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Geared for application

About all Scott Stevenson and Bijan Hosseini knew about sunscreen before they launched Newport Beach, CA-based Solar Gear, Inc., was that the greasy residue it left on their hands after use interfered with their outdoor activities, including surfing, golfing and fishing.

Pw 24970 Aboall Sco Ste 17

Such was the inspiration for Solar Gear Sunscreens: a unique line featuring a patented "Hands Off" applicator for clean, single-handed application. The package incorporates four components, most from Norden Packaging (North Branch, NJ) affiliates. These include a push-on cap from Allied Mold and Die (Fontana, CA) and a polypropylene tube from Norden AndBro (Pittman, NJ); the tube is offset-printed in two to four colors, depending on variety. A shoulder-like "socket" with an outside rim holds in place the fourth component, a foam applicator pad with adhesive backing. Made of a closed-cell cross-linked polyethylene, the pad does not absorb the sunscreen, but merely spreads it after it's squeezed through the orifice in the socket and pad. Allied Mold and Die injection-molds the high-density polyethylene cap and socket, then inserts the pad and applies the cap, forming a single unit. That unit is shipped to A-D Pack (Lancaster, CA), where it's "welded" to the tube with a NBH6000 Hot-Air Weld Machine from Norden Packaging. This technology uses tiny hot-air jets to heat ridges molded inside the shoulder to specific parameters-in this case, to 500°F for exactly four seconds-then inserts and "welds" the tube into the shoulder. The tube is then inverted and filled and sealed using Norden's Nordenmatic Auto700 and the Design-A-Seal crimping process. Since its introduction in January '96, the line has become increasingly successful. The patented design has been borrowed for a variety of unrelated applications, including ski wax, skin bleach, horse hoof ointment and spackle. Solar Gear is available in a 1-oz travel size and four 1.75-oz varieties, including a citronella-based formula. Suggested retail price is about $6.00.

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