Australia’s Integrated Plastics is boosting production of PET bottles with integrally molded handles at its plant in Sydney, NSW in response to increased demand from brand owners seeking an environmentally friendly packaging format that does not compromise on clarity.
|Available in 1–4-liter sizes, Integrated molded handle PET bottles are showing renewed promise in the beverage and dairy sector.|
“We started production in 2014 and turned out 3.5 million bottles. This year we should hit 16 million, delivering them to three major beverage retailers in Australia,” says Nick Mellen, managing director of Integrated Plastics. In part, these bottles are replacing PVC resin that was used in cordial bottles for some brands, but retailers ar keen to use alternatives to PVC according to Mellen.
In 2012, Integrated Plastics purchased patents owned by fellow Australian companies B&R Industries and Sangraal Australia covering the integrated molded handle (IMH) bottle processing technology and design to further commercialize the product in Australia, the Middle East and Asia. Since 2012, Integrated Plastics has also registered several new designs and patents. “Due to our success in further developments and a significant increase in interest from multinationals, Integrated Plastics acquired B&R and Sangraal in June 2018, thereby ensuring global control of the technology,” says Mellen.
Integrated Plastics also established a development partnership with Korean injection stretch-blow molding (ISBM) machine manufacture SDB Corp. and it is now manufacturing bottles on a four-cavity high speed rotary platform with orders in the system for delivery of an eight-cavity unit early next year. “Once we have additional capacity in place we also plan to target the dairy market,” says Mellen. A Korean bottler will also start using the process from January 2019 for two of its product lines.
“Efficiency modelling and our six years of experience delivering the IMH bottle in Australia has resulted in significant output enhancement, material saving and reduction in waste advantage over existing inserted handle technology and I think it’s time we got our story out,” says Mellen. The four-cavity rotary machine runs at 4,000 bottles per hour (bph) for one liter bottles. while two-liter bottle can be molded at a rate of 3,200 bph.
Preforms for the IMH bottles can be molded on conventional preform injection molding machines. Toolmakers in Australia, India and Korea currently supply preform molds, while Integrated Plastics also has agreements in place with leading tool manufacturers in Canada and China enabling them to supply tooling for the IMH process.
To globally promote IMH technology, Integrated Plastics plans to work through agents and an establishment fee plus royalty format. SDB is working as the agent for Korea, while representation is also in place in South Asia. “For North America and Europe, we are looking at exclusive licensing agreements with bigger packaging manufacturer. We would license one manufacturer but they would have the right to sublicense,” says Mellen.