Which bottle type is right for our product? What are the child-resistant packaging regulations? What is an 18DIN neck? There are always dispensing questions. Our packaging blog was developed to provide clear answers from the experts at Carow Packaging.
Last month, we shared how important it was to select the right Pipette Dispensing System to enhance your customers’ experience. Packaging decisions for your oils, tinctures, serums and flavorings can make or break the user experience with your brand. No one wants to deal with the negative perception and costs resulting from leaks, breakage, damaged caps, and lost inventory.
Once you know the right pipette components and system to buy, let’s shift focus and talk about how important it is to your business and profit margin to choose the right supplier for your pipettes. The supplier you choose to work with for your primary packaging can both make your life easier and affect your bottom line.
The three most important things your pipette supplier must offer are:
Let’s break each one of these characteristics down further and explain why they are so important.
Dropper pipettes are ideal when there is a need to dispense a small, controlled amount of liquid. With the increasing market demand for wellness and flavoring products, dropper pipettes are playing an increasingly important role in consumer applications. If you produce essential oils, tinctures, serums and food or drink flavorings you most likely work with a supplier to secure dropper pipettes.
A Dropper Pipette Dispensing System has three key components – a bulb, cap, and pipette. Within each of those categories you often have choices on shape, material, and size. How you combine these three components is a strategic decision that depends on the nature of your product, the experience you want to create, and your targeted profit margin.
Knowing that there are so many choices, choosing a supplier who can provide you with product and industry knowledge, as well as selection and options, is essential. An experienced supplier knows which materials work best with specific ingredients or chemical compositions. They can help you choose a look and feel to convey your brand message. And they can help you find the options that best meet your cost, quality, and delivery timing needs.
They also should be able to provide you with a variety of product options. A supplier with a good selection of components can continue to serve you as your needs change and serve as a one-stop-shop for your primary packaging. While Carow doesn’t supply every imaginable component, we do supply a wide variety of what we call the “Carow Standards.” We know our customers, their industries, and their needs incredibly well and we supply the most common components they need.
Here is a list of the options within each category.
When deciding which bulb to use for your Dropper Pipette Dispensing System, there are several considerations – material, style, capacity, and treatment. Let’s walk through each one to help you choose the right bulb.
Buyers can choose from three main materials for their bulbs – Natural rubber, Thermoplastic, and Thermoset. Here’s what you need to know about each.
Natural rubber bulbs are made from elastic material obtained from the latex sap of trees that can be vulcanized and finished into a variety of products.
Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPEs)
Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPEs) are polymers made in an injection molding machine, that soften when heated and harden when cooled. There are three types of TPE Bulbs. The two most common include:
Monprene: a high-performance line of TPE material, ideal for applications requiring stretch, flexibility and a soft-touch feel.
Santoprene: a dynamic TPE which exhibits the flexibility and soft-touch sensation of rubber, while providing the processing ease of plastics.
Thermoset is a malleable polymer that is curated or heated then molded into its final shape. Once set, it can’t be melted down or reformed. Unlike TPEs it can’t be made in a standard injection machine. Three common thermoset bulbs are Neoprene, nitrile and silicone.
Neoprene®: A synthetic rubber that exhibits many of the characteristics of natural rubber. It is valued for its weather resistance and durability.
Nitrile: This form of synthetic rubber is generally resistant to oil, fuel, and other chemicals. It withstands abrasion well, offering superior strength but less flexibility.
Silicone: A popular material in body contact applications due to its hypoallergenic nature. It also offers heat, UV radiation and tear resistance.
There are multiple bulb styles, as illustrated below. The choice of bulb style is primarily a cosmetic one although capacity can also drive your decision. The skirt style is the most popular with our customers.
How much liquid do you need to dispense with each application? The bulb output is determined by the bulb draw. The size of the air chamber and the amount of air displacement that a user can achieve are both factors in determining the draw. Our most requested bulb capacities are 0.8cc and 1.0cc.
How important is the look and hand feel of the bulb to your customer experience? Carow Packaging offers bulbs treated with Fluoro-Seal Process® or Fluorination, which reduces any leakage of the oils, liquids, or smell. It also makes the bulb shinier for an appealing visual effect.
The second part of your Dropper Pipette Dispensing System is the cap. Caps used in a pipette dispensing system feature a hole in the top to allow for the bulb and pipette to be inserted.
Caps are readily available for Dropper Bottles, Boston Rounds and other glass and plastic bottles that use standard neck finishes. Caps come in several materials as well, including Polypropylene (PP), High density polyethylene (HDPE), and Metal Overshell.
There are four types of caps depending on your application and safety requirements.
If safety is essential to your product, we have extensive knowledge in child resistant and tamper evident caps.
The third component of the Pipette Dispensing System is the pipette itself. Pipettes are available in glass or plastic and can be custom printed (aka, marked) with measurements for accurate dosing. Length and tip style are the main considerations.
Pipettes are available in different lengths. To choose which length you need, the pipette should land 2-3mm above the bottom of the bottle when cap is tightened.
One of the most important considerations when choosing your pipette is the tip. There are five different tips available depending on your application – Straight, Bent, Blunt, Ball, and Bent Ball. Straight is the most common pipette style in the U.S. market.
The second important characteristic your dropper pipette supplier must offer is quality assembly capabilities. As we have explained, your dropper pipette system is comprised of three components. When you purchase a system, it comes pre-assembled, meaning that the bulb, cap and pipette are put together into one unit so it’s ready to be inserted into the bottle with your product.
There are two methods of pipette assembly, manual/semi-automated or automated. In other words, by hand or by machine.
With manual assembly, a person inserts the pipette top into the bulb and then affixes the cap over the bulb to tighten.
Manual assembly is most beneficial when working with unique component sizes, that may not fit the designed parameters of a machine, or if the order size is relatively small and not worth the set-up charges needed for automated assembly.
However, the disadvantages of hand assembly are speed, safety, and detecting breakage. Manual assembly is slower than if performed by a machine, and there is also a higher risk that the assembler can cut themselves with broken glass.
Breakage detection can be tricky with a manual assembly process. There is a high degree of breakage with either manual or automated assembly but the big difference is in detection. The human component increases your risk of a bad end product because it is sometimes hard for the assembler to detect broken glass, especially inside the bulb.
It is easy for a person doing a routine task to miss an error and no one wants glass chips or dust in their product.
The advantages of automated assembly are process purity, built-in detection systems, cost, and safety. For automation, machinery is engineered to fit all three components together quickly and with consistency. Components are added to a hopper that feeds them into an assembly. The process is designed to fit the pieces together a certain way and ensure that every piece comes out exactly the same. This is important for a positive end user experience.
Fully automated assembly also has a detection system built in to catch those chips and any glass dust in the bulb, so they can be pulled out of the order before shipment. This quality engineered process ensures that your order is clean and you don’t receive any damaged pipettes.
Automated assembly offers cost efficiencies as well. Set-up cost can be amortized over the entire order bringing the per piece cost down and improving your profit margin. Automated assembly is also safer. If a glass pipette breaks, there is very little chance that the person assembling the dropper pipette systems gets cut or injured.
Very few pipette suppliers offer fully automated assembly, but Carow does. While we are nimble enough to offer our customers manual assembly when needed, we have invested in fully automated assembly process to ensure we live up to our defined quality standards, every time.
The last important characteristic you should look for in your pipette supplier is the final piece of the process - careful packing. As we have said, glass pipettes break. It’s a shame if a supplier takes care during assembly but then doesn’t pack the pipettes in a way to avoid breakage in transit.
At Carow, we had our Quality Engineer define packing standards and automate the packing process to minimize damaged products. Those standards are:
Our packing process for dropper pipettes has been well thought out and formatted to minimize damage and ensure you get the number of usable pipettes you ordered. No waste and no production delays.
We also can accommodate customized packing such as multiple bags per box, individual bagged pipettes and alternative bag sealing. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs.
Want to learn more about the Carow Standard Quality difference? Give our Solution Specialists a call at 815-455-4600. We are happy to explain how we go above and beyond for our customers.
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