Flexibility and sustainability dictate sports cap development

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bottle

Greater flexibility in the application and sustainability of sports caps for use on beverage packs remains at the heart of ongoing development in the segment, according to one product supplier.

Bericap, which produces a number of both two- and three-piece sports caps for waters and functional beverages, says its operations are focused on a number of innovations to make applying the lids as efficient as standard screw-on closures.

Bericap announced last month that Croatia-based bottled water group Jamnica has extended use of its Thumb’Up product, a move the packager claims was partly influenced by potential environmental benefits.

A spokesperson for the company told FoodProductionDaily.com that attempts to improve the sustainability of sports cap was just one of its focuses for product innovation along with wider filling compatibilities and new hinge and aesthetic designs.

Design ambitions

According to the company, its sports caps have been on the market with top and bottom tamper evidence since 1996, in terms of the push pull format, and 2004 for the hinged-based Thumb’Up closure.

In its current product ranges, the company said it was already pushing ahead to try and offer improved lighter weight closures to customers with of its new neck finish 29/25 as an example. When used over its existing standard 30/25 design, Bericap claims the innovation can cut weight by about 1.5 grams.

Along with additional reductions of the overall closure weight, the supplier claims it has been able to cut weight by about 3.3 grams alongside any other bottle cuts.

Cap challenges

In terms of the specific challenges highlighted for developing 3-piece push pull lids, the group says it is developing caps that can meet all standard dimensions for closures, while withstanding wet and dry decontamination for aseptic cold filling (ACF) and hot filling (HF).

“This what we call the Next Generation (NG) Push Pull sports cap, with 28 mm and 38 mm ACF soon on the market,”​ stated the group spokesperson.

Developments are also being sought for two-piece hinged cap designs, particularly in providing new opening systems to attract consumers, according to the group.

Market limitations

Despite its push for product flexibility, Bericap suggests that there are certain limitations relating to the use of sports caps for drink products, both in terms of safety for infants and more technical challenges.

The company said that the foremost concern was the safety of children under 36 months, with the industry respecting EU toy regulations for the products, making the closures unsuitable for infants.

A spokesperson for the group suggested there are potential concerns of a baby or toddler chewing parts of the overcap or shutter.

Another current restriction identified by Bericap was in use of the products with carbonated beverages.

One can solve the question of tightness against internal gas pressure and many attempts have been made in that direction; but the real limitation is the degassing at opening of the sports caps,” states a spokesperson for the packager.

While the company claims that it is already possible to overcome certain concerns about beverage spillage through more sophisticated caps, current costs of the products could be off-putting for some.

“[This is] not necessarily compatible with what the brand owners and bottlers are ready to spend,” ​adds the spokesperson.

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