Panel-free PET bottle

Saturday, 09 October, 2004

Graham Packaging Company, a maker of blow-moulded plastic containers, has unveiled a technology that gives users design freedom and flexibility in creating a packaging identity never before available in plastic.

The company's active transverse panel (ATP) bottle is the first panel-free hot-fill polyethylene terephthalate bottle.

"The Holy Grail of hot-fill is to eliminate vacuum panels and achieve design freedom without being encumbered by the geometry of panels - and this is exactly what we have done," said Paul J Bailie, director of business development for Graham Packaging.

"This is what everyone has been striving for, and it's aimed directly at conversion from glass to plastic."

The first ATP offering is a 450 mL bottle that looks like glass, and "because it has subtle, simple lines unimpeded by vacuum panels, we have named it 'Simple Eloquence'," Bailie said.

The initial version of the bottle has been adopted by Honest Tea of Bethesda, Maryland, which produces a range of organic teas, and Malibu Beach Beverage Group, of Roswell, Georgia, which produces Malibu Beach drinks.

The bottle is suitable for any hot-fill beverage still in glass or plastic. "It is an alternative for users who are looking to change their products' identity by upgrading the look of their plastic packaging," Bailie said.

The ATP technology enables 100% of the vacuum to be removed from the package without the use of traditional panels.

The elimination of panels also eliminates 'label crinkle'. ATP allows brand owners to use film labelling. If the label is clear, the product will show through, since the label is flat against the bottle.

When Graham releases the rib-less version later this year, any commercially available label could be applied. The smooth bottle also is 'freezer friendly'. Ice or water won't accumulate behind the label and drip out when removed from the cooler. The bottle is dent resistant due to 100% of the vacuum being removed and is suited to vending.

The top-load strength is 50 to 100% better than traditional hot-fill.

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