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 vacuum absorbing base (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."
From a design aspect, Amcor's industrial designers focused on creating a package that evoked a subtle feminine cue with movement. The packaging constraints included a small shrink-roll label so the body structure needed to be attractive, stimulate movement, and be comfortable to grasp, all while absorbing vacuum. Grip panels were inspired by the North American Pandora package that abstractly simulates the curvature of a tea leaf and lifts the consumer's eyes toward the label. The new shelf presence is stronger and more attention getting than the previous version. The new bottle has seen an increase in sales and a perception of higher quality. Consumers have preferred the new body structure over a traditional paneled container, finding it more engaging and attractive, according to Amcor.
Along with the ultra-lightweight container, Amcor and Bericap, in cooperation with PepsiCo, developed the industry's lightest 33 mm 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 38 mm 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.