Firstly, the company moved into a 4 500m2 state-of-the-art facility at the Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone and commissioned new energy-efficient injection moulding lines and automation systems. Secondly, its design and packaging innovation capabilities were recognised via four medals in the Health & Beauty Packaging category at the Institute of Packaging SA’s Gold Pack Awards.
When Amka Products required a modern jar that would resonate with the SofnFree ethnic haircare brand’s market-leading premium quality and value, Teqal developed a global, lightweight jar that offers consumers instructions for use in multiple languages.
Amka and Teqal’s teams collaborated for three years to successfully launch this range, which was awarded a bronze medal by the judging panel.
Teqal’s co-owner and marketing director, Sean Kirkham, explains that the global jar range is defined by the shape, functionality, lightweight construction and size impression of the 125ml, 250ml, 500ml and one-litre jars.
The available label space on the jars was insufficient to meet the legislative demands for more information to be included and to accommodate the multiple language communication required to create a global pack. Teqal, therefore, developed a patented transfer shive, which is inserted into the cap in its factory, to trap the information leaflet between the shive and cap.
This one-piece assembly is then applied to the jar by Amka on its high-speed filling line. Once the cap is applied to the filled jar, the shive transfers into the jar. When consumers open the cap, they are presented with the multiple language instructional leaflet first to ensure that they have the opportunity to read the product use instructions before accessing the product. This improves the product’s effectiveness and reduces any product liability risk of negative side effects.
Additionally, Amka can include a promotional or added-value item in the cap, for example, a competition scratch card or sample sachet of one of its other products.
Amka’s SofnFree global jar range also includes a Duo Jar, which consists of a hair relaxer (250 or 500ml) jar and neutralising shampoo (60ml) bottle with a unique cap that clips into the underside of the jar.
This Duo Jar was awarded a silver medal by the judges because it allows Amka to supply a complete hair relaxer kit in a combined jar format, which is stackable and ensures maximum and efficient use of shelf space in retail stores as well as reduced transport/storage costs. ‘Equally importantly, retailers no longer have to sell the relaxer and shampoo separately because they can now offer the equivalent of a banded combination pack that works holistically,’ Sean remarks.
He adds that the bottle is manufactured using injection blow moulding technology and in-mould labelling rather than self-adhesive labelling because the accurate placement of the latter label type was considered problematic due to the small triangular shape of the bottle. Therefore, the front and back labels are inserted into the mould during manufacture by a servo-driven robot to ensure their accurate placement on the bottle.
‘After our initial meeting, I started sketching some ideas about how to combine the jar and bottle, digitally rendered the provisional pack designs and put together a presentation. Three weeks later, I presented the designs and the Amka team felt that the jars looked a bit too masculine,’ he says. ‘I did some revisions to make the jars look more feminine and presented these digitally along with 3D printed samples delivered to them two weeks later. They were so satisfied with these patented designs and mock ups that they committed to a supply agreement.’
The Teqal team then set about building the pilot moulds and production tooling. Due to the non-symmetrical shapes and the high-quality focus, the tooling required was very challenging to manufacture. Teqal used its advanced toolmaking capabilities to manufacture the moulds in-house.
Sean believes that there is scope to extend the Duo Jar’s combination pack concept beyond a jar and bottle format and into other product categories.
To reflect the bronze medal-winning Annique Rooibos face care packaging’s strong connection with Rooibos, Teqal and the brand’s masterbatch supplier matched the colour of the Reflections double-walled jar to a cup of Rooibos tea.
‘It took two to three months to develop the correct tint and low dosage masterbatch percentage with high levels of control (via the best available market technologies) to ensure that it could be dispersed evenly throughout the jar and lid on a consistent basis to avoid colour differences between production batches,’ he notes.
Additionally, Teqal used tinted SAN outer components and gold pearlescent inner components in combination with in-house hot stamping (foiling) and direct silkscreen printing to achieve this look and the high-quality finishes.
‘The smooth, soft lines (inner and outer), combined with the tinted transparency, give this jar its feminine appeal while its innovative construction enabled the development team to create thicker sections to give the heavy glass look (where required) and substantially drop the overall pack weight when compared to similar sized jars,’ Sean reports. ‘The lower weight components make the jar globally competitive, reduce its environmental impact and provide a tailor-made solution without the need to invest substantial capital in the mould and associated tooling.’
Remoulding the no label look
The cap of the bronze medal-winning Oh So Heavenly 500ml body cream jar also includes the patented transfer shive, inserted at Teqal’s factory, which traps a sachet, leaflet or promotional item between the cap and shive and makes this material immediately visible to consumers when they open the jar.
However, the cap’s unique design feature is a dimple on the top, enabling the jars to stack on top of one another during merchandising at retailers.
Sean explains that when brand owners, the Canway Group, requested a jar with best-in-class size impression and impactful decoration capability combined with increased functionality, Teqal presented a patented full wraparound in-mould labelling (IML) technique because it creates the same no label look that is achieved by direct printing, but without the limitation of colours, dot size and registration capability as the solution.
‘We chose to modify existing IML technology, which mimics a shrink sleeve without the associated cost, application and recycling challenges, so that we could utilise flat web printing for high-quality images, cover the full surface of the round jar and avoid the standard step in the sidewall before the base radius to support the label during injection moulding,’ he states. ‘This step is unacceptable for cosmetic/personal care applications, so our label had to cover the entire jar surface around the base radius and under the edge of the cap to create a borderless look. We further enhanced it through a combination of high-quality print, metal foil and a traditional gloss finish.’
Based on the success of the 500ml jars, Teqal will be launching these full wraparound IML jars in 125, 250 and 750ml variants during 2023. ‘It is very rewarding for our highly experienced and well-trained team to develop a pack from conception to launch in conjunction with early brand adopters, and then witness market growth and success as well as positive feedback from consumers,’ Sean enthuses.