Software customized by Constar can accelerate the packaging development process and help avoid costly pitfalls such as packages that do not meet performance, sustainability or cost requirements, claims the global supplier of food and beverage containers.
Constar director of engineering, Mike Mooney, said its team wrote code based on its vast experience of manually designing packaging to modify off-the-shelf software - the end result being its proprietary i-Design tool that he claims enables automation of the time-intensive modelling and analysis required when creating new packages.
The software debuted at the Packaging Conference in Las Vegas this week, said the provider of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging.
Mooney said that a typical rigid plastic container, even with computers crunching the numbers, requires hours of analysis to achieve specific design, cost and sustainability objectives but by using i-Design, the Constar team can now complete projects that have traditionally taken as much as 40 hours of intense design in a matter of minutes.
He claims that since implementing i-Design, the Constar engineering team has cut product development timelines in some cases by as much as 90 per cent, while also minimising prototyping and concept testing as well as using less material, enabling its customers to be first to market with the best package.
Benefits for brands
Mooney maintains that such time savings make a huge difference to companies using branded and promotional packaging to drive sales:
“The advantage of differentiation is only an advantage for a short time. The ability to quickly change or alter the aesthetics, performance or materials used in a package is very powerful as it helps companies rapidly adapt to changing market conditions and maintain their competitive edge,” he said.
The i-Design application is data-driven, continued Mooney, and includes Constar's advanced predictive engineering software, CONSTruct, which incorporates finite element analysis (FEA):
“The suite of software applications allows us to develop optimized container design, optimized preform and optimized palletization. This is important for minimizing freight costs and energy usage.”
He told FoodProductionDaily.com that the use of i-Design by other packaging engineers outside of Constar is "to be determined." However, he said it may be licensed in the future.
Currently the i-Design suite is limited to more conservatively shaped containers but next generations of the design tool will enable the development of containers with more complex functionality, he added.