ATLANTA - For all the befuddled grown-ups who have thrown up their hands in disgust with the difficulty of opening ``childproof'' bottle caps, Poly-Seal Corp. of Baltimore thinks it has an answer. Randall House, vice president of marketing for the closure maker, said the company has developed a Thumb Tab child-resistant/easy-adult access closure for bottles. It is now seeking a customer for the product.
House spoke at the Packaging Strategies '95 conference, held April 19-21 in Atlanta.
``This cap is the result of a number of focus group testing we did,'' House said. ``Although we have a huge line of stock closures, we have never done much in the area of child-resistant closures. Technology existed that we could have used, but nothing met the criteria we had established for entry into this market.''
He said the company sought a childproof closure that could be opened easily by an adult, even in the dark; was competitively priced; was appropriate for liquid or solid contents; and was easily filled and capped on standard equipment.
The new design involves an offset space molded into the bottle neck, and into a narrow ring surrounding the neck. The user simply presses on the ring to align the two offsets and turns the winged top. To reseal the bottle and render it child resistant again, the cap simply screws back on.
``In hours of focus group testing, we have found that senior citizens, the group we targeted to satisfy, simply don't like the child-resistant packages that exist,'' House said.
The company worked with Captive Plastics Co. to develop the bottle, and injection molded the polypropylene cap in its facilities in Baltimore.
Testing was done with senior citizens aged 60-75, who gave the new closure high marks, House said.
Ironically, developing simple but effective instructions for opening the bottle proved one of the biggest hurdles.
``In some cases with the earlier instructions, the adults would simply look at the closure in confusion,'' House said. ``But we got it to the place where the seniors rated it very highly in ease of opening. The children were still baffled.''
Poly-Seal is developing pictographic labeling to allow the bottle and closure to be used internationally. House said the company is discussing the closure with over-the-counter pharmaceutical companies.
Poly-Seal is privately held with three plants in Baltimore. The company ranked 55th in Plastics ' 1995 survey of North American injection molders with 1994 sales of $65 million.