Want to know what inventive new plastics packaging developments are being proposed for commercialization by major vendors? Check the latest published patents.
It’s what I’ve been doing for the past four years on behalf of PlasticsToday’s sister publication Packaging Digest. These searches have uncovered some truly remarkable new innovations that otherwise would not have surfaced through traditional news sources like press releases.
I thought it would be worthwhile to refocus my search on plastics packaging patent filings published the first quarter of 2017 for PT’s audience; these are four that got my attention, listed in reverse alphabetical order.
This patent from Graham Packaging Co. (York, PA), Method of processing a plastic container including a multifunctional base, involves a new design to address the need for a plastic, wide-mouth, blowmolded (PET) container particularly suited for packaging a variety of viscous and other food products. The novel base structure enables the container to be used in hot-fill, pasteurization and retort processes.
A key aspect is the central dimple in the container base that accommodates the internal pressure when the sealed container is subjected to thermal treatment. It is also accommodates vacuum-induced contraction during container cool down. The dimple's design offers several variations.
Another of the design’s benefits is that the containers can be made stackable.
For more, see freshpatents.com/-dt20170302ptan20170057725.php
A plastic can
Container with thermally fused double-seamed or crimp-seamed metal end filed by Sonoco (Hartsville, SC) describes a metal end applied and sealed to an all-thermoplastic container body.
In other words, it’s a plastic can affixed with conventional metal end so that it can be seamed on equipment likely already used in many food processing operations.
This sounded suspiciously familiar to something we reported on in February, Sonoco launches clear TruVue Can with McCall Farms, which is made of “a highly engineered, multilayer plastic substrate, allowing consumers to see the product inside. It also incorporates an EZ-open lid and metal bottom.” It appears to be a match with the patent filing to me.
The patent filing can be read at freshpatents.com/-dt20170112ptan20170008665.php
Ring around the base
An invention from Plastipak (Plymouth, MI) is another one that addresses the design of the container base, in this instance done in such a way to optimize the bottle for carbonated and similar beverages.
Plastic container and base portion for plastic container describes a base that includes support ring and portions extending both downward and upward from that area.
In short, the design is intended to enable a “substantially smooth”-surfaced plastic container that can withstand carbonation. Presumably this would result in an attractive and easier-to-label surface essentially free of indentations or other modifications that can detract from a bottle’s aesthetics, all without compromising performance.
For more information, see the patent: freshpatents.com/-dt20170302ptan20170057685.php
A big container with an ergonomic improvement
This patent published last month from Societa' Industrializzazione Progettazione E Automazione S.p.a. (S.i.p.a.) of Vittorio Veneto, Italy, is focused on improvements for a large, familiar and ubiquitous format: A bulk water bottle found in offices, homes and elsewhere.
S.i.p.a.’s design addresses plastic water containers with volumes from 12-25 Liters (3.2 to 6.6 gallons). With water weighing 8.4 pounds per gallon, the weight of a filled container ranges for this size range is from nearly 27lb to more than 55lb when filled.
Particularly at the larger end, that makes it awkward, unwieldy and perhaps unsafe for many people when replacing an empty jug.
The filing points to the current art wherein producers insert a vertical handle, usually during blowmolding: “A vertical handle aids in the transport of the container but is awkward in lifting the container from the ground and placing it on the dispenser.”
The handle is a seamless part of the molding process rather than an add-on part. The patent identifies three drawbacks to conventional bulk water bottles that this design overcomes:
- An easy-to-grip design for ease of transport and handling;
- Does not restrict flow during the washing cycle by the vendor to prevent microorganism growth;
- Has side and bottom handles formed during blowmolding.
The document elaborates on the details and variations of that last point, but a look at the accompanying image provides a good visual summary. For more information, see Plastic container with integral handles at freshpatents.com/-dt20170309ptan20170066555.php