PRODUCT DICTATES POUCH
Plastic pouch converters market their malleability in packaging a vast array
by Jessica Millward, Associate Editor
CUSTOM CONVERTING HAS become a way of life for printers, with product manufacturers exhibiting a more developed interest in and knowledge of packaging processes. The latest breed of plastic pouches necessitates client involvement—the nature of the product and its packaged "life cycle" can determine both substrate and construction.
While the burgeoning popularity of pouches, particularly stand-up varieties, has translated into some semi-standardized constructions, design is typically a collaborative process.
Pechiney Plastic Packaging Marketing Manager, Dry Foods, Law Burks attests, at a minimum, pouch customers detail barrier needs; stiffness requirements; preferred substrates; size/volume considerations; and print method (surface or reverse, gravure or flexo) before choosing a pouch design.
At converter Specialty Films & Associates (SF&A), the exchange of information is vital. President Jane Dirr emphasizes SF&A requires, "a clear understanding of the product being packaged, [awareness] of specific shelf life requirements, environmental concerns for storage/shipping, and the anticipated use that the pouch needs to withstand."
The open-exchange approach served SF&A well in creating a stand-up pouch for M•A•C Cosmetics' reformulated Pro Lash mascara (previously housed in a folding carton). M•A•C's Package Development Group had fairly specific requests regarding the pouch's construction and appearance. To replicate the company's signature gunmetal color, M•A•C wanted a two-sheet film construction—a sheer gray front and a darker gray back—with printing ability on both sides. "Everyone else wanted to print the front and label the back, but that's not where we wanted to go," explains Package Development Group Director Peter Rizzo.
Dirr affirms the importance of color in cosmetics, and notes the film structure of the mascara pouch therefore took months to perfect. "There are cases where the client already knows the films they want to use. However, we find it beneficial to still investigate alternatives that perhaps can provide cost savings, better barriers, or other features that the client might not be aware of," she states.