For want of a locating lug…the saga of a badly designed bottle

By Lisa McTigue Pierce in Optimization on February 14, 2018

How can packaging engineers prevent packaging design bloopers from ruining packaging line efficiency? Here’s a lesson learned from packaging innovation consultant Joe Pagliaro, whose manufacturing experience in consumer packaged goods spans more than two decades.

Pagliaro will be sharing several tips during his presentation “How to Optimize Packaging Design to Increase Manufacturing Efficiency” at the upcoming Advanced Design & Manufacturing Expo (ADM) Cleveland (Mar. 7-8; Cleveland). Founder and president of 2940 Associates, Pagliaro will speak on Thurs., Mar. 8, at noon at Center Stage, booth 125. All Center Stage presentations are free to event attendees.


What is the biggest blooper you’ve seen in a packaging design that totally messed up the efficiency on the packaging line?

Pagliaro: While I was working for a major beverage manufacturer, I saw a recent college graduate packaging engineer develop a new glass bottle for a spirit of ours. The engineer took an engineering drawing of a similar existing glass bottle as the starting point and then modified it to the new shape for the new spirit.

The mistake was not confirming which bottling line the bottle would be run on!

There are two different types of “locating lugs” on a glass bottle. One is incorporated into the base of the bottle. The other is incorporated into the back side of the bottle. Depending upon the labeler on the filling line, the bottle needs the accommodating locating lug so the labeler can orient the bottle for proper label application. The newly minted engineer never confirmed the filling line and ended up with the wrong locating lug.


How could that problem have been prevented?

Pagliaro: The experienced engineer would know to always incorporate both types in every bottle design so to afford Supply Chain with the option to change filling lines whenever they needed to. The location of lugs are non-invasive to any graphic design and can easily be incorporated without sacrificing any design intent.


Is there a cost calculator that considers how much a packaging change will save—or add—to the overall cost of a product?

Pagliaro: It’s a tough question to answer, but let’s look at this example from two angles.

From one perspective, you could send the mold back to the mold maker and have the additional location lug milled into the mold. Depending upon the mold configuration, the rework could cost from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars plus multiple weeks of time that may jeopardize the launch timing.

From the other perspective, you could just run the bottle on a filling line that you really didn’t want to and cause a ripple effect in the manufacturing of the product as well as other products that would be disrupted by the goof-up. This cost is hard to calculate.

What main point do you want people to remember from your upcoming presentation?

Pagliaro: If you design a package with only the package in mind, there is the potential to have serious ramifications in the rest of the supply chain. You must consider the total supply chain, from the manufacture of the pack, through filling and distribution, to retail and ultimately consumption, when designing a package. Like the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”



Advanced Design and Manufacturing (ADM) Expo in Cleveland returns Mar. 7-8, showcasing the latest in robotics, automation, plastics, packaging and design engineering. Find a solution for your packaging project here. Register today!

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