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Value Engineering Thin-walled Structures

Case Study: Reducing the raw material used in plastic containers

An important economic and environmental challenge is to reduce the material used in product containers. Manufacturers and distributors, though, still require a high degree of product protection. Which shapes work best when designing thinner and better plastic packaging? 

Aim

Minimise the amount of material (plastic) used to produce containers to reduce production costs and conserve raw material while maintaining design integrity.

Client

Huhtamaki Van Leer, a large manufacturer of plastic containers.

Funding

Funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Project

Using a process called 'automatic design optimisation', we took measurements of an existing container design (shape, material properties and wall thickness) and fed these into a purposed-designed computer-based algorithm. Hundreds of possible designs were automatically generated before an optimised shape was identified.

Results

A 6.5% reduction in raw material used in high volume packaging designs.