Recent Developments in Aseptic and Hot-Filling Closures

Bericap 28mm DoubleSeal Eco

Since some time the spotlight in packaging development falls directly on the subject of “Lightweight Design”. When it comes to bottles and beverage cartons lighter closures tended to be developed for carbonated drinks and still water, nowadays greater attention is being given to the ongoing development of lighter packaging closures for aseptic and hot-filling processes.

I collected for you some recent developments in aseptic and hot-filling closures. We start with the CombiCap for the SIG Combibloc UHT milk carton, followed by three recent closure developments by Tetra Pak, the DreamCap, the LightCap and the HeliCap, Portola Packaging introduced its Steri-Shield linerless closure for both low- and high-acid aseptic beverage packages, and finally Bericap introduced its second generation Push Pull Sports cap for aseptic filling and its aseptic DoubleSeal 33 mm for easy-to-drink bottles. Have a look.

The CombiCap closure
SIG Combibloc is targeting the UHT milk segment with a new lightweight, recyclable closure exclusively for its Combibloc Slimline cartons. The new closure consists of a flange with an integrated cutting ring and a screw cap and weighs 1.85 grammes. By way of comparison, the first screw cap developed by SIG for aseptic beverage cartons weighed 4.9 grammes.
SIG said that the weight reduction was achieved, by moulding flange, cutting ring and cap as one part.

The closure itself can be applied to SIG carton packs using the existing applicators from the company. It said only minor adjustments are needed for the machinery and no modifications in size or shape are necessary for the secondary packaging of the filled carton packs.

The DreamCap closure
Tetra Pak recently unveiled the DreamCap, an ergonomically designed closure specially for on-the-go consumption, after Tetra Pak identified how people like to drink beverages while on-the-go. The cap’s high neck and its over-the-edge design offer the consumer easy access to the spout and a comfortable fit to the lips. DreamCap’s large (26mm) opening and ridge to engage the lips allow consumers to drink in the way they prefer, with improved control of the liquid flow into the mouth.

DreamCap will initially be available on the Tetra Prisma Aseptic 330 Square size. DreamCap can be integrated to TBA/19 packaging lines by purchasing the new CAP 30 Flex. The company states that in a second stage this solution will be validated for Tetra Pak A3/CompactFlex, Tetra Pak A3/Flex and TBA/21, ensuring low investment for existing and new customers.

The LightCap
Tetra Pak’s LightCap is designed to keep plastic use and cost to a minimum, making it particularly suited for larger-sized closures, aimed at the drink-at-home market. By using the minimal amount of plastic to keep costs at a minimum and improve environmental performance, it is particularly suited to larger-sized openings, which are easier to handle and pour from.

The LightCap is manufactured through Tetra Pak’s industry-first combination of Pre-Laminated Hole (PLH) and Direct Injection Moulding Concept (DIMC) technologies. DIMC technology allows the base of the cap neck to be moulded as flat as possible to the underside of the packaging material, providing the maximum pouring area. Combining this technology with PLH based packaging materials makes LightCap ideal for the ambient distribution of milks and oxygen sensitive products, such as vitamin-enriched milks, flavoured milks, soya beverages, juices, nectars and still drinks such as iced-tea.
LightCap will initially be available on Tetra Brik Aseptic family size packages.

The HeliCap
The HeliCap combines one-step easy opening with distinctive tamper evidence. Tetra Pak’s HeliCap, initially aimed at the drink-at-home market, has a good grip, a clearly visible tamper evidence ring and concentrates a low opening force on the first turn of the cap – enough for the consumer to feel the tamper ring breaking.

HeliCap’s advanced PLH based packaging materials allow for a simplified filling machine set-up resulting in higher line efficiency. This, combined with reduced glue consumption by nearly 50%, lowers overall production costs.
HeliCap requires limited additional investment depending on existing equipment installed. Kits will be available for existing Tetra Brik Aseptic Slim 1000 packaging.

The Steri-Shield linerless plug closure
Portola Packaging, Inc. enters the market with its Steri-Shield linerless plug closure technology for aseptic beverage packages. Portola is one of the first North American manufacturers to commercialize  linerless closures that can meet the rigorous demands of aseptic applications. The category has traditionally used closures with thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) or foil liners to achieve seal integrity for both low- and high-acid beverages. By eliminating the liners, the plug design helps minimize package cost and contribute to material source reduction.

Portola’s Steri-Shield aseptic linerless plug closures are compression moulded using a proprietary resin blend which includes high-density polyethylene. The end result is a lightweight closure which does not fail (stress crack, back-off, etc.) during the sterilization and/or distribution process. Additionally, the structure can withstand an aseptic sterilization environment of up to 140ºF (60ºC).
Computer modelling was used to accurately project shelf life and other performance attributes to make sure that the closure would meet aseptic drink performance expectations.

The Steri-Shield plug closures can be made in a variety of sizes ranging from 38 to 43mm, with or without a tamper-evident band. The cap is suited for a wide range of aseptically-filled beverages.

The Aseptic Push Pull Sports Cap
Sports closures are ideally suited for on-the-go consumption or for hydration on the journey or during sport. To enjoy the maximum taste experience from a beverage, the bottle needs to allow as much product as possible to enter the mouth in a short time. Most sports closures, suitable for aseptic filling, in the market, have low flow rates or require very complex treatment of the closure in the filling and closing process.
Bericap says that it attacked that problems with its new design of the Push Pull Next Generation for the aseptic filling of beverages as this sports closure is suitable for both, wet and dry decontamination. The closure requires no aluminium foil seal so that the consumer can drink from the bottle as soon as the protective cap is removed. The sports closure combines consumer-friendly functionality with an approx. 30% higher flow rate compared to conventional products.

The 3-part Push Pull Next Generation is fitted with Bericap’s DoubleSeal technology, known from Bericap’s closures for standard 28 mm necks PCO 1881 and PCO 1810. It is suitable for use in aseptic filling and for both wet and dry sterilisation processes. N2 dosing of the bottle is possible in aseptic filling processes.

The Aseptic DoubleSeal 33 mm closure
Since the 90s, 38mm closures have been used almost exclusively in aseptic filling for both miniature packaging for “on-the-go” consumption and for larger family sized packaging. However consumers find drinking from a smaller bottle neck between 32 to 35mm more enjoyable.
The bottles with the 33 closure are noticeably different to conventional drinks products and have a striking visual product differentiation and demarcation at PoS.

Bericap developed the 33mm closure together with a bottle neck co-designed with Sidel. Neck and closure weigh together less than 6g and therefore it support the effort of the industry to save costs, but also reduces the CO2 emission.

The 33mm closure is based on the BERICAP DoubleSeal technology and can be used on all current models of aseptic packaging plant in dry or wet sterilisation processes. The closure is fitted with a folded and pre-cut tamper-evident band which breaks when first opened and a specific design of the sealing lip for tight sealing to ensure product integrity.
The DoubleSeal 33 can be decontaminated with all standard methods known in the market for aseptic filling.

2 responses to “Recent Developments in Aseptic and Hot-Filling Closures

  1. An excellent post, Anton !! Of late I have been following your posts regularly and I have to be honest… you have a excellent eye for good packaging and are true with your opinions and posts.
    Great insights !! Keep posting !!

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