Products, Packages and Packaging Machinery

Products, Packages and Packaging Machinery

We are, arguably, in the midst of a substantial shift in the way that consumer products are packaged.  From food and beverages to cosmetics and household goods, increasing awareness of environmental issues is moving packagers away from the standard plastic bottle.  Such a shift can be felt across the entire packaging industry.  

As of late, innovations in package design have seen some out of the ordinary containers for certain products.  Stand up pouches are being tried for a variety of foods, and the next time you are in the freezer section look for tubes of ice cream.  Lip gloss can now be purchased with a lighted tip and attached mirror for a smaller footprints when on the go.  These packages represent two of the largest forces currently behind package design, the evironment and consumer demand.

Marketing and design teams for products and packages must attempt to meet these subjects head on.  No one is going to try to glorify the plastic bottle anymore, as evidenced by the bottled water industries current battles among schools, other institutions, cities and towns.  Design teams must try to find an environmentally friendly package that also suits the use of the product being packaged.  At the same time, they must listen to consumer demands and understand what the consumer expects or wants from a package.  These two goals do not always overlap and the design of the package can be an onerous task.

As we have noted before, these changes in packaging create new challenges not just for the product marketing and design teams, but for the manufacturers of the packaging machinery as well.  Filling machines, and specifically filling nozzles, will likely be manufactured and modified in different ways for bottles and pouches.  Similarly, conveyor systems will need to accomodate pouches and other alternative pacakges in a different manner, as standard guiderails are unlikely to provide the necessary support.  

Capping machinery can use standard gripper belts to stabilize bottles as they pass through the capping area.  However, these standard gripper belts would probably not work with a pouch type container, as they would not provide the necessary support and would likely squeeze product right out of the container.  While each and every one of these modification can, and has, been made, the current trends in packaging do seem to indicate a major shift in the way products will be packaged in the future.  The ripple effect of the current trends, neither of which is likely to fade away in the near future, means that we may also see a major shift in the manufacturing of packaging machinery.

Products and packages are created to appeal to the consumer, and as consumer tastes and trends shift, so will the packaging used to present them.  Just as we saw a shift from glass to plastic in the not so distant future, we may be working our way to a similar shift in the near future.  While plastic pouches seem to be leading the way right now, it remains to be seen what will take the place of the plastic bottle once the dust settles.