Bring innovations to market

  • TricorBraun

Package design thrives on innovation. Brand owners are continually looking for new ways to outshine the competition, and package designers and manufacturers are continually looking for innovations that will help them do so. Innovation is our life’s blood. The biggest challenge is that we never know where the next innovation is going to come from, or when.

TricorBraun learned early on to be proactive. We are continually looking for new opportunities to innovate. As my colleagues and I travel to visit customers and vendor partners, walk trade shows and present at conferences, we invite individuals and companies to share their new ideas, and especially those that they are having trouble commercializing.

As a result, during 35 years in package design and development, literally hundreds of innovative package design concepts have passed through our hands. Some are now successful commercial products; some are not. We have reviewed many concepts that have never made it to successfully commercialization. As packaging technology and material science evolve, their time may still come.

But even if they never reach the market, each teaches a lesson: most were genuinely innovative package concepts that were developed by an individual or company and that met a perceived need in the marketplace. Unfortunately, many of those concepts lacked input from outside sources with experience in bringing packages successfully to market. Many could not be manufactured cost-effectively; some could not be manufactured at all. For others, the perceived (but unconfirmed) market “need” did not really exist.

The Creative/Pragmatic Partnership

To be commercially successful, innovation requires collaboration between the inventor and a partner that can refine the original design to make it manufacturable, conduct market research to confirm or deny the market need and then manufacture and distribute the package. The earlier that collaboration begins, the sooner the likely success or failure of the innovation can be assessed and the project advanced or mercifully scrapped.

Collaboration is a two-way partnership. In addition to taking advantage of our experience in design, engineering, molding and manufacturing, the innovators that collaborate with TricorBraun also learn more about current manufacturing capabilities and current market trends—which are continually changing—which helps them in developing future innovations. We, on the other hand, get valuable insight into what new design concepts are being created, and how they may make future demands on our molding and manufacturing capabilities that we need to be ready to meet.

When searching for innovations to commercialize, we especially target packages that others have initiated, and that are promising, but that are struggling to get to a marketable stage. Evaluating them is not simply a process of looking at a concept and making a decision. As a company with more than 100 years of experience in packaging we might be tempted to do so, but if we did that we would be doing exactly what we fault some innovators for doing—making a judgment not rooted in hard evidence and practical sense.

Instead, we put our collective expertise to work, evaluating the functionality of the package, determining whether it can be cost-effectively manufactured and conducting focus group research to confirm real consumer interest in what the innovation offers.

The Process At Work

Recent innovations we have developed in this collaborative way have ranged from entirely new ideas to refinements of existing packaging.

Our new bi-injected, elastic hinge, flip top jar is an innovation that was developed internally by TricorBraun. It is designed to allow a consumer to conveniently access product packaged in a jar (lip balm, for example) without having to hold the lid in one hand and the jar in the other. Pressing a catch on the front of the jar releases the spring-loaded lid, which pops open to expose the product. After use, the lid can be closed with a quick push, and clicks securely shut.

Design, engineering and manufacturing experience combined to enable us to bi-inject the jar and lid, eliminating separate molding and assembly steps. Integrating the lid and jar also ensures the lid won’t be dropped during use - which our focus group research revealed as a consumer pet peeve with jar lids.

An example of a refinement to an existing package is a redesign of packages that incorporated measuring scoops. Large containers of powdered product (sports supplements and bodybuilding products, for example) are often packaged with a measuring scoop—which, when loose, immediately tends to work its way to the bottom of the powder. In a simple innovation, we redesigned such packages to add two nesting grooves in the inner edge of the container lip. These hold the scoop in place while still allowing the opening to be closed with an induction seal.

We see many of these innovations, whether developed internally or brought to us by companies or individuals needing help, before they are commercialized. At other times we encounter innovative packages or manufacturing techniques that are already in use that we realize might have additional “off-label” commercial applications.

Plastic Technologies, Inc., for example, developed and patented an aerated PET (polyethylene terephthalate) preform that could be overmolded and then blown without the two layers delaminating. PTI’s initial goal was to create a PET beverage bottle with a molded-in thermal layer. It was successful, producing a bottle that could hold beverage temperature steady for 15 minutes longer than a simple PET bottle.

But when we looked at that process, we saw a completely different opportunity: if the preform could be engraved with a pattern, then successfully overmolded, the result would be a bottle with a completely embedded design feature - a brand logo, for instance. Adjusting the size of the design or adding color could then make that message as subtle or eye-catching as the brand owner wished. In tests, PTI went through the engraving and molding process and evaluated the outcome. The result is an innovative bottle that is ideal for a premium product looking for a unique branding feature. We now have a patent application pending on that version of the process.

The End Result

The need of brand owners for a continuous supply of innovative packaging to keep their brands fresh in consumers’ eyes keeps package innovators working on new concepts. That need also keeps experienced package developers continually looking for those innovators who need help commercializing their ideas. The synergistic relationship that results is the most reliable pathway to new packaging that is attractive, functional and meets confirmed consumer wants.

An important part of the process is protecting the intellectual property rights of all parties. Our practice is to protect all valuable innovations, both those we develop in-house and those brought to us, with patents. Whether in our name, the innovator’s name or both together, everyone’s rights are protected. To date, TricorBraun holds more than 150 patents—some for new designs, some for new processes. In the case of the multi-layer bottle, for instance, PTI holds a utility patent, but because we expanded on that process to create embedded branding elements, we have applied for our own patents.

The primary purpose of a patent, obviously, is to protect a new design or process from being used without permission. But in the world of innovation, it is also objective confirmation that what design and engineering teams and their innovator partners have created is indeed entirely new.

See also

TricorBraun serves up a stand-out package design for Sauce Beauty

TricorBraun serves up a stand-out package design for Sauce Beauty

Understanding the importance of packaging to a product’s success, and serving up his innovative line of haircare products inspired by iconic recipes from kitchens around the globe, Rah turned to packaging leader TricorBraun for custom-designed bottles. He had previously partnered with TricorBraun when working for other beauty companies and knew that not only could its designers and engineers bring his vision to life in a way that excited retailers, but also get it to market quickly.

Straight and neat: Consumers thirst for spirits is growing

Straight and neat: Consumers' thirst for spirits is growing

According to the Distilled Spirits Council, spirits gained market share for the eighth consecutive year, with sales rising to nearly 37 percent of the total alcohol market. We’ve been keeping a pulse on the spirits market for a long time, so the level of industry growth is not surprising. With more than 116 years of packaging expertise, TricorBraun has been advising beverage alcohol brands on how to align packaging with consumer preferences for decades.

4 ways changing consumer preferences are impacting your spirits packaging

4 ways changing consumer preferences are impacting your spirits packaging

Consumers are eager to learn about spirits, and millennials in particular are willing to open their wallets for high-end, premium spirits. In many industries, including spirits, this has meant a scrapping of “old world” brands that were revered by their parents. Meanwhile, brand owners are responding by creating excitement with new products and new ways to interact with consumers. Here are four ways changing consumer preferences are impacting the spirits market – and your packaging strategy.

Brewcraft USA partners with TricorBraun to transform a carboy into the Genesis Fermenter

Brewcraft USA partners with TricorBraun to transform a carboy into the Genesis Fermenter

With a long list of objectives in hand, Brewcraft USA—who had been purchasing stock bottles from TricorBraun for several years— asked, what if we could develop a carboy that is not only safe and sustainable, but does more than a typical carboy that was designed to hold and carry liquid. The TricorBraun Design and Engineering team used their expertise to create a truly unique and innovative product offering for the home brewing industry.

Tricorbraun appoints Declan McCarthy Chief Financial Officer

Tricorbraun appoints Declan McCarthy Chief Financial Officer

TricorBraun, a global packaging leader, has appointed Declan McCarthy as Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. Reporting to President and CEO Court Carruthers, McCarthy is based at the company’s Global Support Center in St. Louis. A 30-year finance veteran, McCarthy oversees all aspects of the company’s financial functions. He serves on TricorBraun’s Executive Leadership Team, playing a key role in business planning and strategy.

TricorBraun to demonstrate how CPG brand owners can develop e-commerce packaging solutions that win consumer loyalty at inaugural E-Pack Summit

TricorBraun to demonstrate how CPG brand owners can develop e-commerce packaging solutions that win consumer loyalty at inaugural E-Pack Summit

Becky Donner, senior vice president of Marketing, Design & Engineering at global packaging leader TricorBraun, will discuss e-commerce opportunities for consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand owners at the inaugural E-Pack Summit in Chicago on September 18. She will demonstrate why an understanding of consumer behaviors can help brand owners better understand the packaging features and functionalities that will lead to sustained brand loyalty.

TricorBraun wins Best of Show, record number of NACD packaging awards

TricorBraun wins Best of Show, record number of NACD packaging awards

Global packaging leader TricorBraun has been awarded the National Association of Container Distributors (NACD) Best of Show in the 2018 NACD Packaging Awards, marking the 11th time the company has been recognized with the prestigious honor. TricorBraun received a company record of 12 NACD awards, including Best of Show, Best Use of Stock Packaging (bronze medal), six gold, two silver and two bronze medals. The company garnered more awards and more gold medals than any other distributor.

TricorBraun’s consumer research shows that moms also prefer scoops that are appropriately-sized for dosing, incorporate dosage indicators and have a grippable handle

TricorBraun’s consumer research shows that moms also prefer scoops that are appropriately-sized for dosing, incorporate dosage indicators and have a grippable handle

TricorBraun conducted qualitative research to understand consumer behavior, preferences, needs and experiences with different scoop designs. Insights gathered directly from consumers about what they prefer and how they interact and use scoops enables TricorBraun’s packaging consultants to understand which scoop solution is preferred for infant formula powders, and identify future design opportunities.

TricorBraun has acquired Canadian-based Taipak

TricorBraun has acquired Canadian-based Taipak

TricorBraun, a leading packaging solutions company, has acquired Canadian-based Taipak, a flexible packaging solutions provider headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia. "The acquisition of Taipak represents a true milestone for TricorBraun: It's the very first time in our more than 100-year history that we have entered the flexible packaging industry," said Keith Strope, Executive Chairman of TricorBraun. "It's a move that significantly increases our product offering and capabilities."

TricorBraun names new president and CEO

TricorBraun names new president and CEO

TricorBraun, a global packaging solutions leader, is pleased to announce that Court Carruthers will become the company's President and CEO effective October 30, 2017. He succeeds the company's long-serving President and CEO, Keith Strope, who will become Executive Chairman. Strope noted the move is part of a long-term succession plan. "To accommodate our aggressive growth strategy, we need to continue building strong leadership into the future. I have enjoyed working with Court as a member of our board and am excited about working closely with him as CEO. I look forward to focusing my time on our longer-term growth efforts as Executive Chairman."

TricorBraun hires industrial designer

TricorBraun hires industrial designer

TricorBraun Design & Engineering Group today announced that Eileen Krumm has joined the company as an Industrial Designer. She reports to Industrial Design Manager Samantha Juna and is based in Oak Brook, Illinois. In this role, Krumm designs and develops custom rigid packaging solutions for CPG (consumer packaged goods) brand owners located across the globe. With market insights and consumer trends in mind, Krumm works directly with clients to understand their needs and design imaginative concepts specific to required materials and manufacturing processes.

  • Frank Robledano Espín
  • Product Info
  • English
  • Created 19 Jan 2016
  • Modified 19 Jan 2016
  • Hits 2280