The UltraSmooth package slopes on the front so there is only one “side,” at the left. This photo shows all four labels: two on the front, one on the side and one on the back.
Through meticulous re-engineering and revision, P&G and Placon also finessed the blisters for production efficiency, from manufacturing at Placon through packaging at P&G.
For starters, P&G saved 30% of the projected tooling costs by designing the front and back pieces to use the same final trim tool. Lewis Lee, Placon’s sales engineer, explains, “By using interchangeable part ejector pucks along with designing the back mold to run on the upper form platen and the front mold to run on the lower platen, both the sleek, elongated lids and bases were able to run with the same identical, final trim tool for a total project cost savings.”
The package has four labels: two on the front (top and bottom), one on the left side and one on the back. Why so many? “The various labels are needed to provide critical benefit and use information to the consumer without obstructing the ability to see the shade and contents of the pack,” Wilson replies.
• The upper front label has the brand and product name;
• The lower front label is printed in the color of the shade (in process color) to help consumers select the right shade;
• The side label shows consumers the two-step application process and correct use habits; and
• The back label includes shade name/number again, an ingredient list, UPC bar code and manufacturer info.
Blister bases are automatically picked and placed onto pucks for labeling prior to being shipped to Procter & Gamble. In this image, finished blisters move under an optical check station to verify label presence and correct positioning prior to automatically unloading for pack-out.
All four labels are applied by Placon as a value-added service (something the company does for all its thermoform customers) before shipping out the blister bases and lids.
Both front labels are applied at the same time. Placon’s Lee explains how this is done: “Applying the two clear labels on the front-facing thermoform required precise alignment via a puck system. The labels are applied and wiped down the smooth, contoured surface of the thermoform in one direction as the part passes under the label head in a single, unique process, made possible by the curvature of the design.”
A vision inspection system then confirms the labels presence and position. The simultaneous label application is repeatable and has another benefit, according to Lee: “The single-pass process improves run efficiency, virtually eliminating label-to-label registration concerns while also eliminating label bubbling or warping with no overhang due to precision placement.”
The undercut design (circled) allows the blister lid to snap into the base to secure the package without heat sealing or RF welding. The same undercut allows the bases, and the lids, to stack rather than nest for easy denesting on the packaging line.
Labeled bases and lids are “stacked” for shipment (rather than being “nested”) due to an ingenious undercut design in the four “corners” of the base and lid (see photo above with circles) that does two things:
1. Keeps the parts separated for easy denesting on P&G’s packaging line;
2. Allows the lid to snap into the base in a secure fit so heat sealing, welding or gluing is not needed. Lee affirms that they conducted extensive testing to make sure the package didn’t pop open during drop tests yet could still be easily opened by the consumer via the bottom pull tabs.
NEXT: The shelf impact