Bericap officials note that lightweighting continues to be a factor driving closure design. In the past, lightweight closures mostly were developed for high-volume packaging applications such as carbonated drinks and still water bottles, but now the topic of weight reduction also is proving of keen interest of bottlers of juices, sport drinks, ice tea and other beverages produced in lower volumes.
In addition to cost savings made possible by lighter closures, the mandate from brand owners also is to offer more sustainable packaging solutions. By its own reckoning, in 2011 Bericap succeeded in converting a large portion of its drink closures to lightweight bottlenecks. The resulting savings in plastics' use is equivalent to a carbon dioxide reduction of 60,000 tons per year.
In 2003 the molder supplied the first one-piece closures for hot-fill in PET on the Chinese market, and has since molded these for beverage bottle fillers that use hot filling throughout Asia countries and in Europe. The most recent market launches were the DoubleSeal 28 for hot filled tea drinks for an international bottler in Russia, and the launch early this year of the Double Seal 38 hot fill closure with beverage bottler Juhayna in Egypt.
Bericap predicts weight will continue to be removed from bottle necks will, not just for the 38mm bottles already on the market but also on 28mm PET bottles. A newly developed, 33mm lightweight bottleneck will complement the plastics processor's product range for closures in the hot fill range towards the end of this year.
In North America, where aseptic filling is more prevalent, the processor's 38mm closures (and closures this size from other molders) have been used almost exclusively in aseptically filled plastic bottles and for on-the-go drink. This 38mm diameter was taken from the existing glass bottleneck for PET. Last year, though, Bericap introduced a smaller DoubleSeal 33 mm closure that naturally is lighter (about 30%0 and requires less plastic. The 33mm closure was launched together with a bottleneck especially developed with stretch blowmolding machine and beverage filling machine manufacturer Sidel. The launch took place in 2010 together with the Spanish fruit juice bottler, Garcia Carrión.
In its range of push/pull closures for sports drinks, the molder late this year plans to launch its 33mm and 38mm PushPull Next Generation range of closures for hot filling. Novel on these is that no aluminum foil seal is required.