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Size does matter for 72

A 72" clear polyvinyl chloride clamshell for Kirsch curtain rod and accessory sets may set the record for one of the longest such packages around. Spotted at the recent Pack Expo '98 show in Chicago at the booth of thermoformer Innovative Plastech (Batavia, IL), the pack debuted about a year ago in upscale department stores.

The pack replaces corrugated boxes with litho-printed labels. The use of clamshells to display 6' curtain rods is a first for the category according to Parker Fair packaging engineer at Kirsch.

The primary benefit is that consumers are better able to see the product which has spurred sales though specific figures weren't available. "Basically in today's market you no longer have the sales clerk to help steer the customer to the right package" says Fair.

The clear pack also has greatly reduced "shopworn damage" which occurs when consumers open up boxes to inspect or handle a product. Such damages have been reduced from nearly 20% to almost zero according to Fair.

Though the package is about three times the price of the previous corrugated pack the company increased the retail price by about 10% more than covering the additional packaging cost. The 72" curtain rod-and-accessory pack retails for about $100.

Packs are currently sealed by self-locking snap-fit buttons followed by staples to discourage casual handling. "We couldn't find sonic welding and heat-sealing hand tools that would hold up in production or that didn't weigh a ton" says Fair.

The package is thermoformed from 25-mil PVC sheet with up to 30% recycled scrap

content. The sheet

is made by Nanya

and sourced through Rocheux (Batavia IL). Innovative Plastech produces the clam-

shell on thermoforming equipment that it had modified to accommodate long packages.

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