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Luxe cosmetic pack bridges gap in market with accessible price

Luxe cosmetic pack bridges gap in market with accessible price

 The Ellipse tottle is the newest addition to the Q-Line family from cosmetic packager Quadpack. Tottles are ideal for fluid formulas such as sunscreens and liquid foundations because they have flexible walls and enable easy dispensing because of their upside-down actuators. The oval-shaped pack is offered at an accessible price and is made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE).  Reinforced by a matt texture, the Ellipse is suitable for products  like matt foundation with no additional surcharge for this premium finish. Other options available include color matching, silk screening, hot stamping and metallizing on the cap. Capacities are 30ml or 50ml with an MOQ of 30,000.

 Additional information can also be obtained by visiting

Beyond the looking glass: Packaging and skin care rituals

Beyond the looking glass: Packaging and skin care rituals
5 steps of the universal skin care ritual

Brands in the beauty industry know how to appeal to women. It is what they do best. More than any other consumer-packaged goods (CPG) category, beauty companies can tap into female consumers’ desire to be beautiful, feel cared for and present the best version of themselves—regardless of what beauty routine they follow, or what country they live in. Fostering a loyal relationship between product and consumer starts with an emotional connection; and, as we are now learning, these connections are a crucial component to the most sacred part of any women’s beauty routine: The skin care ritual.

Our 2014 Skincare Research & Insights Study uncovered a common global skin care ritual that women across the globe use. Though products and price points may differ wildly, the ritual that women follow to care for their skin remains constant.

Packaging, of course, plays a significant role in this global ritual, offering brands the opportunity to further differentiate themselves, develop deeper connections with their consumers and build lasting and impactful brand loyalty. Packaging is the brand brought to life. It is the physical extension of the product inside, and it can significantly sway consumers’ perception of the brand as a whole. 

Tracking patterns: The 5-step ritual

We set out to study women across the world to see just how and why women actually use their favorite skin care products. Through our research, an interesting pattern emerged: When choosing new products and building loyalty toward their favorites, women do not simply like or dislike skin care products, they feel them—the velvety density of a moisturizer, the sensation of a cleanser, the lightness of a BB cream. These feelings transform their functional connection with each product into an emotional one, and they choose the products that best satisfy the rich sensorial experience that they unconsciously look for. The sensorial experience is such that women often use a mix of mass, masstige and prestige brands. And surprisingly, this sensorial experience is so important that it can outweigh a product’s price point and lead women to choose one brand over another.

So what does this ritual actually look like?

We approach the skin care ritual in five steps, each of which should evoke a specific sensorial experience and feeling, and all of which can be influenced by the product’s packaging. Here’s the basic rundown:

1. Cleanse: The first step is characterized by feeling refreshed and cared for, which can be enhanced through packaging that feels clean and simple and familiar. Dispensing systems that can be operated with one hand, and dispense the right amount of product to prevent drips or spills.

2. Moisturize and hydrate: After cleansing comes moisturizing. During this phase, consumers should feel a sense of pampering and indulgence. Women expect the products to be backed by scientific assurance, be completely hygienic, have a controlled dispenser and be easy to store—all attributes that can be met with thoughtful packaging.

3. Renew and brighten: This step is most commonly associated with anti-aging measures and whitening products (popular in Asia). To excel here, brands need to aim for a perceived sense of luxury and effectiveness, which can be communicated through packaging. Women want to see scientific efficacy on the label. They do not want unnecessary gimmicks or product waste and they want to get their money’s worth out of the container, down to the last drop.

4. Protect: This step is most critical in summer months, and for women living in areas of high sun exposure, like Brazil. Often repeated throughout the day, this step is crucial for preventing sun damage and premature aging, and should evoke a sense of reassurance and comfort. Brands that serve this step should always consider the role packaging can play with options like one-handed operation, easy and controlled dispensing, and portability for easy reapplication. This step is often combined with either Step 3 or Step 5.

5. Beauty base: Women use foundations or BB/CC creams that provide feelings of tranquility, protection and cleanliness. Packaging must follow suit. It should be clean in design and hygienic—especially in preventing residue buildup. A small and portable package is also a plus.  

Lessons for brand owners

This ritual was repeated by women in every market we tested. Customizing product packaging to fit within the parameters of this ritual can help brands better fulfill the unmet needs for all products—no matter the brand’s price point. In the end, a well-thought skin care line should be timeless and classic—much like the products used to create it, and the packages that hold it all together.

Beauty and personal care brand owners have long understood the power of packaging, and how it can help their brands connect with consumers on an emotional level. But with the articulation of the universal skin care ritual, brand owners can now apply these learnings in new ways, and play to the exact emotions that their target woman wants from her skin care products.

Kristy Hooper is category manager of skincare and cosmetics at MeadWestvaco (MWV), where she uses a consumer insights-based approach to innovation in developing scalable solutions for skincare and cosmetics brands. MeadWestvaco (MWV) is a global leader in packaging and packaging solutions, providing innovative solutions to the world’s most admired brands in the healthcare, beauty and personal care, food, beverage, home and garden, tobacco, and agriculture industries. For more information about MWV’s solutions, visit:

Keeping robotics safe in the packaging industry

Keeping robotics safe in the packaging industry
As robotic packaging systems grow in scale and flexibility—and become more integrated with packaging lines—enhanced safeguarding measures and better operator communication is needed.

While robotic technology has been around for several years, and used in applications ranging from material handling and assembly to dispensing and processing, it has been slow to gain the popularity it sees today.

According to the business intelligence study, “Trends in Robotics Market Assessment 2014,” by PMMI, The Assn for Packaging and Processing Technologies, more manufacturing companies are investing in robotic technology because of its impact on creating new jobs, greater safety and increased productivity. In fact, the use of robotics today has grown from only 20 percent in 2008 to 75 percent.

With technological advancements, reduced costs and increased ease of use, robotic technology has experienced widespread adoption in many industrial automation applications.

Past to present

Robotics have been widely used in the packaging industry, due to their reliability and accuracy. However, historically, robots were used for palletizing and case packing. With advances in technology, robots are expanding upstream to primary packaging functions, like pick-and-place operations and cartoning applications, and processing tasks, such as cutting and coating.

According to the 2014 PMMI study, respondents anticipate robotics will redefine manufacturing operations by enabling direct contact with food, enhanced spatial awareness of workers, greater precision and sort functions, and faster speeds and heavier lifting capacities.

With a more significant role than ever before, implementing safety measures is vital to ensuring robotics’ continuous operation and optimal performance in packaging operations.

Safety first

Robotics has changed the packaging industry’s safeguarding needs. A one-size-fits-all safety solution will no longer work for the next generation of packaging machines. A variety of devices should be considered, such as safety controllers, safety light curtains and safety laser scanners, to ensure robots are completely secure and to reduce disruption to production.

As robotic packaging systems grow in scale and flexibility—and become more integrated with packaging lines—enhanced safeguarding measures and better operator communication is needed.   

In the past, safeguarding scenarios in the packaging industry followed basic conditional “If X, then Y” logic. Simple safety modules and guard monitoring controllers could meet the demands of most packaging operations. With the introduction of flexible robots—where a robot may have access to multiple lines or responsibilities to perform more than one task—safeguarding measures becomes more complex.

Safety controller: A single robot with the ability to function in multiple areas requires multiple safeguards, like e-stop buttons, light curtains and guard switches. In addition, these different functions need to be able to operate independently of one another and in conjunction with one another.

Safety controllers provide an integrated approach to risk reduction by managing the operation of multiple safety devices. For example, if a machine has an emergency stop button, two-hand control, safety light screens and interlocked guard switches, a safety controller can be used to manage all of these operations at a fraction of the cost of multiple safety modules or safety PLCs. Safety controllers can also provide several safety related functions, such as muting or bypassing a safety light screen, external device monitoring (EDM), monitored manual reset functions and logical functions to create separate zones and conditional logic

Visual status indication: With robots and humans in such close working proximity, it’s critical to keep everyone aware of safeguarding status. One fast growing trend is to visually indicate safety status. Emergency stop push buttons, gate interlocks and safety rope pulls are lighting up to communicate armed, actuated and stop conditions. 

E-stop buttons with an illuminated base can glow yellow to indicate the machine is enabled or red to indicate stop condition has been initiated. Status indication not only protects workers, but is also useful in identifying issues with the packaging line—especially when a series of buttons have been connected. The visual status indication will let operators know which button was pushed and help them quickly determine where the issue began and enable workers to quickly resolve issues and get the line running again.


Optical safeguarding technologies: When robots become integrated further upstream from the packaging line, it increases the likelihood that robots will work side-by-side with humans. To keep workers protected without introducing clumsy physical barriers, optical safeguarding technologies are an optimal safeguarding solution for robotic packaging applications.


Safety light curtains: When robots are performing multiple tasks or supporting multiple production lines, various entry points to the robotic cell are present. For example, a palletizing robot cell will have access points where cases, new pallets and slip-sheets enter, and where full pallets exit the cell. Safety light curtains can efficiently safeguard several access points with minimal disruption. By selectively muting safety light curtains, pallets and product are allowed to flow in and out of the cell, while personnel is prevented from entering the hazardous area. 


Safety laser scanner: A safety laser scanner uses pulsed laser light to scan its surroundings, and then compares the scanned information to its predefined zones. If the scanner detects an intrusion into the robots working area—like a human—it sends a stop signal to the guarded machine.

Area laser scanners are versatile and non-intrusive safeguards. Unlike hard guards, such as fences or safety floor mats, the laser scanner works without physical barriers. Safety laser scanners are also an ideal solution for niche packaging applications where a safety light curtain does not cover the area efficiently.

Washdown-rated devices: As robotics enter the processing and primary packaging areas, they come in contact with food, pharmaceuticals and other regulated materials that require frequent washdowns. These robots need to be guarded by IP67 and IP69K-rated safeguarding devices. Washdown safety light curtains, e-stops and door interlocks are becoming more prevalent in the packaging industry. 

Applying safety measures

Safeguarding a robotic palletizer: When safeguarding a robotic palletizer, there are several safety functions involved. For example, the safety device status needs to be communicated to operators. Status monitoring ensures everything is running smoothly and no safety hazards exist. 

A safeguarding solution is needed to control safety light curtains with muting, gate switches and E-stop buttons. The solution also needs to safeguard two conveyors going out, two case infeeds and a forklift entry where empty pallets arrive.

A programmable safety controller can manage all of the safety devices with one module, communicating the status of safety devices via Ethernet IP and controlling a tower light for visual indication of safety device statuses.

Safeguarding an inspection station: To inspect robotic results, operators need to be able to access materials without compromising safety. Consider a robot engaged in a pick-and place operation, where the robot places goods in a package as it moves along a conveyor, and an operator then inspects the materials to ensure the package is correct.

By defining tiered safety zones and using area lasers scanners, manufacturers can safeguard their employees from robotic injury without shutting down production lines. When operators enter a pre-specified warning zone, a safety laser scanner recognizes that activity; sends a signal to the robot to limit its movement and an operator signal that says, “you’re in the warning zone, proceed with caution.” If the operator continues into a protective field, the same laser scanner can indentify that movement and signal a complete shutdown. This approach allows the operator to be in close proximity to the robot, without compromising his or her safety or shutting down the packaging line.

Safety mats can also fulfill this purpose, but they are costly and wear out quickly. Other machine safeguarding options include protective barriers and gates, which effectively safeguard an area, but limit the operator’s access.  

Looking ahead

As advancements in robotic technology continue to grow, packaging operations will require additional safeguarding methodologies. In order to achieve enhanced efficiency, streamline production and maximize the bottom line with robots, safety measures will be vital to protecting operations against unexpected shutdowns and to keep workers safe. 

Mark Lampert, MBA, has more than seven years experience serving the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries. He is a business development manager at Banner Engineering with expertise in selling sensing, lighting and safety devices for factory automation.

Automated shrink labeling opens new markets for wine

Automated shrink labeling opens new markets for wine
After the shrink labels are dropped onto the stack of four single-serve wine glasses, units move into the shrink tunnel.

With demand increasing for its stacked single-serve wine “glasses,” Stack Wines automated its multipack shrink labeling operations to gain the needed high-volume output.

Don’t look now, but there is an emerging trend afoot in which conveniently packaged wine is finding its way into the consumable consciousness of imbibing sports fans, concert goers, boaters, hotel and resort guests and other outdoor enthusiasts.

This trend has been fed and accelerated by the commercial offering of pre-packaged wine products that offer individual servings in “glasses” (actually food-grade PET), already filled with your favorite varietal and sealed in a sterile and tamper-proof package. There is an emerging market for these beverages in places where disposed or broken glass could cause logistical or safety problems.

Stack Wines of California entered this market in March 2013 with shrink-wrapped packages of four individual servings in pre-filled, un-stemmed glasses. These are sealed and stacked four high into a tower. A shrink-sleeve label is placed around this and processed through a steam tunnel, unitizing the filled glasses into a single unit. The subtle graphics of the shrink-sleeve label help define the brand and attract potential consumers.

At venues in which it would be unsafe or unseemly to be carrying and disposing of real glass containers (not to mention the attendant need for cork screws), pre-filled individual wine servings in recyclable plastic packaging are catching on in a big way. These products may not appeal initially to the wine savants among us, but oenological sophistication doesn’t generally prevail at the venues in which these products will find their greatest demand. The real beneficiaries of these products will be casual wine drinkers who enjoy sipping the occasional glass as they attend a sporting event, work the room at a convention or relax poolside at a resort.

Packaging challenges

The four varietals offered by Stack Wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Charisma, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. Whether a wine savant or casual wine drinker, consumers may not appreciate the labeling and packaging challenges that had to be overcome to enable the mass distribution of single-serving wine.

In the early days, filled and sealed serving glasses from Stack Wines were stacked four high in a tower and hand-sleeved for labeling by a co-packer. To meet growing demand, though, automation was required to stack the cups and apply labels at higher speeds.

There are two steps to the shrink labeling operation. The first is the labeler, which applies shrink sleeves from rolls. The sleeved pack is then passed through a steam tunnel where it shrinks tightly and uniformly around the stack of wine glasses. Having considered the options to automate the shrink labeling operation, Stack Wines decided to purchase equipment from PDC Intl. Corp., a Connecticut-based supplier of packaging machinery that is known as a manufacturer of tamper-evident banders and shrink-sleeve labeling systems. Stack Wines selected PDC’s Model R-250 Evolution shrink labeler and Model KST 55-712 single-zone steam tunnel, through which sleeved stacks are passed and the shrink occurs.

Stack Wines had this equipment installed at Varni Brothers of Modesto, CA, a bottler of 7UP, spring water and other beverages. First, the stemless PET glasses are filled with wine and proprietarily sealed with a peel-back foil lid. The glasses are then automatically stacked four-high and transferred to the shrink labeler, which processes up to 90 stacks per minute.

When demand for Stack Wines reached a certain critical mass, Stack Wines CEO Matt Zimmer realized he “needed a higher level of automation to package and label our product. We used a line-integrator to help us design the high-volume Stack Wines packaging/labeling system, and they steered us toward PDC Intl.’s equipment. It has been working great for us.”

The shrink labeler

The R-250 Evolution shrink labeler, introduced in 2010, was developed jointly by engineering teams from PDC’s U.S. and French facilities. It is primarily mechanical in design, and was engineered for continuous operation in packaging operations that run 24/7.

Recognizing that any shrink labeler that halts the cutting function adds to costly downtime, PDC designed its blade systems to be tough and durable. The company’s robust blade assemblies deliver accurate, clean cuts for months on virtually any sleeving film. Long-lasting blades mean reduced downtimes and longer intervals between replacement. PDC blades last months, in contrast to [some] competitive systems, which use tiny, brittle spinning blades that dull quickly, often in days. All PDC blades are re-sharpenable multiple times.

An Allen-Bradley CompactLogix PLC and touchscreen HMI from Rockwell Automation provide the control platform for the R-250 Evolution line. In addition to its many standard features, R-250 systems can integrate optional modules for vertical and horizontal perforations (important for consumer tamper evidence), date coding and bar code verification. The standard sensor and verification package (which includes material-out and film feed jam sensors, as well as upstream photo-electric sensors) can be enhanced to identify jams downstream, fallen bottles and other anomalies, and provide detailed machine status indication.

Two options designed specifically for continuous production environments are a zero-downtime, splice-on-the-fly accumulator that allows label roll changes without stopping production, and a second unwind reel. Stainless steel construction is available for applications in wet environments. An articulating splice table for quick and precise roll splicing, conveyors and shrink tunnels can also be supplied as part of the R-250 package.

The steam shrink tunnel     

Various types of shrink tunnels are used to shrink sleeve labels around product containers, including infrared, convection and steam. Stack Wines opted for steam because steam tunnels yield the highest quality and most uniform shrinking, with graphics that are precise and distortion-free. The PDC steam tunnel uses proprietary technology and design to apply heat uniformly and with great temperature precision due to its advanced steam control package, while also metering steam for the lowest possible energy use.

The shrink tunnel is made from dual-wall, heavy gauge stainless steel, which allows heat to circulate efficiently, while protecting operators from excess temperatures. There are four rows of steam tubes on each side and each tube is externally adjustable for steam volume, flow and nozzle positioning so that steam can be focused at specific points on the package.

Package enables product

It is not often that packaging and labeling techniques, in and of themselves, enable the creation of a new product, but such is the case with Stack Wines. It’s hard to imagine what form the Stack Wines product would have taken without the confluence of technologies that enabled automated shrink sleeve labeling to create a stack of individual wine servings.

Zimmer says demand for Stack Wines is growing at a solid pace, and the company’s investment in automated packaging/labeling equipment was a timely one.

Dean Peters has been a communications professional since 1992, writing about various aspects of manufacturing.

The packaging community celebrates its Visionaries

The packaging community celebrates its Visionaries
The Diageo Team Cube received a Gold Award for commercializing a low-cost modular production plant for the blending and packaging of spirits in multiple regions within 12 months.

Pre-fab production operations and packaging solutions that improve patient safety were among the accomplishments that earned Diageo Team Cube and Joe Mase (respectively) Gold Awards in the 2014 UBM Canon Packaging Group Visionary Awards. The program pays tribute to individuals and teams who show vision and leadership in advancing their company’s goals of innovation, differentiation, savings and growth.

Visionary Awards finalists were recognized and the winners were revealed at a gala event yesterday, June 10, at the Javits Convention Center in New York City in conjunction with the EastPack show, which is owned and organized by UBM Canon. Held in partnership with the Institute of Packaging Professionals, the event also paid tribute to recipients of the 2014 AmeriStar Package Awards.

The winners of our 2014 Visionary Awards are:


Joe Mase, vp of marketing and business development, Sagent Pharmaceuticals, earned the Gold Award for his vision and tenacity in the development of two packaging solutions in recent years that have made a significant improvement in patient safety: PreventIV Measures packaging and labeling, and the Enlightened HRBC high-resolution bar code.


The Mother Parkers Innovation and Technology Team won the Silver Award for their development of the EcoCup, a single-serve beverage package (similar to a K-Cup) that was designed to ensure easy separation by hand of the EcoCup components for recycling and/or composting.

The team includes Margaret LaRocque, packaging engineer; Shelby Parkinson, analytical lab technician; Yucheng Fu, product engineering manager; Paul Yang, packaging manager; Lib Trombetta, director of innovation and technology; and Dennis Paynter, vp of coffee operations.


The Diageo Team Cube received a Gold Award for commercializing a low-cost modular production plant for the blending and packaging of spirits in multiple regions within 12 months.

The Diageo Team Cube includes Paul Millar, head of packaging technology; Dawn Reilly, brand technical manager; Ray Webb, project manager; Ian Bell, packaging manager; and Donal Comerford, market support manager for Africa regional markets and business integration manager.

During his acceptance speech on behalf of the team, Millar shared that the company has realized an additional $300 million in sales because of the production of these new operations.


Another Mother Parkers team also took home a Silver Award for completely gutting an existing plant and doubling its size, driving growth in the company’s private label and branded business in the exploding category of single-serve coffee and tea.

The Mother Parkers RealCup Operations Startup Team consists of Stephen Leung, plant manager; Chris Meffen, production manager; Dennis Paynter, vp of coffee operations, Lib Trombetta, vice director of innovation and technology; Yucheng Fu, product engineering manager; and Janet Nagy, human-resources manager.

Read about all the finalists in “Who will be chosen as this year’s packaging Visionaries?”

Shrink sealer applies full-body labels and T-E bands

Shrink sealer applies full-body labels and T-E bands
PDC 65 Series shrink-seal applicator

The re-engineered 65 Series shrink sealer performs in continuous operations, applying shrink-sleeve labels or tamper-evident (T-E) neck bands to a variety of packages at speeds up to 175 containers per minute. From PDC Intl, the system handles labels from 0.375 to 3.25 inches in diameter and from 0.625 to 8 inches tall. It can apply labels or bands made of PVC, PET, PETG, PLA and OPS, and in thin gauges (from 30 to 50 microns). Motorized material unwind, a touchscreen HMI and Allen-Bradley PLC control are standard features on the 65 Series.

Date Coding at Microbreweries (Case Study)

Need an inkjet date coder that starts very easily even after long shutdown? Leibinger printers start within minutes when needed with no maintenance.

Traversing Inkjet on Cheese (Case Study)

When multiple products need to be coded on a packaging machine traversing system makes it easy.

Prompt Function Simplifies Input

Prompt feature in JET3 printer interface makes frequent changing of codes simple.

Precision Print Position

Leibinger has developed an extremely precise system to ensure print position is exactly the same even after reving the printhead and reinstalling on the production line.