Archives for category: Research

Next i wanted to check whether induction sealing works on glass bottles. Induction sealing is a method that is already used in the factory (see factory visit post) with their plastic bottles, and i thought that i could use this type of seal in my designs.Upon further research i have established that this method of sealing is possible on glass bottles.

So now i will explain how i want to incorporate induction seals into my design. Here is a sketch of the bottle lid and its expanded components:

Bottle Lid


The reason i want to use an induction seal is because the sauce needs some sort of portion control, on the existing bottle the plastic lid has a smalled hole built into it, meaning that it only pours a certain amount at a time, so you dont use too much of it. I thought that this was an essential element that needed to be carried over, because if i was to just use a cork lid, the users would be constantly having trouble pouring the right amount, and inconvenience isn’t an element you want to build into a product. And i didn’t to use too many materials, so i thought that a small induction seal could be built into the neck of the bottle. It has two purposes: sealing and portion control. Obvious the product needs to be sealed after it is produced to ensure it meets hygienic standards. In terms of portion control i thought the seal could add a personal element to the bottle, meaning that the seal allows the individual to pierce their own hole, as big or as small as they want depending on how much sauce they prefer to use at one time. After they have pierced the seal, the cork then serves as the seal, restricting the flow of air in and out of the bottle in a natural, traditional way.

In terms of the technicalities of the seal, they work by the seal being placed in (or usually on top) of the bottle, which then passes under an induction coil which emits an electromagnetic pulse. This creates a reaction in the seal which heats a polymer around the edges, which when cooled forms a bond to the bottle. I thought that if the seal is placed underneath the cork, and the cork is push into the bottle, then passed under the induction coil that the seal would adhere to the bottle around the inside of the bottle neck, then, theoretically the cork can be taken in and out and the seal stays in place.

In terms of sustainability, i thought you could slightly modify the seal so that is is made of only aluminium foil and the adhesive polymer so that is it easy to recycle (aluminium being a highly recyclable material). And that there could be a tab built into the design that that when the bottle is finished you can pull the tab and the seal comes out, easily separating from the bottle so that they can be recycled individually.

In general i like the idea of a cork and seal combination, as it suits the original and genuine feel of the product, as well as supporting the sustainable cork industry, and the seal adds a contemporary element to the lid, which adheres to hygienic standards important in todays society.


With increasing competition amongst industries and continuous increase in the costs and uncertain supplies of the various fuels all industries are forced to change over to alternate or multi-fuel firing and switch over to low cost fuels, depending upon the location or nature of operation.

In the previous post i mentioned how i wanted to use the solid waste that the factory produces to fuel the furnaces which would fire the Applied colour labels. I looked around on the internet to see whether it was posible and to find companies that do a similar thing. I found this company quite easily which probably suggests its quite a common practice, they specialise in converting conventional furnaces to alternative fuel furnaces which can use agricultural wastes from farms, wastes from food processing units, industrial wastes, coal or petroleum coke. I would think that the type of waste produced at the Lea & Perrins factory would fall under waste from food processing units, and thus be eligible for this type of system. The company have a number of functions:

  • Designing and erection of multi fuel furnaces for existing boilers
  •  Installing waste heat recovery systems to reduce fuel consumption
  • Utilize proper M.O.C. to increase the life of combustion systems / Furnaces
  • Provide protective coatings to safeguard against high temperature conditions
  • Optimize design parameters to reduce power consumption

The only issue of course is that there isn’t an existing boiler on site, though i doubt that would be a huge problem for such a large scale operation. And also that this specific company is based in India, though i found this site very easily so would assume that there are companies that do this in the UK or europe too.

source: Multi Fuel Furnaces

Last week we went to visit the Lea and Perrins factory. Initially we would have visited the factory earlier in the semester but unfortunately we couldn’t so even though we are now well on the way with out ideas and designs the visit was actually really helpful. We saw the process of maturing, producing and packaging the sauce, with both new innovations and old traditional processes that stem back from the original manufacture of the sauce.

We started the day by adoring our fetching attire, each of us had to put on overalls, high-vis jackets, hair nets, protective shoes, and for the fellas, beard nets. After this we were introduced to Shane Shortman, Heinz’s UK brand manager, he’d come from london to join us on the tour of the factory and answer any marketing and branding type questions we may have had. As well as Martin, who was in charge of quality control at the factory, and would be leading the tour.

The building itself is very impressive and a prime example of a Victorian factory building, it definitely has an ‘original and genuine’ feel about it, with old tiles spelling out ‘Lea & Perrins’ on the back of the building, and a range of overlapping tunnels and passages that channel the flow of manufacture right from the very beginning to the end. The factory itself produces an incredible amount of products, obviously it produces Worcester Sauce, but it also makes and range of flavoured and spices sauces, later we would see the yellow jalapeño hot sauce being bottles, plus ketchup and HP sauce as far as i am aware. And the most remarkable thing is, at least for Worcester sauce,  that every single bottle of Worcester sauce bought anywhere in the world, except for USA, would be make and bottled in this factory, i thought that was incredible, that such a massive, international operation is all produced and packages from this one factory, in Worcester, England.

We began the tour by going down to the basement, descending through a small door under the stairs which you would expect to be a cupboard  but what actually turns out to be a vast dark catacomb filled with barrels. Originally the barrels would have been made from wood, assembled on site, i imagine the whiskey barrel type look. But now they are made from blue pastic, probably for practical and hygienic reasons. Each barrel is filled with either whole onions in vinegar, whole garlic in vinegar, or halved anchovies in salt. They are then sealed and allowed to (for lack of the actual term) mature for up to two years! Once they have reached that point, the barrels are moved to a large room adjacent to the main factory building and the contents are mixed together (im sure with a blend of secret ingredients) in large tanks. The liquid, or sauce, is then separated from the solids in the mixture, which reused in a range of ways*. The sauce then travels back to the main building to be bottles. We walked through the main courtyard where crates of the finished sauces are stacked up ready to be distributed around the world. We went through a number of doors into a large area next to the main courtyard, this was where we saw the bottling process, and if anyone has ever watched ‘How it’s Made’ on the discovery channel, it was very similar! The bottles are delivered downstairs in another area of the basement, and fed upstairs to the room we were not in. Fed single file along a fast moving conveyer belt specifically designed to keep them upright. They were fed into the first machine, which picks them up, one by one, twirls them round, and in the process fills them with sauce using a clever mechanism Martin showed us, which allows them to fil the sauce up to the exact same level every time. Then onto the second machine, where the the bottles have their lids fastened on. Then back onto the conveyer, to be barcoded and led to the next room. In the next room, similar machines work to label the bottles, and then a clever little machine (though actually quite big) folds a neat cardboard tray to house 6 bottles, then wraps the group in a plastic sleeve so that they stay together. We were then showed a number fo quality control and sorting machines which ensure there are no stray metals in the packages, and which sorts them ready for whichever destination they are intended for. After a brief stop at the spot where jamie oliver stood on his tour of the factory, we went to see the first floor where a similar set up is for packaging the larger plastic bottles (intended for large scale uses such as restaurant kitchens etc). An interesting part of this floor was the sealing of the bottles. A process i had read about before where a seal is placed inside the screw lid, and the lid placed on the bottle, then the bottle passes under an electromagnetic field which melts the adhesive in the seal, which then seals it to the top of the bottle instead of the lid*.

We then made our way back to the conference room, where we were allowed to return to our conventional clothing. Then we had a brief Q&A with Martin and Shane. I asked where the glass bottles were made, and although Martin said he wasn’t allowed to tell me (don’t ask me why?) he said that it was within the UK. I was only asking for interest sake to find out if they were manufactured international and shipped to the factory, which would obviously have an impact on the carbon emissions of the bottles themselves. And that concluded our trip, we left feeling like we had been allowed to enter Willy Wonka’s Factory because of all the secrecy and tradition of the place.

* I picked up a couple of things that i thought i could incorporate into my project. Firstly, the solid waste of the mixing process. Because in my designs i am using Applied Colour Labelling, the paint needs to be fired in a kiln in order to form a strong bond with the bottle. I thought that the solid waste could be used as a fuel to burn, so that you wouldn’t need to use additional fuels to heat the furnace. This idea came from when i was initially reading about sugar bagasse, where it can be used as a fuel to power steam furnaces. The second idea is with the electromagnetic sealing, i thought that this could be a solution to the portion control problem i was having with my lid, the seal, if adjusted, could work well in combination with my desire to work with cork, explanations of my final design will follow.


This is an extract from Why Shrink-Wrap a Cucumber? The complete guide to environmental packaging by Laurel Miller & Stephen Aldridge 

The classic Contour glass bottle most people associate with Coke has had a chequered recent history. It was briefly replaced by a straight-sided bottle in the 1970s, and later came under threat from cheaper and lighter PET bottles – so there was a good reason to design a more lightweight glass bottle. The Ultra is 20 per cent lighter than the Contour, 40 per cent stronger and 10 per cent cheaper to produce. Although it is slightly dumpier than the original it retains much of its spirit, and even emphasises the curves that have always made the bottle so distinctive.

Even though i dont know what ‘dumpier’ means, this shows how improvements to the material of the bottle can have improvements to the manufacture, distribution, use and overal economy of the product. It is this type of glass that i would want to use for my Lea & Perrins design, because, for similar reasons as Coca-Cola, the brand is very old and traditional, and the materials it is packaged in make a difference to the look and feel of the product. Though Coca-Cola now comes in many different packages, they still manufacture the glass bottles, almost as a salute to the heritage of the product.

After presenting my ideas to my learning team and lecturer the main point raised was that i needed to find a president, an example someone doing something similar and finally!! after almost losing hope for ever finding an example of putting spices into paper to be used in cooking i finally found one, and from Muji as well a company i happen to love haha.

Traveling with your spice rack is not ideal. This is why Japanese company, Muji, has made a book of spices to make flavouring your food while away from home a little bit easier.

This book from Muji is full of pages that are made of spiced paper, which dissolve from the heat and moisture of cooking. Now that kick of white pepper or red chili is just a tear away. And, since it is compact and perfectly portable, the Muji spice book is ideal for when you’re travelling.


This then proves that it has been done before, that it is possible to make paper that is strong enough to hold itself together (unlike other dissolvable paper commonly used on cakes or sweets etc) while still being able to release the spice into the cooking. The only other question that was raised would be whether it was hygienic to have the spice attached to the outside of the bottle throughout the delivery and storage process. I will try to fold the package in such as way as the ‘spiced paper’ isn’t exposed, so that it is effectively wrapped in regular paper, almost like a seal.

I looked up the designer that did this, Nick Bampton, and on his portfolio site he has another example of the same concept: SPICEBK

Talk by Mary Warren from Robert Horne Paper.

Looking at the bottle it is made up of a few parts:

  1. The actual bottle which is made from glass. It also has a script versions of “Lea & Perrins” embossed on the shoulder of the bottle.
  2. The label, which is made from paper, wrapped around the entire bottle and kept together with an adhesive strip under the label, down one side.
  3. The lid, which is made from plastic, allows the bottle to be opened and closed, but also has a second function of regulating the amount of sauce that comes out at one time.

Looking into the product

  • Made since 1837
  • matured for 18 months
  • 150ml & 290ml
  • low fat
  • free from artificial colours
  • free from artificial preservatives

I started by going back to the basics, the ingredients:

  • Malt Vinegar. Made by turning barley into beer, then beer into vinegar.
  • Spirit VinegarMade by fermenting ethanol to produce acetic acid (ethanoic acid).
  • Molasses (treacle). Made by processing cane or beat sugar.
  • Sugar. Sugar cane, sucrose removed and sugar refined. Husks removed for other products.
  • Salt. Brime (evaporated), rock salt (processed), iodised salt (iodine – necessary nutrient), sea salt (unrefined).
  • Anchovies (fish). Regulations to prevent over fishing.
  • Tamarind Extract. Native African fruit, but now grown and used all over the world.
  • Onions.
  • Spice.
  • Garlic.

From this only one clear waste product can be identified. Sugar cane husks, or Bagasse. A little research into the material suggested that the Husks are often used for furnace fuel, as an alternative to other burning materials like wood or coal. Mainly used in sugar refineries as the material is readily available.

I then started thinking about the materials that the bottle uses.

  • Glass (bottle)
  • Paper (label)
  • Plastic (lid)
  • Ink (printing)

And researched into alternatives for these products.

Glass – There are some alternatives to glass. Though glass has a lot of potential when it comes to recyclability and reusability. It is potentially 100% recyclable, whether that is being melted down and reset into new bottles, or actual re-use.

BioPlastic – I found a plastic material that is made from plant sugars. It is called Ingeo Biopolymer.

  • Currently made from plant sugars from 100% annually renewable field corn.
  • But can be grown from any type of sugar, so whatever is geographically most readily available.
  • In the future, it will potentially be made from cellulosic raw materials, agricultural waste and non-food plants.
  • Lower density than normal plastic (PET), so lighter packaging.
  • It has much more end of life options including mechanical and chemical recycling, clean incineration and industrial composting.
  • Can be infinitely remade into more bottles without a loss in quality (unlike PET).

This type of plastic technically work, though i think there would need to be some differences for it to work for this project. For instance, when it will be made from argicultural waste it could be made from the sugar cane Husks mentions above. Also, in terms of it’s end of life options, i think if it was able to be domestically composted that would work as people could easily dispose of the bottle in their own compost heaps, but the fact that it has to industrially composted, make it no different (in the customers eyes) to recycling a plastic bottle. It wouldn’t matter if your focus was the environment rather than advertising, because it would make a environmental difference, using a plastic that isn’t oil based. But the brief is to attract a new audience, and all they would see would be a plastic bottle instead of a glass one. Though you could push the concept that the bottle is made from plants.

Paper – I found a company called treeZERO, or treeFrog. They make paper from sugar cane, or the husks created as a byproduct of sugar extraction. This ties directly into the point made earlier. I am suggesting that the company can take the husks produced while making the sugar for their product, and reuse it as a material to make paper out of, either for the label, or the paper wrap (see sketches).

This type of paper has a number of benefits:

  • Sugarcane can be harvested twice annually, whereas a tree can take up to 10 years to mature before i can be used to make wood fibre paper.
  • The husks are a by product of the sugar production, so they would usually be discarded or used for other products. This means Lea and Perrins can use 100% of the plant, with minimal waste.
  • Tree free production. This means it reduces deforestation, as well as eliminating the cost of transporting and manufacturing paper from wood, both economic and environmental costs.
  • The production is Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) a harmful chemical in the traditional paper manufacture process.
  • It used 10-15% less bleach than regular papers.

Rice Paper – Biodegradable, edible.

Ink – Vegetable Inks – Made from a variety of vegetable oils such as corn, walnut, coconut, linseed, canola and soy bean.

  • Made from renewable resources, unlike conventional inks which are Petroleum based.
  • Solvents aren’t required for cleaning the printing equipment as water based cleaning products can be used reducing the VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) released from solvents.
  • They are much easier to de-ink when recycling which results in much less hazardous waste.
  • The one downside of vegetable inks is that they take longer to dry, but as a result, they release only 2-4% VOCs as opposed to Petroleum based inks which release up to 30% VOCs into the atmosphere.
  • The most surprising fact about vegetable inks are that they are no more expensive than petroleum based inks, so it is hard to think of why all printers dont use them.

Natural dye – I was thinking about whether you could just dye the paper with a natural dye, rather than printing it (see sketches about one colour labels).

Another point i looking into about inks was which inks to avoid:

  • Metallic Inks • cannot be recycled and end up in landfill. Toxic chemicals and compounds and metallic fragments can leak after disposal, this is hazardous for the environment.
  • Varnishes • avoid using UV coating as they are detrimental to in environment and cannot be de-inked, so cannot be recycled.
  • Lamination • Cannot be recycled after use so the products end up in landfill.

Labels – I  looked at alternatives to paper labels, cutting out paper altogether. I found two alternatives so far:

  • ACL (Applied Colour Labelling) • The label is screen printed on (see Amigos example). This was developed for use on beer and soda bottles. The image is screen printed onto the bottle and fired in a kiln. The process houses a number of questions. What the comparative energy consumption is compared to manufacturing and applying paper labels. And what chemicals are involved, it is a ceramic paint. The benefits are that the labels would then be paperless, the paint creates permanent adhesion and It provides a 360º design surface.
  • These labels are also sometimes known as thermo plastic.

This is an example of an Applied Colour Label:

  • Pressure Sensitive Labels • This is an adhesive which forms a bond when pressure is applied. I need to find out more about what the material is actually made from, including any harmful chemicals or compounds. But it means that no solvents, water or heat is needed to activate the adhesive.

Aluminium – Also an interesting material, for potential use instead of plastic in the lid (see sketches).

  • Over 2/3 of all the aluminium ever produces is still in use today
  • Due to recyclablity – A recycling infrastructure was set up in the 1970s as the manufactures see the financial benefits and invested in it with a network of drop-off and buy-back centers. This network achieved a 58.1% recycling rate in 2010.
  • Recycling aluminium consumes 95% less energy than does produced aluminium ore.
  • According to the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), the average energy consumption per ton of aluminium has fallen worldwide by up to 70% over the last century.
  • Since 1995, US primary aluminium producers have reduced carbon emissions over 70% under the Voluntary Aluminium Industry Partnership (VAIP) – a joint effort between the Environmental Protection Agency and primary aluminium producers.

This then could be a good alternative to plastic from small elements due to it being highly and easily recyclable.

Cork – It was mentioned at CAT that the cork industry is declining, therefore it would be good to make use of the material to promote it. Also cork has a number of very useful properties:

  • There are many cork forests in europe, meaning it is a local (ish) product. For example Portuagal.
  • Reforestation programes funded by the European Union and the Portugese Government mean that cork forest cultivation in Portugal is growing 4% annually.
  • New trees are being planted at twice the rate that old trees are dying.
  • In cork harvesting, it is only the bark that is taken off, the tree then regrows it’s bark, that means one tree can be harvested multiple times.
  • Its harvesting is a truly sustainable example of agroforestry.
  • The oldest cork tree was planted in 1783 and is still being harvested today.
  • Natural cork stoppers are devoid of synthetic additives and completely biodegradable.
  • Manufacture of cork stoppers uses very little energy.
  • After use, they biodegrade without producing toxic residues or may be recycled into other products such as floor tiles, gaskets and sports equipment.
  • Recork – collected more than 7.5 million natural cork stoppers for recycling.
  • Green Cork Program – uses existing distribution networks to minimise CO2 emissions while recycling.