HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Made by Monkeys

Salt Container May Raise Your Blood Pressure

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Poorly designed container wasteful
Beth Stackpole   7/2/2012 8:35:28 AM
NO RATINGS
I've had the pleasure on numerous occasions of applying salt or some other spice element to food and having the plastic cap come off and dump well beyond the desired amount onto my preparation, only to have to ditch it and start again. I join with Ralph on lamenting this Made for Monkeys design.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Poorly designed container wasteful
Rob Spiegel   7/2/2012 3:12:06 PM
NO RATINGS
I guess I've been lucky. I use dozens of these types of shakers for everything from  salt to habanero powder (which would be quite a problem if it came out in a gush). I have not run into the problem. My guess is that it's a rare occurrence.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Poorly designed container wasteful
Charles Murray   7/5/2012 9:12:34 PM
NO RATINGS
By the way, great headline on this story.

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Poorly designed container wasteful
NadineJ   7/3/2012 11:30:43 AM
NO RATINGS
Beth-the problem you had may be poor design but it also may be a prankster depending on the circumstance.

I've never seen this as a problem, but I'll pay more attention.

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Poorly designed container wasteful
Tool_maker   7/3/2012 12:39:32 PM
NO RATINGS
Beth, I forgot to mention one of the side benefits of this style container. When used over a steaming pot of whatever you are cooking, when done properly a sufficient amount of steam will enter the holes to cause clumping of the product. In which case I refer you back to the ice pick I mentioned in the original posting.

Ralph

robatnorcross
User Rank
Gold
Re: Poorly designed container
robatnorcross   7/3/2012 4:59:20 PM
NO RATINGS
I've always thought that there was a special place in Hell for packaging designers.For example:

1- The potato chip bags that tear half way down the side no matter how carefull you are to only open the top.

2- One serving cracker packages that you can't open with out a pair of vice grips or a box knife.

3- CD and DVD "seals" that could confuse a safe cracker because you can't open the damned things in the car without tools and have to wait until you get home.

4- Those clear hard plastic 3d things (don't know what to exactly to call them) that things like D cells and drill bits from Home Depot come in that requires you to use a utility knife to completely destroy while slitting your fingers with the plastic sharp edges. These should come with a couple of band aids included to stop the bleeding.

5- Things packaged in what ever the plastic film is that has an electro static charge so strong that it clings to your fingers and you can't get rid of it.

6- That "foamed-in-place" goo that if the plastic film breaks it leaks into the product, hardens and ruins the product inside.

7- Shampoo bottles that have the little four pronged "protection" seal thing under the cap that is impossible to remove if you're already in the shower.

Let me know if you want me to go on...

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Poorly designed container
Charles Murray   7/3/2012 5:31:36 PM
NO RATINGS
The worst one I've come across, robatnorcross, is the plastic anti-theft package for non-prescription eyeglasses that you can buy from the local Walgreens. The idea is to keep shoppers from placing the glasses on their nose and walking out with them. The problem is that it takes a steak knife to saw through the package, after which you may have damaged the glasses or damaged your hand.  

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
User Rank
Blogger
The American Paradigm
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   7/5/2012 7:34:12 AM
NO RATINGS
Laughing over here ,,,, actually co-miserating  with your "too-familiar" scenarios.  My contention has always been with the generic pharmaceuticals.  (See the earlier post, just below: Container Engineering vs. the Actual Product) .

But secure plastic packaging IS the American Paradigm.  Think about it:  what would you think of a product (particularly an electronic device of any kind) if it WASN'T marketed knee-deep in clear wrap, Styrofoam and 4-color box – all of which gets thrown away, yet drives up the product cost.  Particularly  the accessories, like the AC adapter.  If its not packaged in a clear plastic bag, our culture doesn't consider it "new".  We've been programmed since childhood.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Poorly designed container
Ann R. Thryft   7/5/2012 1:54:12 PM
NO RATINGS
rob, thanks for that list. My fave is those potato chip bags. I use scissors. My second fave is your number 4--it's called clamshell packaging and is practically indestructible. I keep a special pair of "junk" scissors to use on them and other tough plastics, since cutting them open ruins scissors for use on lighter materials like paper. A box cutter also works, but you're more likely to slice your thumb off using them.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Poorly designed container
Charles Murray   7/5/2012 9:10:32 PM
NO RATINGS
A few years ago I bought an inflatable air mattress that had a giant plastic/electronic tag attached to it. There was no way to pull the tag off by hand, so I used a hack saw to cut it off. While cutting it off, I sliced through the tip of my finger and bled all over the air mattress. Then I found out the air mattress was the wrong size because they had packed it in the wrong box. I tried to return the mattress to the department store but they refused to take it back because it had blood on it. I still have the too-small air mattress in my garage.  

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Poorly designed container
Rob Spiegel   7/6/2012 6:58:12 AM
NO RATINGS
Now there's a bloody story, Chuck. I was given a winter coat as a gift. It was too big. I took it back with the receipt and they wouldn't take it back because it had picked up some dog hair from my back seat. I took it outside, brushed it off and took it to another clerk who accepted it.

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
or you could try another brand
naperlou   7/2/2012 8:48:48 AM
NO RATINGS
Ralph, you bring up a good point.  The title of the article was what got me to open it.  It seems that we often run into problems with these injection molded parts.  If you make plastic models you will be familiar with the situation.  Trimming is important.  As for the popcorn salt, I would look at other brands.  It is bad enough that the salt will raise your blood pressure.  The packaging should not on top of that.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
User Rank
Blogger
Container Engineering vs. the Actual Product:
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   7/2/2012 2:04:38 PM
NO RATINGS
It's funny – there are probably a dozen work-arounds to improve that design. Change the gate locate on the cavity; or make the part a compression molded part without a gate; just to immediately think of two alternatives  ---  but food and drug packaging design has been a long standing irritation of mine. This is just one good example.

When I buy headache or cold remedies for example, I ALWAYS choose the store brand generic equivalent. The labels always say, "Compare to the Active Ingredient of ,,,{such-and-such}".  And of course the pharmaceutical ingredients are always identical.  How then, can the generic be sold for a fraction of the national brand-?  The answer is in the packaging.  Pill bottle tops that are painful to twist-off.  Low grade adhesives on safety membranes that cause the membranes to tear before  the adhesive gives way.  Foil bubble packaging that cuts your fingers before it yields the drug within.  Its ALWAYS inferior packaging, whether by material or by design.

Recently, when I was forced to actually purchase a Name-Brand because of the generic having been sold-out, I was so happily impressed with the ease of opening the product, that I had forgotten how well engineered the originals often are.

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Container Engineering vs. the Actual Product:
Tool_maker   7/3/2012 10:59:19 AM
NO RATINGS
Reese's salt is not the only product that has done this to mee, it was just the last one before I submitted the article. It has also occured with cheap spices purchased at Dollar General stores and Lawry's Season salt. So it does not appear that the price of the product is the soul determining factor in the problem.

As for your work_arounds, I make my living punching, bending and forming steel products and have always considered plastic mold work to be witchcraft anyway, so I bow to your superior knowledge.

Ralph

GlennA
User Rank
Gold
salt shaker tangent
GlennA   7/2/2012 3:53:00 PM
NO RATINGS
Many years ago, on my first trip to Houston, TX, I noticed the salt shakers had rice in them.  When I asked why, I was told the rice absorbed the humidity, so the salt would not clump.  However, re-filling of the salt shakers was done with more of the salt/rice mixture.  So eventually, the salt shakers were full of rice, with a few grains of salt in between.  Apparently, no one realised that only the salt needed to be replaced.

Larry M
User Rank
Platinum
Re: salt shaker tangent
Larry M   7/7/2012 2:06:52 PM
NO RATINGS
GlennA wrote: "So eventually, the salt shakers were full of rice, with a few grains of salt in between.  Apparently, no one realised that only the salt needed to be replaced."

Nope, Glenn, that's not right. The rice absorbs only a finite amount of water and needs to be replaced periodically (or baked in an oven at, say, 180, for several minutes to drive off the water). The error was not in refilling the shakers with salt/rice mixture, but in failing to pour out the old rice first.

GlennA
User Rank
Gold
Re: salt shaker tangent
GlennA   7/9/2012 9:12:48 AM
NO RATINGS
Larry M;  It makes sense that the rice would eventually need to be either replaced or 'refreshed'.  The process could be to completely empty the salt shaker and refill it with a fresh salt / rice mixture.  Then the 'stale' salt / rice mixture could either be discarded or baked to refresh the rice.  It could become very complicated for something as cheap as salt.

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Re: salt shaker tangent
OLD_CURMUDGEON   7/9/2012 9:28:18 AM
NO RATINGS
The problem COULD have been solved very early in the design/build process IF the tool designers specified a D-M-E RUNNERLESS moldbase w/ proven cavity probes!

 

Mydesign
User Rank
Platinum
Moral of the story
Mydesign   7/3/2012 5:06:29 AM
NO RATINGS
1 saves
Ralph, normally excess salt intake can cause a high BP in long run. Now container also can increase the BP, so moral of the story is both salt and containers are not good for health.

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Moral of the story
Tool_maker   7/3/2012 11:52:15 AM
NO RATINGS
It is not only blood pressure affected by salt. Google Menier's Syndrome. I am mostly on a sodium free diet now (my wife uses the popcorn salt) and unless you have tried it, one has no idea of how hard it is to avoid sodium in prepared food. Even cooking it yourself with no salt added, it can be hard. Look at the sodium content on uncooked chicken breasts or whole turkeys.

On the other hand it has advantages, none of which has to do with taste, and I cannot recall what the others are. I know I must be healthier, but I sure have discovered that the majority of low sodium foods are higher in calories. I do not know why, but it has been my experience.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Moral of the story
Ann R. Thryft   7/10/2012 2:29:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Low-sodium foods are higher in calories to balance the removal of salt so consumers will experience the prepared food as tasting equally yummy. The levels of salt in prepared foods are quite high, or at least used to be, so there's a lot of "yummy" to make up for.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Container challenges
William K.   7/3/2012 7:41:24 PM
NO RATINGS
It should not take more than a few seconds with a sharp knife to trim the runner remains so that they never catch in the threads, but there may be more to it than that, since the perforated top would not naturally be in the concave mode, I would not think.

As for the plastic packaging on glasses, batteries, and whatever else, that is what a sharp pocket knife is for. But you must stow it in your checked bag when you fly, and even there it may well be stolen.

The secret of opening many of those packages is to use scissors and simply trim off the heat sealed seam that holds the two sections togather. Of course some items do seem to be sealed tight enough, probably for anti-theft protection, so that it does take quite a bit of time to open them. For those items, more patient trimming of the packaging with the sharp scissors, or, "snips", the ones that can cut metal, is in order. Using a lot of force with a box cutter is almost always the wrong choice.

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Container challenges
Tool_maker   7/5/2012 6:46:09 AM
NO RATINGS
@WILLIAM K: When those sorts of packages are really fun is when you finally get into it and discover the product is damaged, the wrong size or any other reason you may want to return it. Trying to repack the item is impossible. Convincing the clerk that you did not damage the item when opening up the package can also be a challenge. Quite often the solution is to put it away and try to recoup some of your money at a future garage/yard sale.

Larry M
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Container challenges
Larry M   7/7/2012 2:00:51 PM
NO RATINGS
William K. wrote "It should not take more than a few seconds with a sharp knife to trim the runner remains so that they never catch in the threads,..."

Actually it's much more common in production to use a hot wire. The heated wire segment is stationary on the bench and the operator just passes the objects to be trimmed across it. This is safer than a knife for at least two reasons:
  1. The wire is stationary. You don't have two hands working against one another with potential to slip.
  2. The wire can have guards wide enough to pass the object to be trimmed but narrow enough to block fingers.


William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Container challenges
William K.   7/7/2012 6:18:14 PM
NO RATINGS
It is certainly true that a hot wire would be the best method for cleaning off mold flash in a production environment, in fact it could probably be an automated process. But I very seldom have a hot wire in my pocket, in fact, I carefully avoid having hot wires in my pocket. But a good sharp pocket knife is useful in many situations, and is a very handy tool. Of course, there are indeed a lot of folks who should never handle any tool sharper than a tennis ball. So it would indeed not be the best tool for everybody.

Gregarious2
User Rank
Iron
Salt shaking
Gregarious2   7/10/2012 3:48:36 PM
NO RATINGS
Here in Hawai'i, a non hermetically sealed container of salt becomes a damp container of salt water in a few days. I've tried various sealed containers, ( snap lids with o rings, etc... ) but keeping the salt in the refrigerator works fine.  Keeping lidded salt containers on the table is just a fantasy.

 

For a real laugh, check out the Trudeau syrup dispenser. My business partner purchased this lidded pitcher with eight separate, dishwasher friendly plastic parts, including a threaded base assembly with o-ring. It never quite goes together well enough to not leak and never quite re-assembles well enough to be useful.  After cleaning the refrigerator shelf a few times, I threw it out and use a simple, leakproof pitcher whose design hasn't changed much in the past 3000 years. I'm sure someone got a nice design award but they should be made to use it a few times.

warren@fourward.com
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Salt shaking
warren@fourward.com   7/10/2012 7:39:28 PM
NO RATINGS
I think we may be too used to having every cheap thing be perfect.  But it is good to read this article to make sure we look at these lids, which every house uses by the hundreds, and make sure ours are "perfect."  Now I can make them perfect.  Thanks for the tip!

The worse case for me is when it was either specified too large, or the mold was too large, or the plastic shrunk and the lid doesn't tighten but spins.  I don't think I ever had one too small, however.

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
SALT SHAKER
bobjengr   7/13/2012 5:47:14 PM
NO RATINGS
The thing that bothers me is that I'm getting use to products that don't work or don't work properly.   It appears that some companies basically skip the field test or consumer focus groups that find errors in engineering and / or manufacturing.      Would we be so forgiving if the end product was an MRI or an aircraft engine?  If the resulting error created false readings or dangerous conditions would we not be more rigorous in our efforts to provide the best product available?   I know salt shakers are cheap but it seems solutions are available at the manufacturing level.

Partner Zone
More Blogs from Made by Monkeys
Made By Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made By Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made By Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made By Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made By Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Design News Webinar Series
9/10/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Sep 22 - 26, MCU Software Development A Step-by-Step Guide (Using a Real Eval Board)
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: September 30 - October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service