by B. Worthen

An Early Product Development Crisis for International Paper and Its ‘Spout-Pak’

Aug 15, 20011 min
IT Leadership

Every product launch has its disaster, and the Spout-Pak was no exception. The spouts were tested repeatedly in the factories of West Pharmaceutical Services in Lionville, Pa., and Stamford, Conn.-based International Paper (IP), and they worked perfectly every time. Beverage packagers, which had spent months promoting their new cartons with spouts, were getting ready to run the equipment in their filling plants for the first time, but a funny thing happened on the first day. “The spouts kept falling off,” says Mike Trask, product manager at Cherry Burrell. “It worked fine in our factory, and all of a sudden we have 10 of these systems in place, and the spouts won’t stay on.”

The problem was eventually traced to a type of varnish used by a paper stock production plant that had not been part of the smaller trial runs. Within two months, engineers from IP and Cherry Burrell completely reengineered the ultrasonic waves that attached the spouts to the paper cartons, and the crisis was over.