10 Reasons Why Custom Tooling
Can Be a Packaging Game-Changer

Building a new packaging mold can create a custom solution, lower your package costs, increase your capacity, decrease your transportation costs, and reduce your environmental footprint.

When you contemplate your next packaging venture, whether it's a fresh start or an upgrade, consider that a custom tool or a new mold might just be the key to unlocking your packaging potential.

Why? A custom tool affords multiple benefits. Here are 10 compelling reasons why crafting a new mold could be the game-changer for your packaging solution:

Plastic tube preforms ready for blow molding

By: Robert Swientek
Date: May 8, 2024

Custom jug mold
Multiple bottle molds

10 Wins With Custom Tooling

1.     Unleashes a unique package tailored to your precise needs and specifications. Custom tooling allows for design flexibility, enabling intricate shapes, specific dimensions, and exclusive features. No more trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

2.     Drives down your product costs. Custom tooling can reduce material waste and simplify the manufacturing process, leading to cost savings.

3.     Amplifies your capacity and volume. With multiple cavities or high-speed molding capabilities, custom tooling enables manufacturers to produce more packaging components in less time.

4.     Streamlines your manufacturing processes. By optimizing the design of molds for factors such as material flow, cooling efficiency, and part ejection, custom tooling minimizes production bottlenecks and improves overall efficiency.

5.     Sets your product apart in a crowded marketplace. By crafting distinctive packaging solutions, you can strengthen your brand identity and build customer loyalty over time.

6.     Creates a competitive edge with enhanced functionality. Custom tooling empowers you to incorporate innovative features and functionalities like dispensing systems, interactive elements, ergonomic handles, etc. into your packaging design.

7.     Tackles quality concerns head-on. By designing molds or tools tailored to your product, you can minimize defects, ensure dimensional accuracy, and maintain high standards of quality throughout the manufacturing process.

8.     Boosts component performance (think leak resistance for e-commerce channels). Custom tooling allows for precise engineering of packaging components to ensure tight tolerances and optimal sealing performance.

9.     Trims transportation expenses. Custom tooling can produce lighter-weight packaging, nested or stackable packaging for more efficient pallet loads, and products closer to contract fillers, end markets, and distribution centers.

10. Shrinks your environmental footprint. Custom tooling can optimize sustainable packaging through lighter-weight designs, recyclable materials, reusable formats, energy-efficient manufacturing operations, and sounder supply chains.  

Real-World Mold Scenarios

To bring these 10 advantages to life, let's delve into some real-world scenarios:

·       Manufacturer A has a 16-oz container perfectly tailored for Customer A but can't keep up with the demand. No ready-made options fit the bill. Answer? Build a similar solution with Manufacturer B if it's not proprietary.

·       When aiming to ramp up production and fuel further expansion, opting for a new mold with increased cavitation is a no-brainer.

·       For packaging components sourced from regions with hefty tariffs or taxes, a custom tool allows you to shift operations to a more favorable locale or a more efficient supply chain.

·       Choosing a manufacturer closer to the brand owner or co-packer slashes transport fuel usage and costs, cutting the product's carbon footprint through fewer freight miles.

·       A new mold can churn out a lighter-weight component, reducing material and product expenses.

·       A custom tool can deliver an exclusive package structure that steals the spotlight on the shelf, offering unique functionalities and aesthetics.

Check out these two success stories where custom tooling took center stage, delivering a game-changer for product functionality (i.e., house and window washing product) and shelf impact in a competitive beverage category (i.e., cocktail drink mixer).

Mold for glass bottles
Rejuvenate Dual System Outdoor House Wash and Window Cleaner

Case Study: Doubling Up on Household Care

After a decade-long partnership, For Life Products once again turned to Studio One Eleven, Berlin Packaging's innovation and design center, to craft a revolutionary packaging system for exterior house cleaning.

The Rejuvenate Dual System Outdoor House Wash and Window Cleaner represents a seismic shift in exterior home cleaning. For the patented sprayer with a handle, Studio One Eleven conjured up a custom tool to meet the closure's performance demands. Another new mold produced the 64-oz bottle with two separate chambers — each boasting its own opening.

Unified by a single-threaded closure, the twin orifice HDPE bottle holds house wash formula in one chamber and window wash formula in another. Switching between the two is as effortless as rotating the sprayer nozzle on the specially-made patented sprayer and handle. No fussing with hose reconnections.

To safeguard product integrity in e-commerce, the system ships with a specially designed plug and threaded closure. From concept to fulfillment, the development and custom tooling teams collaborated closely with our manufacturing partners, yielding groundbreaking blow-molding and flow dynamics outcomes.

Verse Beverage glass bottles

Case Study: Packaging Panache Elevates Cocktail Mixer

Looking to carve out a new niche in the cocktail mixer category, Verse Beverage needed a package to reflect its unique product: an ultra-premium mixer formulated with science-backed functional ingredients that enables adults to "revitalize while celebrating life."

To achieve their goal, the Miami-based start-up partnered with Studio One Eleven to create a custom bottle from Verse's artwork concept of a cone-shaped vessel with helical ribs on the base.

The Studio's team of industrial designers and engineers collaborated with Verse's product team to transform the start-up's idea into a fully deployable design comprised of a specially decorated custom glass bottle and a custom-molded cap. When building the bottle, the industrial designers contemplated the moldability of the embossed ribs, which may present issues during glass blow-molding.

Next, the Studio designers and engineers conceived a custom-molded CT cap that functions as both a closure and a dosing cup to help users measure a shot of liquor into their mixed drink. We also incorporated an additional embossment underneath the cap that reinforces the brand and delivers a hidden moment of delight for consumers when they initially open the bottle.

The Studio's branding team created the final printable files for the decorator, adding the finishing touches to a sophisticated and smart bottle.

Dispelling Four Mold Myths

Certain brand owners may be hesitant to explore a custom tool or new mold because of perceptions surrounding costs and operational complexities. Let's set the record straight and tackle these misconceptions head-on.

Myth No. 1: Custom tooling breaks the bank.
Some folks dismiss custom tooling upfront due to cost concerns. But don't be fooled. While there are initial expenses, the long-term savings might surprise you. Plus, some packaging manufacturers may chip in on mold costs in exchange for your business.

Myth No. 2: Unit tools are superfluous.
Some people question the need for a pre-production or unit tool, viewing it as an unnecessary expense and time sink. However, this tool expedites design and process verification, ensuring your packaging component thrives in the real world — from molding and filling to shipping and consumer usage. It's a cost-effective way to uncover potential issues early on.

Myth No. 3: Molds are immovable objects.
While transferring a tool from one molder to another is feasible, it's not a walk in the park. Besides having the right machinery, the new manufacturer may need different ancillary equipment, like runners and cooling systems. Plus, there's a learning curve with a new tool, especially if it was designed for a different molding machine.

Myth No. 4: Going green means a new mold.
Adding post-consumer recycled (PCR) content to virgin resin doesn't necessarily entail a mold overhaul. Switching plastic grades usually requires tweaking molding parameters, not a new mold. But if you're switching plastic materials, like from PP to HDPE, then yes, you'll likely need a new tool due to polymer shrinkage differences.

Our Tooling Expertise and Capabilities

To guide you every step of the way, Berlin Packaging boasts a dedicated Custom Tooling team overseeing mold development from inception to commercialization. We handle everything from project scope, documentation, drawings, design, and specifications to quality assurance, timelines, supplier selection, recordkeeping, and component review, ensuring a seamless journey from concept to manufacturing. We also offer a customer-facing tool to track project timelines and progress.

Last year, our North American team built a record 400+ custom tools, spanning industries like food, beverage, personal care, spirits, automotive, nutraceuticals, hair care, and beyond. We're well-versed in traditional materials like glass and plastic and cutting-edge ones like PCR plastic, plant-based resins, biodegradable polyesters, PEEK engineering thermoplastic, and PEI thermoplastic.

Furthermore, we're on top of custom tooling innovations and trends like AI simulations, conformal cooling, rapid prototyping, micro-molding, multi-axis machining, sustainability, and Industry 4.0/smart manufacturing. These advancements mean more elaborate designs with complex geometries, greater detail in surface textures, improved mold performance, and higher operational efficiencies.

With decades of collective experience in various molding processes, including extrusion blow molding, injection blow molding, glass molding (Type I and Type III), metal forming, and thermoforming, our Custom Tooling team is primed and equipped to tackle your next mold-building endeavor.

Berlin Packaging Custom Tooling Team

Looking for custom tooling and mold building for your next packaging project?
Request a packaging consultation today.