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When You Pass All the Tests But Still Fail

Have you ever developed a new package all the way to commercialization, only to find it fails to perform in the real world? These types of setbacks are common and costly. With new or light weighted package designs, the standard set of package specifications and test methods can lead to the wrong conclusions and set you up for failure.

Then, when you should be celebrating a successful launch, you find yourself scrambling to correct the poor performance before consumers reject your package outright.

Package “strength” is a requirement that is often difficult to properly specify and evaluate. Tests such as top load capture some aspects, but not all.

  • Does the package recover its shape after it is squeezed to dispense product?
  • Will the consumer feel confident when they handle your package?
  • Can it withstand the rigors of transportation without denting or damage?
  • Is the package strong enough to be opened without spilling?

Answering these questions requires establishing performance tests that closely replicate how the package will be handled throughout distribution and by consumers. These tests might be as comprehensive as complete shipping tests or as specialized as developing a squeeze apparatus to closely model a consumer’s hand squeezing the package. Capturing the appropriate failure mode might require developing a completely new test mechanism, so innovative thinking is key. But once you have established the test method and the related specifications, simulation can be used to model the performance during development and actual testing can be used to validate the performance before proceeding to commercialization.

So, don’t take your existing package specifications for granted. Make sure you are testing your package for the performance you really need to achieve, and if you aren’t, define new tests and specifications to ensure commercial success!



Vice President – Product Development Group

Tracy has spent her entire career working with the orientation stretch blow molding process. Tracy has extensive experience in PET preform, container, tooling and mold design, whole package performance and material testing, and on-site product start-up and manufacturing support.