The company’s Peruvian subsidiary, Backus, in cooperation with Packaging Products Peru, has developed a low-gauge bottle crown that by reducing the amount of steel used in production will slash both raw material costs and C02 emissions, claims SABMiller.
Following a “successful” 12 month pilot trial at Backus’ San Juan plant in Pucallpa City, Peru, the low-gauge crowns were rolled out across the company’s remaining four Peruvian breweries, said the brewer.
In the second stage of the trial, approximately 80 million low-gauge crowns were used over twelve months, ending 31 March 2011.
Cutting steel usage
The firm said it currently uses approximately 42 billion crowns every year to top bottled lagers and carbonated soft drinks, with an equivalent weight of 100,000 tonnes.
Around ten per cent decrease in global steel usage can be achieved on production of the new bottle top - enough to build London another Olympic stadium, according to the firm.
The design embosses a ring around the bottle lip to prevent a ‘spring back' effect that can lead to leakage and contamination, said the brewer.
The new crown uses 0.17mm steel compared to the standard of 0.22mm and 0.24mm thickness of regular bottle crowns.
A standard bottle crown also weighs approximately 2.38 grams, whereas the low-gauge bottle crown will weigh around 2.14 grams, claims SABMiller.
The firm said this means a 360 gram weight reduction in every pallet being transported to the group's breweries and from the brewery to retailers and distributors.
Reduced weight will also deliver further cost savings and reductions in C02 emissions through transportation, the brewer added.
The crown is expected to be rolled out to Peru and Ecuador during the second half of next year (F12).
The firm said other countries and regions are working on similar low-gauge projects.
One example is a Netherlands-based Grolsch brewery which has performed trials on a 0.18mm crown from Italian crown producer Pelliconi.
SABMiller said the results are encouraging other European countries to follow its lead, with trials being planned for all countries in F12.
The firm's partially-owned South African supplier, Coleus, will also implement a 0.21mm low-gauge crown.