Bottling of home and personal care products and perfumes

By Nicholas Harris
The 24/04/2018

Cetie and non-food bottling applications

Although Cetie proposes technical documents mainly centred on food and beverages it has also always been active in non-food bottling applications.
The increased interest is currently seen for these markets within Cetie. Until recently it has been through the "flaconnage" glassmakers N° 2 working group
that bottling of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products has been considered. The term "flaconnage" has been adopted in Cetie from French as a convenient identification of speciality bottle production, though defined with respect to the intended product to be contained rather than the size or shape of the container.
“Flacons” thus contain a range of products from perfume and beauty to pharmaceutical and medicinal products and its extends to e.g. chemicals.
Although covering very different markets, the common feature in terms of glassmaking is a certain specific technical expertise, relatively small quantities
and a majority of smaller size articles.

Tighter dimensional specifications

In Cetie documentation, flaconnage differs from mainstream bottles and jars in particular by tighter dimensional specifications corresponding to the specific quality requirements of these markets. The pharmaceutical sector, in particular, is by nature adapted to the use of international standards, insofar as the containers have a function in a nursing procedure and that product protection is a medical imperative.

For perfumery, the shape of the flacons and specific decorative features are essential for the identity of perfumes and of the brand.
Their commercial positioning enables and encourages technical audacity for the containers following the rhythm imposed by successive new product developments, but also implies correspondingly high-quality requirements.
Flaconnage producers compete to propose inventive new packages translating the design concept into a technical reality, often pushing the limits of process possibilities under a timeframe imposed by the brand’s commercial objectives. Though it might seem paradoxical, this constant pursuit of customisation is in fact fertile ground for Cetie harmonisation work.
Thus, different working groups are active for several years, initiated from the problems encountered with the application of spray pumps on “FEA” (1) glass finishes,
which are used for most perfume flacons. A more complete glass finish specification for crimped pumps, GME40.05, was thus published in 2013. Following on from this work
a Flaconnage Geometry working group was set up at the initiative of the perfume brands members of Cetie to consider the other characteristics
of glass perfume flacons that influence spray pump application. This group has developed, in particular, proposals for revising the DT15.XX data sheet set giving test methods and values for general tolerances for flaconnage, taking into account the specific characteristics of perfume flacons. Duly taken into consideration by the glassmakers flaconnage working group,
the 11 revised data sheets in this set have just been published. Other topics are currently studied in the group, including the deviations from planarity of
labellable surfaces and a "dynamic" vertical load test simulating the forces exerted when applying snap-on spray pumps or accessories on the finish of flacons, sensitive for flacons with flat shoulders. A new version of the Cetie Bottling Guide n° 12 "Crimping guide for perfume flacons" is also in the final stages of preparation.
This reiterates the basic 5 rules which it is recommended to respect to ensure correct crimping performance.


Glass flaconnage decoration

All perfume flacons are decorated and, here again, though the overall aim is to be different, the need for technical harmonisation led to the creation of a specific "Flaconnage Decoration" working group. One of the objectives of this group is to establish harmonised test methods to qualify the resistance of the decoration to the different conditions met during the lifetime of the product. For a given type of test – scratch resistance, resistance to product, resistance to water, etc., different test methods currently exist with conditions that are close but not identical. In an initial survey, for just the resistance to product test, over 40 different variants were observed to be employed by the glassmakers as required by their different customers.
The group is thus currently organising the tests needed to clarify the effects of certain parameters and the predictive value of the test with respect to the observed resistance of the decoration during the useful life of the product. It is anticipated that this action will contribute to reducing the time necessary for new product development.

"Overlapping areas of interest highlight possibilities of cross-fertilisation between these two categories of containers for the subjects treated." 

Bottling into PET is a strong topic in Cetie for beverage markets, and there have been requests to work also on bottling in PET of home and personal care products.
This is a growth area for PET and the principal brands have identified possible advantages of scale that could be accessed with standardised neck finishes, particularly for reduced cost and inventory. These markets are more segmented and on a lower scale than for beverages with specific requirements such as aesthetic and ergonomic criteria according to the product type and use phase by the final customer.
The potential interest of collective work in Cetie has been confirmed during the first two meetings of the working group set up for the subject, with initial proposals for generic neck finish specifications for a selection of common sizes of snap-on and screw closures anticipated for discussion at the next meeting of the group in June (2).


Group perspectives

The group is also intending to develop harmonised qualification test methods as an extension of the manual for beverage applications currently subject to final verification in coordination with ISBT (Quality Guidelines n° C18). The non-food sectors thus bring in Cetie a complementary vision to the traditional action in food and beverages, particularly concerning specifications and test methods. Overlapping areas of interest highlight possibilities of cross-fertilisation between these two categories of containers for the subjects treated. This is for example the case between glass flacons for perfume and bottles for high-value spirits and it is anticipated that the current work on flaconnage decoration is extended to such bottles. 
N. Harris - Cetie General Secretary for french Magazine Liquides & Conditionnement N°394

(1) FEA is the acronym of the "Fédération Européenne des Aérosols" (European Aerosol Federation) which produced the initial specifications for crimped spray pumps and corresponding glass finishes, and with which Cetie is in relation.
(2) Personal/Homecare finishes group's meeting will be held on the 13th June - please contact us for further information.
PDF (FR) :
- Liquides & Conditionnement N°394 (FR)
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