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Can you handle this?

Australia’s promotional packaging specialists, Creative Pack, have joined forces with US company PakTech to deliver a low waste, sustainable packaging alternative for multi-packs to our market: the PakTech handle.

In a country envied for its freedom of choice it is a little ironic that Australia’s largest manufacturing sector, the FMCG industry, is restricted in choice when it comes to packaging options for multi-packs. The menu reads: cardboard or shrink wrap.

We can all relate to sitting in our favourite restaurant and the once tempting menu seems, well, a little dull. Luckily there’s always the specials board, and for the Australian packaging industry this now reads: PakTech handles, innovative, custom designed, cost effective, 100% recyclable and consumer friendly.

Developed in the US 16 years ago to meet the demands of a dairy company who wanted a low-cost substitute to boxed multi-packs, this handle technology has evolved to serve as an alternative to mainstream packaging. It has brought with it new opportunities to enhance supply chain efficiency, maximise product presentation and reduce costs for any product across any industry.

The handles are manufactured using a special mould injecting process that employs a lightweight, highly durable and universally recyclable plastic, High Density Polyethylene. Injection moulding presses and robots with end of arm tooling enable a flexible handle design which exists to bundle containers with a wide variety of sizes, neck diameters and volumes.

An extensive range of standard designs and colours are readily available to fit those familiar on shelf packaging designs. For the creative, customised solutions are possible through an in-house design team who work in sync with a savvy engineering department, to develop prototypes.

Clients can literally see their projects come to life; a perfect solution for those nervous about investing in change.

The latest handle designs are the TP-103-313 and TP-MIX, both created for the wine industry. TP-MIX is specially designed to unify two bottles of different sizes, perfect for encouraging cross-brand trials and enticing point of sale purchases.

The former, a ‘No Clack’ solution for TwinPack wine bottles, is designed to wrap around bottles to prevent them from knocking together when being grabbed and carried.

To ensure supply chain efficiency, handles are applied through high speed in-line equipment or by manual and semi-automatic processes for lower volumes or slower lines.

Machine flexibility enables handle application in intermittent or continuous motion, to match rates of production or to satisfy a line configuration. If the thought of changing operating structure seems daunting, then Creative Pack offers parallel supply to ensure the benefits of the handle are realised, just as they would be with in-house applications.

According to the company, the introduction of this technology in Australia could not have come at a better time. Recent changes in the economic stability have caused manufacturing companies to consider bulk retail solutions in response to consumers paying greater attention to their wallets.

Above this, the end user is more demanding and sophisticated than ever. In an interesting article by Editor of Shelf Impact, Jim George, the effectiveness of traditional packaging which attempts to ‘shout’ over competitor brands is challenged.

George suggests that “consumers can see through yesterday’s marketing keywords such as ‘new’ and ‘improved’. They are now searching for meaningful brand connections.”

Brand design and consultancy company Design Force’s president, Ted Mininni, supported these claims by saying that “packaging as a billboard is yesterday’s idea. To grab, develop and maintain consumer attention consumer packaging must deliver something extraordinary. It must be innovative, interactive and add the perception of value.”

With a growing social interest in sustainability, PakTech’s environmentally friendly technology will take the heat off the packaging industry, which is answerable for the 4.2 million tonnes of packaging waste currently generated by Australia.

According to the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association, solutions like PakTech help reduce annual packaging weights by 400%, production and energy costs by 50% and material wastage by 150%.

Additionally, the PakTech handle encourages end-user recycling and is likely to positively affect the recycling rate of plastic packaging which currently sits at 20.5%. Every handle is stamped with the universally recognisable symbol ‘#2’ and ‘please recycle’, indicating that every community recycling centre and kerbside recycling bin can recycle these handles.

The PakTech handle has put forward a compelling case for companies to adopt this multi-pack solution – for the benefits it affords to brand owners, consumers and the environment.

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