Sidel has temporarily converted its packaging development lab in Octeville-sur-Mer into a production centre for hand-sanitiser containers, the company has announced.
Normally, the packaging innovation centre serves to assist customers with the development and testing of PET packaging design options. The centre is not an industrial production site.
Confronted with a massive shortage of hand sanitiser, the French government issued a general plea for assistance, and industrial companies and hospitals have responded to the call. Soon, however, the next challenge arose: the hydro-alcoholic gel is being produced in big size containers, making it difficult to distribute among the healthcare workers for whom it was being produced.
Mid-March, Sidel received a request from the Dijon hospital for small-sized containers for packaging the sanitising gel. In two short days, Sidel successfully transformed its lab into a mini production hub for PET bottles. The company identified the correct material grade needed and found the necessary partners.
Using an existing 500 ml mould, with the preforms provided by a key beverage player and the sports caps supplied by a caps manufacturer, Sidel was able to deliver the first 5,000 bottles to the Hospital of Dijon. The sports closure allows for the controlled dispensing of the gel, keeping it safe from contamination.
This initial batch was soon followed by more. The company came into contact with a local deputy in Normandy to discuss how it could support local healthcare workers and learned that pharmacies, too, were facing similar distribution difficulties.
Sidel swiftly designed a 200ml sized bottle, that ‘is more user-friendly for individual use’, for distribution at the local pharmacies, said Vincent Le Guen, Vice President Packaging at Sidel.
By 1 April, over 1,000 bottles had been delivered to the local pharmacies – ‘all 100% recyclable and potentially refillable after sterilisation’, Vincent pointed out.
“This initiative is a gesture of solidarity for our health carers. It will help us make a difference in overcoming the supply shortages that have arisen due to the current situation,” he added.
Sidel is appealing to the generosity of any business partner able to in provide additional preforms and caps in order to be able to continue production.
"Moreover, we are also prepared to support other companies who would require moulds to produce bottles on their packaging lines, wishing to take over extra responsibility in the common fight against the virus,” said Vincent.