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Pretium SureHandle bottle handle closeup

Pretium commercializes PET container with integrated handle

The 100% PET SureHandle container is easier to handle for both younger children and older adults and those with physical challenges compared to pinch grip or straight-sided alternatives.

Pretium Packaging (Chesterfield, MO), a manufacturer of plastic containers and closures, has developed a 64oz, 38-400mm finish stock PET container with an integrated handle using technology from Practically Impossible Labs (Houston). The SureHandle PET container gives brand owners significant shelf differentiation, handling convenience and aesthetics that were not previously possible. The 100% PET monolayer container it is also recycle-friendly.

SureHandle containers create multiple marketing opportunities for brand owners seeking to appeal to a wider audience. The handle not only provides carrying advantages, but also improved pouring control. It has been engineered for products needing fill temperatures up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and can accommodate an induction seal or foam liner.

Additionally, the container has been designed with strengthened top-load capability. Instead of using a corrugated case, the container can be bundled in a shrink-wrapped tray that withstands stacking of five layers to a pallet, four pallets high. This can potentially reduce secondary packaging costs by up to 80%. This also means easier unloading at the retail level and the option for retail-ready displays for a cost-competitive container with significant convenience benefits and reduced secondary packaging requirements.

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“There have been a variety of attempts over the years to develop handled PET containers, but most have fallen short of the mark,” says  Paul Kayser, president and chief executive officer, Pretium. “This new technology creates all sorts of possibilities for products—including beverages, foods and household and industrial chemicals—that could benefit from a monolayer container with an ergonomic handleware solution”

The container combines preform technology developed by Practically Impossible Labs, and Pretium’s injection and blow molding manufacturing expertise. The capability begins with a preform that is structurally different than traditional straight-sided, injection molded preforms used to blow-mold PET containers. This preform features an injection molded handle attached to the side wall.

The integrated-handle preform is loaded in the same manner as a conventional preform. Proprietary enhancements have been made to standard blow cavities to accept and position the handle during the blowing process. Because no secondary operation is required to add the handle to the container, the end result is increased structural integrity. 

“Pretium invested significant resources to be able to injection mold the preform and blow-mold a bottle with an integral handle. We had to address unique challenges such as handle orientation, preform handling to protect the handles, special ovens for preform heating and blow-mold cavity design, and still meet the substantially higher container durability and top load performance criteria,” Kayser said.

Pretium will be producing the preforms and bottles at its Walterboro, SC, facility using Husky Injection Molding Systems (Bolton, Ontario) and reheat stretch blow molding equipment from Sidel (Hünenberg, Switzerland).

Currently available in monolayer PET only, Pretium has partnered with several companies that can provide additives such as UV inhibitors and oxygen scavengers to address barrier needs requirements. Unlike two-piece handled containers, which typically are made from more than one material, the integrated PET handle/body combination is made solely from PET, which facilitates recycling. Monomaterial structure means that the bottle does not have the potential to contaminate the PET recycling stream.

Specific food and beverage examples ideally suited for the SureHandle container include cold-pressed juices, ready-to-drink teas, sport drinks, nutritional supplements, edible oils, dressings, sauces, marinades and more.  In other markets liquid cleaners and detergents would also benefit.

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