Cap and Bottle Designs Put Consumers First

New systems aim for ease of use and shelf impact.

By David Vaczek, Senior Editor

 

Talisman Technologies LLC (Plainview, NY) has patented the cap and collar of its One Dose Pill Dispenser system for easy addition to any sized bottle.

Marketplace demands for bottles that are easy for senior adults to open yet child resistant have spurred a steady stream of innovation by bottle and closure manufacturers. Dispensing closures make packaging more convenient to use and might even accommodate larger-sized pills. For packaging destined for retail shelves, manufacturers have deployed designs and materials for maximum shelf appeal.

Rexam Closures and Containers (Evansville, IN) has launched a 24-mm child-resistant flip-top closure that provides one-handed directional dispensing with a snap-back living hinge for clean dispensing.

The one-piece closure is the first size in a new dispensing series that emphasizes child resistance, says Bill Shankland, vice president, business development. Squeezing and lifting the closure lid accesses the product. The child-resistant (CR) function is also maintained when the entire closure is removed, such as for refilling. Squeeze-and-turn CR functionality in closure removal is provided by an optional mechanism in the closure chassis and bottle-neck finish, says Shankland.

The closure features a linerless mechanical seal between the closure and the bottle for HDPE and PVC packages with various orifice sizes. Modified buttress threads provide resistance to stripping, bulging, and product leakage, and support higher application torque for increased flexibility during capping.

For easier opening in a push-and-turn closure, Rexam is developing the PalmSoft closure. PalmSoft features a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) rubber-like layer applied to a polypropylene closure piece in a biinjection molding process. “PalmSoft is at the development proposal stage. We hope to take prototypes to custom or stock production capacity,” says Shankland.

FORCE REDUCTION

The NutraGen II flip-top closure from Weatherchem features an optional full-sized orifice for dispensing larger-sized pills.

The TPE layer supports easier gripping and opening. Logos and customer-specified graphics or instructions can be molded in contrasting colors on the closure top.

“In typical push-and-turn systems, the consumer generally needs to pinch or squeeze while pushing to remove the closure. You don’t have to pinch the PalmSoft closure to apply the torque. The high coefficient of friction of TPE makes the closure easier to grip, push down, and remove using just the palm of your hand. The molded graphics also dramatically improve the ability to see instructions,” Shankland says.

Weatherchem Corp. (Twinsburg, OH) has developed a new flip-top closure that features easier opening for those with arthritis. The NutraGen II requires less force to flip open than a traditional flip-top closure, and is configured with a full-round orifice for dispensing larger pill sizes. Production of 33-, 38-, and 45-mm cap sizes will start in the early second quarter of 2007, says Anna Frolova-Levi, director of marketing.

“Market needs for easier-to-open closures are not being satisfied. Some of our customers have expressed interest in closures with additional features. NutraGen II has been designed to help us acquire new customers, such as in stomach remedies and the vitamin market. Customers want the convenience of a flip-top cap that they don’t have to unscrew,” she says.

Users only need to turn the One Dose Pill Dispenser from Talisman Technologies 72° in order to dispense just one dose.

Frolova-Levi says that Weatherchem launched the one-piece NutraFlapper closure in the late 1990s in response to the self-medicating trend. Vitamin and botanical supplement customers today include Pharmavite for its Nature Made line, Nature’s Way, and Target Stores for private-label vitamins.

To promote ease of opening, the NutraGen II dispensing cap is designed with a deeper thumb cap undercut. The closure can be opened with one hand and features a stay-open lid with positive-snap reclosing.

The full orifice in the NutraGen II supports better induction sealing rates compared with the D-shaped orifice featured in the NutraFlapper line, addressing customers’ MVTR concerns, Frolova-Levi adds.

See sidebar: O-I Debuts HF and UHF Tags within Bottles

“Our one-piece designs provide high shelf impact. And they support the capping process as there are no detachable parts. With two-piece flip-top caps where the base and lid are molded separately and then snapped together, there is a high probability of the flap getting detached during capping, transportation, or consumer use,” she says.

 

LIGHTWEIGHT JARS

At Pack Expo International 2006, the Rexam Delta Plastics division (Hot Springs, AR) of Rexam Closures and Containers debuted the Expanded Jar line. Using a patented injection molding process, Rexam Delta produces a single-wall jar in which the jar walls are expanded outward to align with the closure.

The process creates a flush silhouette between the jar and closure, at a lower cost than extrusion or injection stretch blow molding techniques.

“Single-walled jars will typically have a step between the closure and bottle. The Expanded Jar provides consistent closure and container diameters for aesthetic appeal, in a fairly lightweight jar. You don’t have the heavy mass of a double-walled jar, and we use less material more efficiently compared with blow molding a jar,” Shankland says.

The 24-mm child-resistant flip-top closure from Rexam provides child resistance for
dispensing product through the closure lid and removing the entire closure for refilling.

“Blow molding is most effective in material efficiency with a large step from the neck diameter to the container body. With only a modest step from neck to jar-body diameter, blow molding is at a disadvantage,” he adds.

The jars are manufactured using clarified polypropylene that provides contact clarity rivaling PET jars, at a lower material cost.

The Expanded Jar line is offered in seven sizes, with neck-finish diameters of 71 and 87 mm.

EASED ASSEMBLY

Talisman Technologies LLC (Plainview, NY) has just patented an assembly feature of its bottle-capping device for dispensing single pills or dosages at a time. First featured in PMP News’s ePackage Newsletter in July 2005, the child-resistant cap allows consumers to access bottled products by inverting the bottle and turning it clockwise about 72° using the other hand to dispense one dose. To help manufacturers use this cap with their existing bottle designs, Talisman has patented a collar that enables it to be snapped into a bottle. “The One Dose Pill Dispenser can be made available as a two-piece unit via injection molding with collar and cap, and can be retrofitted to fit in any size pill bottle for any size pill or dose, or it can be made as a one-piece unit via blow molding,” says Shaan Khan, founder and coCEO. “Blow molding the bottle and collar as one unit eliminates an assembly step and SKU, allows for a reduction in recurring unit costs, and simplifies the packaging line, resulting in a gain in efficiency.” Talisman’s patent also covers powder dispensing.

Talisman has been quietly pitching the One Dose Pill Dispenser to pharmaceutical companies, garnering a lot of positive response, says Khan. The dispensing closure is about to enter third-party child-resistance and senior- frendliness testing. In the meantime, Talisman is on the lookout for a “packaging guru” to help bring its solution to market.

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