Package design and testing firm Plastic Technologies Inc. is opening up its labs, so to speak, by seeking to commercialize quality-control devices and software it initially developed for in-house use.
The Holland, Ohio, firm also is working on a foamed PET bottle that it said keeps beverages cooler longer than traditional PET bottles and is completely recyclable.
The firm wanted to see what would happen if it blow molded a PET bottle made with Mucell foaming technology, and discovered that the bottle keeps beverages cool about 50 percent longer, said Frank Semersky, vice president of new business development. The bottle is not transparent, which makes it more complicated to blow mold, and the company still is working out the kinks, he said at NPE 2003, held June 23-27 in Chicago.
``We'll be learning about this for a long time,'' he said. ``We are starting to show it to customers.''
Semersky said the foaming will not have any impact on recycling. The foaming can be done either with Mucell, or by putting the foamed PET into an inner layer, he said. The firm has a patent pending on the technology.
As for plans to commercialize its quality-control devices, PTI is talking with manufacturers about licensing both a laser gauging system, which it uses to measure bottle dimensions, and a sonic detector that finds microscopic pinholes that can develop in bottles made from recycled PET.
On the instruments, the company may turn over the manufacturing and marketing entirely to another firm, Semersky said.
``We may not do any sales and marketing of them, just licensing,'' he said.
PTI developed the laser measurement system as a package testing system, and invented the sonic detector, or nonfunctional attribute detector, to monitor low level failures, on the order of a few bottles per million, he said.
``At the time we developed both of those, there was nothing on the market that met our needs,'' said Semersky.
The laser system was developed in the past 21/2 years, while the NFA system came into being in the past year, he said. The NFA system also detects preform defects that result in poorly formed bottles, including those in bottles from virgin materials, the company said.
PTI has a hard time estimating market potential, Semersky said.
The company also exhibited software, which it calls Virtual Prototyping, that it has developed to simulate the reheating and blow molding of preforms. The software comes in three modules and can generate a thermal profile at all locations in the preform.
Container Consulting Inc. in Jacksonville, Fla., will handle sales and marketing for the software.