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United Caps, an international manufacturer of caps and closures, hosted an open house celebrating the opening of its extended R&D facility in Messia, France, on June 21st. Representatives from Nestlé joined in the celebration, which featured an innovative project undertaken to develop a brand-new closure for Nescafé Gold.

About 50% of United Caps’ products are created through customer collaboration with the United Caps design labs to develop bespoke closures tuned to their specific requirements. In the case of the Nestlé project, the company was seeking a closure for its Nescafé Gold coffee that would support the high-quality image of Nescafé and stand out on the shelf. And they wanted it as quickly as possible. Nestlé was aiming for a classy brushed metal look for its new packaging. This required a 100% metallic material to be wrapped around the skirt of a closure, something that had never been done before.

During the project, which reached full production in just two years, United Caps overcame several challenges that were deemed to be impossible. “The Nescafe collaboration was a Golden Moment for United Caps. We faced significant challenges, but undaunted, we created, we invented and even crossed new technical boundaries to scale new peaks. This effort reflected the essence of our Relate-Perform-Sustain model that helps us bring to market differentiated packaging solutions,” said Benoit Henckes, CEO of United Caps.

In order to continue to provide the level of service United Caps customers have come to expect, and to maintain the 50/50 split between standard and bespoke product development, the caps & closure manufacturer has extended its R&D centre located in Messia, France. With the addition of 200 square meters of floor space, an increase of 30%, the facility now is comprised of 600 square meters. This was accompanied by a 30% increase in staffing, the addition of a 3D printer for fast prototyping, and a restructuring of the R&D organisation to be more responsive to market needs. The end result is an average decrease in development time of 10% to 20%, a significant value to United Caps customers who are always looking to reduce product development cycle time.

Photo: The Nestlé request: A metal label, used in-mould was thought to be impossible.

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