The Tube-in-a-Tube Trend

By Marie Redding

Will this type of tube soon be reaching new heights in terms of popularity?

The tube-in-a-tube, or the dual-tube package, has existed in the industry for a while—but has never been as popular as it is now.
World Wide Packaging (Florham Park, NJ) is currently working on building the tooling for seven new tube-in-a-tube packages, for projects based all around the world—most of which will begin launching in 2011. (See picture at right for tube-in-a-tube packages
courtesy World Wide Packaging.) Although the dual tube’s body size may stay the same for some of the projects, each will require a custom head configuration to accommodate different types of products.

“We’re developing a new market that never existed before,” says Jeff Hayet, executive vice president, global sales, World Wide Packaging.

World Wide Packaging recently collaborated on a project with a major beauty company to develop a tube-in-a-tube for a hair care product, launching globally soon. The package’s structure is a 35-mm inner tube, and a 50-mm outer tube.

A tube with as many functional requirements that this project posed has never been done before on a mass-market scale, according to the supplier. “I don’t know of any other tube in the world that has this type of inner structure, combined with this unique head configuration,” says Hayet.

The tube’s orifice had to ensure that the two products dispensed in a 50/50 ratio.

“We were given design direction based on the requirement of its formula, which posed a challenge,” says Hayet. “The orifice configuration is based on very specific gravities—one product was thick, and one was much thinner,” he says.

“We found a way to control the flow of the product, and how they would mix when dispensed, which is not normally done with a plastic tube,” says Hayet.

The supplier’s patented design assembly process ensures the tube bounces right back into place after squeezing, ready to be used again. Intricate molded details are placed inside the heads of both the inner and outer tubes to relieve air pressure.
“We were the first to design and commercially produce a tube of this nature,” says Hayet. “Certain laminate toothpaste tubes have the ability to keep their shape as well, but I don’t know of any other extruded plastic tube that has this capability. If you’ve seen other tubes perform this way, they may appear to be extruded, but they’re not,” he explains. World Wide Packaging built the machinery and robotic technology required to ensure tubes are assembled properly in production. “The fact that we are able to produce this package robotically is key and drives down costs,” says Hayet.

“Any supplier can make one beautiful concept package—but real innovation is the ability to bring it to market, at an affordable price point,” he says. “We produced 200,000 to one million at a time for this launch,” he adds.

Filling a Tube-in-a-Tube

As more marketers might be interested in using a tube-in-a-tube package, more machinery manufacturers may be preparing for new types of filling projects.

ProSys Innovative Packaging Equipment (Webb City, MO) has been filling dual-barreled cartridges and syringes for the adhesives, sealants, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries for many years—but filling a dual-tube package was new for the supplier, until recently. ProSys was approached by a major global cosmetic company and manufactured a new machine with filling and sealing technology for tube-in-a-tube sample packages.

“We already had the technology and expertise, in-house. It was just a matter of adapting our modular servo driven fill station and developing new hot air sealing for the tube-in-a-tube container,” says Don Sonntag, ProSys Division Manager. “Our standard machine features a modular station design, so it wasn’t difficult to customize it for this purpose,” he adds.

ProSys can fill and seal a dual-tube package at speeds up to 240 finished tubes per minute, utilizing hot air sealing technology. It can accommodate product viscosities up to 3 million cps (centipoises), which is much greater than the viscosity of a standard lotion.

Essel Propak is another supplier with the capability and design technology to produce and fill a tube in a tube.

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