The first PET liquor bottle with a built-in handle has been developed by Amcor PET Packaging, Manchester, Mich., for McCormick Distilling Co., Weston, Mo. A white PP handle is injection molded separately and then inserted into the blow mold and overmolded with PET. The technique is not new; at least one U.S. beverage company offers similar PP-handled PET containers. The previous 1.75-L PET bottle featured a standard pinched grip. Since there was no commercially available reheat stretch-blow machine that could handle this insert-molding task, Amcor had one custom-built by an undisclosed vendor. The low-cavitation machine has an annual production capacity of 5 million to 6 million bottles. A key challenge is making sure the robotically placed handles are situated properly in the mold. Irregular placement could result in failed “capture” of the grip or puncturing the bottle wall. In addition, controlled stretch ratios and material distribution are necessary to keep the handle secure, says Fred Piercy, Amcor’s Liquor Div. business director.
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