Material Engineering and Bottle Design for Dairy Products

Location: Docklands, VIC

Duration: 6 months

Proposed start date: July 2019

Project Background

Lion Dairy and Drinks continue to move its dairy beverages from HDPE to PET bottles to satisfy changing consumer expectations. There is an opportunity in their design team to develop new bottle formats utilising current and new capability in design such as software and 3D prototyping, FEA analyses packaging, reengineering sustainable pack solution and satisfying of special needs groups such as the Arthritis Foundation.
The transition to PET substrates brings with it challenges in how products move through their supply-chain. Therefore, part of the internship project will be devoted to understanding the impacts of PET on milk in supply-chain, merchandising & point of sale, and consumer usage.

Research to be Conducted

There are two components to the project, and research to be conducted and activities to be undertaken are detailed below:

Part A – Bottle design

  • Execute and support new packaging initiatives using modern technologies.
  • Support and co-ordinate development of bottle prototypes through: selection of short list, prove success factors; create prototype moulds, coordinate and run factory scale trials (it is anticipated that commercialisation including implementation will occur after the completion of this internship) or plant trials to assess the manufacturing feasibility of new packaging items, packaging changes or supplier changes for the business.
  • Evaluate and implement re-engineered solutions for packaging. Pallet stack patterns and cooling efficiency modelling. Make in depth analyses when required.
  • Maintain general and product specific packaging material specifications relevant to the category considering dieline, CDL, recycling logo, barcode position and size for all new packaging artwork, 3D CAD Modelling and printing experience.
  • Liaise directly with other packaging technologists across other categories/BU to share knowledge and ensure best practice opportunities are maximised across the business.
  • R&D support where formulation changes may impact packaging requirements.
  • Product Development: Ensure new product development activities associated with the new bottle design are carried out in a timely manner to meet project timelines and budget constraints. Attend project meetings and ensure new product development (NPD) procedures are adhered to.

Consumer Driven Design: Develop an understanding of the retailers stocking this bottle and the consumer purchasing the bottle for consumption.

Quality Improvement: Identify and implement improvements in packaging design and processes while maintaining product consistency and quality. Designs in Quality and understand product Key Quality Attributes including change effects like strike in fridges and oxygen barrier property changes.

Part B – Usage optimisation

  • Execute an assessment of the implications of the transition to PET bottles
  • Support and coordinate development of testing methodology in partnership with Food Technologists to assess the effects of light/temperature/time on the quality of flavoured milk contained within the bottle.
  • Evaluate the changes that occur because of moving from HDPE to PET and devise solutions to resolve/improve these.
  • Maintain general and product specific packaging documentation relevant to the project.
  • Liaise directly with Pack Technologists, Food Technologists, and consumer facing business leaders in marketing and Sales within Lion Dairy and Drinks/internal stakeholders.
  • R&D support to build test methodology for assessing the new bottle designs for the market

Consumer driven design: Develop accurate knowledge and understanding of consumer trends to assist consumer driven design

Quality improvements: Identify and implement improvements in packaging design and processes while maintaining product consistency and quality. Design in quality and understand product key quality attributes including change effects like light strike in fridges and oxygen barrier properties

Skills Required

We are looking for a PhD student with the following:


  • Background in Mechanical/Mechatronic/Materials Engineering
  • Experience in industrial and packaging design
  • Ability to operate CAD software (inventor, AutoCAD, Fusion 360 etc) and create 3D models as well as Solid works, Catia, Rhino, Photo scope, Corel
  • Curiosity and willingness to learning new processes and technologies
  • Ability to work through phases of activity with a compressed timeline


  • Some working experience prior to PhD studies
  • Candidate who is looking for experience in a workplace, and will bring along their knowledge in latest industrial design technology
  • Experience in executing and supporting new design drawings and specification to new packaging initiatives (NPD)and also prototyping development
  • Experience in evaluating and implementing packaging re-engineering solutions for the business

Expected Outcomes

Setting up and creating PET containers that are fit for purpose supported in the mentioned areas like product protection, sustainability, circular economy suitable  and arthritis foundation approved to deliver economic benefits to the business.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

3 July 2019


APR – 1013