have easy access.”   Another factor was the lug—its shape, contour, and geometry. “These elements were critical to making sure that you could not easily overcome the lug by just hitting it, or pushing down in a typical opening fashion for a disk top,” Evans explains. “We designed the lug geometry to strengthen the bond between the two surfaces when downward force is applied.” Both Prohttps://www.plasticstoday.com/Engineer and Cadkey were used to design the part and mold.   Sussex was driven to develop the Disk-Lok (which is still undergoing testing) by some major consumer product companies. Leakage in jumble-packed boxes of bottles meant retailers sent back the entire box of 12 or 24 bottles. This leakage potential, in addition to customer claims for compensation of ruined clothing, has led these firms away from the traditional disk top, according to Evans. He says the dimensions of the Disk-Lok essentially are the same as standard disk closures, so no changes are needed to his customers’ filling lines.   Although the exact material and supplier are confidential for patenting reasons, Evans did reveal that it is a standard polypropylene. “It was just a matter of finding an off-the-shelf melt flow and package that gave us the flex and impact strength we needed,” he says.Sussex Technology Inc.
Sparta, NJ
Phone: (973) 579-1432
Fax: (973) 579-2030
Web: www.sussextech.com

COLORANT DRAWS ATTENTION When anything goes into a small child’s hand, the expectation is that it will encounter some pretty rough handling. The ubiquitous spill-proof cups that no family with a baby is without certainly see abuse, so Evenflo Co. Inc. worked with Milliken Chemical to select a material and colorant that would be both durable and attractive. The cup had to have good clarity in addition to being rugged, so Evenflo chose a polypropylene with Milliken’s ClearTint colorants and Millad 3988 clarifier. â€œ[The additives] not only improved the product aesthetically, but they also helped us improve quality and lower costs,” says Mark Williams, Evenflo’s manufacturing director. He notes that the additives have saved the company money through shorter cycle times. Milliken sources say that the nonnucleating nature of ClearTint colorants eliminates the usual warpage and shrinkage issues often associated with pigments. Milliken Chemical
Spartanburg, SC
Phone: (864) 503-2200
Fax: (864) 503-2430
Web: www.milliken.com

Jewel case brings new design to an old productIt might be something over which to meditate at a music kiosk as you contemplate which songs to download onto a CD while customizing your music collection. The Zencase is a jewel case that doesn’t look like a jewel case. That’s because David Tempongko is a professional inventor who sees everything with a different eye."I wanted to design a jewel case that was not only stylish, but also functional in its design,” says Tempongko, whose company, Zendesign, designed and developed the ZencaseSince the standard jewel case hasn’t changed in more than 20 years, Tempongko believes it’s time that media packaging catches up with media technology through advancements in packaging design. The result is a case that allows easier handling of the CD or DVD-audio without damage to the disk.It took Tempongko more than a year to locate a moldmaker who he felt had the ability to help him develop the design into a part that could be injection molded. “I hunted worldwide for a moldmaker,” he notes, and found one right in his own backyard. Greg Latimer of Triad Plastic Technologies (Reno, NV) assisted with the part design and designed the eight-cavity mold to produce the Zencase. (For more on Triad, see "Proof that Small Molders Can Be Big on Technology," February 2001 IMM.) The two halves (Yin and Yang) are removed with lifters in the mold and suction cups on a robot arm. Zendesign explored using NAS for the case, but due to the expense, is now looking into high-molecular-weight polystyrene.Because of difficulties loading audio CDs or audio DVDs into the Zencase using automated equipment, Tempongko knows that the Zencase won’t replace the standard jewel box. However, he is talking to some major studios (Disney Home Studios, for one) to use the unique case in special applications. And, the industry is considering the Zencase as a way to distinguish DVD-audio from CDs, Tempongko adds.“We see a growing market in cool, alternative jewel cases that kids will love,” he says, noting that he’s preparing for a giveaway promotion of the Zencase on MTV. “The kids are going to drive our market.” Zencase will be offered in many different colors. “They will be tradable and the perfect way to give away a music disc or a movie downloaded as a gift,” Tempongko says.Zendesign, Las Vegas, NV
Phone: (702) 597-2553
Fax: (702) 597-2508
E-mail: [email protected]

 PET packing highlights single-shot schnapps For those who prefer to purchase single-serve containers of alcohol, 30-ml capsules of schnapps are now available. Called the Sidekick chaser, these molded PET containers from cider producer H P Bulmer hold four flavors of schnapps and are designed to sit on top of a bottleneck or on the rim of a glass.  Molder Fourfold Mouldings runs the Sidekick in 20-second cycles on two Sandretto Series Nine 220-metric-ton presses. With current output of 800,000https://www.plasticstoday.com/week, expected to rise to 1.2 millionhttps://www.plasticstoday.com/week by March, two 16-cavity hot runner tools have been constructed to meet the demand. The containers are cleanroom molded to comply with food product manufacturing requirements.
Fourfold Mouldings, Keighley, Yorkshire, U.K.
Phone: +44 (1535) 654604
Fax: +44 (1535) 654829 

Clear, tough PCTA shows off electronic partsPresenting a product is a large part of the sale, so when a consumer electronics Fortune 500 retailer needed a fixture to hold small bags of electronic parts, strength and appearance were important factors. The plastic display boxes, which replace existing metal display hooks, had to be strong enough to handle the addition and removal of the parts bags and maintain a water-clear look.To achieve these conditions, the designer and molder, Miramar Designs (Fort Worth, TX), selected DuraStar acid-modified PCT from Eastman Chemical. Several other materials were also tested, including ABS, SAN, GPPS, and PETG, but DuraStar provided the combination of strength, clarity, processibility, and cost that was needed. Eastman sources say cost advantages can be achieved through the material’s good flow, rapid drying, and wide processing window.Steve Wesstrom, general manager of Miramar’s Century Plant, says the company found additional benefits of the material in the packing and shipping of finished parts. When packed in high-quantity boxes, he notes, the parts flex instead of break and exhibit tough impact resistance, making them easier and more cost-effective to ship.Eastman Chemical Co.
Kingsport, TN
Phone: (423) 229-4853
Fax: (423) 229-8595
Web: www.eastman.com

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