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News

New mint dispenser with Delrin spring component

Du Pont Engineering Polymers : 25 January, 2002  (New Product)
A new and original unit for the promotional packaging and dispensing of Trebor mints uses DuPont Delrin acetal resin as a key component: The 'pebble' provides clean, easy and consistent dispensing of tablet-formed items thanks to the integration of a door section with a spring in Delrin 911P. The resin was selected for the application as it is among the stiffest unfilled polymers, while offering multiple flex and low friction, and is also food approved. The unit was developed and patented by Invicta Plastics Ltd. in Leicester, and was launched in stores across the UK at the end of August.
A new and original unit for the promotional packaging and dispensing of Trebor mints uses DuPont Delrin acetal resin as a key component: The 'pebble' provides clean, easy and consistent dispensing of tablet-formed items thanks to the integration of a door section with a spring in Delrin 911P. The resin was selected for the application as it is among the stiffest unfilled polymers, while offering multiple flex and low friction, and is also food approved. The unit was developed and patented by Invicta Plastics Ltd. in Leicester, and was launched in stores across the UK at the end of August.

Cadbury Trebor Bassett approached Invicta, a UK leader in the design and manufacture of plastic incentives, point-of-sale and promotional products, with a brief to come up with an original concept for the packaging and dispensing of its newest range of soft mints. Invicta then set about developing a new design on the basis of several key criteria: protection and packaging integrity coupled with simple and consistent dispensing of the contents. The result is a pebble-shaped dispenser, with a polypropylene casing, incorporating a spring-based door. Its design allows the application of shrink-to-fit pre-printed sleeves, which are tamper-evident and help achieve pack integrity.

Within the body of the capsule lies the door mechanism, which rotates smoothly in a horizontal and lateral motion - opening and closing the aperture for the mints. The spring function is created by a thin finger, which moves within a moulded guide when the door is slid open, and springs back to its original position when released. The consistency of the dispenser lies in the efficiency of the spring: over a multiple of cycles the finger must return to the same rest position, and of course the finger must not break after multiple use. Delrin 911P was able to meet these criteria for the door and spring and the resulting mould combines both functions. The grade used also meets European and US food requirements. It is fast-cycling, meaning that its cycle time fits in with the rest of the polypropylene components.

The project marks Invicta's first food grade application, and saw the company building a new production unit for the cleanroom production of the dispensers. In a so-called 'lights-out' cell, robots and electric injection-moulding machinery guarantee levels of hygiene similar to those found in the pharmaceutical industry, an application area where Invicta can see future market potential for the dispensers. Using the same design principles, the dispenser could be adapted to any shape, smaller or larger, for the dispensing of anything tablet-shaped. The robotic assembly also helps Invicta achieve a quality and accuracy approaching 100 per cent. Invicta estimates that it has invested three quarters of a million pounds in the development and manufacture of the dispensers - however this investment already looks like paying off as already four million units have been made and current capacity is approximately 30 per cent ahead of original plans.

Invicta involved DuPont early on in the development of the dispenser, not just for material selection but also tool design and testing of the spring mechanism.

As Dr. George Kellie, chairman of Invicta, explains, the choice of DuPont was a simple one to make: 'We were aware of DuPont's material portfolio, and were sure that they would have the material we require. What was just as important was finding a supplier who could be a technically competent partner in the development of the project.'

Invicta has a reputation for high quality, innovative products combined with state of the art technology. In recent years it has invested over 4 million, completely re-equipping its design and prototype studio and manufacturing plant with the most advanced computerised technology. The company's in-house design studio offers a complete service from concept design through to product development, manufacturing to a strict brief or producing innovative ideas. With the benefit of high-tech moulding decoration facilities, Invicta's designers can tailor its services to the needs of the client. As one of Europe's leading plastics moulding plants, Invicta's in-house production facility covers the complete manufacturing process including tool design and malting, together with an unrivalled range of techniques for high quality graphic reproduction.
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