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Graphics, coex make for noteworthy tube

Colgate-Palmolive Canada is counting on graphics representing a trio of Looney Tunes characters from Space Jam to spark sales of its Colgate Junior brand toothpaste.

The Toronto-based firm further differentiates its pack by giving it the custom-shaped edge available through Norden Packaging's (North Branch NJ) Design-A-Seal machinery. The Colgate tube marks the first application of this recently developed technology in the toothpaste category. "The kids' toothpaste market is stagnant in Canada" says Colgate marketer Mark Guy. "So we decided to introduce new flavors and add the appeal of a new package as well." Launched October 1 the 75-mL tube sells for $1.49. Supplied by Owens-Illinois (Toledo OH) the tube is believed to be a first in that it is coextrusion blow-molded. Like other dentifrice tubes it incorporates a barrier layer that protects flavors. But the barrier is not foil a material commonly laminated into tubes. This tube is a six-layer structure of low-density polyethylene/regrind/ tie/ethylene vinyl alcohol/tie/LDPE. Owens' John Krebs will only describe the manufacturing process as "proprietary continuous extrusion." Owens also applies the polypropylene flip-style cap injection molded by Zeller Plastik (Libertyville IL). According to Krebs the advantages of a blown coextrusion are two-fold. First there are no side seams to mar the graphics. Second unlike a two-piece tube having a PP headpiece welded to the multilayer tube the barrier layer is continuous from its 5/16" dia. orifice to its tail. Cost is comparable to other tube options says Krebs. Completing its barrier properties is a foil membrane applied to the orifice by Owens before the threaded closure is applied.

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