Breaking the mold, literally
Maki said the mini bottle’s finish area added to the complexity of this project. Whereas the standard finish recalls an earlier PET era, it is not the kind of heat set finish one typically finds on a store shelf today.
“When you have a relatively large 28 mm opening on a 2.5oz container, compared to a 43 mm opening on top of 500 ml bottle, you can’t simply transfer technology,” said Maki. “Although it is not as light in weight as some newer designs, it has a versatile finish. What allowed us to use it here is the fact that the bottle is small, so there’s relatively little heat capacity.”
The closure itself is a standard design, borrowed from beverage packaging for this healthcare application. Compared with other bottles on the market today, which have smaller 20mm finish, the larger 28mm finish on this bottle makes it easier for patients to drink from.
Because this hot fill bottle is so small compared to others on the market, it takes custom equipment to fill. Not many fillers are currently set up to do it because there hasn’t been a demand for hot fill in bottles this size. “We know it’s a little difficult to maintain the heat when filling small containers while also maintaining throughput,” said Chris Curtis, Amcor PET account manager, North East. “Most of the hot fill in the industry has been with much larger containers.”
New healthcare beverage targets nutrition issues
Hormel Health Labs focuses primarily on specialty products for hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. One of the primary concerns in nursing homes is weight loss among aging patients who do not consume enough protein. Many patients usually drink only half or less of an 8oz milkshake type product that contains 9 grams of protein. With the new Amcor PET bottle, Hormel can pack as much protein as possible into a very concentrated package that is sized right for patient consumption.
Dubbed “healthy shot,” the high-powered, fruit-flavored drink packs a full 12 g of protein into those 2.5oz, and no less than 24 g into its double-protein 2.5 formulation.
Amcor has also developed other similar bottle applications with leading beverage suppliers including a natural energy drink supplier which successfully launched its product in a 2.5oz hot fill PET bottle.
The smallest hot fill PET container