Packaging Hand Sanitizer in Tubes
There is a ready, domestic, and continuous source of packaging that could be ideal for hand sanitizer. Tubes.
BPI Labs considered early in our plans to develop new hand sanitizer production the need for packaging and raw materials. Both have been difficult to source, and new sources of materials are coming from new and untested locations, often globally. These sources come with new challenges, such as extended lead times, higher than average shipping costs, and unknown quality control issues.
Some of the customers approaching BPI Labs for hand sanitizer assume that BPI Labs have a ready source of bottles for hand sanitizer production. While we have found some sources in China and India, we are relying more on our customers to source bottles for hand sanitizer. There is another story entirely with tubes.
BPI Labs has also been in discussion with domestic tube suppliers regarding lead times, availability, and pricing. The encouraging news is that tube suppliers are not seeing bottlenecks in their ability to provide a continuous supply of tubes in a 6 – 8 week lead time at prices competitive with bottles. Moreover, tubes provide many advantages that bottles do not, and we can break these down into two categories: manufacturing convenience and customer utility.
- The first benefit has already been stated, which is the 6 – 8 week lead time for high volumes of economical packaging sourced domestically.
- Caps come pre-installed on tubes, which cuts down on manufacturing costs, lead times, and reduces the logistical burden of sourcing, validating compatibility, and shipping caps.
- Tubes come pre-printed with labels and will not need to be applied to the container during manufacturing, which provides the same benefits as caps. Additionally, printed tubes tend to have a more consistent and appealing aesthetic.
- Tubes can come with safety/security seals pre-installed. These seals are applied by induction, which use heat to apply the seal to the container. It would be difficult and dangerous to apply induction seals to bottles because sanitizer has a high concentration of flammable and volatile alcohol. We are not aware of any other seal-type that works well with hand sanitizer.
- Tubes have a wide range of orifice sizes available for you to choose from, and choosing the right orifice size will help the user apply a reasonable amount of hand sanitizer every time.
- In hot conditions the volatile alcohol in bottles will evaporate and create pressure in the container. If the container is set on its side and then opened again, sanitizer will sometimes expel in an uncontrolled fashion and create a mess. Inflexible bottles will tend to create more pressure and more mess, but the highly flexible tube is less likely to create a large mess or a mess at all.
- Consumers will like how easily the tube can be squeezed, unlike a plastic bottle.
- Tubes may fit personal carriers, like purses and backpacks more readily than a bottle.
BPI Labs anticipates that sourcing bottles for hand sanitizer will be difficult in the coming months. However, BPI Labs will have tube production available beginning the third quarter of 2020 with a new Norden tubing machine designed to safely and rapidly produce hand sanitizer in tubes. Standby to read more about the kinds of things you can do with tubes in the coming weeks.
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