'Bottle cup' pours innovation into tf/f/s (sidebar)

By early next year, look for the “bottle cup” to be launched commercially, most likely for drinkable yogurt. So says Charles Ravalli, president of Hassia USA, Inc.

Pw 12797 Bottlecup

Hassia Verpackungsmaschinen GmbH developed the THS system that thermoforms, fills, and seals the package. The Hassia machine earned a DuPont Silver award. Hassia positions the innovative package as an alternative to injection-molded containers.

“The bottle cup is a design innovation for thermoform, fill, and seal machines because you can use different forming tools to produce different bottle shapes,” he says. “It gives you some flexibility in package design and market uniqueness. On this thermoforming machine you can produce standard yogurt or pudding cups, or various inverted bottle shapes, by changing forming tools. This creates cost savings.”

Ravalli says polyvinyl chloride, polystyrenes, and barrier plastic materials in varying thicknesses can be used to form the inverted bottle-shaped cup. Die-punching creates the opening of the bottle neck. A die-cut aluminum or plastic lid material would then be heat-sealed to the bottle opening. The bottle cup body is decorated with a paper label via an integrated in-mold labeling system, though Hassia points out that it can provide integrated shrink-labeling systems for containers without straight sidewalls. Filling is done through the bottom of the bottle cups, which can then be sealed with aluminum, PET, or PS film. A punching tool can separate packages into single cups, or into sets of 2, 4, 6, etc. Vacuum arms upright the filled cups for downstream case packing.

According to Hassia, the system provides outputs of 150 to 1곘/min, with fill quantities between 100 to 250 mL. Drinkable yogurts, sauces, and dressings are the most likely products to be filled in the bottle cups, which can provide a one-year shelf life if filled aseptically.

“Our entry opens new opportunities for roll feed plastic materials to produce bottle-type containers that have traditionally been injection-molded,” says the entry form. “It also opens new markets for small plastic bottles, which in the past have been too expensive for currently available similar packages. New products will be able to be packaged in unit-dose bottles currently in 4- to 8-ounce cups.” —JB

See the story that goes with this sidebar: 2004 DuPont Award Winners

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