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Plastic Ingenuity: WPO recognizes PCR-based electronics packaging innovation for Otter Products

#Plastic Ingenuity: WPO recognizes PCR-based electronics packaging innovation for Otter Products

Rob Helmke, marketing manager at Plastic Ingenuity
Rob Helmke, marketing manager at Plastic Ingenuity.

30 Jan 2024 — The World Packaging Organisation (WPO) has given the WorldStar 2024 award to Plastic Ingenuity in the electronics category. The company, one of the largest custom thermoformers in North America, won the award for its redesign of Otter Products, transitioning from an injection-molded tray made with non-recyclable virgin material to a light-gauge thermoformed package using PCR PET material.

Packaging Insights catches up with Rob Helmke, marketing manager at Plastic Ingenuity, to learn more about the company’s winning package and the current landscape of the electronics packaging industry.

The Glass Screen Protection Installation Tool was recognized by WPO alongside seven other products in the electronics category for creating “packaging solutions of the future while responding to new challenges and global trends across sustainability, branding and UX (user experience), food safety and smart packaging.”

In addition to economic and environmental gains, Plastic Ingenuity’s thermoformed tray reportedly improved functionality and transport efficiencies. It also boasted structural and graphic enhancements.

WPO will present Plastic Ingenuity’s award for electronics packaging design during the ProPak Asia trade show this June in Bangkok, Thailand.

What distinguishes the Glass Screen Protection Installation Tool for Otter Products?
Helmke: This thermoformed tray for Otter Products was designed to protect and transport the product, and unlike other packages in the award category, it also serves as a functional installation tool. It can be used on virtually all smartphone devices to assist with the application of the glass screen protector with greater accuracy than previous installation tools.

Plastic Ingenuity’s design engineers developed a light-gauge thermoformed package using 100% PCR PET material, which is also curbside recyclable. A cardboard sleeve shields the glass screen protector. The glass has a membrane that is locked into the tray during assembly. A phone is placed in the tray and secured with a rubber band for proper positioning, allowing application of the glass within 15 thousandths of an inch.

The new, universal design also accommodates multiple phone sizes, reducing SKUs and inventory requirements. It also helps improve package distribution and transportation efficiencies.plastic ingenuity's electronic packaging for Otter ProductsPlastic Ingenuity’s thermoformed tray can be used for virtually all smartphone devices.

During the Otter redesign, what R&D processes did Plastic Ingenuity undertake?
Helmke: The Otter product is glass, so the protection of the screen protector is vital. Otter Products joined Plastic Ingenuity onsite to perform a series of tests to ensure the tray’s functional components were in the optimal location.

Considering all the variances and undergoing thorough trial and error, the best possible placement of these components was selected. Improved installation performance and instruction demonstrated a 100% chance of success for accurately applying the glass protection to the phone.

What is the value of the WorldStar Global Packaging Award for the company?
Helmke: As a premier manufacturing company that touts world-class quality and innovation, it is important for Plastic Ingenuity to showcase physical packages that depict these value propositions. Furthermore, of the 431 entries and 212 winners, only 12 US companies were awarded.

How would you characterize the current landscape of the electronics packaging industry?
Helmke: The current landscape of the electronics industry is shifting from 100% virgin material to 30-100% PCR resin. Materials like polyvinyl chloride and high-impact polystyrene are being replaced with more recyclable PET material. Reducing the package’s footprint to be as small and thin as possible is another major trend in the industry.

By Radhika Sikaria

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