EARNING A PASSING GRADE
BREAK NOT AND BURN NOT
It was a project for large PDQ boxes, which were designed to contain 16 bra boxes. They were crated with 400gr CCNB and mounted with single reinforced corrugated board. On both ends were 2 side panels and one top spacer as well. While it appeared that these PDQ boxes were suitable for bulk packing, they were unable to pass both the ship and drop test.
The main issues confronted here were time and budget. The product prototype had already been produced 3 times and there was no more time to lose. Furthermore, we were required to work within the original budget and we also could not make any changes to the outer and inner dimensions of the PDQ, as the measurements needed to comply with the display requirements provided by the retailer.
To rectify the problems, we adopted to changes to the product. Firstly, we changed the direction of the flute from horizontal to vertical. By doing so, we were able to improve the compression strength at all corners. Secondly, we made modifications to the 2 side panels. While the original side panels had single folds along all 4 edges, this was obviously not strong enough to withstand pressure and weight. Therefore, we decided to implement a tub fold along the short sides in order to increase the amount of compression that the PDQ could withstand. These solutions were ideal because there were not affect on the material and production costs and the overall construction and product outlook remained the same.
The improved construction allowed for the PDQ to pass both the ship test and drop test. We were also able to achieve all of this without exceeding the customer’s original budget and delaying production times.
A reputable publisher requested the development of a children’s book that was fire-proof and unable to be torn apart. The book was also required to adhere to EN71 standards and ATSM F-963 toy safety regulations.
Identifying a cost effective and printable material that could not be set on fire nor torn apart, but still maintained a certain paper trait in order for it to be called a book.
R&C identified Tyvek paper as the ideal substance to make this project work. A layer of flame retardant was applied to the Tyvek followed by 4C process inks printed over it. The result was amazing. Both the dummy and final product was able to successfully pass safety tests and comply with the said standards.
The books had a completely different outlook when compared with traditional children’s books. They were also lighter and had a unique texture on the paper’s surface. This added to the uniqueness of the product and attracted more attention. In the end, the book was commercialized and the technologies were successfully patented.
Background FE Ink or FE Metal is a commonly used material for magnetic books. Normally, FE Ink is sandwiched between leaves in order to generate an attraction to magnetic rubber pieces over the surface of the leaves. The Client wished to produce a children’s storybook equipped with a magnetic function. However, the budget was limited, which meant that the cost of manufacturing and shipping had to be reduced in order to make the project feasible. R&C suggested replacing FE Ink with micro magnetic ink, as it would enable the printing of 4C directly over the micro magnetic ink and help to reduce the weight of product.
Micro magnetic ink is different from FE Ink in that it is not required to be sandwiched between the leaves of the book. Micro magnetic ink can be printed directly onto the paper and then the 4C image can be printed right over it. The greatest challenge in this particular case was how to prevent tarnishing over the micro magnetic ink when the 4C images were overprinted.
R&C deemed the use of water based ink rather than solvent based ink to be most appropriate. We also changed the printing method from that of offset printing to silk screen printing to improve opacity. By initiating these two production changes, we managed to successfully avoid tarnishing on the micro magnetic ink.
• A decrease in the overall weight of the product, as only one layer of paper was now required instead of two. • Rubbers could attach directly to the micro magnetic ink enabling the degree of attraction to be enhanced and resulting in an overall higher performance quality and experience for the reader.
A leading clothing retailer requested the development of oversized display products for placement in their window displays. Products included scrapbooks, a travel wardrobe case, and paper baskets.
All products involved a certain degree of difficulty in terms of development. • Scrapbooks: measured over two meters in height. • Travel Wardrobe Case: needed to be made of paper and be sturdy enough to hang clothes. An additional request involved lining the Case with gold foil paper. • Paper Baskets: weaved with finely crafted paper strips. • Procedures: all regular development and production procedures were rendered useless in this instance and new processes needed to be re-created to cater to the products’ unique characteristics. • Packing Methods and Freight Costs: as the products were all irregularly sized, we needed to keep the packing methods and freight cost in the back of our mind when developing all items.
Due to the immense size of the scrapbook, apart from handling, there was also the issue of weight that came into play. Initially we created the scrapbook out of chipboard and glossy paper. But we found that the gutter was not strong enough to support the weight of the book nor were the text pages stiff enough to stay standing when placed upright. Thus we made the decision to adopt double corrugated board mounted with cardboard. The results could be seen instantaneously. The entire book appeared much more rigid and firm. It could stand on its own and the pages could be flipped even when placed upright. In terms of the one meter high Travel Wardrobe Case, we first started constructing it with mounted chipboard. As the project progressed, we noticed that the panels were easily warped through climate and movement. This was a not acceptable. Thus we quickly shifted our material selection from mounted chipboard to Medium Density Fiber (MDF) board. MDF board was a lot sturdier and less susceptible to warping. In the end, we were able to produce a wardrobe case that was visually stunning and functionally exceptional. With two items done, we moved on to the Weaved Basket. Apart from looking good, the basket also had to be functional. To create a functional basket, we needed to use a thicker paper so that the basket would not rip when being used. However, we could not use too thick of a paper, otherwise cracking would occur at the folding lines. After several trials, we determined the ideal weight for the paper was 250g to 300g. The paper was then cut into strips and weaved like bamboo baskets. As for processes, due to the size of the products, most general production procedures could not be applied. The procurement of raw materials was constrained due to the sizes available. Development was difficult in terms of consistency. Each piece was handmade and each piece needed to look the same. Assembly in terms of handling and moving large panels without denting or damaging them was no easy task either. Finally packing. We needed to customize cartons to be able to ship the products to the client. All of these factors put together made for a very interesting and challenging project indeed. Through each stage of the development cycle, we customized a set of functions to ensure maximum production efficiency for the project.
• The scrapbook became lighter and could be stand up firmly. It was not possible to get acquire chipboard that measured two meters in length, but this size was available for corrugated board. This provided for added flexibility during the production process. • MDF board made the production process significantly
easier and time efficient. A stiffer substance also enhanced the functionality of the product and made for an easier transport and delivery process. • The weaving process enabled us to branch out our product offering. After several successful trials, we were able to launch other weaved items including tip-on pictures on book covers and weaved lids for keepsake boxes.
The idea was to create a book out of fabric, enabling it to get wet, to dry and to be reused again and again.
The images were required to be printed on paper using an offset printer and then sublimated onto fabric. But how would we control image consistency on the fabric? Humidity, temperature, and pressure were all conditions that would have negative effects on the sublimation process and final image quality.
To be able to deliver the required results, we needed to control the entire environment. That meant carefully managing all the raw materials as well as the printing process. Special attention was given to: • Controlling specific properties on printed paper such as absorption rate, whiteness, and smoothness, as this would affect the sublimation results. • Maintaining material properties and mesh numbers on the fabric. • Using the same brand name of sublimation ink for the same book, even though print runs occurred at different periods of time. This allowed us to maintain the same print quality through all runs. From our experience, we found that different brands of ink render different results, thus maintaining the same brand type was critical to obtaining the same result. • Creating an ICC profile for offset printing allowed us to secure consistent printing results. • Establishing a profile to test each sublimation machine. The profiles helped the operators better understand how to adjust key parameters during the bulk production. • Using an IR temperature detector to measure and control temperature throughout the entire sublimation process. • Controlling the humidity and pressure levels.
What we managed to do here was create a systematic approach for the workers to easily manage and follow. We identified the key conditions causing negative results and integrated scientific processes to better understand, measure and control them. Furthermore, we were able to ensure that the final fabric book’s color variation was minimized.
The client is a skincare brand producing facial masks for women. The client engaged R&C to assist them in the development of a packaging format for their 5 piece facial mask box set. Client requested an outer box and an inner tray. It had to be something upscale and firm. It also had to be shipped flat and could not be heavy, as transport costs would be high.
The main challenge for the project was the inner tray. Client requested a blister, but they were an eco-friendly company and wanted something that was kind to the environment. This ruled out blister right away. We considered a pulp mold tray, as it is environmentally friendly, but it could not be flat packed. Another issue was that the outer box was slightly larger than the inner tray and we needed to develop some sort of stopper on the tray to prevent it from moving around inside the box. The dimension of the outer box was fixed, therefore we could only play around with the measurements of the inner tray. However there was not much wiggle room either because the size of the facial masks was fixed as well.
In the end we designed a special tray that was made entirely out of paper and one that could be flat packed. It was environmentally friendly and also made of the same material as the outer box. This meant that we did not have to source another type of material, which could have resulted in a higher cost for the product as well as delays in lead times. The specially designed tray had two stoppers along the two sides to prevent it from moving around. We also added a finger hole along the short side to allow the consumer to easily remove the product from the box. In the end, we created the entire packaging format from 300g coated one side cardboard, with offset printing and a water based coating.
An international publisher requested to produce a conductive ink that could be applied to children’s story books and used in conjunction with a mouse trigger. The client also requested that the ink needed to be at a competitive price and it had to be circuit resistant.
Both silver and carbon inks could be used on conductive ink. However silver ink is much more expensive and there was a slim chance of being able to source it on the local market. That meant using carbon ink. However, we needed to customize the carbon ink in order to meet the client’s standards and expectations. In addition to ink development, we also had to think about how to apply the ink so as to achieve the best effect possible.
Working closely with a local ink manufacturer, we managed to produce a conductive ink that adhered to the client’s standards and expectations. To apply the ink, we found that the best method was to use silk screen printing. Though a large silk mesh number would incorporate less ink, the circuit resistance would be increased and this was not acceptable. Thus we used a smaller silk mesh number. Though ink usage would be higher, as well as costs, and circuit resistance would be minimized to an acceptable level, rendering a higher quality effect and product. Furthermore, we found that the type of print surface also affected the results of the process. A rough surface would absorb more of the ink before completely dried while a smooth surface would absorb less ink, thus enabling better thickness and resistance numbers. Therefore a glossy surface paper was selected.
What we gained from developing our own carbon ink was: • An overall lower cost of production • The use of silkscreen printing afforded us with higher flexibility to adjust ink weights and thicknesses, all the while taking into account the mouse trigger. • The process could incorporate offset printing methods, which meant the process could also be carried over to other product developments.
Under normal circumstances, foil cards are used when clients wish to achieve a metallic effect. However, in this instance, the customer wanted to achieve a spot metallic effect on a packaging box but did not have the budget to use foil cards. In addition, they also requested that the process be environmentally friend.
Our immediate thought was to integrate a hot stamping procedure. This would give us the metallic effect, but there were concerns over what type of printing quality we would obtain from printing over foil paper.
The difficulties that presented themselves in this project were two fold. • How to minimize costs and at the same time, still achieve the same results that a foil card would render. • How to ensure that 4C process inks would print firmly and adhere permanently to the paper.
R&C presented to viable and effective solutions to the client. • Print a silver ink underneath the 4C process inks. This would render a shiny metallic effect without assuming the high cost of using a foil card. • Apply a silver hot stamp over the area required to be metallic. Then print the 4C images on top of it. In both instances, we were able to apply U.V. inks and U.V. coatings, which fell in line with request for an environmentally friendly process.
The benefits were clearly visible. The cost of production was completely affordable for the client and they were able to produce a product that was environmentally friendly. In terms of production, these methods gave us more flexibility than foil cards and we found that apart from silver foil, holographic foil could be used as well. After further testing, we also found that this process could be applied on glossy paper, wrapping paper and on card boxes used for greeting cards.