Highlights of the 25th DuPont Packaging Awards

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The DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation is the industry’s longest-running, global, independently judged celebration of innovation and collaboration throughout the value chain. Each year a professional panel awards diamond, gold or silver honours based on “excellence” in one or all of three categories: Innovation, Sustainability and Cost/Waste Reduction. This year the independent judges granted one diamond, four gold and 10 silver awards for packaging in a diverse set of markets.

This year is an exceptional year. May 16, DuPont celebrated the silver anniversary of its global packaging awards program, granting top honours to UK-based design firm pi 3 for AidPod, which delivers life-saving medicine to remote sub-Saharan villages. This unique packaging and distribution program captured the premier Diamond and the Special 25th Anniversary ‘Food Security’ award.
I wrote about the AidPod in my previous article: “Hitch-hiking with Coca-Cola”.

Besides the AidPod, I selected four winners of the DuPont Awards and describe the winning packaging here below.

Easy-Open Venus and Olay Razor Packaging
The Gold Winner Procter & Gamble’s Gillette collaborated with Placon on a frustration-free blister package for Venus and Olay razors. Beyond the easy-open feature which combines a perforated finger tab opening, the  thermoformed inner tray, with over 50% post-consumer recycled PET, holds all razor components on multiple planes in multiple-sized cavities. Heat-sealed on a curve, the lid utilizes a proprietary film and ink chemistry that withstands the direct heat required to seal the lid to the blister.

130536-Gillette Venus razor W540 100dpi

The innovative package, which hinges open like a clamshell, consists of an outer blister pack, an inner tray, a cardstock insert and a rigid lid sealed to the blister, while it displays well at retail, resists pilferage and breakage.

This short description highlights several features of the new packaging. Let’s have a look at some of them in detail. First the solution to the most frustrating feature of a blister packaging: the openability.
The blister-pack claims to have an easy-open feature. By placing the fingertip in the moulded opening on the back of the blister, the consumer can easily tear the short lines of perforations on either side of the fingertip opening. By breaking the perforations, the packaging opens on three sides (the walls of the blister are pre-slit), and the consumer can bend the top of the blister back and slide the tray out of the packaging. No scissors or other tools are needed, and the perforated/slit portions of the blister are not sharp.

The second special feature is the tray of the Venus and Olay packaging securely holding the items included with the product: a razor handle and cartridge plus a storage device. For extra protection, the razor cartridge is packed in a small PP cup that’s sealed with easy-open flexible lidding.

Thermoformed undercuts-linear indentations, at both ends of the blister, hold the tray in place.
The placement of the undercuts makes it possible to fill the blisters with loaded trays either manually or on automated equipment.
The rPET used to make the tray is a thin-gauge, high-clarity material containing up to 100% post-consumer recycled content from bottles and thermoforms.

130538-Gillette Razor W540 100dpi

Placon thermoforms the blister component from PETG and the tray from an extruded rPET sheet, supplied by Placon’s business unit EcoStar. Control Group prints and die-cuts the PETG lids and the cardstock inserts. Gillette injection moulds, fills and seals the mentioned PP cups in-house and fills the blister packs and heat seals the lids to the filled packages.

If you want to read a very detailed and well written story about the new Venus and Olay blister-pack, go to “Goddess in the details”, written by Kate Bertrand Connolly in Packaging Digest.

3D In-Mould Technology Provides Multi-Sensory Experience
For Unilever, Europe, Paccor International GmbH in Germany and Britton Decorative in France created a 3D packaging for margarine, using Trexel’s 3D In-Mould Technology, which provides Multi-Sensory Experience. This development won a Silver Award.

130538-Trexel W540 100dpi

3D IML combines MuCell technology with IML label technology to offer a unique visual appearance and soft touch effect to packages, without changing the container shape. The 3D in-mould label is processed with an injection-moulded tub made of expanded polypropylene to incorporate selective masking, creating areas without adhesion. The MuCell process controls the introduction of nitrogen into the polymer. Where there is adhesion between the label and the polymer, the nitrogen migrates through both structures. Where there is no adhesion (by design), the nitrogen accumulates between the polymer substrate and the label. The process creates bubble patterns or Braille for a multi-sensory experience.

The MuCell Injection Moulding Process of Trexel involves the highly controlled use of gas in its supercritical state (SCF) to created millions of micron-sized voids in thin wall moulded parts (less than 3mm). Trexel claims that with the correct equipment configuration, mould design, and processing conditions these microcellular voids are relatively uniform in size and distribution.
The voids are created or nucleated as a result of homogeneous nucleation that occurs when a single-phase solution of polymer and gas (commonly nitrogen, but occasionally carbon dioxide) passes through the injection gate into the mould.

130538-Trexel packaging2 320x235 100dpiThe single-phase solution is created through the operation of a conventional injection moulding machine which has been modified to allow the creation of a single-phase solution. The key modifications to the system involve the use of a precision SCF delivery system to deliver SCF to special injectors based on mass flow metering principles. The SCF is then injected into the barrel where it is mixed with the polymer via a specially designed screw. A shut off nozzle maintains the single phase solution while the injection moulding screw maintains sufficient back pressure at all times to prevent premature foaming or the loss of pressure which would allow the single phase solution to return to the two phase solution.

The quality advantages of the MuCell Process are complemented by certain direct economic advantages, including the ability to produce 20-33% more parts per hour on a given moulded machine, and the ability to mould parts on lower tonnage machines as a result of the viscosity reduction and the elimination of the packing requirement that accompanies the use of supercritical gas.

130538-Clorox W540 100dpi

Clorox Smart Tube Technology Enables to Spray Every Drop
The Clorox Company won Gold with its claim to have solved one of the frustrations of consumers, who had to put up with tilting and tipping to salvage that last little bit of liquid from a bottle.

130538-Clorox panel-starblaster 320x529 100dpiThe company therefore redesigned its cleaning-product bottles to include Smart Tube Technology with a bayonet-style trigger that allows consumers to empty a spray bottle without tilting, shaking or otherwise struggling to use the last drops. The bottles blown by Alpla and made with Smart Tube Technology feature a dip tube blown into the front of the bottle that gets all the way to the bottom of the bottle and a new all-plastic trigger. The fact that consumers can use every drop reduces about 81,000 gallons of wasted formula annually.

Besides spraying every last drop the innovative spray bottle is not only equipped with Smart Tube Technology, but also features a new, more durable trigger from Guala Dispensing that, according to the company, provides better coverage and control and a smoother pull that makes it easier to dispense the liquid with less effort.

130538-Clorox tube W540 100dpi

New Sausage Casings Speed Cooking, Smoking Times
Silver Winner iCel sausage casing of Atlantis-Pak Co., Ltd. (Village of Lenin, Rostov region, Russian Federation) was developed for effective and economic production of all types of smoked, semi-smoked, boiled and smoked and boiled sausages made by the conventional and modern technologies, like natural smoking process and liquid-smoked process.

130538-iCel W540 100dpi

The iCel polyamide-based sausage casing challenges cellulose, collagen and natural sausage casings in that it retains the benefits of both permeable and barrier films.  iCel combines the high smoke- and water-vapour permeability of cellulose casings with optimal mechanical properties while maintaining a thin structure. Smoking and cooking times are reduced.

The high mechanical strength and elasticity of the polyamide-based casings allow the meat-processing industry to use high processing speeds during sausage manufacturing.  The oxygen barrier and relatively high moisture barrier prolong shelf life, preserve flavour, and significantly increase product yield by keeping moisture inside the product during thermal treatment.

130538-iCel casing W540 100dpi

High barrier properties on oxygen eliminate the risk of rancidity of fat and oxidation of spices during the whole period of product storage. Resulting in an extension of the meat products shelf life and providing preservation of taste and smell of spices and product flavour compounds.

That was my selection of the best of DuPont Packaging Awards 2013.

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