Spokane Journal of Business

Sandpoint-based packager launches dual-dose product

Unicep's new dispenser mixes liquid components in vial shortly before use

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Unicep Packaging Inc., a Sandpoint-based packager of gels, liquids, and creams, has introduced what it calls the DualDose package, which keeps two components separate until it's time to mix them so a product can be used.

When the user bends a DualDose package's outer tube, that snaps an inside vial, and the two components mix together, says Les Greer, Unicep's senior packaging engineer.

"The mixed components are then dispensed by twisting the tip of the outer tube off and squeezing," he says.

The vials are manufactured with a proprietary Unicep process, and the outer tube can be preprinted with the name of a product or other verbiage to meet a customer's marketing needs, Unicep says. The company says such newer packaging designs are applicable to a wide range of products, particularly because many market segments, such as the medical device market, over-the-counter drug market, personal care and cosmetics market, and veterinary market, are using single-use packaging more.

"It's really for very liquid products," says Karla Horton, Unicep's marketing manager. She says that for the package to be used, components of a product must have a viscosity level that allows them to flow together and mix readily.

The DualDose package is helpful when it's important to maintain the freshness or effectiveness of products by allowing their components to be mixed right before they're used, she says.

"There are some products that aren't effective if they're mixed in advance of when they're used," she says. Horton says that single-use packaging is a growing field and offers convenience to users of a product who might need to take a number of doses with them on a trip.

Unicep, founded in 1991 by Sandpoint dentist John Snedden as a contract packager of dental materials, says that it now offers research and development, formulation mixing, filling, and a variety of other packaging services. Snedden still owns the company, which is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved packager.

In addition to its main operations at Sandpoint, the company has a 20,000-square-foot distribution center in Liberty Lake, a location that helps it to move products efficiently because it's near Interstate 90, Horton says. She adds that when winter storms strike, it's usually easier to get trucks in and out of the Liberty Lake location than the Sandpoint location.

"We do all shipping and receiving out of here," says Horton, who has her office in Liberty Lake.

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