When Bausch + Lomb Inc. wanted to repackage the very traditional consumer medical package for its contact lens solution, it turned to a non-traditional development plan that closely linked it with both its bottle molder and the mold maker.
The resulting clear PET container represents not only a fresh look for the bottle, but also is part of a new way of doing business for B+L, processor Amcor Ltd. and mold maker R&D/Leverage.
With R&D/Leverage's and Amcor's support we are changing the industry, which has long been dominated by contact lens solutions packaged in that ubiquitous white bottle and white label packaging that has grown stale, said Daryl DuLong, global product manager for lens care at Bausch + Lomb.
The bottle's development was built on longstanding relationships between R&D/Leverage of Lee's Summit, Mo., Amcor and B+L, said Todd Riley, national sales manager for R&D/Leverage.
This was a true alignment where everyone's working on the same goal, Riley said in a May 6 telephone interview.
While R&D has its own in-house industrial design group in Leverage, this project did not use Leverage's expertise. Instead, Bausch + Lomb did its own package design. However, it did build on the communication that the engineers and tool builders within R&D have developed with the design world through Leverage.
The combined aesthetic, engineering and blow molding capabilities the three firms brought to the project were key to developing the new bottle, and R&D believes it is an outlook that will help streamline future projects.
For the Re-Nu bottle, B+L wanted to replace the standard white high density polyethylene bottle that it and its competitors have used for years with a clear appearance that would give the product a fresh look and help it compete on store shelves.
The companies jointly spent two years creating the look and feel of the bottle by optimizing wall thickness, adding texture and a clear polyolefin pressure-sensitive label while retaining ease of manufacturing so it would fit into Amcor's existing production processes.
They don't want to build a whole new plant for a new package, Riley said.
The bottle is an example of what can happen when brand owners work in advance with molders and mold makers, he said.
The company calls its combination of R&D's established business in tooling and Leverage's expertise in product design and development as a new way of approaching lean manufacturing.
Traditionally, a brand owner works with a designer to create a product or change the look of an existing product, he said. They fall in love with the design and then ask manufacturers to produce it, only to learn it can't be made at a reasonable cost or sometimes it can't be made at all.
We can bring the creative piece, but we also understand the physics of plastics, he said.
When the creative and manufacturing elements work together, they can more easily avoid dead ends that waste time and money.
It can definitely save you a bunch of money and time, Riley said. There are a hell of a lot of good ideas that died on the vine because planning went on so long that it wasn't relevant to the marketplace by the time they brought it to market.
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