In the first part of my article (which you find here) I wrote about the consequences of the introduction of the new PCO 1881 standard neck-finish for beverage bottles.
As the beverage industry appears to be ready to adopt the new neck-finish standard, e.g. from PCO 1810 (5.1g / 21mm length) to PCO 1881 ISBT (3.8g / 17mm), lightweight solutions are literally in everyone’s mind and consequently a number of different so-called short-neck closures have hit the market. Let’s look at some of them.
Bericap’s SuperShorty is available with two different external designs: a crown look; and a soft-drink look. The crown design targets PET beer bottles and soft-drink bottles in smaller package sizes. Both closure variants can be equipped with an in-shell, moulded oxygen-scavenging liner for oxygen-sensitive products like beer or juices.
Bericap’s DoubleSeal SuperShorty closure for PCO 1881 is suitable for mineral water and carbonated soft drinks up to 8 g CO2/ltr. Bericap completed its product range for the PCO 1881 light weight neck-finish with the development of the LinerSeal SuperShorty. The LinerSeal SuperShorty is a 2-piece closure made from polypropylene with a free rotating EVA-liner.
Another catalyst in the market of PCO 1881 closures is Xtra-Lok mini of CSI – Closures Systems International (previously Alcoa). The company’s new MB-Lok mini beer closure was selected by Frankfurter Brauhaus for their next generation PET beer packaging.
The new package is much lighter with over 20% material savings in the threaded bottle finish area of the package. Utilizing a shorter and lighter-weight bottle finish and CSI’s MB-Lok mini closure, the sleek new beer package represents a major step forward to reduce packaging materials and to improve sustainability. It has a classic profile, combined with an easy to grip “Sure Grip” knurl pattern, specifically designed for ease of opening and consumer satisfaction.
The third player in the PCO 1881 market is the Swiss company, Corvaglia Closures Eschlikon AG, claiming to be one of the first cap producers to react to the trend.
Numerous beverage bottlers, including some multinationals, have selected the PCO Corvaglia as their new global standard. Starting in Italy, where the percentage of mineral water that is lightly or even heavily carbonated is as high as in Germany, the short PCO Corvaglia cap very quickly established itself on a broad front. Major fillers in Brazil, Mexico and Poland soon followed.
The success is very much due to the cap’s advantages over other short versions, which include its compatibility with existing neck-finishes and the low cost of blowing machine and filling line conversion.
And with this, the word ‘conversion’ dropped into our story.
The switch to PCO 1881 will lead to a major retooling of pre-form and closure moulds, but above all, a conversion also means that bottling plants must be converted to be able to handle the new thread length. Here, up to € 250,000 in conversion costs are quickly incurred – money that can be a problem to raise and invest in this financially uncertain times, particularly for the smaller bottlers.
In my first article I already wrote about the ComPetCap CC 28/21-01 designed by the German company CCT (Creative Closure Technology GmbH) creating a lightweight alternative for owners of older bottling plants. Often the older bottling plants can only be converted to a shorter thread length at high cost, while the ComPetCap doesn’t require reconstruction costs on moulding, filling and capping.
Adoption of PCO 1881 will also have a dramatic and far-reaching effect on the tooling industry. Apart from demand for new moulds, it will advance developments in tool design and fabrication, component engineering and multilayer moulding. Mould makers that have continued to invest in technology and expand their capabilities despite recent downturns in business will see the biggest gains.
Is this the end of the evolution in shorter caps. I doubt it. I am sure, the development of bottle closures continues in the direction of more savings in raw material. Time will tell.