Custom Fitments Help ZiEn Take Products from Cans to Pouches
ZiEn Inc. is an Oconomowoc, Wisconsin-based co-packer and producer of eco-friendly products. It is particularly specialized in filling for major brands in the small engine and outdoor power equipment industry - packaging that still mainly consists of rigid metal cans. But while cans are effective, ZiEn owner Steve Zimmerman decided to move to a packaging format that was lighter and safer for these potentially hazardous products, specifically the Resurgence Pressure Washer Pump, Saver & Conditioner product. He decided on the pouch.
Aside from a lighter package, the pouch also offers benefits in product delivery and cost. In order to ensure good product delivery — as well as open/reclose features for ZiEn's particular applications — the pouch needed to have the right fitment. The zipper was an option, but on the wrong application zippers don't close as well and can condone spillage. For the particular fitment component, Zimmerman and ZiEn turned to HQC.
"ZiEn came to HQC because it had an idea, but wasn't sure about the pouch fitment and the interaction between the pump and the pouch," says HQC president Blair Pasternak. "This included sizing the fitment so when the pouch was squeezed the additive stream was directed into the pump properly along with being able to get the pouch in without restriction.
"We were able to make multiple design drawings and 3D print and install various samples to narrow down the choices. 3D printing allows (testing) for the form, fit and function, saving in both expensive tooling modifications and time. We can decide with the 3D models on how to construct the mold."
Eventually, HQC worked with ZiEn on a one-piece custom fitment made of recycled plastic for the application and helped ZiEn handle the product from the prototype phase of development through manufacturing. Currently, the product is beginning to test the market. It's waiting on PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) approval and is in process with a major CPG.
"Custom fitments provide needs that stock fitments cannot meet", says Pasternak. "As companies look to make a difference and look for innovation, it requires co,anies to collaborate to enhance products and product lines."