Oriented bottles of HIPS are being developed for milk, buttermilk, and drinkable yogurt by BASF AG in Germany (U.S. office in Florham Park, N.J.) in partnership with Alpla-Werke, the Austrian-based multinational packaging giant. HIPS cups and tubs are already widely used for packaging yogurt, cottage cheese, and buttermilk. BASF revealed at the recent K 2007 show in Dusseldorf that it is testing HIPS grades such as its BX 3580 for stretch-blown bottles. HIPS bottles and preforms can be molded on the same equipment as PET, since the shrinkage is about the same. Since the resins are similar in price, the main driver is the low density of HIPS, which translates into 20% to 25% lower material cost per bottle than PET. Additional savings are possible because HIPS does not need predrying like PET, and stretch-blowing HIPS requires blowing-air pressure of only 75 to 105 psi vs. 435 to 510 psi for PET. As compared with extrusion blown HDPE, stretch-blown HIPS is said to offer faster cycles and injection molded thread quality. BASF is testing a white HIPS containing TiO2 that provides light protection to the package contents. HIPS has poor gas barrier, but BASF says this is not an issue for short-shelf-life dairy products. (800) BC-RESIN . www.plasticsportal.com/usa
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