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Plastics Today: Plastic bottle simulation that includes the label contributes to package success

By: Sumit Mukherjee – Chief Technology Officer of PTI

Although computer-generated simulation has been used for many years to evaluate the structural attributes of a bottle before it is even blown, oftentimes the process stops short.

If you consider that labels are the “hook” by which consumers are enticed to purchase the particular product, it stands to reason that simulation should be expanded to include what happens to the visual attributes once the label is applied to a bottle.

Even though your internal designers or external design house are capable of creating a stunning label, have you given any thought to how what happens to the visual impact should those graphics end up distorted?

Because bottles have frequently been lightweighted, extra ribbing and other structural features are incorporated to create strength attributes to support a thinner wall structure. What can happen in these situations is that visual aesthetics can be impaired by package deformation after filling or storage. Many plastic bottles, particularly in the beverage category, are shrink sleeved which means that every physical detail of the container is visible on the tightly wrapped, stretched material.

For example, important text can become unreadable because it ends up recessed in a structural element that has been added to keep the package rigid enough to handle. What started off as a gorgeous label may end up being much less effective as a brand billboard. Pouches can be problematic too.