Packaging Personal Care Products - Questions Can Lead to Solutions

Personal care products are a broad category of items that can range from thin liquids to thick gels and pastes. From cosmetics to lotions and oils, shampoos, soaps, toothpaste and more, the liquids found in this industry vary greatly. In addition, the packages used to present these products to the consumers also come in all shapes and sizes. As an industry, there is not a single, go-to solution when it comes to packaging machinery. Instead, asking some simple questions will help identify the best equipment for any given project.

WHAT PRODUCTS ARE BEING FILLED?

As noted above, products in the personal care industry can range from water-thin, free flowing liquids to thick, paste like merchandise. The best filling machine for any project will be chosen based in part on the viscosity of the product. Those with free-flowing liquids tend to use gravity fillers for volumetric fills or overflow filling machines for fill-to-level fills. Packagers dealing with thick products that do not flow as easily will often use a pump or piston filler to assist in product movement. While there are exceptions to these rules, they provide a starting point in the search for the best filling solution for any personal care product.

WHAT BOTTLES AND CAPS WILL BE USED FOR THE PROJECT?

While bottle sizes and shapes can also play a part in designing the filling machine for personal care products, both the containers and the closures used to seal them will help identify the best solution for the capping machine for any given project. While there are a number of different closures in the personal care industry, from simple flat caps and flip-tops to pump and trigger sprayers and more, many of these variations still screw on to the bottle using a continuous thread. Both spindle cappers and chuck capping machines are well represented in the personal care industry, as both of these machines handle screw-on type caps. However, other products may use snap caps, corks, or even aluminum ROPP closures, which means that almost any style of capping machine can be found in the industry if enough products are analyzed. Choosing the caps for the project, however, is the best starting point for finding the ideal capping machine solution.

HOW MANY PRODUCTS MUST BE PRODUCED?

This is a question of speed. As with any industry, the personal care industry will include products that are sold on a global and national level as well as those that are sold on a regional or local level. Those producing products at the local level likely do not have the same output as those producing them for consumers around the globe, meaning the companies in those two categories will not likely need the same level of automation or speed. Understanding the current needed output, as well as the expected future growth, will help put in to place a packaging system with the correct amount of automation. Full automation may be necessary to meet production demands for products sold all over the world, while semi-automatic packaging equipment, or even tabletop machinery, may suffice for those serving a local market. Growth is important in answering this question, as many LPS machines allow for upgrades, allowing packagers to produce more product on the same machinery in the future.

Answering these three questions will jump-start the search for the ideal packaging system. For each project, other questions may also be necessary depending on the needs of the packager. Will bottles be rinsed? Should seals be tamper evident? What type of label will be applied to the containers? These project specific questions that follow the three questions listed above will help find the best packaging solution for any personal care product.