A South African-developed milk bottle range has received the ‘Best Dairy Packaging Innovation’ award at the 2012 Dairy Innovation Awards.
Nampak Plastics’ UK infini range was first launched in 2011, but the patented principles are now being applied to other new or redesigned bottles.
Nampak says the improvements to milk bottles were made possible through the use of finite element analysis (FEA) at the company’s research and development (R&D) facilities, based in Cape Town. The company aimed to reduce the weight of the bottle, which offered environmental and cost benefits.
“FEA helped to eliminate poor design features and tested new concepts without the need for physical prototyping in the design phase of the project,” Nampak explains.
FEA entails a mate- rial or design computer model that is stressed and analysed for specific results. It is used in new product design and existing product refinement.
Initially, a number of concept designs were evaluated against each other and the most effective design for the infini range was chosen for further development.
“Packaging must not only serve as a vessel for carrying a product but must also protect the con- sumer and the integrity of the contents, enhance shelf life, be easy to use, carry a low cost and reflect the values that are integral to the brand,” the company states.
Nampak’s R&D laboratory service also offers shelf-life studies to evaluate the compatibility of product packaging systems with food and nonfood products.
“R&D determines the maximum attainable shelf life that a packaging type has to offer, under highly defined and controlled environmental conditions,” the manufacturer explains.
The shelf life of a system is measured by monitoring changes in the product, such as the chemical, microbiological and physical aspects of product quality, and packaging integrity over time.
“Because of our association with other international technical organisations and our subscription to various global databases, Nampak R&D has direct access to global product and packaging trends and information for the benefit of our customers.”