Packaging Development


The main purpose of packaging is to wrap your products. It also ensures smooth logistics, provides adequate product protection, is an information medium and brand ambassador and influences preferences such as consumer purchasing behaviour. Packaging therefore fulfils many very different functions, plus it must meet an endless diversity of customer requirements. A packaging concept is therefore essential for packaging development.

Developing a packaging concept

Packaging affects many areas of the company which can each be of benefit to each other. To this end THIMM has created a concept workshop, in which we involve all areas and departments in the concept development in order to combine the requirements. For instance, the purchasing department often wants to negotiate a reasonable price, marketing uses packaging as a communications tool, in the production department packaging must run smoothly over the machines to ensure a smooth production process and in logistics cost-effective storage and sustainable shipping and transportation must be feasible. Each company department therefore contributes to a cross-departmental packaging concept. In order to avoid time-consuming meetings and costly organisation, our kick-off workshop is the best possible support for you in this process.

Our "Phase ZERO" workshop is used as a quick start for analysing a packaging problem. Before the workshop THIMM will carry out store checks and Best Practice analyses. The criteria here will differ from department to department. Material costs are an important factor for every company and in this context we must also take disposal costs, replacement costs for tools or artwork and process costs into account. As regards distribution transportation stability is an important criterion therefore packaging has to ensure requirements-specific protection up to the POS. This also includes inbound storage costs, operational handling and outbound pallet utilisation. Retailers and consumers, packaging materials, packaging technologies and sustainability, etc. are other aspects to be included in the evaluation criteria. These criteria are then specified, evaluated and weighted with the complete team within the context of the value analysis and according to established procedures.  This analysis includes your existing packaging in a comparison with new developments.

The value analysis is the cornerstone for the packaging development. Using the value-analysis grid, the THIMM packaging engineers develop the packaging overnight. This teamwork saves significant costs and time.  

  • Cost savings through a combined event
  • Time-saving through developments overnight
  • Fine-tuned results in only one workshop

Packaging planning is a matter for experts

The analysed requirements and functions are processed directly into the packaging planning. One important source of information for the packaging engineers is the nature of the product as this will enable them to convey the resulting requirements onto the packaging. The early packaging planning phase must take account of packaging properties (e.g. load-bearing product or non-load bearing product), packaging processes (automated or manual) and packaging volumes (continuous or action-related) and incorporate them into the development. The means of transportation used leads to different logistics requirements. For example, a cardboard box shipped nationally by HGV on a pallet requires different technical limit values to a plastic transport container that is shipped by sea over many long weeks by container to China. Packaging planning is the preliminary work for the actual packaging design. The packaging material and packaging aids are specified and initial packaging types are determined.

THIMM plans the packaging independently of materials and is therefore supplier-neutral. Paper-based materials (corrugated cardboard, solid board, paper) are used as materials. Different padding and cushioning materials (corrugated cardboard padding etc.) are planned in as required.

  • Material-independent and manufacturer-independent developments
  • Many years of process know-how in packaging developments
  • Recommendations for form, filling and sealing machines (including machinery design)

Design with CAD Software

Computer-aided design (CAD) software applications are used to design packaging. The most common applications include ArtiosCAD (Esko) and Impact CAD (Arden Software). They are used to design boxes of solid board, corrugated cardboard packaging, intermediate layers of hollow chamber profiles, pouches made of transparent materials, POS displays etc. in both 2D and 3D.

Our packaging development using the example of corrugated cardboard packaging: All the information ascertained during the packaging planning flows into the design. The FEFCO catalogue is used to determine the packaging type and variant. The number and arrangement of the products within packaging depends both on the product itself and on its later intended use. For example, in shelf-ready packaging (SRP) products are positioned differently to pure transport packaging because they support the presentation of the products in the retail outlet. The arrangement of the products is important to ensure the best possible volume utilisation level within the packaging. A poor volume utilisation level leads to more pallets and storage spaces, increased usage of packaging materials as well as higher transport volumes and thereby to avoidable costs! In order to ensure the economic placement of the defined packaging unit on the load carrier, an orientation towards ISO modular dimensions is recommended.
The design drawings developed for packaging and displays can be output in 2D and 3D. 2D drawings are essential for prototyping, the next step in the process. 3D drawings are used for visualisation, testing and approval purposes.

  • Short-term deployment of packaging engineers
  • Interim management for calculable packaging development costs
  • Long-term framework agreements with cost advantages (e.g. volume scaling)

Prototypes of your packaging

A cutting plotter is used to create a prototype of the developed packaging from a material sheets (e.g. corrugated cardboard, solid board, HCP). The packaging developers send the CAD data via the software interface to the plotter. Cut lines and score lines of the later tool are simulated and slotting, punch-outs and/or perforation lines are inserted. The plotted packaging sample is then folded manually by the developer and stuck if necessary. The prototypes built can also be used as a one-off pieces and for very short print runs. In most cases it is a sample for approval by customers.

  • Packaging samples from a quantity of one
  • Very small production runs possible
  • Packaging design can be implemented as a print sample (from one piece) in digital printing

Packaging parts lists ideally in a database

We recommend that your packaging master data be stored in a packaging database. This will enable you to ensure that specifications, technical drawings and packing instructions are available at all times. Find out here about our data management concepts.

Packaging and transportation tests

International standards and testing standards are part of everyday life in the packaging industry. Testing options cover packaging materials, corrugated cardboard packaging, load carriers and load units. You can ensure the resistance of your packaging against static, dynamic and climatic stresses with our packaging tests.

Standards reduce complexity and costs

The fundamental aim of companies with large packaging volumes should be to have an overview of the entire packaging range from the outset of the packaging development phase. The development of clear packaging construction standards is just as much a focus as the creation of the technical pre-requisites for the creation of packaging specifications. An additional cornerstone here is the definition of processes for packaging tests. This package improves both packaging performance and costings. And this is where we need to start.