It was bad enough when a fierce competitor of Peterson Mfg. Co. moved its production offshore slashing costs and underpricing the Grandview MO<>based maker of automotive lighting products. To hear manufacturing engineering manager Tobe Tennyson tell it the competitor crossed the line of propriety when it issued a challenge to Peterson Mfg. daring the company to try to keep up. "They made a damn mistake by challenging the president of our company" says Tennyson. "He came to me and we started to look at changing our packaging operation." Peterson's production costs were highly competitive but its labor-intensive packaging costs-loading products and blister cards into plastic fold-up clamshells-were hurting the bottom line. Peterson snapped into action. Working with blister and machinery supplier Alloyd (DeKalb IL) Peterson redesigned its package to save on material costs while updating the look. Peterson also automated the packaging operation with a 16-station blister heat sealer purchased from Alloyd at Pack Expo 94. Peterson was familiar with Alloyd from past projects. The new blister pack is unique in that it combines the look of a clamshell with the economics of a blister card. The 12- to 15-mil polyvinyl chloride blisters thermoformed by Alloyd not only cover the entire surface of the face card they extend beyond the back of the card with 3/8"-W protective flanges. It's called a platform blister because when the package is set on its back with the product facing up the card acts like a raised platform. By "burying" the card 3/8" into the blister it makes pilferage harder and protects the edges of the card from becoming dog-eared. The plastic on the face card also reinforces the die-cut hang hole preventing it from tearing. Alloyd's Kent Hayward says the supplier has never created such a package before. Not only does the pack provide the same degree of protection as the clamshell it can be automatically heat sealed on Peterson's 16-position carousel blister machine. The clamshell had to be manually loaded. The new machine automates the entire packaging process except for product loading. Though the machine is standard for Alloyd it gives Peterson the unprecedented opportunity to boost production.