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Corning prepares for demand for Valor Glass

Corning prepares for demand for Valor Glass
Image courtesy of Corning

Corning plans to open a new high-volume manufacturing facility, likely in North Carolina, specifically for making Corning Valor Glass. The company launched the new glass for pharmaceutical vials last year, with initial production out of its New York operation. Recently, Corning added new jobs to its existing New York production facilities located in Big Flats and in Erwin. The new location will enable the company to “increase capacity to meet market demand,” reports Kyle Hoff, applications engineering manager at Corning. “Two pharma companies are already with us,” he says, referring to Corning’s collaboration with Merck and Pfizer. “And we’ve seen a lot of development in the top 40 pharma. 

“We got into the industry to help address patient safety and drug safety and improve efficiency,” he adds.

Known for its specialty glass, Corning began developing a new glass for pharma packaging after FDA’s 2011 advisory on glass delamination. At the same time, the company was working with a crystallizing glass customer that was experiencing problems with cracking vials. “So, we started asking ourselves, what does the industry need for safety and manufacturing?” recounts Hoff.

Hoff’s team set out to develop glass with a new formulation, one that “removed the bad actors,” he tells PMP News. “We thought the composition of glass could be a problem in terms of delamination.”

Corning decided to use a different “network former,” creating an aluminosilicate glass by eliminating boron from the composition. “Boron used in conventional glass volatizes during vial manufacturing creating different glass chemistry in the drug-contacting region of the container, which can lead to chemical attack and glass flake (lamellae) formation," he says. "The aluminosilicate glass does not have boron, so the volatilization mechanism does not occur, leading to a uniform and chemically durable glass chemistry on the entire inside of every Valor container.”

To increase the strength of the container, Hoff says that “treating the glass nicely throughout the manufacturing process is one approach. The high-temperature processes require a lot of metal, so there can be contact damage,” he says. The team decided to design new ways to mitigate damage during processing. However, “we found out that wasn’t enough.”

Corning opted for an “ion exchange” for a stronger glass. “It is a simple concept—ions exchange out of glass into a salt bath to reach equilibrium,” he explains. “We added a large ion, leading to higher compression strength.”

For damage resistance, the team added an external coating with a low coefficient of friction. “The vials slide past each other, and this also improves throughput,” he says. Glass particles shedding from typical vials “end up wearing away components on filling lines.” With the new coating, there would be “fewer interventions and stoppages, improving manufacturing,” he says.

Image courtesy of Corning

Hoff says that at “end-of-line inspections, Valor glass doesn’t have the scratches or damage that high-coefficient-of-friction products do.”

Hoff considers Valor Glass a “drop-in solution” for pharma. “Because we’ve worked with pharma companies with our glass, we knew they wouldn’t want to change their processes, so we didn’t want to add a manufacturing hurdle for them.”

The regulatory filing is up to pharma. “We meet all requirements and expectations for glass, and our Type III DMF is deemed adequate,” he says.

For more details, Hoff points to this article published in the PDA Journal of Pharmaceutical Science Technology: “A new glass option for parenteral packaging.”

Brand owners welcome voice-enabled packaging lines

Brand owners welcome voice-enabled packaging lines
Would packaging line efficiency improve if operators and machines talk to each other?

Some automation technologies—like robust human-machine interfaces (HMIs)—offer a lot of advantages in packaging production. But newer technologies, like voice recognition paired with machine learning, have the potential to boost efficiencies to higher levels.

Last fall in an online poll, Packaging Digest asked its global online audience what they thought of using their voice to monitor and control packaging lines. Interestingly, users see more value in this than their machinery-manufacturer vendors. We’ll tell you why in a bit.

First, let’s look at the results of our 2017 poll that asked, “What do you think about the viability of using ‘voice’ technology to monitor and/or control a packaging machine and/or line?”

A slight majority of All Respondents, 58%, say they are pro-voice—but when the results are filtered by Brand Owners, the support jumps to 70%.

When asked why, respondents easily site the potential benefits. One person replies, “I work in an automated environment and most times the machine issues are just operator errors by not knowing what the machine needs. This would improve yields and minimize downtime.”

And this respondent voted “Yes,” but notes the advantages might not be without risk: “This makes it easier to track problems, but can prove more complicated like the old cars before they had all this electronic sensoring.”

Of the 30% of Brand Owners who chose “No,” some say the rewards are not yet worth the risk:

“Early stages at this time. Maybe can use simple commands now but the error risks with the noise in the machine areas may make this quite frustrating to use.”

“Voice recognition leaves a lot to be desired. Not so much about the risks, but about consistency in understanding what is said. Even humans listening to one another misinterpret what people are saying. I’d rather see a simple visual prompt for the operator (if you have to have a voice, have it talk to the operator as a reminder).”

Least in favor

The people answering our poll with the lowest percentage of acceptance of voice technology are the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers at 50%, which is still a significant percentage.

Packaging Digest initially posed the question “Is voice-enabled technology suitable for packaging lines?” last summer to executives at a handful of leading packaging machinery manufacturing companies. As foretellers of our machine makers’ poll results, their opinions were split—with some seeing promise and others seeing problems.

Poll respondents from packaging machinery makers who are open to the technology (those saying “Yes”) are still guarded: “Good idea but it needs to be designed in such a way so that limits of what can be done or asked, or who can ask, can be set. This should help with questions on how to control/limit changes and prevent unauthorized users from making any changes or see how the equipment is running.”

But barriers to implementation can be severe, as this machinery supplier attests: “Communication issues between all of the electrical components is getting worse, not better. It is a fight every time you try to build a new machine.”

And this machinery manufacturer asks, “Why should the operator have to ask if the cartoner needs to be refilled? A properly designed interface between humans and machines will make this known without prompting.”

Future outcomes?

A third type of respondent to our poll is “Other.” This group is one-third for, two-thirds against using voice to control a packaging machine or line.

Respondents on the “for” side are pretty upbeat:

“IIoT is coming fast and makes lines more productive,” says an industry analyst respondent.

“Operators tend to get into a robot mode,” says another respondent in the aerospace electronics area. “Being alerted with only the most accurate and higher priorities is a great step towards operator standards of the same industry.”

But are past results an indication of future outcomes? “OMAC’s PackML is struggling almost 20 years now with only very limited installations,” says this integrator/consulting engineer who voted "No." “I see no application of speech technology in a close future. Furthermore, the packaging lines are very noisy.”

If you didn’t get an opportunity to vote in the first poll, here’s another chance. Packaging Digest will continue to monitor the viability of speech recognition technology for packaging lines—so we’re conducting the same poll in 2018. Share your opinion here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2018Voice. It only takes a minute or so.

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Packaging line efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City). This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

Can healthcare flexibles be diverted from landfills?

Can healthcare flexibles be diverted from landfills?
Image source: Shutterstock/Ideya

A significant amount of the plastic waste generated by hospitals is a flexible material of some sort, such as sterilization wrap or flexible packaging. Recycling such materials has been a challenge historically for various reasons. The Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC), which works to improve the recyclability of healthcare plastics, is launching a new study to better characterize such flexibles and determine their potential value to recyclers and beyond.

Kicking off this month, the Flexibles Recyclability Assessment will collect flexible materials from participating hospitals and route them for testing by plastics engineering graduate students at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) for testing. The program is funded primarily by the HPRC with some support from the Flexible Packaging Association, reports Alison Bryant, communications director for Antea Group and HPRC.

“Our pilot studies with Kaiser Permanente and Stanford University Hospital, and most recently in our Chicago regional recycling project, have shown that there are large quantities of healthcare plastic flexibles,” she tells PMP News. Of all healthcare recyclables, about 37% is sterilization wrap and 24% flexible packaging, according to HPRC.

Historically, recyclers haven’t been interested in such materials, she says. “Such flexibles can pose unique recycling challenges because some are multilaminates, for instance,” she says. “There is a broad spectrum of material used in flexible packaging, and it’s precisely this broad spectrum of material composition that is rendering it unrecyclable.”

Bryant said the most common flexible packaging in healthcare settings typically consist of HDPE and multiple other material types including polyester, EVA, PE, and/or nylon. 

“These combinations of different resins make it really hard for recyclers to recycle and resell these materials,” she says. “If recyclers choose to recycle these materials they have to jump through many hoops. But what’s more common is that recyclers will just refuse to take these materials at all – resulting in enormous quantities of flexible packaging ending up in landfills.”

However, “if we can better characterize these materials and understand their properties, perhaps recyclers can identify their value,” she says. 

Collecting such healthcare flexibles will be Cleveland Clinic, Lehigh Valley Hospital, and Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Dartmouth will gather all the materials and send them to EREMA, a plastics recycling systems company, for densification. Material will then be shipped to Umass Lowell, where students will assess, separate, process, and injection-mold target materials into different samples that can then be evaluated through mechanical, rheological, and morphological testing. Students will then review potential applications for recycling.

The ultimate goal is to identify opportunities to recycle such flexible materials and divert them from landfills. “We’d really like to create more demand from recyclers for these flexibles,” says Bryant.

She also believes there is an “opportunity for packaging engineers to do a better job of designing for recycling and thinking about what that material’s next life will be.” Some potential solutions include embracing circular economy concepts and designing with mono-material or compatible materials, she adds.

Standardizing package information on investigational drugs

Standardizing package information on investigational drugs
Image source: GS1

The pharmaceutical industry is knee-deep in transitioning to new product identification requirements for its commercial drugs, with a majority of companies still laboring to achieve compliance with Phase 2 of the 2013 Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) before FDA enforcement begins next November. The good news is that adopting the required, standardized bar code format for all pharmaceutical products will introduce new efficiencies throughout the supply chain, streamlining operations and helping to improve patient safety.

Investigational drugs being used in clinical research are not currently included in this game-changing process evolution. Recently, a powerhouse of industry collaborators came together to examine the potential benefits of similar standards for identification of investigational drugs. 

Four of the industry’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturers, Amgen, Eli Lilly and Company (Eli Lilly), MSD, and Pfizer, worked with GS1 Healthcare US, a collaborative industry group that seeks to solve supply chain and business process challenges through the adoption and use of GS1 Standards, and Dana Farber Cancer Institute (Dana-Farber) to investigate the supply-chain, inventory, and point-of-use issues associated with delivering these investigational drugs to researchers and, ultimately, to patients. Through their observations, systemic inefficiencies were identified that could be eased or eliminated with industry-wide adoption of the same GS1 Standards that are now being applied for FDA-approved pharmaceuticals.

Summarizing their analysis, the companies noted:

  • The sheer number of clinical trials going on at any one time is in the tens of thousands.
  • Many research facilities are conducting hundreds of these trials simultaneously.
  • Every pharmaceutical manufacturer labels its investigational drugs differently.
  • Inconsistencies in product labeling practices prevent interoperability across the supply chain, slowing down and complicating the inventory, tracking, and documentation of product usage at clinical sites.
  • While manual data entry is prone to human error, it is commonly used in many institutions, due to disparities in bar code formats and scanning compatibility.
  • Automated bar code scanning significantly reduces the risk of errors.

They concluded that standardizing the product identification format for investigational drugs can help accelerate and streamline operational efficiencies, with the same accuracy, efficiency, process familiarity, and safety benefits that DSCSA-compliant labeling will bring to the supply chain for commercialized drugs. Those benefits extend throughout the medical community, including to the patients themselves, whose safety can be improved as a result. 

Additionally, the companies agree there’s no need to reinvent the wheel: the same GS1 Standards currently being used for commercial drugs will be just as effective in clinical research.

How it works

For FDA-approved drugs, a GS1 Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is used to identify and provide information about various products. This GTIN includes the GS1 Company Prefix, which identifies the manufacturer, and the Item Reference, which uniquely identifies the product. When a serial number is added to the GTIN, it identifies the specific package that will be dispensed to the patient. The GTIN and serial number are encoded in a bar code that is applied to the product's packaging. 

Using identification systems based on the common language of GS1 Standards, clinical research teams and other supply-chain members could easily identify a specific container of an investigational product and access information about it by reading the container's bar code via a simple scan. Using one scanner for all products, one system for tracking and tracing them, and one language for sharing information about them, the entire supply chain can simplify processes to run more smoothly.

Envisioning a path forward

Amgen, Eli Lilly, MSD, and Pfizer recommend companies leverage their experience implementing GS1 Standards for commercial drugs when they consider expanding their application for investigational products. They have joined together with Dana-Farber and GS1 US to advocate for adoption of the same GS1 Standards already working for commercial drugs to achieve system-wide efficiencies and benefits in the supply chain for clinical trials. By taking steps to create and manage GTINs and begin transitioning to GS1 Standards, pharmaceutical sponsors can work together to leverage the information-sharing power those standards enable.

For more information on GS1 Standards in healthcare, visit www.gs1us.org//industries/healthcare.

Greg Bylo currently serves as vice president, healthcare, GS1 US.

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Notable new packaging designs score in February

Notable new packaging designs score in February
Packaging design developments compete for, and win, your attention.

Ever on the hunt for packaging design ideas and innovation, our global audience found plenty of inspiration in February. All of the top five articles for the month, based on number of page views, centered on packaging design. More than 160 examples across myriad markets, with sparkling new bottles from Nestlé Waters and a recyclable foodservice bag from Lamb Weston for frozen French fries among them.

In reverse order, we present your top five articles on PackagingDigest.com from February 2018:

5. Lamb Weston unveils sustainably optimized food packaging

Sustainable practices in foodservice and institutional markets has the potential of diverting massive amounts of packaging waste from landfills.

Case in point: For its frozen French fries, Lamb Weston is using Tite-Pak kraft paper bags from Graphic Packaging Intl. Inc., which are now recyclable in established Old Corrugated Container (OCC) and mixed paper recycling streams. This partnership has created the potential to annually divert up to 30-million pounds of used packaging material from landfills to the recycling stream.

Kim Williams, Lamb Weston director project management, research and development, explains, “The paper has always been recyclable. But in the previous package format, the poly coating did not easily and completely separate from the paper, which made it non-recyclable. The key change has been the optimization. The poly coating now separates completely from the paper, making fiber recovery in the re-pulping process possible.”

With an 89% recoverable fiber content result, the packaging development process included material qualification at Lamb Weston plants, Fibre Box Assn. (FBA) certification for repulpability, OCC batch digester testing at GPI Santa Clara, continuous digester testing at KapStone Longview, and laboratory testing at International Paper to qualify Tite-Pak repulpability in the mixed paper stream.

NEXT: Nestlé Waters’ sparkling new packaging signals major rebranding

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Optimize your packaging operations. 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 project. Register today!

4. Nestlé Waters’ sparkling new packaging signals major rebranding

To make a big splash in the rising sparkling water category, Nestlé Waters North America has timed a major rebranding effort with the debut of all-new packaging that reaches store shelves after mid-March.

A proprietary new PET bottle resembles vintage glass, is more comfortable to hold and highlights the movement of sparkling bubbles.

The brand’s first cans feature colorful fruit graphics and come in consumer-preferred 12-ounce size.

New rainbow packs—popular flavor combinations in 24-pack bottles and cans—encourage flavor trial.

Designed to create the best flavor profile and sensory experience, the company’s new packaging look spans 25 stock-keeping units across six regional brands, and for new flavors and products.

NEXT: 3 top packaging issues emerge in 2018

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Optimize your packaging operations. 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 project. Register today!

3. 3 top packaging issues emerge in 2018

Packaging design developments and trends excited the Packaging Digest audience the first month of the year, too, as our January 2018 top articles review showed. But two other developments also piqued your interest—sustainability and food packaging—and found solid footing in the current-at-the-time five most-read articles of the year (so far):

(5.) Pouch filling operation sets new standard in quality, efficiency

(4.) Proposition 65 and food packaging: A preview of coming changes

(3.) Nature’s Path packaging takes a bold new direction

(2.) 8 sustainable packaging hits of 2017

(1.) 5 packaging design trends on the way out in 2018

NEXT: 5 packaging design trends on the way out in 2018

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Optimize your packaging operations. 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 project. Register today!

2. 5 packaging design trends on the way out in 2018

Well…déjà vu all over again…Didn’t we just see this article in the January top list? Yep. It’s a keeper.

We don’t often focus on the negative in packaging (yes, there is some negative stuff that happens) but instead of the ho-hum “new trends of the year” preview, we askedPamela Webber, chief marketing officer at 99designs, to flip it and think of the packaging design trends that have lived and burned brightly but should now be extinguished.

Looks like you needed this reality check.

Here is what not to do anymore when designing your packaging:

• Stop with over-cluttered designs. It’s better to keep it simple.

• Nix small type. Instead, go big and bold.

• Don’t get too familiar with the same old packaging. Consumers today favor experimental designs.

• Weed out wasteful packaging. Sustainability sells.

• Skip the hyper-masculine packaging. Explore the softer side with more feminine styles.

NEXT: 166 new packages to inspire you

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Optimize your packaging operations. 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 project. Register today!

1. 166 new packages to inspire you

Our second compilation of all the new packages published by Packaging Digest in a year has been even more successful than the first. We’re so glad you find this helpful!

Our first new packages database showcased 85 examples of design creativity from 2016. This time, we have more than 160 spectacular specimens from 2017 to kick-start your imagination.

Presented in an Excel document with images and links to the full article online, the information is searchable and sortable so you can pinpoint exactly what you need.

…Or browse and let the ideas flow…

Here’s a thought: Download the databases from both year’s and start creating a robust electronic packaging design tool, courtesy of your friends at Packaging Digest.

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Optimize your packaging operations. 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 project. Register today!

Packaging revelations from Frito-Lay, Campbell Soup and more

Packaging revelations from Frito-Lay, Campbell Soup and more
Packaging design and decisions helped drive the success of Campbell Soup most recent launch.

Insights from major brand owners—and innovations from vendors such as buttressed bottles, airless molding and more—were all part of The Packaging Conference lineup.  

Three days of The Packaging Conference the first week of February in balmy Florida yielded a wealth of packaging and plastics information from and for brands, their vendors and their vendors’ vendors across packaging markets for food, beverages and plastics including bioplastics.

We’ve assembled a selection of insightful sound bites and interesting news and developments from the event, starting with Robert Weick, VP Packaging R&D, Campbell Soup, through his prepared remarks and from the post-presentation Q&A.

“You will find out where your weakest points are in omnichannel like leaky seals and closures, what I call Holy Cows,” said Weick. “The challenge is to design for the unknown, such as discovering a closure leaks when the packaging isn’t kept upright when shipped via ecommerce.”

He also made these observations:

  • We’ve been reshaping our portfolio through acquisitions.
  • Recent changes in our omnichannel packaging portfolio includes delivered meals for new marketing strategies and the need for new formats, including meeting customers’ need for 4-packs and 6-packs.   
  • In December 2017, the company launched a 4-pack count of Well Yes! Cans for ecommerce.
  • We are willing to accept lower margins in ecommerce, we lose a little to gain more.
  • We have a complete ecommerce team that acquires [supply chain] data and then uses that data to drive business.
  • By tapping retailer data, Campbell’s was able to launch a PET bottle of Prego sauce in one-third of the usual time.
  • The need for speed of response is required not just in packaging operations, but in production, too; we need to create morphing systems for change.
  • We embarked on “non intent” path for BPA with Well Yes! canned soups, which are stackable and have been our most successful recent launch.
  • Adaptability is crucial in working backwards through the supply chain while enabling cube and pallet efficiencies and modularity.
  • Cost savings is innovation, and innovation should deliver savings.

Next: Frito-Lay’s ‘Holy Grail’ pursuit in bioplastics

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You’ll find the latest cobots, a dedicated 3D Printing Zone, hundreds of exhibitors and a 3-day packaging conference at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center during EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City).

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Frito-Lay’s bioplastic ‘Holy Grail’

Garry Kohl, senior director R&D, snacks category, global packaging innovation - ‎PepsiCo, spoke of the company’s “Mission with a purpose” that centers on healthier products and also includes packaging that’s better for the environment. He disclosed several Frito-Lay initiatives that are aligned with the latter.

Frito-Lay has considerable history in sustainable packaging in having used one particular practice continually since the 1950s: As a result of its direct-to-retail distribution model, Frito-Lay collects and reuses empty corrugated cases of snacks after store delivery an average of five times each. “It’s a huge cost savings,” Kohl added.

Kohl pointed to a ban in India on multilayer packaging as a sign of the times, though industrial compostable packaging is allowed. It’s regulations along those lines that motivate the company to embark to develop packaging that’s either 100% recoverable or recyclable.

Kohl also noted a major initiative by the brand to reduce package headspace. It's not as easy at it may sound.

For example, doing that for potato chips is complicated by the fact that potatoes harvested in the spring contain more water, meaning those potato chips take up more space than chips made from potatoes harvested at other times.

One method to reduce headspace is to pre-settle chips before they are filled into the bags.

“Done manually in tests, we can reduce the package volume by 30-50 percent,” he said. “We think that 15-25 percent is an achievable level when done automatically that can also [adequately] protect the product.”

That’s related to package rightsizing. Reducing the amount of air shipped is something that all companies in the ecommerce space are working on, Kohl observed: “Space costs money.”

The company’s pursuit of a 100% biodegradable film—under what conditions? he asked rhetorically—is achievable. The Holy Grail of that quest, he offered, is incorporating polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), which is a naturally occurring polyester, into the flexible packaging structure (shown above).

“We’re even looking at biodegradable packaging that you could flush down your toilet,” Kohl said. “Our goal is to develop packaging that [truly] disappears in the ocean.”

Why PHA? “It’s the only material certified for marine degradation,” he explained. The brand has been working that with Danimer Scientific on that potentially game-changing development.

Next: The strengthened “flying buttress” bottle and airless molding

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You’ll find the latest cobots, a dedicated 3D Printing Zone, hundreds of exhibitors and a 3-day packaging conference at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center during EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City).

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One of several announcements by plastics industry vendors was the first commercial launch of the LiquiForm non-air molding technology into market for an embossed bottle for Nature's Promise brand hand soap. The revelation came during a presentation by Ashish Saxena VP, general manager of the LiquiForm Group.

The 12oz/19-gram PET bottle is a drop-in replacement for the current Nature’s Promise container and uses the existing closure and label. It’s made with 50% PCR content and is produced by Amcor on proprietary form-fill machinery. It features a 24-mm finish and high-definition texturing characteristic of the LiquiForm process.

LiquiForm technology uses the packaged product instead of compressed air to simultaneously form and fill containers. In this case, the hand soap essentially forms its own rigid PET container. By combining forming and filling into one step, the process eliminates costs associated with the equipment and energy of the traditional blow-molding process along with the handling, transport and warehousing of empty containers.

The reason I include a soap bottle in this food packaging coverage is that Saxena expects a LiquiForm-made bottled beverage to hit the market in 2019. You can read the full report on this development at PlasticsToday.

 

PET Bottle buttressed by handle

Thin-walling of bottles thin-walling has long been a practice to save material in primary packaging, but here’s a different tack that actually reduces or eliminates secondary packaging such as corrugated cases. Paul Kayser president, Pretium Packaging, announced the debut of the recycling enhanced (it’s 100% PET for easy recycling) SureHandle 2-L PET bottle (with yellow liquid seen above) with integrated handle has ergonomic benefits for consumers. Previously the company introduced a 64oz SureHandle bottle (red bottle above).

Notably, these bottles have exceptional top-load strength that can eliminate secondary packaging for brands so it’s a doubly beneficial win for brands’ sustainability efforts: It can be unitized as-is in stacked and stretch-wrapped sans corrugated cases in four-high-layers. That's due to the strengthening effect of the handle, which acts as a flying buttress support more commonly associated with medievel cathedrals.

Kayser noted that brand owners in several food categories—including edible oil and honey—have shown interest in this new size. Other markets include cold-pressed juices, ready-to-drink teas, sport drinks, nutritional supplements, dressings, sauces, marinades and more.

You can read my report at Packaging Digest sister publication PlasticsToday.

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You’ll find the latest cobots, a dedicated 3D Printing Zone, hundreds of exhibitors and a 3-day packaging conference at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center during EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City).

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Customizable magnetic dropper adds unique functionality to skin care

Customizable magnetic dropper adds unique functionality to skin care
The new magnetic closure can sit atop vials of different sizes and shapes, and can change the color of its components to create a customized look.

Magnetic closures have been popular in the cosmetics market for many years, helping to create elegant and easy-open packages. This sealing feature is now available for skin care products in a new magnetic dropper.

Developed and patented by Virospack, the new magnetic dropper is manufactured in Badalona (Barcelona), Spain, and available for customers around the globe, including the U.S. (Virospack is represented in the U.S. by SGB Packaging.)

Instead of a screw-off gesture, a simple twist of the closure separates the two magnets holding the dropper in place and allows consumers to easily remove it for product application.

The closure consists of two components:

• A dropper—with a cap that can be painted or metallized, a pipette and a rubber bulb. 

• A bottle neck cover—a beveled embellisher that covers the shoulder of the vial and functions as a wiper for the pipette.

The closure’s clip-on bezel (the sealing ring) fits FEA15 vials, which is one of the most common bottle necks in cosmetics packaging.

Because of the way the multi-component closure is designed, different decorating options—materials and colors—on the separate parts allow the closure to be easily customized or personalized. And when mated with a different container (rounds or squares, for example), the final package can be quite specific to a brand.

Gustavo Bay, project leader in the technical department, and Rosa Porras, marketing communications manager, at Virospack share a few more details about this development.

Is this new dropper commercialized? Are any customers using it yet?

Porras: Not yet. We have just introduced this new concept of droppers on the market with excellent response from customers.

We have already received some requests for technical information and some queries from different brands that have expressed interest, but we will need some time to have a final project manufactured and decorated for a brand in the market.

Each order is a new project because we always manufacture under an order, ensuring the perfect personalization of the packaging, even with standard references, according to the briefing and positioning of each brand.

How secure is the seal from leaks?

Bay: Totally secure, according Virospack standard tests, and approved by many of our customers, which are some of the best well-known brands worldwide.

Where are the four poles of the magnets positioned?

Bay: The four poles are positioned in each face to magnet to 90 degrees (positive-negative-positive-negative).

Is there a magnet on the removable portion of the closure, too, or just on the section that stays with the vial?

Bay: The magnet is on the removable portion too.

What is the force needed to lift the dropper from the magnet?

Bay: We need a minimum torque of 0.02Nm [Newton meter, which is a measurement of torque].

By substituting the typical screw-on gesture, is this closure easier to remove?

Bay: Yes. The sealing is really hermetic but for removing it you won’t need any effort.

What are the consumer benefits of the new sealing mechanism?

Bay: It’s easy and comfortable to use. Only one movement to open and one to close.

How many different design versions of the magnetic dropper can be created by customizing the two parts?

Bay: Currently in our catalogue we have two versions of a cap design, with many different finishes.

We can, of course, develop a specific customer design.

Does the new design affect closure application on the packaging line? Any slow down because of the magnetic properties?

Porras: As always, we can offer the best service also with the Magnetic Dropper. As a result of our expansion plan that started five years ago, Virospack has made a big investment in facilities, machinery, molds and decoration techniques to respond to market demand. In our new production unit, we have modern and fast machines, and automatic production lines that allow us the best cost efficiency with flexibility.

 

How much does the magnetic dropper cost?

Porras: It will depend on the finish chosen by the brand.

Is there a “standard” version?

Porras: Yes. We have developed a new concept of dropper in two standard options of cap.

What other markets beyond cosmetics and personal care products could benefit from this technology?

Porras: We only manufacture for cosmetic brands: skin care, nails, hair and makeup.

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Optimize your packaging operations. 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 project. Register today!

How brands can capitalize on cleaning the planet

How brands can capitalize on cleaning the planet
"Branded litter" literally shows up everywhere in the world. What can we do about it? #Litterati

Imagine that you are the Chief Marketing Officer at a global consumer packaged goods corporation. You are responsible for maintaining the brand equity, and work to position your brand as a responsible steward of the planet. Yet, your product packaging continues to make its way into the natural environment, becoming branded litter. Consumers see your discarded packaging on their streets, their sidewalks, and point fingers at you, the brand, for failing to do its due diligence by the environment.

What if you understood exactly where, and what type, your branded litter was? How would you use that data to make a difference? Litterati founder/CEO Jeff Kirschner will answer these questions and more during his keynote address at the upcoming sustainable packaging conference SPC Impact (Apr. 24-26; San Francisco, CA), organized by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.

Litterati is an application that encourages users to pick up and dispose of litter, but not before photographing and uploading it to the digital landfill, where it is time-stamped and geo-tagged. By noting the brand via hash tag, users are creating the largest database of branded debris on the planet; and, a cleaner world, one piece of litter at a time.

Litterati began as a single photograph of a cigarette butt on Instagram, after Kirschner’s daughter inquired about the garbage while hiking together. “Artistic and approachable,” the photograph served as a record of the litter’s impact on the planet: who picked it up, where and when.

Kirschner continued Instagraming photos of litter with #Litterati, telling his close network to do the same. Then something magical happened. Kirschner began to notice other users, who he didn’t know, uploading photos of litter #Litterati. Suddenly his efforts to clean up debris were becoming more than just pretty pictures; they were becoming a movement, powered by a global community of data collectors.  

Today Litterati is a stand-alone application with about 70,000 users. From exemplary citizens dedicated to making the world a better place to data-enthusiasts thrilled by the opportunity to measure their impact on the environment, Litterati allows users to be a part of the solution. And while Litterati allows individuals to make a difference, it provokes communities to make an impact.

A #Litterati look at our world...

...with a close-up of a neighborhood in San Francisco, CA.

Such was realized by a community of 5th graders who were tasked with cleaning up their campus. What they found via Litterati was that one type of debris dominated the schoolyard: plastic straw wrappers. Armed with this insight, the students persuaded the administration to stop buying plastic straws, eliminating this potential environmental nuisance.

Kirschner explains the power of the collective impact: “When you can show somebody that by taking an action—that is, crowd-sourcing litter, it leads to insight (data) that drives change in behavior, that’s when the light bulb goes off. The 5th graders used Litterati to clean campus; the insight gleamed is the most common litter is straw wrappers; the action that it drives is the school stops buying straws. Here is what we did, the insight it provoked and the action it facilitated. Data is critical to creating change.”

For the audience of SPC Impact, Kirschner hopes to demonstrate that there is real value both from the economic and social perspective to understanding what’s mine on the ground and where it is. By creating a sense of shared responsibility for litter, Kirschner envisions a reality where one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

He asks, “Can we imagine a world where those keeping the planet clean are rewarded by those who want to keep it clean?” The potential for incentivizing citizens to pick up litter, in exchange for a voucher from the city or a coupon from a brand, for instance, demonstrates the impact that Litterati’s crowd-sourced clean-up model could have. If information is power, then Litterati is the engine that drives groups—be they schools, brands, cities or non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—to make a difference.

You are the CMO of a global CPG company. You have the opportunity to work directly with your customers to keep your branded litter off the streets. Learn how to use Litterati to create brand ambassadors while contributing to a cleaner planet at SPC Impact in San Francisco, Apr. 24-26.

Chandler Slavin is the sustainability coordinator and marketing manager at custom thermoforming company Dordan Manufacturing. Privately held and family owned and operated since 1962, Dordan is an engineering-based designer and manufacturer of plastic clamshells, blisters, trays and thermoformed components. Follow Slavin on Twitter @DordanMfg.

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Optimize your packaging operations. 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 project. Register today!

How packaging recyclability can shift sustainability expectations for startup beauty brands

How packaging recyclability can shift sustainability expectations for startup beauty brands
Beauty startups can learn sustainability lessons from Lush Cosmetics and how it markets its 100% post-consumer recycled plastic packaging.

As with most industries today, one of the personal care and beauty category’s fastest growing influences on consumer purchasing behavior are claims for sustainability. Sustainable sourcing of raw materials in cosmetics and “clean beauty” formulas are gaining popularity, and many cosmetics manufacturers and retailers have launched “take-back” recycling initiatives for packaging as the majority of cosmetics and skin care packaging, though all technically recyclable, is considered “difficult-to-recycle.”

Cosmetics are often packaged in containers that are hard to clean, and the packaging is often comprised of mixed materials (such as a pump-action bottle made with different plastic resins and a metal spring) or small pieces that fall through the cracks at recycling facilities due to their size. Packaging reclamation systems that “take-back” containers are options for personal care and beauty brands integrating green activities into their business model. However, with high collection and processing costs, linear disposal methods like landfilling and incineration are typically considered the most economically viable options.

Even so, consumer demand for more responsibility is resonating across the beauty industry, and brands that can’t keep up will find themselves at risk. For startups and small businesses, creating the kind of value that stands out for consumers and makes sense financially can take a bit of creative legwork and support from city agencies that are in a position to foster sustainable growth by providing resources and incentives. With the right programs, startups, which often have deeply connected customer relationships, can play a special role in shifting expectations that could create a groundswell for change.

For example, one personal care and beauty startup in New York City is just starting up its small business and reports that while NYC has many solid city resources to help start a business, not too many are readily available specifically for start-ups and sustainability. Its founder wonders if agencies that promote starting a business should also include local sustainability resources and information, as well as financial incentives, to help to guide young businesses to launch with scalable sustainability from the start.

Unlike many of its competitors, which use disposable plastic packaging, this company uses amber glass containers and bottles, which are widely municipally recycled in NYC and other parts of the country.  The costs of shipping and sterilizing the packaging in a more circular, “take-back/reuse” approach is, at this time, out of reach for their new business, though choosing durable glass over single-use plastics gives them sustainability points on their competition.

Another clean cosmetics startup, withSimplicity in Harrisonburg, Va., also uses durable brown glass, but being in business for some time has been able to scale up its sustainability efforts to offer take-back incentives to its customers, who receive discounts for every container they return in a system that keeps them coming back. Additionally, for any plastics and films that cannot be recycled municipally, the retailer uses TerraCycle’s Beauty Products and Packaging Zero Waste Boxes to ensure that all of its packaging is 100% recyclable through a cost-effective, turn-key solution that requires little setup.

For inspiration, startups can look to Lush Cosmetics, a company that makes little to no packaging work for them. In addition to reusable metal tins, colorful cloth knot-wraps and 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and pots (some of it ocean plastic), 35% of its products (including solid shampoos, conditioners, massage bars, soaps and bath bombs) are sold “naked.” From a start-up formed in a U.K. beauty salon, Lush was able to scale up and globalize while maintaining the circular packaging and production practices that gained it a cult following in the first place.

By focusing on the recyclability and circularity of packaging, personal care startups can command a premium in the clean beauty market through cultivation of brand identity. While the activities of big consumer packaged goods corporations can be slower to change due to the need for sweeping infrastructure changes and an emphasis on the bottom-line, startups and small businesses have more flexibility to do the right thing, which isn’t lost on today’s highly discerning consumer.

The challenges for growing business owners are largely accessible resources, affordability and relevant insights and information for startups, which city agencies are in a position to provide.  If more startups were built (or better yet, incentivized) to scale with sustainability in mind, it would benefit their communities in many ways. In a competitive market, setting the bar on sustainability provides the green sheen that’s today so on trend, differentiating brands to drive growth for cities and local economies.

Author Tom Szaky, founder/CEO of TerraCycle, has won more than 50 awards for entrepreneurship, writes blogs for Treehugger and Happi Magazine, is about to release a book called “The Future of Packaging: Linear to Circular” (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Release Date: October 2018) and is the star of the television show “Human Resources.”

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Optimize your packaging operations. 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 project. Register today!