PACKAGING FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
Most of us are familiar with the basic concept of molded fibre technology from the simple egg carton.
A fibre is mulched up into a liquid state and is then pushed around a metal mould, the water is then pushed out and heat dries the product to create a carton.
And over the last 10 years, the industry has made significant developments in the technology that allow complex shapes to be produced with an ultra smooth finish, seamless in its appearance.
Not only because of its aesthetic appearance, brands are opting more and more for paper fibre packaging due to its environmental credentials.
Because the product is made entirely from paper, the finished product is recyclable with paper products. Paper products are widely recycled and the recycling process is relatively efficient when compared with plastic or glass.
We have 3 types of raw material to choose from, all of which come from the waste product of another product.
Should the product end up in a landfill or end up in the sea, unlike plastics the paper pulp product will degrade relatively quickly due to it being made entirely of paper and water.
We make our paper pulp products in Dongguan, China, close to our paper packaging factory and design workshop.
Below is a step by step guide to how the product is produced.
The moulds; the most challanging part of the product of moulded fibre packaging is the creation of the moulds.
Unlike injection moulding, the moulded fibre production involves two moulds that move vertically towards each other in order to press the water out and apply the steam.
The pulp must travel evenly around the moulds and once the compression is complete, the dried pulp should be easily removable.
This process means that several rounds of 3D printed samples must be done before the mould for mass production is created. Our design team will work with your brand to ensure the design is feasible.
One the moulds are on the machines, its time to start the production.
The raw material arrives from the material supplier. In this case the paper comes from the waste product of sugar cane which has long fibres and fast growing ability.
The paper is placed into a big blender and mixed with water and blended into a wet paper pulp.
A PMS colour can be added at this stage to create a custom colour like the Gisou production.
The final mix is then fed through large tubes directly to the forming machines.
The forming machine (below) has a male and female plate that press together pressing the wet paper pulp between the two plates and pressing the majority of the water out.
The water is then recycled within the plant for the next production.
The semi-finished product is transferred to another set of machines that use heat and pressure to remove all of the moisture. Any debossing or embossing is done at this stage. The product is almost perfectly formed now.
The sheets are transferred to a die cutting machine which individually cut out each product and a worker packs them together.
Above - Each stage of the product; From wet forming, drying and finally die cutting.
1. L'Occitane Cumaru Perfume Box
Produced in 2016, the L'Occitane Cumaru perfume packaging is a great design that does as good a job at protecting the product as it does creating theatre for the bottle.
By recycling corrugated boxes as a base mix for the pulp, finished product will appear more rough than using (say) sugar cane or bamboo.
Wrapology were delighted to work with Gisou on developing and manufacturing the packaging for the launch of their new hair curler.
The design is based around a theme of a toolbox and is made from the waste product of sugarcane which is dyed to a PMS colour for the outside tray. The inside tray is made from dyed black paper.
One of the main challenges in producing complex designs is to ensure that the paper pulp mix reaches all parts of the mold evenly so when the pulp is compressed, the product can a) come off the mold and b) the finish is even.
A lot of technical development goes into the mold making which is the most complicated part of the production process.
The Sequent watch packaging is made from 4 parts; lid, base and 2 inner trays. A total of 4 molds were required to produce this design. Each mold had to interlock precisely with each other in order for the packaging to stay together during the unboxing experience.
If you would like a quotation for your packaging to be made from moulded paper fibre please contact us today with your enquiry.