My familiarity with thermoplastic elastomers is limited to knowing that one form of TPE is as neoprene, a soft, insulating rubber used for diving and scuba suits. However, there’s also a packaging angle when it’s turned into a “coozie” sleeve to help insulate cold beverages while keeping the chill off your hands. I have a couple of them, printed with two of my favorite sports teams.
I came across an application deeper into packaging with a strong custom aspect: neoprene sleeves can be used as distinctive, form-fitting sleeve “labels” for glass or plastic bottles of wine and champagne. What caught my attention is that not only is neoprene an excellent canvas for custom graphics, it’s also a canvas with depth: it can be turned into a work of art complete with intricate 3D dimensioning to produce a sleeve with incredible visual and tactile appeal.
That was an unexpected bonus pointed out by Céline Vandevoorde during a visit in the booth of the unusually named CeltheQ (Drummondville, QC, Canada) company (hint: the company brand starts with the first three letters of her name), which is the exclusive distributor of PDC Europe stretch-sleeve equipment in the Americas.
Called Skin Evolution, the sleeving service relies on patented equipment and offers sleeves that can be tailored to be soft and jelly-like or hard and rigid in either transparent or colored forms. The process produces a pressure-sensitive 1.5-mm sleeve that adheres to the bottle like a label.
Customers work through CeltheQ, which coordinates the project with and in the name of EOS-Innovation in France, their well-established partner in the champagne, spirits and cosmetics market. For larger volumes, the customer may send the bottles to CeltheQ for contract packing.
If volumes are very high, the equipment is available to customers for lease or purchase, PlasticsToday is told.
“The sleeved bottles are suitable for special occasions like anniversaries, weddings and corporate events,” she suggested.
How custom is it? Orders start at just 10 bottles, she said.