CHICAGO (Nov. 30, 1:55 p.m. ET) — R&D/Leverage is hoping to sell brand owners on classic pairings and new ideas.
The company launched two new offerings at Pack Expo 2012: multiproduct packaging that can contain both a liquid and a solid item and its customizable laser processing capability.
But on a larger scale, R&D/Leverage used the event to show potential clients the benefits of working with a company that combines mold-making expertise with an in-house design and research firm.
Traditionally, creative types and engineers work separately: “Engineers think about what can be done, what's doable, what's manufacturable, while artists think outside the box — [they] want to make this thing as crazy as possible,” global market director Robert Schiavone said in an interview at the show, held Oct. 28-31 in Chicago.
Brand owners need to keep both of those points of view in mind when developing a new packaging.
Companies spend millions of dollars working with design agencies to come up with something that can't be manufactured, Schiavone said. “You can come up with a great packaging, but will it fit in existing packaging lines? Will an existing closure fit it? [Can you make it] without blowing your costs totally out of proportion?”
R&D/Leverage offers a solution to the idea vs. an implementation dilemma, he said. The company's Structural Brand Development unit — Leverage — offers product design, research and testing; but, because R&D is also a mold maker, it designs packages with manufacturability in mind.
“There's culture change about this. There's industry change about this. It's bringing two environments together and it's really unique. It's exciting,” Schiavone said.
The company's latest example is the Whole Package: a multiproduct package consisting of an outer ring filled with a liquid — like juice or milk — that surrounds a bowl filled with a solid— like cereal or snack crackers.
The packaging, which is still in early stages, drew a crowd at Pack Expo, with brand owners and converters waiting in line to talk, according to Schiavone.
“Brand owners see that package and they just think, ‘Wow, it would work for this and that,' ” he said. “And as a mold maker, that's what we're trying to do that's different than anyone else.”
He refused to release names, but said R&D/Leverage has heard from several brand owners, in markets ranging from food and beverage to automotive care, that are interested in the the package for their next product launch. The next step is bringing those brands to R&D/Leverage's headquarters and innovation campus in Lee's Summit, Mo., and getting to work, he said.
The Whole Package is patent-pending and still in prototype stage, but Schiavone said it would be an extrusion blow molded product and probably made of polypropylene.
At Pack Expo, R&D/Leverage also advertised its new laser processing capability. Instead of a limited variety of stock textures, the firm now can add customizable textures to packages — a rain drop with a logo inside, for example.
R&D/Leverage said its micromachining laser can machine metal to eight times smaller than a human hair and do so faster and more efficiently. The laser can create both organic textures like wood grain, pebbles and finger-prints; and inorganic ones like plaid, herringbone and geometric shapes.