LE HAVRE, FRANCE (Sept. 17, 9 a.m. EDT) — When is a bottle no bottle? Get yourself to K 2007 to find out.
Groupe Sidel will unveil its new design, a no-rib container dubbed the lightest-ever PET bottle for water. The NoBottle weighs just 9.9 grams for a 15-ounce bottle, which Sidel said is 25-40 percent less than the average weight of other water bottles of the same capacity.
The key is the PET blow molding machinery maker's innovation, called Flex. It is based on flexibility and the shape memory of plastic, so the package springs back to its original shape. Designers are free to create all sorts of shapes, all with no ribs.
When bottle weight typically is reduced, ribs are added to brace the side walls. But according to Sidel, bottles made that way are brittle and noisy when compressed, reducing shelf appeal. Ribs also limit lightweighting options, Sidel said.
``We had to stop focusing on ways to brace bottles, so we explored new avenues,'' packaging solutions manager Franck Hancard said. ``After testing various plastic materials, we ultimately developed Flex.''
Sidel claims Flex technology produces bottles that are easy to grip, supple and much less brittle than conventional lightweight bottles. In addition, the shape memory also means the bottles better withstand handling, conveying, packing and transport.
Officials of Le Havre, France-based Sidel said bottled water is an explosive market, expected to catch up with soft drinks by around 2010 because of the growth of single-serve containers.
At K, Sidel also will show:
* Its SBO 24xs Highspeed and SBO 2XL Compact, new models added to existing product lines. The blow molding machines are based on Sidel's SBO Universal technology. The Highspeed is designed to mold single-serve beverage containers. The Compact press makes larger PET bottles, up to 2.6 gallons for water and edible oils.
* The Equinox, billed as the first automatic blow molding regulation system built into rotary blow molding presses. It monitors bottle quality during production by measuring bottle base weight. If Equinox detects any deviations, they are corrected by readjusting the blow molding parameters, without shutting down the machine.
* REAL, or remote expert assistance for lines, a system that allows Sidel experts to help customers remotely during equipment repair or complex maintenance jobs.