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Bottling lines bump up nail-polish production

Super quick-changeover nail-polish packaging lines help OPI keep cranking out the colors. Custom cartoners complement high-speed filling.
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FILED IN:  Machinery  > Filling/sealing  > Capping
     

Related video: Monobloc filler, cartoner pack premium nail products at 100 bottles/hr

OPI Products, Inc., North Hollywood, CA, is one of the world’s leading suppliers of manicure and pedicure products for professional nail care. Best known for its nail lacquer lines, the company has earned a reputation for high-quality, chip-resistant formulas and fashion-forward colors with engaging, flirtatious names.

In addition to its 200+ permanent nail-color offerings, OPI also produces two 12-product seasonal collections each year. A sampling of 2008’s geographically inspired hues—the India Collection by OPI and la Collection de France—provides a good example of the company’s branding wit. The France collection’s color names include such memorable monikers as We’ll Always Have Paris, Tickle My France-Y, and Baguette Me Not.

OPI’s nail lacquer offerings also include 11 clear nail treatment and finishing products, as well as two retail color lines, Nicole by OPI and the just-launched Sephora by OPI, in 48 colors.

To meet the ever-growing, worldwide demand for its products, OPI fills one-quarter million 0.5-oz bottles of nail lacquer per day at its North Hollywood plant, on three custom packaging lines. Discussed here are two of those lines, both of which feature specially engineered versions of Capmatic, Inc.’s (www.capmatic.com) monobloc filling, plugging, and capping machines.

Also on each line, cartoning equipment deftly meets the filling equipment’s high speeds, as well as accommodates unique cartoning configurations. One line incorporates a new Stealth™ cartoner from MGS Machine Corp. (www.mgsmachine.com) that places trayed product in a petite, gabletop carton; the other uses a 35-bottle/min ADCO Mfg. (www.adcomfg.com) cartoner to produce a six-unit carton of colored polish.

Bottles get special treatment

OPI’s most recently acquired lacquer-filling line leads off with Capmatic’s Intrepid™ FBPC, a monobloc filler, ball inserter, plug inserter, and capper, installed in January 2007. Explosion-proof, the filling portion of the line is housed in a Class 100 cleanroom with two other 0.5-oz lacquer fillers and is used primarily to package OPI’s premium nail treatment and finishing products at up to 100 bottles/min.

As are all of OPI’s 0.5-oz nail lacquers, clear treatments are packaged in a patented, brand-recognizable glass bottle decorated and supplied by Vitro Packaging (www.vitropackaging.com). Custom polypropylene caps with the OPI logo embossed on the top, supplied by Berry Plastics (www.berryplastics.com) and JSN Cosmetic Packaging (www.jsn.com), and OPI’s patent-pending ProWide brush are also standard components for its nail-lacquer products.

Unlike other lacquer products though, premium treatments get secondary packaging: a glossy, gabletop carton with a windowed front panel, supplied by Marfred Industries (www.marfred.com). Within the carton, the bottle is held in a thermoform tray, under which rests a folded product leaflet.

For six months after installation of the Intrepid, OPI employees hand-packed both trays and cartons—a slow and laborious process that involved multiple handling steps. A temporary solution involved a standalone, semi-automatic cartoner. Then, in October 2007, OPI completely automated the process with the addition of an MGS Stealth horizontal continuous-motion cartoner fed by a custom bottle-orienting and tray-packing station, also designed and engineered by MGS.

According to OPI vice president of operations Randy Allen, one of the biggest challenges to automating bottle orienting and cartoning was OPI’s limited floor space. “We didn’t have any room, and we weren’t going to tear a wall down,” he says. “Because of the orientation center, we had to shorten everything up and keep a very small footprint.”

The Stealth cartoner measures 17.5 ft from the infeed to the exit of the machine. Immediately following carton discharge, a custom conveyor designed by OPI turns the cartons 90 deg, after which they are laser-coded and packed off within 6 in. of space. “It’s cramped, but we do it,” says Allen. “And we make real good money doing it, too!”

Big automation in a small footprint

Capmatic’s fillers are a favorite at OPI: Five of the machines are used throughout the plant for various manicure and pedicure applications (see related article at packworld.com/casestudy-26092). Explains Allen, the simplicity, dependability, and efficiency of Capmatic’s machines, as well as their ability to be changed over quickly, make them ideal for OPI’s needs.

Over the years, OPI has worked with Capmatic to design a vacuum manifold filling system that uses a set of eight, nine, or 12 filling heads that can be quickly removed and replaced by another set. This results in a full-line changeover, including a chan