Counting Down the Top Three AmeriStar Awards: #1 Gorilla Super Glue Micro Precise Structural Design

This top 2020 AmeriStar Award winner makes the packaging industry proud by giving consumers great interactions and experiences with creative pack designs.

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Coming out on top of this year’s AmeriStar Awards as Best in Show was the Gorilla Glue Micro Precise, a new entry into The Gorilla Glue Company’s portfolio of adhesives. The pack contains an aluminum tube of cyanoacrylate glue inside a black plastic shroud with orange-winged “buttons” that deliver an easy-to-use, precisely controlled-dispensing tool that fits comfortably in a consumer’s hand.

The team at Gorilla Glue engaged Product Ventures to design and develop the packaging for the project. Through category audits, consumer research, and iterative prototyping, Product Ventures’ industrial design team delivered—it’s engineering team worked with Gorilla Glue to bring the design through pilot tooling to a commercialized product.

Io Pp Ameri Star2020 Logo Web“The Micro Precise design hit on all our key objectives,” says Aaron Fromm, Marketing Director at the Gorilla Glue Company. “The ergonomic design allows for precise, comfortable use even for the most challenging applications, the internal design allows for maximum evacuation of the adhesive, and the visual appeal of the design perfectly fits what our consumers expect when they see a Gorilla product.”

Breaking the seal
One technical concern Product Ventures wanted to address was to ensure the tube of glue inside the packaging was secure. When removing the cap, the internal cyanoacrylate tube of glue needed to stay secure in the pack without rotating, otherwise the glue would not be able to fully dispense. A ratchet-toothed design within the neck of the outer shroud was engineered to allow the cap to screw down to puncture the tube. After puncturing the tube, glue can flow out of the tube through the nozzle. The ratchet teeth will hold the nozzle in place when unscrewing the cap. The nozzle is thus captured by the ratchet mechanism allowing just the cap to open and close without unthreading the nozzle from the inner tube. This allows consumers to safely apply Gorilla Glue to surfaces with precision, and with the cap on, the package can be stored in any orientation.

“Since Super Glues need to remain sealed before use to prevent hardening, we keep our cap mechanism separate in the package,” Fromm adds. “The package holds the tube in place while the consumer screws the cap on, puncturing the seal. Once screwed in, the “toothed” [ratchet] feature keeps the cap in place, keeping a tight seal between the internal tube nozzle and the cap.”

Design considerations
Product Ventures chose to broaden the grip at the top of the glue packaging, compared to similar products in the category, and tapered the shape at the base. This new shape made the grip more comfortable for consumers and provides a snug and secure fit in the consumer’s hand. Also, the design conveys the toughness of the Gorilla Glue brand and product by using a broad-shouldered silhouette. The tapered cut-away exposing the orange buttons, and the angled rib details on the buttons also reflects the toughness of the Gorilla Glue brand, according to Stephanie Scott, Manager, Sales & Marketing, Product Ventures.

“Another design advance helped prevent the internal cyanoacrylate glue tube from being crushed at the top,” Scott says. “Designing for a cyanoacrylate glue tube offers a unique challenge because once the material is crushed it will not bounce back like a typical flexible plastic glue tube. The designers created the orange actuators so they would not crush the tube at the top to the point where glue could not be dispensed. This attention to detail resulted in a packaging design that can dispense more glue and fit comfortably in the consumer’s hand.”

When consumers are applying adhesive for precise jobs, they typically aren’t using a large amount of the glue. In order for consumers to use this product on multiple occasions, an anti-clog cap includes a “pin” feature which keeps the orifice clear of adhesive and also prevents excess air from entering the package. On top of this, the aluminum structure of the tube is well-suited for this usage as it prevents excess air from being introduced after each application.

A common knock on superglue applications historically has been that consumers aren’t always able to extract all of the glue from the tube. Consider a loose corollary in toothpaste commercials, where a frustrated consumer is depicted trying to get every last bit out of a legacy-style toothpaste tube. This new superglue design allows consumers to dispense more of the glue from the tube, offering the consumer more value for their dollar because almost all of the glue in either a 5-g or 6-g tube can be applied. The same package is used for both glue tubes, allowing the ergonomic features to remain the same between the two different sizes.

Consumer education
When a consumer is asked to actively engage with a package in order to use the product it contains—beyond simply pouring product out—sometimes some consumer education on how to use the pack is required to explain things.

“We aim to make all our packaging features as simple as possible,” Fromm says. “From the initial design to final consumer usage tests, we engage with how consumers use the product and where challenges could potentially appear. Although we designed the pack to be as intuitive as possible, we do include a pictogram on the packaging to ensure consumers correctly engage the cap and nozzle.”

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