Sonoco Products Co. has spent $12 million to create a new packaging studio at its Hartsville, S.C., headquarters.
The Innovative Packaging Solutions studio includes spaces for observation of customer interaction with products and packaging in a variety of environments, including retail, kitchen and bathroom, the company said.
Sonoco, which counts both flexible and rigid plastic packaging in its portfolio of offerings, said the new iPS studio also has “a pilot plant to test manufacturing performance, state-of-the-art printing capability and rapid prototyping labs.”
Other features of the site include collaborative spaces to explore packaging concepts and technology to develop design and manufacturing options for potential commercialization, the company said.
Sonoco, known for its long history in paper-based packaging and products, said it takes a “packaging-neutral approach to solve our customer's challenges.”
“At our core, we think of ourselves as a solutions company that offers packaging, rather than a packaging company that happens to offer solutions,” Sonoco said.
The company has annual sales of about $5 billion and has 20,800 employees at more than 330 sites in 34 countries.
Sonoco made news late last year with the introduction of its TruVue plastic can. That can is aimed squarely at products traditionally served in steel cans. The TruVue can features a multi-layer plastic wall with an easy-open metal top and a metal bottom. At the time, Sonoco said the can could be on store shelves in just a matter of months.