Huhtamaki is a multi-national packaging and FMCG manufacturer. They produce a wide range of cups, plates, trays, punnets and tubs in card, plastic and moulded fibre.
Bayly were asked to address significant rigidity and weight issues with the Lily range of square plates and bowls. The existing solutions were produced as injection-moulded Polypropylene (Bowl) and thermo-formed Polystyrene (Plate). These products were fast becoming unsaleable due to the excessive production costs and increasing competition in this FMCG supermarket segment. Bayly needed to reduce the material usage by 20%, maintain and/or improve the overall stiffness of the products whilst developing a fresh, contemporary appearance for the products to improve the user’s confidence and experience of the products.
The wide range of creative and technical services available at Bayly made us the ideal choice for this project. We were able to apply our wide range of creative industrial design and visualization skills, 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) tools, in addition to low-volume vac-form prototype production via our in-house CNC pattern-making capabilities.
The Square Plate and Bowl products are marketed under the “Lily” brand of disposable homewares produced by Huhtamaki. The major shopping and supermarket retailers stock these products, alongside complementary Lily tableware and accessories including Cups, cutlery and napkins.
By reviewing the styling of the plate and bowl, Bayly were able to introduce design elements that provided both a fresh and contemporary look, and geometric features that improved the structural performance and stiffness. The graceful “wave” around the mid-section of the products provides both a styling focal point and a stiffening effect due to the geometry of the moulded plastic.
By widening the rim of the plate and bowl, each design would remain flatter and stiffer during use – helping the user’s experience and comfort of the products during informal and outdoor BBQ’s and social events.
The improved rigidity was verified using Bayly’s ANSYS structural analysis (FEA) software, and was shown to improve the overall rigidity of the Plate and Bowl by 900% and 600% respectively. An impressive result given that we also achieved an overall plastic content reduction of 20% across the two designs.
The FMCG market is dominated by thermo-formed, injection moulded and cardboard solutions for packaging and structural products. For this project, it was important to consider the capabilities of various plastic moulding processes to ensure that unit-price targets could be met, quantities achieved and critical design details maintained. Through collaboration between Huhtamaki, Bayly and off-shore toolmakers and moulders, injection moulding was selected given it’s ability for high-precision, quality surface finishes and inclusion of moulding details on both inside / outside surfaces of parts. We could have control of the parts’ wall thickness, ensuring that strength and rigidity could be maintained throughout the part’s design.
This project was considered a “soft-change” (where shelf-utilisation / layout cannot be affected), so the new plate and bowl needed to fit within the same packaging carton dimensions. Huhtamaki did not want to significantly affect the volumetric capacity of the two products, so some care was taken to provide solutions that were lighter, stiffer, visually appealing, equivalent in capacity and also no larger than the earlier designs.
It is imperative that we pay particular attention to the shelving requirements of the products we are designing. In certain circumstances, it may be impossible to achieve a soft-change – in which case, regular communication and feedback between client and designer is crucial. It is vital that our clients know well in advance if a “hard-change” is imminent with new designs, so that they can negotiate new shelving agreements with the retailers ASAP.
The final solutions met all the key technical, shelving and aesthetic requirements. Delivering both creative design and technically-verified solutions enabled Huhtamaki to implement the new designs into off-shore tooling and production processes with a minimum of fuss. The plate and bowls are now available through many supermarkets across Australia.
Services supplied to Huhtamaki
The specific services supplied to Huhtamaki included concept design, sketching and visualisation, 3D CAD and 2D Cad documentation, finite element analysis, Mouldflow analysis and prototyping using vac-forming tooling and parts.