Designing and constructing glass packaging

All well and good

When it comes to looking for the right product, what consumers need most of all is guidance, so it’s great when the glass packaging itself sends out a clear signal that the brand and quality are just what they are looking for. This is where specialists in glass design and construction come in.

Building a brand image is no easy feat. This is partly because we, as humans, have a very intuitive ability to decode the branding messages that convey small details to us. What we see and what we feel when we touch a product can persuade us to buy it – or not. Even if we are not consciously aware of this effect, the fact is that packaging stirs something within us.


Good design relies on expertise in materials

Glass packaging for food and drink is clearly distinguished from other packaging types, right from the very first draft. Not every idea designers come up with can feasibly be produced in any material, and glass is no exception. A precise understanding of materials and manufacturing processes is essential for identifying possibilities and recognising limits. There are not many specialists in this area, but Vetropack is fortunate enough to have some at its disposal. What these design and production experts have to offer is pooled together in a concept called Service plus+.

Comprehensive cooperation and advice at every stage of the production process is part and parcel of this service package. How much Vetropack needs to get involved varies from one instance to the next. With regard to packaging in particular, there are often already ideas from the manufacturer’s design departments and agencies to take into account, as well as specifications relating to the overarching brand strategy and corporate design. No matter whether designs for a bottle or jam jar have already been thoroughly thought-out, or whether a brand image needs to be developed for a product in the first place, Vetropack’s glass designers can offer their support at any point.

By the time it comes to the technical implementation of materials, specialist expertise is absolutely indispensable. What geometrics are feasible from a processing perspective? What are the right types of glass to use? Could a surface finish create more of an impression of quality? And what else needs to be considered beyond the design? Is it going to be a one-way or multi-trip bottle? Would it also work with thinner walls and a lighter weight? How recyclable is it? What would happen to the glass or bottle on the bottling line? What standards and legal requirements need to be taken into account?

Stress analyses make for a better life cycle assessment

The list of specifications is therefore long, even when the initial designs are being drawn up and produced as 3D visualisations. As the process moves forward, design models are created in wood or plastic, discussions and consultations take place and eventually the design is approved – but even then there is still plenty of scope for optimisation. Lightweight construction, for example, is an important issue for products such as glass packaging, as reducing the use of energy and raw materials in production and transport can improve the life cycle assessment of packaging right from when it is first created. Finite element analyses and virtual stress tests done on a computer help to generate savings that make a significant difference in large production volumes, but often with very few discernible changes to the glass geometry.

Vetropack’s LCA calculations cover the entire life cycle of the glass packaging, and it’s not just about the glass itself: in addition to the proportion of recycled material used in the glass, energy consumption and weight, aspects such as lids, closures and labels, transport packaging and transit routes are also included. This “cradle-to-cradle” model can be run through with varying parameters, often resulting in a range of scenarios that can be evaluated from economic and ecological points of view.

A journey of many steps

Vetropack’s Service plus+ helps ensure that none of the small steps that are vital to producing the optimum glass packaging get left out. The end result is a packaging product that is cost-effective and sustainable and fulfils its purpose as perfectly as possible – and this sends out a clear message to consumers scanning the supermarket shelves: everything is all well and good!

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