The wait is over for brand owners who had hoped that technological inroads would eventually result in a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container with an integrated handle.
Pretium Packaging, a l North American manufacturer of plastic containers and closures, using technology from Practically Impossible Labs, has developed a 64-oz, 38-400 mm finish, stock PET container with an integrated handle. Trademarked, the SureHandle™ PET container gives brand owners shelf differentiation, handling convenience and aesthetics that were not previously possible.
SureHandle containers create multiple marketing opportunities for brand owners seeking to appeal to a wider audience. The container is easier to handle for both younger children and older adults, and those with physical challenges, compared to pinch grip or straight-sided alternatives. The handle not only provides carrying advantages, but also improved pouring control. It has been engineered for products needing fill temperatures up to 120° Fahrenheit and can accommodate an induction seal or foam liner.
The container is designed with enhanced top-load capabilities, enabling the use of a shrink-wrapped tray pack (vs a corrugated case) that can withstand stacking of five layers to a pallet, four pallets high. Using a tray pack can potentially reduce secondary packaging costs by up to 80%. This also means easier unloading at the retail level, as well as retail-ready displays for big box stores. The end result is a cost-competitive container alternative, with convenience benefits and reduced secondary packaging.
The container combines preform technology developed by Practically Impossible Labs, and Pretium’s injection and blow-molding manufacturing. The capability begins with the preform, which is structurally different than traditional straight-sided, injection-molded preforms used to blow-mold PET containers. This preform features an injection-molded handle attached to the sidewall.
The integrated-handle preform is loaded in the same manner as a conventional preform. Proprietary enhancements have been made to standard blow cavities to accept and position the handle during the blowing process. Because no secondary operation is required to add the handle to the container, the end result is increased structural integrity.
Pretium will produce the preforms and bottles at its Walterboro, SC facility on Husky Injection Molding Systems and Sidel reheat stretch/blow-molding equipment, respectively.
Currently available in monolayer, PET only, Pretium has partnered with several vendors/suppliers that can provide additives such as UV inhibitors and oxygen scavengers to address barrier needs requirements. Unlike two-piece handled containers, which typically are made from more than one material, the integrated PET handle/body combination is made solely from PET, which facilitates recycling. Monomaterial structure means that the bottle does not have the potential to contaminate the PET recycling stream.