Aerosol Packaging: Maximizing the Benefits of Shaped Aerosol Packaging
Today's brand owners are faced with shrinking margins, increased competition, and shifts in consumer needs. To remain ahead of the curve, consumer products companies are challenged with delivering more innovative and value-added products to consumers. They are also demanding packaging that exudes the same uniqueness. The following are some key facts about the shaping process and how it can help marketers make packages pop off store shelves while also multitasking as brand protectors, sustainability enhancers, and more.
Fact #1: Shaping can reinforce brand security.
According to the Department of Commerce in 2005, counterfeit products cost U.S. businesses an estimated $200 billion each year. Shaping offers a unique option to help combat this threat, protects brand image in the marketplace, and prevents any potential product damage that may stem from counterfeit formulations. Asymmetrically shaped containers are particularly difficult to replicate, so consumers can distinguish between genuine products and imitations.
Fact #2: Shaped metal packaging offers a fresh approach to sustainability.
Steel, the metal of choice for aerosol packaging, offers many inherent properties that make it a natural choice for brand owners seeking to utilize environmentally friendly packaging. It is 100% recyclable and can be recycled infinitely with no degradation in quality. In addition, today’s steel aerosol cans contain an average of 59% recycled content in the United States and 56% in Europe.
Shaping can also reduce the amount of material used to produce containers. For example, the shaped package produced for Sara Lee Corp.’s Endust Free Dusting and Cleaning Spray enables the standard 10 oz of product to be filled in a container that uses 14% less material, further helping to reduce environmental impact.
Fact #3: The flexibility of steel offers a wide scope of shaping possibilities.
The characteristics of steel offer other benefits besides recyclability. Depending on the type of steel used, steel can expand between 16% and 25%, allowing a wide scope of possibilities when developing different shapes. Packages can feature subtle curves or highly innovative asymmetrical designs depending on the look marketers are aiming to achieve.
Fact #4: Shaping can be used to reinforce key attributes and themes.
Traditionally, brands have relied on graphics, color, and size to communicate key product characteristics. Now, shaping can be incorporated into the packaging mix to quickly convey brand attributes to consumers while also helping attract attention at point of purchase.
The packaging for the recently launched Endust Free Dusting and Cleaning Spray is a powerful example. When Sara Lee Corp. was developing the fragrance-free and hypoallergenic product, it knew the packaging needed to be just as revolutionary. Crown Aerosol Packaging worked with Sara Lee to create an elegant, hourglass-shaped container that subtly reinforces the product’s health and wellness attributes on the retail shelf. Calming graphics of white clouds against a blue sky create additional visual impact.
Another creative use of shaping can be seen with Wera Tools’ Kraftform Fluid range of lubricants and protectants. The distinctive package mimics the appearance of the company’s iconic Kraftform screwdriver handle, creating a link between the new products and a well-established brand. The 400-ml packages are topped off with a plastic cap designed to resemble the tip of a screwdriver, clearly conveying the product’s purpose to consumers who may be unfamiliar with Wera and its Kraftform products.
Fact #5: Adding high-quality decoration will further enhance the appearance of shaped aerosols.
Decorative finishes can give an extra boost to the visual appeal of shaped aerosol containers. There are several options available to marketers depending on the look and feel they are trying to achieve.
For example, Crown’s Relief Varnish creates a 3-D effect and can be applied over the entire surface of an aerosol package for a high-impact shimmer. The varnish offers a high-contrast background for brand names and logos to pop. Rows of packages decorated with this varnish will create the illusion of movement along the shelves, drawing consumers’ attention as they walk by.
For a premium yet retro-industrial look, marketers can opt for a unique sparkle finish. A pearlescent finish provides aerosol cans soft, glowing effect, and a color-changing finish can instantly transform colors with a simple rotation of the package.
Fact #6: There are several different shaping techniques that can be employed.
Some of the more common techniques include water-jet forming and mechanical expansion. Crown utilizes a proprietary blow-forming process to maximize container integrity and product protection and ensure consistently high-quality shaped aerosol packaging.
First, preforms are placed in precision-engineered molds to create the desired shape. High-pressure air causes the steel to expand and take the size and shape of the mold. Once completely expanded, the package is sent for filling.
No tooling or water ever touches the inside of the container, preventing damage to internal coatings ensuring package strength is not compromised. Unlike other shaping techniques, blow-forming also maintains a better surface finish and glossiness of the final package.
Fact #7: Shaping does not significantly affect productivity.
While final shape and design may affect how the container runs on a filling line, generally only minor modifications are needed to ensure a seamless process.
Suppliers like Crown offer consultative support to customers throughout the shaping process for optimum filling efficiency. Exploring design options and specifications with customers in advance also helps boost productivity and ensures specific output goals are met.
About Crown Holdings Inc.
Crown Holdings Inc., through its subsidiaries, is a leading supplier of packaging products to consumer marketing companies around the world. World headquarters are located in Philadelphia, PA. For more information, visit www.crowncork.com. Crown Aerosol Packaging USA, a business unit of Crown Holdings Inc., has collaborated with several customers to introduce innovatively shaped aerosol packages to the marketplace.
References:Washington, Shawn. “Counterfeit Products Cost Legitimate Businesses $200 Billion Per Year.” Associated Content. 22 Nov. 2005. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/14438/my_review_of_the_lexmark_x3470_scanner.html?cat=17