Unique Stand-Up Pouch for Motor Oil
Active collaboration results in a unique flexible packaging stand-up pouch configuration to enhance environmentally friendly credentials for a re-refined motor oil product.March 2013 By Sue Busch
It all started with a cleaner, greener product. In 2009, Universal Lubricants brought a fresh environmentally conscious product to the automotive marketplace with the introduction of ECO ULTRA, a re-refined synthetic blend motor oil made from used oil that is purified of spent additives to produce high-quality Group II base oil. This "green" base oil is blended with performance-enhancing additives to make ECO ULTRA. Universal Lubricants executives say the quality of the ECO ULTRA formulation is comparable to or better than oil made from crude. The Wichita, Kan.-based firm collects, re-refines, blends, and re-distributes the oil, and has gained a business-to-business following through car dealerships, quick lube shops, and installers.
But what's a cleaner, greener product without a cleaner, greener package? In 2012, Universal Lubricants began exploring options to extend ECO ULTRA's environmental benefits to its exterior, and ideally, expand the motor oil's share of market. Initially distributed to the installer and fleet market in bulk and drums, and then later in 1-quart to 2.5-gallon plastic bottles, ECO ULTRA needed a package that more strongly supported its sustainability, yet reinforced the oil's high-quality, high-performance positioning.
The solution came in the form of the stand-up pouch—a flexible packaging construction that has attracted a growing number of rigid package conversions in the consumer segment over the past decade, from early applications in tuna and juice to more recent laundry detergent and condiment entries. For ECO ULTRA, the pouch not only reduces packaging material, landfill waste, and bulk space requirements, but also—thanks to overall consumer enthusiasm for this package type—offers potentially enhanced appeal in the consumer retail environment.
Pouch pro partnerships
To push the ECO ULTRA pouch concept forward, Universal Lubricants teamed with Star Packaging, an Atlanta-based flexible packaging printer, laminator, and converter. "Star had a lot of experience and a proven track record with the type of package Universal Lubricants envisioned," comments Jessica Pianalto, assistant product manager. "They were at the top in terms of developing a package that works historically, and very knowledgeable in terms of customized design. They were also very willing to take the project on."