|A case study in exporting design
technology and a complete manufacturing process from UK
The Singleton brand is instantly recognisable –
with its bespoke wide-facing oval bottle for greater shelf
stand-out and crafted brand identity (featuring a leaping
salmon, a symbol associated with good luck in Asian markets).
This has become one of Diageo’s best-selling single
malt whiskies and such has been its success it is now
sold worldwide, not just in the Far East.
Tasked by International design agency Design Bridge to
develop an oval tube Concept Packaging who were pioneers
of shaped tubing in the 1970’s, created an eye catching
shaped tube. Since the Singleton was primarily targeted
for the Far East market Concept were approached by our
partner in Hong Kong to plan a route to market which combined
our ability to manufacture shaped tubes on automated lines
in the UK and then translate that knowledge to an Asian
marketplace which had no comprehension of tube manufacture
Effectively Concept were faced with the unusual challenge
of how to export packaging technology and expertise to
Asia and we came up with a unique solution.
The Singleton opportunity posed a dilemma as the initial quantities
required were not sufficiently high to warrant investment in
machinery, yet to achieve budget the tube needed to be bulk
manufactured. A classic chicken and egg scenario.
The decision was made to create a process whereby the tubes
could be made by hand to precision accuracy with total consistency
yet requiring little or no technical skill by an operator.
||Standing usual business practice on
its head Concept developed and refined prototype tooling
in Bradford and exported samples to Asia for customer
approval. Every aspect was designed in the UK including
the plastic end caps.
Having got client approval for the prototypes bulk tooling
for the jigs was produced in China from precision cad
drawings drawn by Concept in the UK. The key was to develop
an easily repetitive but accurate process to a tight budget
so the jigs were designed to be constructed from laser
cut wooden parts to ensure accuracy at low cost.
Using years of experience and technical knowledge Concept
oversaw and managed the installation of the process at
the Hong Kong manufacturing facility to ensure the system
was both effective and on time.
Since then the line has expanded to deliver many millions
of tubes to the same exacting high standard. The singleton
tube has been produced in 3 different sizes and many designs.
The tubes are packed in Asia and sold specifically for
All too often we see great UK ideas being copied and manufactured
in the Far East to the detriment of businesses over here. This
is a great example of a UK company standing this experience
on its head and exporting technology and expertise to China
and using the strengths of the local market to develop a successful
manufacturing line to develop a premium brand locally to the
benefit of all parties.