'Impossible' Pack Now in The Post
Developed in combination with Pont Europe, the intention behind the concept is to provide a rigid container for the safe delivery of mail order vitamins and similar products through standard letter post, rather than the more expensive parcel post.
The key requirement was that the pack must be less than 25 mm deep, to fit the parameters of standard letter size. At the same time, the neck opening needed to be as big as possible to ensure ease of filling.
This dimension presented a significant technical challenge for RPC Design, as the pack shape is outside conventional blow tolerances. "Ordinarily, the ratio of width to depth needs to be 2.5:1 to allow the shape to be blown with optimum material distribution, but that would not suit the letterbox size required by Pont," explains Jim Dale, RPC's Design Manager.
"Our Technical team worked hard to ensure that this concept with a width to depth ratio of over 4:1 is viable, with the creation of pilot tooling to manufacture a workable prototype," he adds.
The trials were successful, and RPC Market Rasen - a specialist in unusual and bespoke plastic containers - manufactured the blow moulded HDPE bottle as well as managing the overall project. "The team at RPC Market Rasen worked hard to bring together many elements to make the pack a success," confirms Philip Lindsay, Sales and Marketing Manager at RPC Market Rasen.
"Elements included nonround trepanning of the neck to maximise the aperture, maintaining consistently flat side panels, and combining this with strength in the corners to allow quality wraparound labelling."
The matching oblong cap is moulded in polypropylene by RPC Halstead. Again, this presented challenges thanks to its thin wall moulding, required to ensure a tight fit onto the bottle within the 25mm maximum depth of the complete pack.
Once filled, the oblong bottleneck is induction sealed for airtightness and tamperevidence. RPC worked closely with Pont to ensure that the induction seal wad could be applied successfully to the long, narrow shape of the container.
"The Pont pack has been a long soughtafter concept, but previous attempts have failed due to the technical challenges involved. We are absolutely delighted that RPC's ingenuity and expertise has achieved the impossible," explains Max van de Grift, Supply Chain Director of Pont Europe.
"The pack has already been shown at the Vitafood trade exhibition in Geneva to unanimous praise, and we are currently entering it into several packaging awards in the Benelux region," he adds.