Partners In Progress

October 1, 2006
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Partners In Progress

THE RIGHT PACKAGE
Amcor’s PowerFlex PET bottle helps launch company’s natural tea line.

Seattle-based Cha Dao Tea Co. has selected 16.9-ounce PowerFlex™ polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles from Amcor PET Packaging to launch its premium, preservative-free, natural tea line.
This new entry into the bottled tea category is the brainchild of founder Ghim-Sim Chua who stumbled upon the idea when he became increasingly unhappy with commercially available alternatives. Chua began to tap into his own lifelong experiences as a tea drinker and kept a discerning palate at the ready when traveling to other countries where tea is consumed as a primary beverage.
Research also began in earnest for the right bottle in which to launch the Cha Dao line. “From the outset, I liked the look of the PowerFlex bottle. Other bottles that we looked at had panels or ribs which didn’t present a ‘clean’ look to consumers,” Chua says. “This new technology from Amcor looked and felt good, plus could handle the hot-fill temperatures we required.”
Cha Dao selected one of two stock PowerFlex bottles — a 16.9-ounce, long-neck design with a 38-millimeter finish; the other stock option is a dome-shouldered bottle. This allowed the company to launch quickly without incurring any additional tooling costs. Optional customization features, such as embossed logos or patterns, can be added in the future.
Amcor’s PowerFlex bottle features a revolutionary patented panel-less design which takes hot-fill (185 degrees F) bottle options to a new level. Amcor’s structural design not only eliminates the panels, but unlike recently launched competitive containers, PowerFlex has a large, completely smooth label panel — free a of any kind of ribbing — and features a vacuum absorbing base. Previously, sidewall panels were necessary to absorb the distortion that occurs as a hot-filled beverage cools to room temperature. (After the bottle is capped, the filled liquid cools, which, in turn, pulls an internal vacuum that must be dissipated structurally.)
“Bottles with panels create constraints that dramatically limit design options and therefore a brand owner’s ability to use the container to creatively market the product,” says David Andison, vice president of business strategies for Amcor PET Packaging.
Up until now, many beverage bottlers did not have a PET alternative that met both hot-fill and aesthetic requirements, thereby forcing their premium brands to stay the course in glass containers. Amcor’s technical staff, through a combination of design and manufacturing innovations, has created a patent-pending bottle that absorbs vacuum with a specially designed base. A unique diaphragm within the base draws upward as the liquid cools. It has the geometric characteristics to enable the inverted cone shaped diaphragm to deflect upward as the vacuum is created.
“Because you no longer have panels in the sidewall, this makes the bottle easier to label. You don’t have to worry about mislabeling — missing the vertical bars in applying labels. Nor do you have to worry about the ripple effect labeling over panels can cause,” Andison explains.
Additionally, the geometry of the straight wall design gives PowerFlex great top-load characteristics. The straight wall has no points of stress concentration, which removes the potential of bending. “The other thing that is noteworthy about Amcor,” explains Chua, “is that the company was willing to take a chance on a new manufacturer when no one else would. Other bottle manufacturers refused to do business with us because our initial quantity requirements were small.”
Chua also discovered another benefit from the PET bottle’s lightweight characteristics. “We found out early on that distributors wanted to know if our tea was in glass or plastic,” he says. “Having it in plastic helped us secure distribution because the weight of glass containers coupled with rising fuel costs are having an impact on the distribution system.” — Amcor PET Packaging, 935 Technology Drive, Suite 100, Ann Arbor, Mich., 48108-8919, phone: (734) 302-2272, fax: (734) 302-2810, Web site: www.amcor.com  

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