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Beckman Coulter’s Path to Sustainability Success

Beckman Coulter's Path to Sustainability Success
Beckman Coulter's Path to Sustainability Success

The Challenge

Creating packaging that would seamlessly integrate with automated diagnostic machines

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics supports healthcare professionals in offering improved patient care by delivering accurate diagnostic information. In 2017, they approached Plastic Ingenuity to assist with packaging that would seamlessly integrate with the launch of a highly automated diagnostic machine while minimizing material usage and capitalizing on increased recycling opportunities.

Beckman Coulter began designing a custom thermoformed package to protect their newly developed consumables, including an extremely sensitive pipette tip requiring critical protection. They enlisted Plastic Ingenuity to help convert their initial design concept into a manufacturable solution. This took five years of extensive design engineering to achieve.

Beckman Coulter's Path to Sustainability Success

The Process

Developing a robust thermoformed PET part

We discovered through substantial testing that the pipette tips were highly susceptible to damage, and any damage caused failures with the automated equipment. Even a slightly bent tip could shut down the machines for extended durations.

This meant the lid and base tray needed to be as robust as possible yet remain a viable thermoformed PET part. The initial design featured straight sidewalls, which failed drop testing when the boxes were filled with product. Instead of simply adding material, Plastic Ingenuity focused on incorporating design features that would increase overall package strength.

Beckman Coulter's Path to Sustainability Success

The Solution

A final package that achieves all primary goals

Design ideations were deployed by the Plastic Ingenuity team, including ribbing, flutes, and structure to both the base and lid to increase strength and withstand the rigorous drop tests. These improvements resulted in successful test results, and the project moved forward.

Plastic Ingenuity incorporated a cut-out feature to the package’s base by adding a unique contour trim, allowing the lab techs to reach inside the package easily when loading the individual pipette trays. The final packaging achieved their primary goals of product protection, material minimization, and recycling improvements with improved tray handling—a win for both Plastic Ingenuity and Beckman Coulter.

The Results

A Resounding Success


58% less plastic used


255,735 pounds of material saved per million parts


370.82 MT of CO2e reduced per million parts