Packaging vision and execution define top award winners

Kate Bertrand Connolly in Packaging Design on July 20, 2017

The top winners in this year’s Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) AmeriStar Package Awards Competition showed the rest of us how it’s done, combining innovation with practicality and design creativity with real-life usability.

The Best of Show Award went to Locked4Kids, for its child-resistant, senior-friendly drug package; Eaton’s Neo-Ray light fixture package was awarded the Design Excellence Award; and Sealed Air took home the Sustainable Packaging Award for its curbside-recyclable TempGuard Insulated Liners.

The AmeriStar judges considered more than 80 packages in the 2017 competition. Their judging criteria included packaging innovation, product protection, performance, environmental impact, economics and marketing. See all the winners here.


Best of Show: Locked4Kids certified child-resistant and senior-friendly reclosable package

Locked4Kids, an entrant in the drug and pharmaceutical category, won Best of Show this year. The Best of Show Award “honors a package that surpasses all judging criteria and that [the AmeriStar] judges unanimously rated ‘outstanding’” on all criteria, according to IoPP. Locked4Kids’s award-winning package is child resistant (CR), senior friendly (SF) and reclosable.

The package’s primary CR feature has a squeeze-and-pull design: The consumer must press two tabs simultaneously to access the medication inside the carton. Watch a demonstration here. Locked4Kids’ unique twist on the design is to place the tabs diagonally on either side of the carton, far enough apart that a child’s hand cannot span both tabs.

Consumers press the tabs with one hand, and use their other hand to slide a plastic tray out of the carton. The tray holds medicine in a blister pack or other pack format. The package structure locks the filled tray into the carton and also locks the blister packs into the tray. To provide an extra layer of child resistance, the carton material incorporates a high-strength, tear-resistant film lamination that withstands tearing and biting. The package has an F=1 certification for child resistance.

And yet the package is easy for adults, including seniors, to use. Very little grip strength is required to press the squeeze-and-pull tabs, and an adult’s hand can easily reach both tabs. In tests, 100% of seniors opened the package on the first try and with no instructions.

“The most challenging element of the design process was the fine-tuning to achieve a very high score on Child Resistant whilst maintaining a 100% score on Senior Friendliness,” says Iwan Heynen, technical director at Locked4Kids. “We continued this process even after the package was certified, which is the AmeriStar-winning Locked4Kids version 2.0 package.”

Notably, the package is compatible with high-speed production. “The most innovative element is the fact that the CR/SF packaging platform is based with a ‘standard’ folding carton,” Heynen says. “This allows the drug manufacturer and packager to efficiently fill the cartons with their existing cartoning equipment, which minimizes the time, space and investment involved with adopting a new package format.”

He adds, “On the materials side, most folding carton converters have the capability to make the Locked4Kids cartons, which allows supply-chain efficiency.” Both the carton and tray are recyclable.

The package concept can also be used for many types of products.

Locked4Kids is based in The Netherlands and operates a Delaware-based U.S. subsidiary.


Next: Eaton’s Design Excellence Award



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