Delta Dairy re-launched its premium milk products with a range of 2L, 1L and 500ml Diamond Pure-Pak® Curve cartons in October 2005. As part of the re-launch, Delta contracted Elopak to re-engineer Delta’s existing filling and handling lines in its Athens and Thessaloniki plants in Greece.

Delta, a producer and distributor of milk and milk based products, decided to revise its packaging as a strategy to retain its 41% share of the market. Delta opted for Diamond Pure-Pak cartons in order to differentiate its products in the market place.

Delta wanted to create the concept of ‘Delta Fresh Box’ that would add to customer appeal indicating a nutritive product. For Delta, the concept included increased shelf life and photo-protection – maintaining vitamin content, taste and freshness.

Market and consumer appeal

Delta found that a larger cap increased customer satisfaction due to the ease of pouring, opening and closing by all family members. The novel design and original shape of the packaging also provided better identification and improved handling for the customer.

“Delta has improved consumer appeal with its diamond shaped carton with wider top panel and improved graphics.”

Delta has improved consumer appeal with its diamond shaped carton with wider top panel and improved graphics. The fifth panel on the carton allows for brand slogans that are a differentiating factor.

Delta based this packaging innovation on the basis that premium values are directly proportional to price. In other words, consumers will pay a higher price for a higher perception of freshness. The natural and fresh quality retained by the Pure-Pak carton helps in creating value for the Delta brand.

Delta found a high level of customer acceptance and an increase in sales just one month after the cartons’ introduction.

Design

The Diamond Pure-Pak Curve cartons have a user-friendly design with a larger screw cap and a diamond shaped gable top. A fifth panel curve enables better communication of consumer benefits and brand messages, in addition to a better grip on the milk carton.

Re-engineering for innovation at Delta

“The existing cap supply and applicator system was upgraded to work with 35mm diameter caps, rather than 26mm caps.”

Delta’s existing filling machines, supplied by Elopak comprised three machines for 2L milk and juice with capacities of 2,700 cartons per hour, two machines for portion packs able to operate at 7,000 cartons per hour, and eight fillers for standard 1L cartons at 12,000 cartons per hour each.

All mandrels (axles or rods that helps in forming the carton) in the 13 machines were re-designed, as they were pivotal in forming the gable-top cartons. Each machine had 32 mandrels that had to be re-engineered.

The existing cap supply and applicator system was upgraded to work with 35mm diameter caps, rather than 26mm caps. Finally, software for the 13 machines was upgraded.

Process

Using pre printed blanks, the bottom of the pack is formed by applying heat to the PE coated carton, which is sealed with water-cooled sealing pads. The carton moves to a guiding chain and transfers to the filling section. To avoid generating foam and minimising wastage, the carton is filled gently. The milk carton moves to a top heating, closing and sealing station and further on to downstream equipment.

Benefits

Pure-Pak technology has helped Delta to retain the vitamin content and freshness of its product and to increase shelf life and visibility. The diamond shaped cartons have increased consumer appeal with their ease of use, better grip and improved graphics.