David Fussell, president of VenturSource Consulting (Flagler Beach, FL), is an inventor and manufacturing expert with more than 30 years’ experience in all phases of invention development and production. Among others, he is proficient in complex modeling, mold design, flow analysis and process development. He holds 30 patents worldwide, and his products have sold millions.
Now Fussell is excited about the next innovation for which he is co-inventor for the U.S. patent, a venture that's his first involvement in plastics and packaging: Barrier Bottle (B.B.). It's essentially a plastic bottle within a bottle, akin to a thermos vacuum flask container.
“I believe Barrier Bottle is valuable as a single-use bottle as well as a reusable bottle,” states Fussell. “B.B. can be produced from the same PET material as traditional water bottles, but the walls are a little thicker, so it makes a great reusable container. You could have both marketing concepts implemented at the same time. I have been working with new products for a long time and I have never been involved in a product that had such potential.”
Fussell responds to PlasticsToday’s questions in this Q&A interview.
What sparked this invention?
Fussell: My associates, RP Agarwal and Dr. Anup Gupta, are university professors in India. For years they observed many of their countrymen riding non-airconditioned trains in high temperatures without access to cold water. Even if you freeze the water bottle overnight, the water heats up quickly, and the condensation on the bottle makes it difficult to carry in a bag or clothing. They thought about the thermos concept and wondered if the design could be used to manufacture an inexpensive plastic bottle.
Why the name Barrier Bottle?
Fussell: I choose the name Barrier Bottle because it has been used to describe the thermos bottle concept. The barrier allows the use of specified gas mixtures to fill the barrier extending the shelf life of products. The bottle’s contents rmain at an optimal temperature for longer periods.
Also, capped or uncapped the B.B. floats in water. That’s beneficial because if discarded in a marine environment it does not end up on the lake, river or ocean bottom as do uncapped PET water bottles, which makes environmental cleanup far easier and far less costly.
For what products is this design particularly beneficial?
Fussell: Bottled water, soft drinks and other beverages.
When was the patent filed and what’s the status in the U.S.?
Fussell: Agarwal and Gupta filed for a patent in India and it was granted on 11/02/2017 and filed a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) document 03/15/2018, but soon realized they needed help in the area of intellectual property manufacturing/marketing. They found several articles about me and made contact. We negotiated a worldwide exclusive agreement to license the technology and use of the patent as well as selling the IP assets. I realized that the India patent was not adequate and missed essential claims. Working with my I.P. attorney in the USA, we filed a U.S. Patent Application No. 16/463,700 on September 6, 2019.
How much time have you devoted to the Barrier Bottle?
Fussell: Including my worldwide industry research, business plan, manufacturing research, power-point presentation, it has taken me ten months to reach this point. It usually takes me a year to complete the development process.
Next: Insulation data, options and status
Please comment on the insulation properties.
Fussell: In this area, there was testing in India, where my engineers performed extensive testing and a professional engineering firm has also validated the test results.
I have studies that show B.B. bottles of water refrigerated overnight remain cold for up to 4.5 hours longer than standard bottles of water.
If you freeze a B.B., you have cold water all day long with little or no moisture on the outside of the bottle. Think about the value of that in countries where cold water is a premium.
Comment on the reusability.
Fussell: Barrier Bottles allow customers to promote a reuse bottle option at a price that competes with current single-use options where it’s extended shelf life and environmentally friendly design.
In countries where the single-use bottles are threatened or barred, the Barrier Bottle would qualify as a refillable and reusable bottle.
What are size, shape and polymer options?
Fussell: Our tests show all shapes and sizes see the same positive shift in performance. There is a slight gain in shelf life and insulation factors as the vessel volume increases.
It is suitable for any FDA-approved thermoplastic.
How would the bottle be manufactured...is it practical to blowmold a B.B. preform?
Fussell: We are studying all options available to us.
How much heavier is it than a standard water bottle?
Fussell: Approximately 0.20 grams heavier than a standard 0.5 liter PET bottle with 0.20mm-thick walls.
What are estimated costs per unit bottle?
Fussell: Approximately $0.035 using PET, which could vary depending on the energy cost in the manufacturer’s country.
What’s the development and licensing status?
Fussell: We have made about 40 prototypes, some of which were created in my garage before I hired an engineering firm to construct a prototype mold to produce bottles for testing.
I am discussing a licensing arrangement with several beverage companies in India. I have contacted several companies in the United States, though I have yet to reach our intended audience.
I am also seeking to license the concept to bottlers around the world and I am considering partnering with packaging experts that can help facilitate this product development into the Industry.
What have you learned about plastics and packaging from this experience?
Fussell: The Industry is slow to change.