In the packaging design industry, differentiation is critical. Businesses need their products to have a distinct look that aligns with their brand, whether that’s to exemplify prestige, simplicity or a host of other attributes important to their core consumer base. Yet, standardization also is equally important – specifically to boost interchangeability and flexibility, reducing time to market and investments required.
Fortunately, there are a handful of groups throughout the world that help develop and advocate for packaging and bottling standards, one of which is Cetie – an organization that’s been key in establishing bottling standards for more than 60 years. Silgan Dispensing is a member of Cetie, and several members of our team are involved with its various working groups, including one that focuses on screw necks or glass bottles: the Flaconnage Geometry Group.
We recently talked with Juan Albi, project team leader for Silgan Dispensing’s beauty and personal care, and Sandy Gregory, director of fragrance marketing, to share about our company’s relationship with Cetie and how new standards are driving sustainability across the industry.
What is Cetie & the Flaconnage Geometry Group?
Juan: Cetie is a group that contributes to packaging standardization for a wide variety of markets, such as perfumery, pharmaceutical, personal care, and food and beverage. Since its founding in 1960, Cetie’s main task is to provide technical data sheets and guides to streamline packaging development.
Within Cetie exists the Flaconnage Geometry Group, which is a working group that focuses on the perfumery neck finish geometry and test methods. Members in the group include glass bottle manufacturers, brand owners, pump manufacturers, as well as manufacturers of the machines used in assembly plants. Having all of these groups represented allows us to take a holistic approach that accounts for a component’s initial conception to the assembly of the final product.
What is the goal of the group?
Juan: Standardization is incredibly beneficial to everyone in our industry. When looking at all that goes into a new product, you have the bottle, pump, overcap, and other components. We need to make sure these components work well together technically across more than a single product. Absent this standardization, every time a new product is developed, manufacturers and suppliers would need to source or develop new components, which would be very costly and very time consuming.
How did Silgan Dispensing get involved with the group, and why is being a part of it important for the company?
Juan: Silgan Dispensing has been involved with Cetie and its Flaconnage Geometry Group for over 10 years. Actually, we were one of the group’s founding members.
Over the years, we’ve helped standardize a number of bottleneck finish norms. Our current focus is helping develop a new standard for screw necks for glass bottles to improve interchangeability with screw pumps, like our Melodie Pirouette® and XD11® Pirouette.
While it’s a small group, the Flaconnage Geometry Group is comprised of professionals in specific fields, all of whom share non-confidential knowledge and technical expertise to develop future standards. Silgan Dispensing obviously has tremendous expertise and insight in this space and being a part of this group allows us to share what we know for the betterment of the industry.
What’s next in terms of Silgan Dispensing’s involvement with the group?
Juan: We have recently created the norm “Screw Neck International” for three different bottle neck sizes, SNI13, SNI15, SNI17, to quickly respond to the market’s need for standardization of refill, reusable and/or detachable perfume packaging. With the norm’s established, we are now working on putting in place the methods and procedures properly assemble all these components.
How does Silgan Dispensing’s involvement with Cetie and the Flaconnage Geometry Group tie back to the organization’s commitment to sustainability?
Sandy: Sustainability is an incredibly important business driver for brands right now. Everyone is asking, “How can we make our products and packaging more sustainable?” It’s a big part of their own sustainability goals, but it’s also driven by heightened consumer demands. This is why we’ve focused so much on expanding our sustainable solutions like PCR (post-consumer recycled plastic) and Melodie Pirouette® and XD11® Pirouette, so consumers can refill their favorite fragrance.
These are the types of solutions they need for their businesses to grow.
Our involvement in Cetie and the Flaconnage Geometry Group takes this approach a step beyond Silgan Dispensing’s product portfolio. We’re lending our insights and expertise to help our industry, as a whole, apply all the best practices toward sustainable packaging design.
How does this work impact both Silgan Dispensing’s customers and end consumers?
Sandy: All of this work helps bring customers more affordable solutions. With Cetie providing guidance and technical resources, it allows brands to bring more sustainably designed products to market without paying a high premium for the upfront research and design, which often can be cost prohibitive. Companies that otherwise may have been unable to pursue such products now can. In many ways, it democratizes sustainable package design for everyone in our industry – making it more accessible.
Reusable products, specifically around refillable packaging, is something consumers are seeking. How do the standards set by Cetie support this trend?
Sandy: Yes, increasingly consumers want products where they can refill the original packaging to cut down on waste. Fragrance brands are well aware of this and have started incorporating it into their product development plans. However, there are a variety of technical challenges impeding their progress. One hurdle they came up against was the absence of norms for the bottlenecks of glass packaging, which was the impetus for forming the Flaconnage Geometry Group. Lending our R&D expertise with other professionals across the industry is helping to solve this challenge to eventually give way to more refillable products, which will be tremendously helpful for brands, consumers and the environment.
It might seem contradictory, but standardization is key to driving innovation and in the packaging industry. By improving interchangeability between components, brands and packaging design firms like Silgan Dispensing can focus their attention on solutions that address consumers’ top interests around sustainable packaging and refillable products.