How to get a Great Package? Ask ZW3D
"ZW3D helped us to provide exactly what was needed for the design which significantly cut design time."
— Alcan Fibrenyle
There’s no longer any question that elegant design and innovation have become increasingly important for successful consumer packaging. As a result, leading manufacturers will go to great lengths to achieve the best in both looks and functionality, with advanced design technology playing a critical role in accelerating the development of market-winning packaging.
World-leading product and packaging company Fibrenyle®, a division of the Alcan Packaging Group of Alcan®, Inc., knows exactly what companies need in order to make packaging deliver market share and profitability. The company has been in the packaging business for over 50 years and designs and packages products for a number of leading companies in health, beauty, pharmaceuticals, food, beverage and household goods.
“Innovative packaging gives a product an immensely strong competitive edge over its rivals,” said Malcolm Bartram, Fibrenyle’s design and tooling manager. “Fibrenyle is consistently breaking new ground in product and process.”
Worldwide, Alcan has 30,000 employees and its activities include designing glass and plastic bottles, aluminum aerosol cans, folding cartons, pouches and blisterpacks. The company has a proven track record in designing and making innovative packaging with a client list that includes companies such as Lever Fabergé®, L’Oreal®, Sara Lee®, Alberto Culver® and Gillette®.
ZW3D Hybrid Modeling Proves Beneficial
Fibrenyle’s drive to create attractive, innovative and practical packaging is aided by one of its core software packages, ZW3D, which has now been used in the design department for three years.
“We changed from using a pure surface modeler that we used for about 15 years,” Bartram explained. “Since moving on to ZW3D, the advantage of being able to use either surface or solid modeling has been highly beneficial. Flicking from one modeling technique to the other is a smooth process. Instead of creating models entirely in solids or surfaces, one can mix the two techniques, and the functions work on either open or closed surface sets.”
Andy Howes, Fibrenyle’s design engineer, added, “Even now we are learning new things about ZW3D. The company offers good training programs on how to best use the software. We recently attended an advanced training course that was designed to be specifically relevant to the packaging sector. We were actually working on packaging projects that we could relate to our sector.”
Using ZW3D software, Fibrenyle has accelerated time-to-market for several significant new products. Following are examples of ZW3D use in developing packaging solutions for some of those products.
Speeding A Promotional Bottle to Market
ZW3D was recently used in Fibrenyle’s design and manufacture of an innovative softdrink promotion for GlaxoSmithKline®. The project, which took just six weeks from the design stage to reach full production, required the development of a 2.5-liter PVC refrigerator jug with a tap dispenser that would be sold attached to the bottle.
“Fibrenyle was on a tight deadline for this project. We already manufacture two-liter bottles and needed to work up the new jug design from original concepts quickly,” said Bartram. “ZW3D’s hybrid modeler really helped us. On this project we were dealing with very sophisticated profiles and ZW3D was vital in meeting our requirements in terms of surfaces. One can change the surfaces into solids and vice versa, which provides us with enormous flexibility and saves time with fast modifications of the design.”
Improving the Cosmetics of Cosmetic Products
About half of Fibrenyle’s products are designed for the health and beauty sector. ZW3D has also been essential in providing many packaging designs for some of the company’s leading clients in this area. One example of Fibrenyle’s projects where ZW3D has been important is the packaging for Pearldrops® cosmetic toothpaste.
Pearldrops is a toothpaste designed to remove stains primarily caused by smoking. The task was to redesign the bottle. Due to the thickness of the toothpaste, a bottle was needed where the user would stand the product on its head, forcing the toothpaste down.
Pearldrops manufacturer Carter® had very specific design requirements. The idea was to design a ‘tottle’ (called a tottle as the bottle would literally totter over as the base would be rounded instead of flat), making it impossible for the product to stand upright, unless it is placed on its cap. After initial design concepts, Carter approached Fibrenyle to take it through the various design and development stages.
“The surface work involved was quite complex. ZW3D was essential in providing final designs for customer evaluation and toolmaking data,” noted design engineer Howes. “The ZW3D filleting tools were very helpful. It would have been very difficult to do the work so easily in other CAD systems.”
Lever Fabergé is another of Fibrenyle’s well-known clients. Recently Lever Fabergé asked the company to assist in the re-development of its roll-on deodorant bottle. This was to affect various product families, including prominent brand names such as Dove®, Sure® and Impulse®.
In liaison with the customer, Fibrenyle devised a sleek new ergonomic design for the deodorant packaging and once again ZW3D played an important part. The new design moved away from the traditionally upright bottle to one with a tilted head, both to be practical, and to give the bottle a contemporary appearance.
“ZW3D has exactly the right framework for more complex shapes and surfaces. ZW3D is especially good at creating and handling subtle contours. It helped us to provide exactly what was needed for the design, which significantly cut development time,” said Howes.
History Tree Simplifies Wax Bottle Alternatives
ZW3D’s history tree feature has also been essential for Fibrenyle. This was demonstrated when the company was recently employed by Turtle Wax® to develop a new ¬concept that adds a chip stick to their original Color Magic® bottle. The wax chip stick is designed to rub into small paint-chipped areas on the body of a car.
“The concept initially was simple enough, but providing the correct clip feature to hold the stick proved more difficult,” said Howes. “We needed a bottle that could incorporate the detachable chip stick without losing the look and feel of the overall design. Various options were considered—from sticking it on the front, to sticking it on the side. Eventually we came up with a design that could hold it within the actual shape of the bottle and maintain the existing Color Magic image.
“A number of design variants were considered for this project. The ZW3D history tree played an extremely important part with its ability to step back through the history of the design when needed to rework the position of the chip stick. It is a user friendly and flexible system. Stepping back through the design work saved on valuable design time.”
ZW3D Proves To Be An Indispensable Tool for Packaging
Fibrenyle prides itself on the ability to serve the needs of its customers in all fields of the global packaging market, and ZW3D has been an indispensable tool that has aided the company in many of its projects. Design manager Bartram concluded: “ZW3D has proven to be a great product that has really benefited the company in the design processes. Its key strengths lie in the many advanced features it has to offer, which one would normally expect from only the most highly priced CAD/CAM packages.”
Note: VX CAD/CAM software and technology has been acquired by ZWCAD Software Co., Ltd. VX CAD/CAM has been rebranded as ZW3D. All the testimonials of ZW3D refer to its predecessor.