Company is Honored for Development of Industry's Lightest Hot-Fill PET Container
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Amcor Rigid Plastics, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of rigid plastic packaging for food, beverage, spirits, personal/home care and healthcare industries, has been honored by the WorldStar 2015 Packaging Awards Competition, the global packaging industry’s most prestigious award competition sponsored by the World Packaging Organisation (WPO). Amcor captured a beverage award for the development of the industry’s lightest heat-set polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container, designed exclusively for a leading beverage supplier.
The WorldStar Packaging Competition is one of the major events of the World Packaging Organisation (WPO) and is the pre-eminent international award in packaging. WorldStar recognizes the continual advancement of the state of packaging design and technology and creates a living standard of international packaging excellence from which others may learn. The 2015 competition received 264 entries from 37 countries around the world. To be eligible for the WPO WorldStar Awards, the entry must be a winner in a national or multi-national competition that is recognized by WPO. Amcor was the winner of the beverage/non-alcoholic category in the 2014 AmeriStar Package Awards Competition, North America’s most prestigious packaging award competition sponsored by the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP). All WorldStar winners will be recognized during a ceremony at the IPACKIMA 2015 exhibition in Milan, Italy, to be held May 19-23.
The highly innovative 500ml bottle sets a new benchmark for heat-set PET containers, enabling manufacturers to achieve aseptic filling packaging weights without the prohibitive investment, while offering a more eco-friendly option. Amcor’s Latin America design team, based in Miramar, Fla., worked in partnership with the beverage maker to develop the new container which gives regional consumers a lighter, more functional sports bottle. The new product has been initially launched in Central America with future plans calling for distribution throughout the entire Latin America region.
“We are delighted to be recognized with a WorldStar Award for our longstanding commitment to innovation,” said Carlos Londono, senior/group lead designer for Amcor Rigid Plastics. “We’re thrilled that we have developed a game-changing package that is highly functional, provides long-term production savings, and delivers major sustainability benefits.” Amcor is one of the industry’s leading suppliers of PET containers for the sports beverage market.
The new 500ml container is claimed to be the most eco-friendly PET bottle in the market. Compared to a standard 500ml heat-set PET container weighing about 34 grams, the new bottle is just 22 grams, or approximately 30% lighter. The material reduction increases the bottle’s recyclability and reduces the energy needed for its production, dramatically decreasing the package’s environmental footprint. Greenhouse gas emissions are cut by 26%, energy use is reduced by 23%, and water consumption is decreased by 24%. The new container also results in a 26% reduction in the amount of waste that could potentially end up in a landfill.
Currently, aseptic filling applications allow for lightweight bottling, however those systems are capital intensive. Amcor’s new innovative approach to hot-fill packaging will change the beverage packaging industry, especially for emerging markets, according to Londono. Hot-fill manufacturers who desire to use lightweight containers won’t need to make a capital investment in aseptic filling lines in order to maintain competitive pricing.
Achieving the lightweight properties which could withstand intense vacuum absorption was a big challenge. Amcor applied its VAB technology to the base and ERGO technology to the body. The VAB base is a light weighted diaphragm-like structure that aids in the cooling process by helping to absorb vacuum.
“The structure of the bottle had to be designed to provide both function and aesthetics when absorbing the vacuum,” said Jeff Klok, senior industrial designer for Amcor Rigid Plastics. “Pushing the boundaries of conventional weights, we found that the light weight of the package was ultimately the biggest challenge.”
The new hot-fill package also offers Latin American consumers a more functional sports bottle. Previous containers have typically been more robust and rigid, making them harder to squeeze. “This wasn’t going to be an option for us,” said Klok. “Rather than trying to force rigidity, we embraced the flexibility.” The new bottle is ergonomically superior, since its grip has been properly engineered and designed for the consumer’s overall experience. The Amcor design offers a sleek ergonomic form with oppositional hand grips that flex under pressure. This feature, in combination with grooved finger-holds and a sports cap closure, creates a highly functional squeeze bottle that utilizes the flexibility made available by lightweighting for rapid rehydration.
Along with the ultra-lightweight container, Amcor and Bericap developed the industry’s lightest 33mm tamper-evident finish/closure for hot fill, weighing in at just 3.7 grams. Amcor believes the unique finish will become a new standard for hot-fill bottles due to the 7.9 gram reduction in weight compared to the standard 38mm ALCOA.
This new finish led to the creation of a Bericap closure with a built-in seal that eliminates rubber liners or induction seal foils, thus reducing overall materials use. The Bericap closure is made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) instead of polypropylene (PP) like the previous caps. HDPE is more widely accepted than PP in recycle streams and the absence of any other barrier materials such as ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) or paper/foil increases recyclability.
The new hot-fill bottle is designed to run on existing filling lines with minimal changeover. In addition to 500ml bottles, the new design will be adapted to other package sizes including 350ml, 600ml, and 1L containers.
Amcor Rigid Plastics
Amcor Rigid Plastics is among the world’s largest manufacturers of rigid plastic packaging for the food, beverage, spirits, personal/home care, and healthcare industries with 59 facilities in 13 countries. Amcor Limited is a global leader in responsible packaging solutions, employing more than 27,000 people worldwide, operating in over 40 countries across 180+ sites. Amcor supplies a broad range of rigid and flexible packaging solutions to enhance the products consumers use in everyday life. Amcor also provides packaging-related services that help customers succeed through collaboration and innovation driven by art and science. Amcor (AMC) is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. For more information, visit www.amcor.com.
Amcor Rigid Plastics
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