“Customers do request lightweighting projects … but most of the time lightweighting is just one of several factors in packaging optimization.” Lena Dahlberg, Manager Carton Solutions
“Customers do request lightweighting projects. Converters as well as brand owners. It happens. But most of the time lightweighting is just one of several factors in packaging optimization,” says Lena Dahlberg, Manager Carton Solutions BillerudKorsnäs. “Optimization is driven by multiple needs: cost pressure, better handling, toughness, printability, shelf impact, and so on. Lightweighting is simply expected to be part of it all.”
“The benefits of lightweighting in any specific case depend on a comparison with the previous solution,” Lena Dahlberg continues. “It’s different depending on what materials were used, the structural design, the type of product, the premium level, and all the individual specifics.”
So what is important for PIDA contestants, future packaging designers, to know about lightweighting? We asked Håkan Bergström, an experienced project manager at Göteborgstryckeriet – a printer’s/converter very familiar with various cartonboard materials.
“It’s all about volumes,” says Håkan Bergström. “For shorter runs the savings make a marginal difference. With larger volumes the savings can be significant, and as a consequence it’s only the large-volume customers who raise the question. What I think the packaging design students should be more aware of is the environmental impact. Better use of resources and a reduction of the total tonnages transported on our roads. Lightweighting does that, too.”
Success factors and pitfalls
Remember that lightweighting is not just about using less material. It is using a stronger, more suited material that allows for weight reduction without compromising performance. We are not just talking light weight, but right weight. And success is also about expertise in structural design, to ensure optimal function of the packaging itself.
In search of the right weight, there are three things to keep in mind:
• Don’t mess with the consumer experience
• Don’t mess with runnability and production feasibility
• Consider the multiple requirements in a lifecycle perspective – production line, stacking and storing, product protection, transport, handling, display, use, recycling and disposal