According to a report from Markets and Markets, the value of the tube packaging market is expected to grow from $6.65 billion in 2016 to an estimated $9.3 billion by 2021 (+6.9% CAGR). The report points to the cosmetics and oral care segment as the dominant tube venue and projects it to be the fastest-growing end-user sector in the next five years, as a result of the increasing demand for innovative packaging in various industries–a key market driver for tube packaging. Among the trends set to influence the growth is the increasing cosmetics industry demand for tubes that protect against bacteria, as well as tubes that help improve product shelf-life. That said, laminated tubes are projected to grow at the highest CAGR over the next three years, due to their barrier protection qualities.
One of the latest tube projects from Evansville, IN-based Berry Plastics is a laminate tube that met the high environmental standards of Burt’s Bees. Included in the personal care brand’s pet care line extension, Burt’s Bees Fetch…For Pets!, the tube for Paw & Nose Relieving Lotion for Dogs is comprised of 60% post-consumer resin in the sleeve and shoulder (excluding the closure). “Because we are vertically integrated, we were able to produce every step of the final product, from the extruded sheet to printing,” comments the company’s Amy Waterman, global marketing communications manager.
Essel Propack, Danville, VA, invested in new tooling to manufacture a 60mm laminate tube for Unilever’s AXE brand body wash that was launched in February. The large diameter tube is topped with a 58mm diameter cap, which Essel Propack produced in-house. “This was an exciting project because it offers simple bottle to tube conversation due to the large filling capacity,” says Sydney Owen, marketing coordinator. After producing the tubes, Essel used hot/cold foil effects and a matte varnish to complete the brand’s desired look.
Plastic and Metal Details
The appeal of metal continues to be a hit in the tube realm, and tubes that combine the flexibility of plastic with the flash and shelf appeal of metal accents embody the best of both worlds. “The trend is for shiny tubes with metallic effects and intricate designs, for beautiful tubes that stand out on shelf, while at the same time preserving more delicate formulations,” observes Dorothée de Courson, marketing director, Albéa Tubes. “These new aesthetic codes help beauty brands expand their seasonal collections and limited editions by providing pioneering, top-quality, personalized products in very short time frames, helping them stand out from the competition.”
Viva IML Tubes, Toronto, Canada, continues to innovate on its premise of 100% recyclable PP tubes with 100% tube surface decoration produced with up to 35% less energy, extending the principle to flat and round oval tubes, airless pump tubes and dual chamber tubes. The company recently worked with Martino By Martino Cartier on a 163ml tube for its Volume Serum hair product. “The brand wanted something that would pop and yet convey the premium aspect of this high-end hair care salon brand for celebrities,” says Bruno Lebeault, marketing director North America. “We used our diamond hologram substrate that we covered with a translucent yellow to get a golden holographic 3D effect on both the logo (a lion’s head) and the top and bottom of the tube. The rest of the tube was covered in black to get a good contrast and a premium feel.”
An elegantly tall and skinny tube was the preference for FIXMD’s Detoxify environmental skin cleanser, and the brand realized its packaging goals with Kent, WA-based Express Tubes Inc., which paired a customized tube resin color with hot stamp printing and flashy foil accents. The product fill was 3.7oz so Express Tubes selected a 35x155 sized tube to create the brand’s desired luxury appearance.
“To achieve the customized tube color palette desired, Express Tubes used a specialized Satin Matte Pearl finish that really encapsulated the FIXMD’s vision,” says Shanna Johns, director of sales, Express Tubes. “FIXMD needed customizations for our unique foil logo as well as a pearl finish to give the FIXMD brand its signature color palette, that exhibits a combination of science and artistry. What makes the FIXMD packaging stand out is the pearlescent finish, combined with the unique copper logo that identifies the brand.”
Clinique forged a partnership between Gennevilliers, France-based Albéa and Freeport, NY-based Lombardi Design & Manufacturing to create a signature tube and applicator combo for its Pep Start Eye Cream. The 0.5oz, 7/8 in. tube is made of bright orange co-ex plastic that is silk-screened with clean, white graphics. Lombardi manufactured the tube’s integral applicator, which dispenses the product via a polyester ball.
“Clinique wanted to use a specific ‘smooth, cooling’ spherical applicator and integrate it as part of the tube,” says Christine Gichuki, Albéa’s senior communications manager.
She notes that there were some initial technical challenges in making sure the tube and applicator had the right fit and function, but in the end the package came together beautifully. “A custom tube head design achieved a ‘non-removable’ airtight seal with the applicator base, all topped with a high clarity, heavy wall cap to showcase the ball applicator.”
Clarins also sought a unique tube-applicator combination package for its Multi-Active Yeux eye cream, and ultimately found it in partnership with Cosmogen. The product is housed in Cosmogen’s Tense Tube, which is customized with a pink tint. The tube is topped with a zamac, cryo-metallic tip to facilitate targeted application of the formula.
The cap covering the tip is elegantly lacquered in gold, and silk screened.
When combined with tubes, airless packaging componentry offers the epitome of defense, protecting products from environmental exposure, and offering near 100% evacuation with precision dosing.
Airless pumps used in airless tubes are configured with either screw-on or snap-fit pump configurations. While screw-on pumps can be unscrewed by the customer, snap-fit assemblies cannot be guaranteed to be 100% leak-proof. To address these issues, Global Packaging, Inc., La Habra, CA, designed a tube with a ratchet on the head of the tube and a corresponding ratchet on the pump. “This unique design—we are unaware of any other manufacturer providing this—not only ensures a perfect leak-proof assembly by applying the predetermined torque, but also provides protection against accidental opening of the pump by the user,” says Vinay Upasani, president.
Flirt, an “illuminating serum” from Pure Romance, features Global Packaging’s airless technology on a medium density polyethylene monolayer tube supplied by Kaufman Container and filled by Classic Erotica. One of the challenges incurred during the decoration process involved the need for deco to extend to the open end of the tube. “Since the deco was black in color and would have caused trouble for the eye mark detection during the filling process, there was a need to print the eye mark in an alternative method,” explains Upsani. “We were able to provide them with the fluorescent ink invisible eye mark which was only visible after the UV beam was fired on it. Thus, the deco process all the way to the open end of the tube became possible to accomplish without compromising the artwork.”
Plump & Glow Hydrating Facial Mist from UK skin care brand Emma Hardie is housed in an elegant new tube that was developed in partnership between Barcelona-based Quadpack and Yonwoo of Korea. The gold-colored, airless spray tube from Yonwoo was developed by Quadpack.
The hydrating formula includes delicate botanical ingredients, which are protected in the tube through a double safeguard of Yonwoo’s airless technology and an interior Luxefoil aluminum barrier, which shield the product from oxidation and external contamination. The airless system also enables a 360-degree spray application, and ensures that all of the product is used with no waste.
Sized at 90ml, the portable-sized pack is suitable for air travel, allowing users to hydrate their skin in the dry, air-conditioned environment of a plane. The collapsible tube flattens at it is used, keeping the pack flat, and the silk screened branding visible. The package is accented with a bespoke aluminum cap and an embossed logo.
New Tube Developments
World Wide Packaging (WWP), Florham Park, NJ, recently launched Elements, an in-mold branding feature for its 50-, 40-, & 30mm diameter tube offerings. The technology enables customers to add a custom logo molded into the shoulder of the tube in a variety of configurations. The technology affords greater creativity for pairing graphics with the molded shoulder color, and additional options include anti-counterfeiting features.
WWP has also launched a new tube decorating technology called Direct Flexo Imaging (DFI). What sets DFI apart is that unlike conventional direct dry offset and silk screen printing, the technology allows unlimited graphic potential, photograph quality imaging and resolution without the physical material attributes of a pressure-sensitive label. “All artwork can be registered to the thumb notch of the closure and is available from WWP’s complete line of extruded tube offerings,” Farley says.
In addition to its new deco offerings, WWP worked with skin care brand StriVectin, to develop a brightly colored, custom-developed oval tube package for StriVectin’s Multi-Action Stress Defense Hydrating Water Gel. “This 35mm oval design, supported by a two-piece custom oval closure with a polypropylene inner and SAN outer shell, exemplifies the high-end imagery that defines StriVectin’s product line,” notes James Farley, WWP’s executive vice president, global business development.
The inner shell of the closure is sprayed with matte silver and has the flexibility to be molded or sprayed in gloss colors and/or hot stamped to add a custom, fully protected logo. What’s more, the base of the tube can be extruded in white with deco in four-color offset ink. A double vignette from the center outward can be complemented with silver hot stamp deco.
Amber International, West Orange, NJ, helped H2Ocean bring its Aquatat ointment for new tattoo protection to fruition by providing a family of tubes and printed artwork.
Amber is a tube manufacturer specializing in tube decorating technologies such as flexographic printing on extruded tubes, CMYK printing photographic reproduction images, and up to eight-color silk-screening with an in-line hot-stamping and embossing capability. The company also offers laminate tubes with a minimal seam exposure (.5mm) for 360-degree printing.
And finally, ABA Packaging Corp., Holtsville, NY, has extended its tube range with the addition of 19mm through 50mm diameters in round, oval, and slim oval Polylami (Polyfoil-compatible) and Aluminum Plastic Laminated (APL) tube options. “Polylami replaces the middle layer of EVOH in the co-ex (5-layer) tube with aluminum, which works to enhance the tubes’ compatibility with difficult ingredients such as products containing SPF formulas,” explains Michael Warford, director of sales.
Polylami also delivers a boost of extra shine, on par with a hot-stamp foiled effect but at a lower cost. “Our Polylami and APL materials provide a much smoother and durable seam as these tubes are seamed into tube form from co-ex sheets instead of traditional tube extrusion,” Warford says, adding that ABA also provides post-seam decoration options including screen printing, offset printing, hot-stamping, and flexo printing, as well as a variety of matching stock closures.