During my reportings about the Interpack I mentioned two developments in bottle manufacturing which are of eminent importance. No, I am not diminishing the importance of the development of Serac/Agima, blow moulding a bottle from a reel. But I am, in this case, talking about multi-material bottles or hybrid bottles as they are sometimes called. In other words, bottles created from two or more different materials, i.e. several plastic components or the combination of paperboard and plastic.
Although not at, but during the Interpack, Tetra Pak launched its Evero Aseptic bottle, made from paperboard and plastic. It is amazing that at the same time another company, AisaPack, developed an almost identical bottle, which was launched at the Interpack. The AisaCan, although introduced as plastic/plastic bottle, can easily be seen as a paperboard/plastic bottle also.
Let’s have a look at both and see what the differences as well as the similarities are. I presume, I don’t need to underscore the very high importance of both developments.
AisaPack with its longstanding expertise in manufacturing plastic squeezable tubes, based the construction of its bottle, logically, on this technology. Precisely placing the shoulder of a tube in the rolled body, is for them a well-known technique. And that is exactly what they do with this new bottle. Rolling the body from a reel of plastic, longitudinally sealing, and placing not only the pre-fabricated neck of the bottle, but also the pre-fabricated bottom into the formed tube, is for them almost daily and common production practice.
It is more or less the same for Tetra Pak, with its longstanding expertise in folding paperboard from a reel into beverage cartons. Folding top and bottom in such an ingenious way, that the cartons can be used for aseptic filling. Always using just one piece of laminated paperboard. The new Evero bottle is not much different. Body and bottom are rolled, respectively folded from a piece of paperboard taken from the reel. For forming a bottleneck properly, paperboard isn’t the right material to do so, and consequently, to create a real bottle Tetra Pak, inserted a pre-fabricated plastic neck into the folded body, more and less in the same way as Aisa is doing.
When you look at them both, it can be clearly seen that AisaPack is a plastics company and Tetra Pak basically a paperboard company. At the same time it is easy to imagine the AisaCan with a paperboard body and plastic neck and bottom, almost being identical to the Tetra Evero. You also can easily see a new Tetra Pak bottle shape, and consequently, with a bottom too complicated to fold, using a plastic insert as bottom.
Amazing developments with unlimited possibilities in the future. Why? Well, think in terms of bottle necks and bottoms made from paperboard. There already is thermo-formable paperboard, among others FibreForm from Billerud, on the market. Recently I wrote an article about blow moulding metals. So, why not blow moulding thermo-formable paperboard? Farfetched? Wait and see.
Before we have a look in detail at both developments, there is one more item I want to stipulate. It might seem that I plead for a paperboard AisaCan, that’s not the truth, I just wanted to stipulate the possibility. The existing AisaCan, compared to the aseptic Evero from Tetra, has the unmistakable and valuable advantage that, as the body of the bottle is squeezable, it can be used in HPP-processing. A paperboard body isn’t squeezable and as such can’t undergo the HPP-process.
I come back to this item later in a separate article about HPP-processing.
Now, time to have a look at both bottles in detail. We start with the Tetra Evero Aseptic, followed by the AisaCan Hot Fill Bottle.
Tetra Evero Aseptic
Tetra Evero Aseptic (read also this article) is launched as the world’s first aseptic 1 litre carton bottle for milk, boasting cost and environmental advantages compared to other aseptic bottles. Tetra Evero Aseptic is initially aimed at the ambient white milk market, including non-oxygen sensitive milk. This will soon expand to cover a wide range of beverages, including flavoured milk, cream and oxygen sensitive milk.
An ergonomic cylindrical shape with flat side panels means it’s easier for big and small hands to hold. The shape also provides the ideal angle for better pouring than other bottles, according to independent consumer research conducted in several European markets.
The new carton bottle grabs attention, providing maximum branding impact, with printing possible across the whole surface of the package.
The bottle guarantees a shelf-life of 6 months, is recyclable and made from FSC-certified renewable paperboard.
Have a look at the introduction video:
Meet the filling machine
For the Evero bottle Tetra Pak developed the A6 iLine packaging machine, in which the Evero Aseptic is formed and filled. Tetra Pak claims that the A6 iLine for the Evero Aseptic brings dairy producers a cost effective and efficient packaging solution for ambient white milk in a bottle. In fact, Tetra Pak A6 iLine, with a capacity of 10,000 packs/hour, is said to take up to 50% less space, requires 30% less investment, offers 25% lower operating costs, and requires half the electricity consumption than other aseptic bottling lines.
Let’s take a look at some of the features of the Tetra Pak A6. Unfortunately they don’t show how they fold and close the paperboard bottom, the most interesting part of the development. You have to stay guessing how they do it, as I haven’t yet hold one bottle in my hands.
The Tetra Evero Aseptic and the Tetra Pak A6 iLine are covered by 14 design and application patents, with advances that include an industry-first ‘gas phase’ sterilisation technique and advanced injection moulding technologies to fuse the top, carton sleeve and capped neck into a ready-to-fill package.
The Tetra Pak A6 iLine will first be available in Europe and South America.
And now the ………
AisaCan Hot Fill Hybrid Bottle
Aisacan is an innovative soft-walled, re-closable and aesthetically pleasing beverage container. This hybrid bottle, based on Huhtamaki’s Cyclero concept, is constructed of a high-barrier flexible multilayer laminate tube affixed to a moulded neck, cap and base. The bottle’s unique format offers valuable sustainability benefits over traditional PET and glass bottles, as well as enhanced branding opportunities, as the AisaCan gets rid of the ugly hot fill panels, so typical for standard PET bottles.
Production of the Aisacan has been adapted from Aisapack’s proven technology for toothpaste tubes. The shoulder and base are injection moulded and, together with pre-printed laminated film supplied by Huhtamaki, assembled in an Aisapack ACM1 machine.
In contrast to the often poor labelling of PET bottles, particularly the ones which are hot filled, the Aisacan allows for an excellent branding by printing on a flat laminate using state-of-the-art industry technologies like rotogravure, flexo or digital. These processes allow for quality printing nearly 360 degrees around the Aisacan with either reverse or surface printing.
The bottle’s flexible main body offers improved grip, due to its ability to mould to the shape of individual hands, and its smaller opening helps to avoid spillages, both of which make it an ideal format for on the go drinking. Its squeezability is also a boon for consumers of sports drinks with the ability to control and hasten the flow of the drink.
In terms of its environmental impact, the new Aisacan offers distinct advantages over both hot fill and aseptic PET bottle options being up to 60% lighter. Together with associated transportation benefits, this equates to a Carbon Footprint reduction for a 330ml bottle of 53% compared with PET hot fill and 36% compared with PET aseptic.
A further environmental benefit is that the entire package can be recycled as polyethylene as part of current European recycling systems. After use the Aisacan can be crushed into a fraction of its size for easy disposal.
Filling and processing flexibility
The flexibility of independently developing the beverage package from the filling system, in contrast to Tetra Pak, allows for the Aisacan to be used with various industry standard filling systems and technologies. The disassociation of the Aisacan with the filling line allows both for utilization of existing PET equipment and the Aisacan to be filled in the future on a wide array of PET neck handling lines including everything from current cold filling capabilities to aseptic low and high acid sensitive products.
The Aisacan is an excellent example of technology transfer from the tube niche market industry to beverage package. The Aisacan has been developed from the world-leading Aisa tube machinery technology platform called SAESA. The Aisacan machine has been developed on this SAESA platform using 75% the same technology.
With the introduction of these two beautiful multi-material developments, the revolution in the bottling industry is on.