Clamshell Design Wins an AmeriStar Package Award
While browsing the results of The Institute of Packaging Professional's AmeriStar Package Awards Competition 2013, I came across an interesting winning package. It is basically a clamshell configuration that may be used for protecting both sterile and non-sterile medical devices. Several illustrations of the pack can be viewed in the winner's photo gallery.
This design, which was developed for Wrights Medical by Barger, Placon's Medical Division, is described in the IOPP announcement of winners:
Package: Wright Medical Extremities Clamshell: A Universal Packaging System Design
Company: Placon Corporation
At 2 ½" long and 1 ½" wide, the compact, universal packaging clamshell, used in both sterile and non-sterile presentations, securely holds over 350 SKUs*. With a coined hinge and two "wings" designed on either side, contact with potentially sharp hinge corners when the clamshell is closed was eliminated. Engineered to be easy to open, "large" ribbed thumb notches are molded onto two sides of the user-friendly rigid thermoform.
The concept is very simple: The clamshell is not a sterile barrier pack, but it is used to prevent physical damage to the product, prevent damage to the enclosing pouch, and (when used for a terminally sterilized product) provide for convenient aseptic transfer to the sterile field.
As shown in the picture (borrowed from the IOPP website), the clamshell has wings that enhance its usefulness. At the bottom, the wings provide an easy-opening feature with rounded corners to protect the enclosing bag or pouch from potential puncture. In the center, there is a molded channel to facilitate entry and removal of water vapor when sterilizing by Eto. At the top, the wings prevent contact between the containing pouch (or bag) and the sharp edges of the hinge; these also provide a corner free exterior, preventing the risk of puncture. The overlap of lid and base sections of the clamshell is clearly designed to resist impact from an oscillating product.
This package is a good example of how good design can add valuable features to a simple concept. The only downside to this pack is that it essential to ensure that no one mistakes a non-sterile pack for sterile packaging.
* Note: SKU = Stock Keeping Unit, in this case a medical device.
Rolande Hall, FIMMM Pkg Prof