Sustainability, plus simple economics, keep driving PET bottle makers to ingenious feats of lightweighting. Two of the latest examples come from Amcor Rigid Plastics, Manchester, Mich., and Graham Packaging Co., York, Pa. Amcor claims to have produced “the lightest 16-oz PET salad-dressing bottle in North America.” Its Curve bottle, a stock oblong container, weighs 29.5 g, almost 20% less than the industry standard of 35.3 g. It also beats out a competing 30.4-g bottle, which until now was the industry’s lightest salad-dressing container. Amcor credits the firm’s extensive finite-element analysis capabilities and lightweighting experience with being able to trim weight while achieving significantly higher topload strength than other lightweight plastic alternatives. The new bottle will be produced at Itasca, Ill., with up to 20% food-grade PCR (post-consumer recycled) resin.
Meanwhile, Graham came out with a new 16-oz barrier PET bottle for Arizona Iced Tea that weighs 20% less than the old tea bottle. Graham’s Slingshot bottle eliminates the need for vacuum panels in the label area, allowing for a sleek cylindrical design and making the bottle easier to handle and label during filling—and giving a more ergonomic feel in the consumer’s hand. In addition to oxygen barrier, the bottle is amber colored to protect the contents.
At the last K Show in Dusseldorf in 2007, blown film machine builders emphasized high-output, three-layer lines. At this year’s show, Oct. 27-Nov. 3, the tide may turn once again to more complex structures. Reifenhauser-Kiefel (U.S. office in Danvers, Mass.) says it will operate a nine-layer RKE Evolution system at the show that will showcase new developments in film cooling, guiding, winding, and controls. The modular line can run a variety of materials and the die’s low-residence design permits quick cleanout and changeovers.
Meanwhile, “no-dry” PET systems continue to be the rage. Battenfeld Cincinnati (represented here by American Maplan, McPherson, Kan.), will display new models for running APET sheet without predrying. The company showed its first such system at K 2007. Three new models will debut at this year’s show, with outputs ranging above 2600 lb/hr. The machines feature a three-stage screw with an initial section for melting and mixing, a planetary section for degassing, and a second single-screw section for pressure buildup.
(978) 412-9700 • reifenhauser-kiefel.com; (620) 241-6843 • maplan.com
With plastic bags under siege in California and elsewhere, Heritage Plastics, Picayune, Miss., recently received word that its bags are actually environmentally friendly. The processor’s use of calcium carbonate in its line of PE bags was found to lower emissions and reduce energy consumption, according to a recent Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of the type called “cradle-to-gate,” conducted by Boustead Consulting & Associated Ltd., experts in environmental LCA. The study concluded that Heritage’s “performance additive calcium carbonate (HM10 series) demonstrates ability to significantly reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gases and regional air pollutants (nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide, and particulates).” Said Holly Hansen, Heritage v.p. of technical services, “Replacing a portion of the plastics with a natural mineral like calcium carbonate can make a more environmentally friendly bag by reducing carbon emissions as well as reducing the amount of energy required to make the bag.”
(800) 245-4623 • heritage-plastics.com
Ticona Engineering Polymers, Florence, Ky., will add to its portfolio the Zenite liquid-crystal polymer (LCP) and Thermx PCT polyester product lines of DuPont Performance Polymers, Wilmington, Del.
(800) 833-4882 • ticona.com