Have you ever stopped to count the number of store-bought packages you open in a day; in a week; or even a full year? Think about everything you consume and the list of products will get pretty long, pretty quick:
- Drink bottles
- Food containers
- Snack bags
- Boxes of cereal
- . . . and the list goes on and on.
These products and more are part of the multi-trillion dollar Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry which includes food and beverages, tobacco, cleaning products, as well as hygiene and beauty products. The packaging for these product have to be designed strong enough to make it from the factory to your home without being damaged – yet provide a pleasant, convenient experience that makes you rush back to the store and buy more week after week.
Have you ever stopped to wonder how product manufacturing companies came up with the package that you’re ripping into? Too often, opening a package is hard and clumsy, and it makes you go ‘grrrr’. I am sure we can all relate to some of the videos and photos at the “Wrap Rage” gallery at Amazon.com.
In the past few years, many CPG companies have been putting significant effort into developing extremely innovative and easy-to-open packages. Some of the development is being driven by environmental concern, but many advancements are being driven by the need to improve the safety and ease-of-opening for an aging consumer population. The Swedish Rheumatism Association has recently commended Scan AB for several of its different easy-to-open food packs. One of these packs is the Amcor Push Pop, an innovative new packaging design, which Scan has used for their delicatessen meatballs called Delikatesskottbullar.
You’d be amazed at the level of sophisticated research, engineering, design, and manufacturing that goes into the design of product packaging, let alone the actual product inside. Things we take for granted are thoroughly researched. When it comes to product packaging, designers and engineers have to determine if the package can be manufactured. They seek answers to a wide range of questions, like:
- Can it survive the manufacturing process?
- Will the container break or leak during transportation?
- Will it be easy to open yet reseal effectively?
Silgan Containers recently announced that they are using Abaqus FEA software to predict “real-life” performance of its cans with a high degree of accuracy before a single container is manufactured. Alvin Widitora, director of new product development, Silgan Containers explains,
We have validated our modeling and simulation process up to a 97% level of accuracy that the actual container will perform as predicted. That means that we can take a lot of the guesswork out before we get to the tooling stage.
Check out the complete Silgan press release here.
It’s pretty amazing that CPG companies are using the same realistic simulation technology that is used to evaluate the performance of airplanes, cars, nuclear power plants, and medical devices. And their simulations are very sophisticated and include; virtual drop testing, top loading analysis, manufacturing line simulation, squeezing pressure, fluid-structure interaction, as well as adhesive and forming simulations.
It’s not surprising that with so many simulations being performed, that consumer packaged goods companies are looking for ways to capture their valuable simulation processes and data. A couple of weeks ago, SIMULIA announced that Proctor & Gamble had selected their simulation lifecycle management solution. According to Tom Lange, Director, Corporate R&D Modeling and Simulation, Procter & Gamble,
SIMULIA SLM will help our global teams accelerate innovation by providing access to simulation tools, validated processes and corporate knowledge bases throughout the product lifecycle.
You can read the SIMULIA press release on P&G here:
So, when you’re opening your next hundred packages or enjoying some conveniently packed Swedish meatballs, I hope you’ll have a little better appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes to get those convenient products into your hands.