Packaging that stops the cracker from crumbling

Consumers have hundreds of products to choose from when they are walking down supermarket aisles. There is no shortage of choice and that makes it a challenge for companies to create packaging that stands out from the rest.

Carman’s was faced with this challenge when making the perfect packaging for its Super Seed and Grain cracker range.

The exterior needed to look appealing in its shape and design, and the interior packaging needed to offer something that kept the crackers whole. Many of us have experienced carrying crackers home or to a dinner party and being left with broken pieces crumbled in the bottom of a bag.

It’s disappointing, especially when the dip is waiting to be scooped up with a delicious cracker. What’s also disappointing is when crackers become stale within days of opening the packet.

READ: Glass bottle redesigned with confidence using clear SLA 3D printing

Carman’s had a goal for its packaging – it needed to be easy to open, functional as a serving vessel, and enable Carman’s customers to reclose the container for storage. For ease of access, it was determined that the crackers should be stacked in three columns with room to encase the top crackers without crushing them.

The packaging also needed to meet the retailer requirement for vertical packaging to maximise differentiation on the shelves. There was also a question of on-shelf instability due to the light weight of the product and the properties of the tray material.

With a brief on what the packaging needed to achieve, Birdstone was brought onboard to design the best packaging with the help of 3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing (ODM), which then created it using SLA 3D printing technology. 3D Systems ODM brings ideas to reality through 3D printing, additive manufacturing, and injection moulding manufacturing services.

The company provides professional-grade 3D printing and manufacturing services that help designers and engineers with the tools and expertise to move from an idea to final production.

The company’s sales and marketing manager Peter Canfield said it was great to have an ongoing relationship with companies such as Birdstone. “Each collaboration between 3D Systems and Birdstone provides a unique opportunity to draw upon decades of combined experience in our respective industries to find new and interesting applications of our technology. We continually learn from each other and push the envelope with each project we collaborate on,” he said.

Birdstone uses 3D Systems ODM as the company creates prototypes with a quick turnaround. The collaboration between Birdstone and 3D Systems ODM helped produce the ideal packaging for Carman’s quickly and efficiently. Birdstone design and strategy director, Grant Davies, said 3D Systems ODM had a range of materials to choose from and the staff worked with speed and quality.

“Customers don’t necessarily understand the way the equipment works and there’s actually a queue of designs to run in the machine. Sometimes the turnaround times that come back from a supplier can be challenging to communicate. 3D Systems helps reduce those timeframes,” said Davies. “Any time they can get back to us quickly on the prototype, we buy time.”

The company helped meet Birdstone’s requirements by producing multiple prototypes to demonstrate options with different aesthetics and functions. Four designs were created using varying features and materials. Birdstone was then able to decide which prototype best fit the brief. Working within a tight timeframe to achieve this, allowed Birdstone to then focus on the consumer research phase.

3D Systems ODM also shared Birdstone’s values, said Davies. “They fit in nicely with our strategy, which is to combine creatable and makeable products. That’s what makes a difference,” he said.

“The appeal for us is also familiarity. We’ve built a good relationship.” Birdstone regularly goes to 3D Systems ODM when it needs prototypes for its clients. Birdstone and 3D Systems ODM also worked together to provide new packaging for Schweppes, and the companies continue to collaborate when they have new packaging projects.

By designing a product and having a prototype created by 3D Systems ODM within days, Birdstone was able to offer Carman’s the best result. 3D Systems ODM was able to help keep project costs within budget – the SLA prototype was ready in four days and the functional and aesthetic prototype features enabled effective manufacturing tests and consumer research.

Ultimately the client, in this case Carman’s, needed a product that met its requirements. That’s what they got – an attractive one-piece clamshell case, uniquely contoured to the shape of the stacked biscuits.