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Dialing into new packaging

Variotec Innovative Packaging Systems (Kaufbeuren, Germany) has launched a new dispensing concept called Dialpack. First used in Germany in 1999 for Variotec’s own Variosun brand sunscreen, the Dialpack system allows consumers to select their preferred level of SPF protection between every application. A dial on the front panel of the polypropylene “bottle” can be adjusted to meet specific sunscreen needs.

Pw 17950 Bild Spray

A patent application for Dialpack was filed in Germany, the United States and Australia in 1996. It’s a dispensing system where two product components are mixed together according to an individual and selective mixing ratio by a mechanical pumping system. By turning the dial, the two pumps inside the dispenser are adjusted so that one has a stronger pump stroke than the other. This allows the appropriate quantities of product to be released, mixed and dispensed. The substances are drawn from their two separate cartridges by the pumps, which are located in each of the cartridges. Inside the mixing head, located above the pumping system, the two substances are mixed by a static mixer and then dispensed from a pump- or spray-style closure. The “bottle” portion of the dispenser is also reusable. The cartridges can be purchased and replaced according to need. Variosun, which is currently available in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Brazil, is scheduled for sale in the United States later this year, where it will be marketed in drugstores and pharmacies for $15. According to Claus Guglhör of Variotec, the Dialpack dispenser costs about US $2 to manufacture. “Dialpack cannot be compared with a simple bottle,” he says in defense of its relatively high cost. “It’s not just a bottle. There is a complex mechanism in it that makes it possible to mix the two components.”

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