Iron and HDPE Don’t Mix

Finding a solution to a magnetic problem

Recently I was invited to a meeting to discuss a particular problem a client of ours was having with the high-density polyethylene container jugs for their custom blended products. The client developed a system that would allow a device to mix various ingredients into custom blended products for niche applications. The device used sensors that would detect small magnets that were molded into a HDPE container. The device senses the position of the magnets, measure and dispense the precise amount of each ingredient relative to the total amount of the final product needed for application.

The problem they were facing is the magnets were molded into the jug. The drawback to molding the magnets into the HDPE container was twofold. First, the process was extremely expensive. This was now a custom container that was not only substantially more expensive to manufacture than a conventional HDPE container, but it also increased considerably to delivery lead time beyond the standard container.

The second issue facing this design was that the container was no longer recyclable and therefore had to be disposed of in a conventional landfill. From an environmental standpoint, this was not acceptable.

Things changed when we added glue

After some discussion, we came up with a unique solution: Affix “glue dots” to a predetermined sequence from a standardized template of numbered circles printed on the back of the label. This sequence determines the amount of each ingredient dispensed into the jug. The labels are then shipped to the applicator where the liner is removed from the glue dot and a small magnet is applied to the label. Since these were niche products manufactured in relatively small quantities, the process proved to be cost effective. In addition to saving time and money for the client, the magnet label could be removed which meant the container could now be processed for recycling.

Workflow reviews can drastically reduce costs

The company was able to solve a huge dilemma by simply inviting other people who might not normally be involved in the process to look at the problem. This saved the company significant amounts of time and money. One help was involving the label manufacturer at the beginning of the process.

Here are three ways to start solving similar challenges:

  • Review who else might be able to contribute good advice
  • Set up a group brainstorm
  • Prototype new ideas for testing

The Result: The company was able to expand its presence in a market segment without the cost and lead time of a custom HDPE container.

Download your copy of Five Ways to save money on labels and packaging now

* indicates required