The North American manufacturer of plastic containers and closures partnered with Practically Impossible Labs, in Houston, Texas, to create the 64-ounce, 38-400 mm finish container.
Paul Kayser, CEO, Pretium, said the technology creates all sorts of possibilities for beverage manufacturers giving them significant shelf differentiation, handling convenience and aesthetics.
“There have been various attempts over the years to develop handled PET containers, but most have fallen short of the mark,” he said.
“Pretium invested significant resources to be able to injection mold the preform and blowmold a bottle with an integral handle.
“We had to address 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 added the handle provides improved pouring control and has been engineered for products needing fill temperatures up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and can accommodate an induction seal or foam liner.
Injection molded handle
The container has been designed with top load capabilities which enables the use of a shrink wrapped tray pack (vs. a corrugated case) which can withstand stacking of five layers to a pallet, four pallets high.
The container combines preform technology developed by Practically Impossible Labs, and Pretium’s injection and blow molding manufacturing.
The preform is structurally different from a traditional straight-sided, injection molded preform used to blow mold PET containers. It features an injection molded handle attached to the side wall.
Proprietary enhancements have been made to standard blow cavities to accept and position the handle during the blowing process and no secondary operation is needed to add the handle to the container.
Pretium will be producing the preforms and bottles at its Walterboro, South Carolina facility on Husky Injection Molding Systems and Sidel reheat stretch blow molding equipment, respectively.
According to Barry Sak, VP, business development, Pretium Packaging, the rigid plastic packaging industry may never be without some challenges. Whether these are cost pressures, the threat of the increasing use of flexible packaging or sustainability issues.
"The market has had a desire for a clear bottle with a handle. The current options which include PVC, extrusion grades of PET or PET containers with a secondary piece that acts as a handle have some flaws.PVC is not environmentally friendly, extrusion grades of PET have poor impact-resistance, and PET with secondary handles are not easily recycled. These options pose challenges," he said.
"We are observing some interesting trends in the industry right now. These range from sustainability issues, the needs of an ageing population, the pace of new product introductions, the growth of store brand product sales, and the increasing use of flexible packaging. Sustainability has been an important topic for many years now and is not going to go away.
"Some of our packaging designs must be tailored for easier handling by an ageing population. In some cases, we have to balance easier handling by an ageing population along with the needs of children as well. We must pay attention to new product introductions and see how the market reacts to those products.
"Store brand product sales are rising as the quality of the products gets better and better and the cost structure remains advantageous. We continue to see a greater number and a wider variety of products being packaged in flexible packaging. All of these trends were considered as we developed the SureHandle."
Currently available in monolayer, PET only, Pretium has partnered with several vendors/suppliers who can provide additives such as UV inhibitors and oxygen scavengers to address barrier needs requirements.
Food and beverages suited for the SureHandle container include cold-pressed juices, ready-to-drink teas, sport drinks, nutritional supplements, edible oils, dressings, sauces and marinades.