Welch's Commercializes the First Custom Application of Amcor's Powerflex(TM) PET Bottle
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Amcor PET Packaging
10521 S. Highway M-52
Manchester, MI, 48158
Press release date: November 7, 2007
Amcor PET Packaging commercializes the first custom application of its PowerFlex(TM) polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle for Welch's.
7 November, 2007: Amcor PET Packaging commercializes the first custom application of its PowerFlex(TM) polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle. Welch's, Concord, Mass. recently launched six varieties of its 100% juice in Amcor's 14-ounce custom PowerFlex(TM) bottle. The proprietary design is Welch's first panel-less, shelf-stable bottle. The new package features an ergonomic, gently contoured bottle with a full shrink label. The colorful graphics make the fruit images appear to jump off the shelf. "We were looking for a bottle that was upscale and would attract more consumers to the premium 100% juice line. It had to be very smooth with no bumps so that it could accommodate a full body label. It also had to be hot-fillable, attractive and easy to hold," explains Stratos Dimas, senior engineer, Welch's.
Traditional hot-fill bottles employ ribs and panels to absorb vacuum and minimize distortion during the cooling process. These ribs create a surface with "hills and valleys" that is not conducive to the sleek, ergonomic container Welch's desired for its premium, 100% juice line.
Amcor's PowerFlex(TM) bottle features a revolutionary patented panel-less design which takes hot-fill (185į degrees Fahrenheit) bottle options to a new level. Amcor's structural design not only eliminates the panels, but unlike competitive containers, PowerFlex(TM) has a large, completely smooth label panel - free of any kind of ribbing. The ridge-free surface provides the ideal aesthetic platform for a full body label. Amcor's technical staff, through a combination of design and manufacturing innovations, has created a patented bottle that absorbs vacuum via a specially designed base. A unique diaphragm within the base draws upward as the liquid cools. It has the geometric characteristics to enable the inverted cone shaped diaphragm to deflect upward as the vacuum is created. (In addition to custom options, Amcor also offers two stock versions of the PowerFlex(TM) bottle-a 16-ounce, long-neck design and a 16.9-ounce dome-shouldered alternative.)
Before Welch's settled on the final design, Amcor developed several design iterations for the company to consider. The goal was to develop a new single-serving size that was also narrower, slimmer and taller looking than the other PET and glass sizes in the line.
"There is a strong preference for bottles that are tall and slim. However, because the functionality of the bottle is in the base, we were aware that there was a limit to how narrow we could go and still keep the desired performance properties," explains Dimas. "Most of our effort was spent on trying to find the sweet spot. We wanted the smallest diameter possible that would still give us the best profile and optimal functionality."
Amcor's engineers worked closely with Welch's marketing department to identify the bottle's key characteristics. A design brief helped capture the "voice of the customer."
"We used 'finite element analysis' simulation to create models which incorporated the key design criteria. We are able to do this without cutting the metal molds. This reduces iterations and development costs, while increasing speed to market," explains Chris Labombarbe, senior engineering manager, Amcor. "Our PowerFlex technology lends itself to design freedom. We were able to quickly figure out where we needed to place the functional elements without sacrificing any of the package elegance." The end result is an attractive, ergonomic bottle that can easily be grasped at the waist. Additionally, the curved shoulder gives Welch's a proportionately bigger surface area to billboard graphics.
"We started from scratch on the graphics for this new size. One of our goals was to make the brand name and the 100% juice reference the label's focal points. We also did consumer research prior to launching to make sure we achieved that," says Dimas. The geometry of the straight wall design gives PowerFlex(TM) great top load characteristics. The straight wall has no points of stress concentration which removes the potential of bending. Also, unlike competitive technologies, most PowerFlex(TM) conversions can be run easily on existing glass filling lines with little or no equipment modification.
Welch's 14-ounce size is available in six "100% juice" varieties: White Grape Mango Passion Fruit, Orange Fusion, Grape, Fruit Punch, White Grape and White Grape Peach. The bottle is currently available in convenience stores and via multipacks for club stores.
"The bottle has been very well accepted by consumers. The shape and graphics help the brand stand out on the crowded shelf. We also plan on expanding the flavors and distribution in the near future," Dimas concludes.
Welch's is the world's leading marketer of Concord and Niagara grape-based products, including 100% grape juice and jelly. The company produces a variety of other fruit-based products, including 100% juices, juice cocktails, and drinks in the following forms: single serve, bottled, refrigerated, and frozen and shelf-stable concentrates. In addition, Welch's produces a number of fruit spread products under both the Welch's and BAMA brand names.
Welch's Web site can be found at www.welchs.com.
Amcor PET Packaging is the leading manufacturer of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic packaging for the global beverage, food and non-food industries, with over 80 manufacturing sites in 19 countries. Its parent company, Amcor Limited, offers a broad range of packaging solutions and ranks as one of the top three packaging companies in the world. Amcor's extensive operations include 217 plants in 34 countries. It is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia and, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007, had sales revenues of US$9.0 billion.
For further information, visit www.amcor.com.