CHICAGO (July 10, 10:40 a.m. EDT) — In-mold plasma-coating technologies for blown PET bottles have been running successfully in laboratories for years.
One blow molding machine supplier, however, wants to be known as the first to provide that technology live in an industrial setting.
Groupe Sidel demonstrated for the first time at NPE in Chicago its year-old Actis 20 PET barrier coating technology, which treats blow molded bottles in-line.
Actis stands for amorphous carbon treatment on internal surfaces.
What makes this technology unique, said Jean-Guy Delage, vice president of global sales, is that it directly connects the blow molder to the Actis 20 treatment, so that bottles are treated in-line. Another benefit of the technology is the potential for just about any PET bottle application — from beer to ketchup.
"It's a revolutionary technology in the plastic bottle field," Delage said. "There is a huge potential market — beer, juice, soft drinks and other applications that require a better barrier."
Onlookers at NPE stood around the blow molding machine at the Sidel booth as beer bottles were being molded and coated with the food-safe gas in its plasma state. The clear PET bottles went directly from the mold into the plasma coating station, producing a pale-yellow tinted bottle.
"This demonstrates the flexibility of the Actis treatment in an industrial setting," Delage said. "This is probably the first bottle plasma coating ever displayed like that at a trade show in the world."
Delage said bottle suppliers and major beer, juice and soft-drink companies and some end users have purchased or made inquiries about the Actis 20 system. About 15 systems have been sold since Actis 20 was introduced in April 1999.
French beer-maker Kronenbourg has ordered an Actis line, and Plastipak Packaging Inc. of Plymouth, Mich., was the first U.S. bottle manufacturer to purchase the system, he said.
At the company's annual meeting in May, Sidel — of Le Havre, France — announced it will explore this technology in tube filling for cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.
Sidel reported estimated annual sales of 5.6 billion francs, ($818 million) in 1999.