SAN JOSE, CALIF. - Manufacturers in the compact disc, video and audio tape packaging industry introduced new products at Replitech International 1996 that have improved consumer eye appeal, and greater durability and functionality. Alpha Enterprises in North Canton, Ohio, launched two new videocassette cases at the San Jose show, held June 4-6. Dura-Case, targeted for the video sell-through market, is the same size as the standard vinyl vacuum formed clamshell, but is injection molded in one piece from polypropylene.
Alpha's Video Capsule also is an injection molded, VHS cassette package in a new design allowing the cassettes to be inserted and removed easily. It also has ``feet'' that allow it to stand upright on a shelf.
The new designs feature fully rounded corners to prevent shrinkwrap from tearing. Alpha also plans to come out with an audio book package and a CD holder with a similar design.
Joyce Molding Corp. of Rockaway, N.J., displayed its newest CD jewel box called CD-Safe, a one-piece injection molded PP case developed for CD-ROMs, CD games and digital video discs.
The design features a patented locking button that holds the disc securely yet allows for easy removal without having to flex the disc. Ed Joyce, president of Joyce Molding, said CD-Safe is manufactured by Joyce's Amaray International Division, the product's developer, and is used extensively in Europe.
Joyce said Amaray has made Joyce Molding the exclusive licensee for CD-Safe, and molds are being built to accommodate North American production. Joyce Molding also injection molds videocassette and audio cassette boxes and game cases.
Clear-Vu Products, a division of Autronic Plastics Inc. in Westbury, N.Y., found a good marriage between paperboard and plastic with its new Trac Pac. Originally designed for the DVD movie format, Trac Pac has received ``great acceptance'' from the CD industry, said company spokeswoman Grace Conte.
Trac Pac's skeleton and tray are PP with a paperboard outer wrapping. Although DVD was the driving force for Trac Pac's development, Conte said the company is not waiting for DVD to bring the package to market.
``While movie studios are twiddling their thumbs, we have gone ahead and introduced this to CD manufacturers, and they have accepted it,'' she said.
Trac Pac is ready for DVD whenever DVD is ready for it, said Conte. The case is as long as a standard VHS cassette and as wide as a CD case, providing printable areas on the front, back and sides. The case's size lends itself to various retail displays.
Poly-Matrix of Pittsfield, Mass., announced the release of its new CD Multi-Pack, which can hold up to six CDs in the space of one double CD box. The Multi-Pack uses Poly-Matrix's patented 2CD tray, which allows one CD to snap onto each side of the tray.
Jon Strom, vice president of marketing, said the company started out doing only audio cassette boxes, but during the past five years has worked with customers to develop new products.
In addition to its Pittsfield facility, Poly-Matrix has two other manufacturing plants, and offers complete in-house services in-cluding product design and development, mold making and auto-mation manufacturing. The firm also molds CD jewel cases and audiocassette shells.
Perhaps one of the most innovative concepts in CD jewel boxes is the patented Multi-Image CD case by Gelardi Design & Development in Kennebunkport, Maine. President Anthony Gelardi said the product has a total of five patents and was two years in design and development.
Gelardi calls the Multi-Image case ``active packaging'' because the grooved polystyrene cover's linear lenses make graphics appear to move as the case is tilted back and forth. Optics engineering firm Insight Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., assisted Gelardi with the lens design.
Gelardi said the product came out of a brain-storming session in which he asked his customers, ``If you could have anything you wanted in a jewel box, what's your wish?''
Customers told him they would like twice the graphics surface without enlarging the jewel box's physical size.
``The response to this package has been unbelievable,'' Gelardi said, adding that sales quadrupled for one record company that recently began using the active packaging.
There are several new game releases coming out in the CD-ROM format, including Milton Bradley's Battleship and Clue.
Gelardi said he has a whole line of new products coming out based on the Multi-Image concept, including a line of architectural tiles that move when you walk by a wall.
Olamon Industries in Old Town, Maine, is molding the jewel boxes for Gelardi, and Michelex Indus-trial Group in Massena, N.Y., is handling sales and distribution.
Opticord of Palatine, Ill., introduced its Disk Dock Traveler System, which incorporates interchangeable Push-Pop trays to provide easy access to any CD stored in the system. Initially, the Disk Dock Traveler will be offered models that hold one, two, four six and 24 discs. A DD Extender is available to link any number of Disk Dock Travelers together.