Virtual Prototyping within the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry


Here I am, fully back to operational state, pretty much got the automation of baby feeding down to a tee now so finally after 6 days I’m getting a good nights sleep.

I spoke the other day about sustainability and provided a little insight into what it was all about. With this post I want to look at part of the supply chain of packaging that we don’t think about and how it affects what happens in pre-media and when pre-media companies could really be getting involved.

Fibretec Crush Devices

Fibretec Crush Devices

We are all familiar with the concept design stages of products, you know some guy/girl sketches loads of ideas onto a pad, all these ideas go through stages, redesigns, tweeks, approval, short lists etc. From this point they are then sent of to manufacturers who could actually produce the product…. I’m not talking about card packaging here, but the mass produced plastics we see every day in our stores for every day products that we use. Take a look around you now and you will see something that combines advanced manufacturing with printed artwork, I see a bottle of PVA glue on my desk, now imagine the process that had to go through to ensure the bottle was safe to hold the glue, to transport on pallets, to have a good enough surface area on the packaging to give it that impact on the shelf. The crush testing was all done manually, using different devices for different situations, in the insert there are just some examples of how this would have been performed, these would have taken weeks or months to perform, recording all the results, changing the materials, reproducing samples, the process was a continual cycle until the units performed the way they needed to. At the same time the actual manufacturing process was being built, to ensure it was super efficient to allow for the units to be mass produced. You may remember seeing seeing of the milk bottle production lines of the late 60’s the

Nadec Milk Production Line

Nadec Milk Production Line

glass bottle clanking away as they pass through all the conveyor belts with a high amount of wastage, today we see our milk in high impact plastic bottles produced to ensure maximum exposure in store on highly advanced production lines.

The efforts today are still huge and there is now software that can virtualize the entire process with all the variables, changes, packaging design and production process to lower the cost of producing the end products.

Virtual prototyping in nothing new to the world, but to the world of packaging it does offer new and advanced techniques for visualizing and testing your products prior to them ever being produced. I remember watching a program about the new Boeing plane that was built full scale in the virtual world, every component, every screw or bolt completely specified and tested in the virtual world before anything was manufactured, so packaging should be a walking in the park for this software.

So the next product you design, think about the impact of product samples and think about the potential of virtualization of the entire manufacturing process, not only will it reduce the time to market, but you will be using a more sustainable source and be able to accurately calculate the impact on the environment for every part of the process, including the shipping to stores and disposable of the empty units.

Watch the video below from MSC Software and you will get an idea of what I am talking about, naturally collaboration between different parts of the supply chain will again reduce the amount of impact on the environment.

Author: Gary George

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

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