Already known for its heat-molding technique resulting in pristine surface finishes, Roctool is ramping up its offer to provide packaging solutions to the beauty sector. The patented technique calls into question the need for secondary finishing and decoration techniques, giving it a strong advantage in the sustainability realm.
Roctool’s technology may well create a small revolution in the beauty packaging community. The French company’s patented production technique, which flash-heats production molds via induction before a material enters the mold, making for a surface devoid of defects including flow lines, sink marks or blush, while maximizing surface gloss. (Channels inside the mold each contain an induction coil that has the capacity to heat only the surface of tool.)
While the technique was initially geared to reducing production costs as a result of lower scrap rates, it has since allowed for wider design possibilities, and even more importantly offers a clear advantage when it comes to sustainability. Indeed, it removes the need for secondary operations such as painting and varnishing, widely used to mask imperfections on the molded part. “What if your piece came out of the mold without needing any type of surface decoration? We’re hearing a lot of talk about getting rid of plastic, but why not look at all of the other process on top of plastic that are a big part of the problem?” asks Roctool ceo Mathieu Boulanger.
Roctool’s technology plugs into existing production lines, but the molds themselves need to be changed and “Roctool equipped”. “This certainly has a cost, but with much more efficient production and secondary operations are no longer needed, the ROI starts to climb,” he remarks.
Reclaimed, recycled & novel materials
Roctool is looking not just at maximizing surface quality without the need for spraying, film or paint, but is also experimenting with materials that may not be considered as luxury, such as 100% post-consumer-recycled ABS for example. Other reclaimed or bio-sourced materials that can be compressed through induction, such as leather and textiles are also a focus. “We want to work with materials that tell a story and since we control the temperature, we can mold just about any material under the sun. By high heating the mold they take on a premium look,” explains Boulanger, adding that all materials are systematically tested "to see how far we can go", in one of its three labs (Le Bourget du Lac in France, Shanghai and Charlotte, North Carolina.)
When it comes to the beauty industry, Roctool’s aims to work directly with brands to offer solutions in design, surface finish and more generally “to support them in their quest for sustainability”. The company has conducted a series of tests comparing the carbon impact of its technique versus traditional injection molding with painting and varnish, with results that are much to the company’s advantage.
A dedicated website, Roctool Beauty Solutions, showcases the many options available for makeup, skincare and fragrance packaging: bottles, jars, lids and caps and even tubes. “Soft touch, satin finish, high or low gloss… the possibilities are endless!”