As Combe’s Senior Purchasing Director Dan Beauleau explains, “We encountered certain functional issues during distribution and handling which we needed to resolve. These problems were due to an uncontrolled neck finish associated with extrusion molding.”
For more than 15 years, Pharma Tech Industries had been blending and filling powder products for Combe, and the two companies had an excellent working relationship. Pharma Tech (PTI) is a global leader in the contract manufacturing and packaging of powder products and also has been blowmolding bottles for other powder products for more than 25 years. So PTI customer service representative Sarah Freeman suggested that Combe give PTI a chance to design and injection blowmold the new Vagisil bottles.
In one week’s time, PTI Molding/Tooling Engineer Richard Wade came up with four bottle designs that conformed to Combe’s general concept and addressed the functional issues. Combe selected one, and then a three-dimensional model was made, followed by a prototype and a custom mold. The new taller, tapered-waist containers are designed to provide a more distinctive, higher-profile appearance on the store shelf.
After an alteration of the inside volume of the container to allow better settling of the powder and some fine tuning of the cap and seal, the new injection blowmolded HDPE, 8-oz bottle received final approval by Combe. The whole process took about six months, and PTI went into full production with the new packaging in 2008.
Combe is pleased to have a single source responsible for the bottle molding, powder blending, and container filling, capping, and labeling. PTI sources the two-piece sifter closures (inner piece is HDPE and outer portion is LDPE) from Rexam Plastic Packaging. The pressure-sensitive, opaque polyolefin film labels are printed by Labelad. Front labels are flexo-printed in five colors, and back labels use one color. The labels are applied with Model 35PW in-line labeling equipment from Accraply, a Barry-Wehmiller company.
Beauleau reports, “The new PTI injection blowmold tooling provides a controlled neck finish that minimizes inadvertent powder leakage, while ensuring the sifter closure can be consistently engaged with ease. In addition, the new bottles provide several other important benefits. The PTI package differentiates itself from the competition, provides a very visible shelf presence, contemporizes and reinvigorates the brand, and adds consumer value due to ease of use.”