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January 25, 2012
3 Min Read
As February fast approaches, we're taking a look back at January's top stories on PlasticsToday for the plastic caps and closures segment.
1. Packaging giant MWV kicked off the month when it acquired closure maker Polytop Corp., which will bring the company new technologies and capabilities to its platform. Polytop is a designer and manufacturer of dispensing closures for the food, home and garden, and beauty and personal care packaging markets. The company offers a variety of standard dispensing closures, along with producing custom-designed dispensing closures.
2. Specialty plastic packaging maker IntraPac Group bought by private investment firm CI Capital Partners. IntraPac possesses an extensive range of plastic packaging technologies including blow molding, injection molding, caps and closures, and tube products. The company focuses on the personal care and pharmaceutical markets, as well as food/beverage, and household, and industrial chemicals.
3. Kraft Foods launched Yes Pack, its new sustainable flexible pouch for salad dressings to the foodservice industry. The Yes Pack is a stand-up pouch with dual handles, and a rigid screw cap closure that replaces the traditional rigid plastic container for salad dressings. The Yes Pack is a flexible nylon-polyethylene blend film made in house, and it is produced with about 60% less plastic when compared to the rigid gallon container.
4. And finally, CBW Automation's high-speed robots, which seek to change how automation is used for flip-top closure manufacture. With CBW, robot intrusion requires less time than required for a part to fall from the mold, resulting in productivity gains. The caps are closed immediately after retrieval at the same time, which eliminates the need for descrambling and closing devices, and it helps to free up floor space.
European caps and closures market
Demand for plastic caps and closures in Europe grew by 1.6% a year in the review period 2007-2010; a much weaker overall performance than 2004-2007, according to a study from AMI Consulting. The study cites market saturation in Western Europe as well as the economic recession as the reasons. AMI estimates that the total demand for caps and closures reached 222 billion units.
The study stated the economic pressures of 2008-2010 have forced the whole supply chain to look at costs, which reinforced developments focusing on optimizing production efficiencies through three basic elements:
• Raw material reduction (lightweighting) - allowing for lower material cost
• Cycle time reduction - allowing for higher output at improved speed
• Energy reduction - allowing for lower resources cost and efficiencies.
In light of current trends encompassing lightweighting, cost and energy reduction, commodity grades of polymer are losing share in favor of commercial, innovative grades with superior mechanical properties necessary for lightweighted caps and closures, the study stated.
Most active competition comes from HDPE and PP block co-polymer, which is resulting in an industry shift from two-piece PP standard beverage caps into single piece HDPE caps, according to AMI. That change is triggered by necessary, yet gradual, industry investment in the bottling lines to accommodate the lightweight bottleneck standard, PCO 1881.
The industry favors the single piece HDPE cap and the growth is coming from this solution. Single piece standard beverage caps increased their market penetration from less than 64% in 2007 to 73% in 2010. It is expected that within the next 5-7 years, the standard caps will completely change from two-piece into the single piece for cost reasons.
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