Flat-Fee Filling Service for small batches into Tubes/Bottles/Jars... is there a need for this? - Cosmetic Science Talk

Flat-Fee Filling Service for small batches into Tubes/Bottles/Jars... is there a need for this?

Just wondering what the community here thinks.  Do contract cosmetic chemists get requests for small batch filling and sealing from their customers after the formulation, mixing, QA, etc. is complete?

Most cosmetic manufacturing companies do not want small order quantities (less than 5k units) and often times startup brands can not afford their own filling/sealing equipment.  This often is the case with squeeze tubes because achieving a professional quality looking tube seal requires specialized machinery which is very expensive.

Is there a need for a filling company to offer a service for filling the batch into tubes, bottles or jars?  maybe something that is a flat fee for the filling service?  What flat-fee per quantity would be reasonable for this filling/sealing service?

Would micro testing be required before and after the filling service?  what are general rates for micro testing?

Thank you all for the feedback.

Comments

  • I do not know if there is a non covered need, but to fill bottles or jars is not difficult / expensive with a manual equipment (i have seen some examples here in the forum). 
    For tubes: I can imagine (I just do not know) that there are hot sealing machines for plastic tubes (you just need some kind of hot press) and physic (press and turning the end is needed) sealing for meta tubes (maybe metallic tube is slightly more difficult to have a professional look?).

  • edited April 2016
    yes bottles and jars are easy and inexpensive to fill and cap by hand manually.  However, tubes require specialized equipment if a professional-level tube seal is desired.  Hot-air sealing is the best method to seal plastic and laminate tubes to achieve professional looking results (just like the look of tube seals from major brands in retail stores).  For instance machines like these:  www.TubeSealingMachine.com  These sealing machines can be expensive, thus small brands may not be able to achieve a professional tube seal quality with the vertical pattern and date/lot coding in the tube seal.  Contract manufacturers/fillers that use professional hot-air sealing level machines usually have higher minimum quantities than small start-up brands can commit to.  This is where a flat-fee type of filling/sealing service may be useful?


  • maybe this machine is expensive, I do not know, but is is it necessary to have one like that? I mean, maybe just a more cheap hot press can do almost the same job. 
    Another point is: If you buy this manual hot sealing machine is it enough profitable to you? offering a good price with a manual machine is not very easy. If can seal a maximum of 6 tubes per minutes...
    Maybe someone can offer you a different point of view.
  • I've used various kinds of tube sealing machines. The manual, semi-automatic and small automatic hot press machines are a pain to use and clean, difficult/temperamental to set up, and rarely produce a clean, professional looking seal.

    In fact, I'd appreciate more information on this service for some of our products.

    I can see two or three types of users for something like this. First is a small user who doesn't have their own sealers. Second is a medium-sized outfit looking for a more professional look, and third would be a larger customer who needs small runs for some of their products.

    I'm not sure if the flat-rate pricing would be helpful or not.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • I have designed large heat sealers for multilayer plastics (we're talking about seals 4ft in length) and I can tell you the heat seal process is more finicky than most people realise because of all the variables, which include:
    1. Materials combination.
    2. Seal thickness.
    3. Temperature.
    4. Pressure.
    5. Time.
    Special interests: anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; sulphate-free shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics.
  • We definitely run into issues sometimes with studies. We have to transfer material from our containers and competitor containers to the non descript study containers. A lot of time it's too much for us to fill by hand but too small to get a manufacturer to fill for us.

    I'm talking in the 800-1200 units size.

  • I agree with prior comments regarding heat sealers (also called hot-jaw sealers) being difficult to work with and not producing professional looking results.  Hot-AIR sealing is the best method and is used on the high end, high speed fully automatic machines.  Hot-Air machines are expensive though.  You can now get hot-air machines that are small, lightweight, portable, table-top machines.  They can produce 10 - 15 tubes per minute with professional seals, vertical serration pattern, date/lot coding stamped into the seal and trimming the top of tube seal for a nice clean look.  Tubes sealed on these machines look the same as tubes from large fully automatic machines used by large manufacturers.  They are fairly quick and easy to setup and change over to different tube sizes.  
    Looking for input from members here regarding what sort of price levels they think would be attractive for small lot filling & sealing (for instance 100 - 1,000 tubes).  What flat-rate fee would be interesting?
  • The biggest issue we have run into with tubes is being able to find low minimum order quantities when trying to purchase the printed tubes. The minimums are generally 5k to 10k.
  • edited April 2016
    Digital printed labels may be your best option.  You can buy in stock tubes by the box and just apply digital labels with a table-top labeling machine.  Applying labels to tubes could be part of a flat-rate filling/sealing service such as this here.
  • @ozgirl there are numerous tube suppliers that will sell small lots of tubes (100x - 1,000 tubes for instance). Have you tried that route?
  • @Fastfiller We have no problems buying small amounts of tubes.

    My comments were just pointing out issues smaller companies and start ups run into with tubes.
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