Blow Molding | 1 MINUTE READ

Snapple Replicates its Iconic Bottle in Plastic— and Keeps the “Pop”

R&D/Leverage designed the preform and blow mold tooling for converting Snapple’s iconic bottle to PET, while keeping the metal lug cap and the “pop” when it’s first opened.


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When Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS), Plano, Texas, decided it was time to convert its Snapple juice and tea bottle from glass to lightweight, unbreakable plastic, it faced at least two challenges. One was to replicate that iconic bottle shape exactly in stretch-blow molded PET that would have to withstand hot filling and the stresses resulting when it cools and a vacuum forms inside. Second was to create the first PET bottle with a metal lug cap in order to retain the satisfying “pop” that consumers experience when cracking open a vacuum-sealed bottle.

To address those challenges, DPS collaborated with a firm it had partnered with before, R&D/Leverage of Lees Summit, Mo., an injection and blow moldmaker and package designer and engineer. According to Patrick George, senior director of packaging engineering for DPS, “We decided that success would mean that when the bottles were put side by side, we couldn’t tell the difference between glass and plastic.” R&D/Leverage was able to accomplish the “look” that DPS wanted: From the overall shape to the embossed “S” logo, the PET bottle matches the appearance of the familiar glass bottle, but at only 1/15th the weight.

Just as essential was getting the vacuum in the cooled bottle after hot filling just right. The challenge lay in generating enough vacuum for the metal lid to safely seal the bottle and provide the “pop,” but not so much that it deformed the PET bottle. Accomplishing all this “was a technical struggle,” says Duncan Hardy, director of sales for R&D/Leverage. One result was a robust, 50-g preform that would give a sturdy, glass-like feel to the resulting bottle. R&D/Leverage is exhibiting at NPE2018 in Orlando this month in Booth S32079. They will have examples of the Snapple bottle on hand.