ATLANTA — A new container developed to store and dispense sensitive chemicals is helping plastics bounce the competition.
BrightPak, a 4.6-liter, blow molded PET bottle with an inner polyethylene naphthalate liner, was created through collaboration between testing and design firm Plastic Technologies Inc. and ATMI Inc., a supplier of materials and material systems used in manufacturing microelectronics devices.
The two companies developed the container as an alternative to glass bottles and it's designed specifically to house the photo-resistant chemicals used by microprocessors.
It had to clear several hurdles, but BrightPak meets strict customer requirements — it dispenses 99 percent of the product, prevents bubbles during the coating process, blocks 99 percent of ultraviolet visible light and can be stored and shipped at minus 20° F without failing, said Tracy Momany, vice president of Holland, Ohio-based PTI.
And unlike a glass bottle, when you drop BrightPak, it bounces.
PTI and ATMI introduced the container in a joint presentation at the 2013 Packaging Conference, held Feb. 4-6 in Atlanta.
The duo played a video showing BrightPak and a standard glass bottle in impact tests. The glass jar shattered, while BrightPak remained intact.
In testing, the plastic container maintained integrity in up to 10-foot drops. The bottles hold expensive and hazardous chemicals, so being shatterproof is an important safety feature, said Al Botet, marketing director for Danbury, Conn.-based ATMI.
Bouncing aside, the key to BrightPak is its pressure dispensing feature, which gives processors a way to protect and dispense high-purity chemicals without the threat of contamination, Botet said.
Drive gas is applied to the empty space between the overpack — the PET bottle — and the inner rigid-collapsible PEN liner, generating 15 pounds per square inch of pressure. The container uses direct, indirect and pump pressure to ensure that 99 percent of the product is dispensed.
"High-end, photo-resistant chemicals are thousands of dollars a liter, so you want to squeeze every last milliliter out of the container," Botet said.
The liner also prevents air from being introduced to the chemicals and eliminates bubbles during dispensing — a big deal when coating semi-conductors and liquid-crystal displays, Momany said.
The outer PET bottle is dimensionally interchangeable with the glass bottle currently in use, but has several advantages,
The blow molded bottle has 21 percent more volume within the same dimensions as a glass bottle. The bottle also weighs less and in lifestyle assessments, it generated 60 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than glass, Botet said.
The amber-colored container blocks 99 percent of UV light — a requirement glass bottles couldn't meet, Momany said.
The bottle can also withstand significant changes in temperature, thanks to vacuum handles that extend from the base to the shoulder of the cup.
The cold-storage requirement may have "led to the development of what may be the first full-body case cup," Momany joked.
BrightPak was developed for a specific user, but its creators believe the container has potential beyond its original market.
"Every now and then there's a new innovation that transcends industries, transcends markets and applications, and we think our BrightPak technology is one of those innovations," Botet said.
"BrightPak may look expensive — and given our customer constraints, it is — but if you take away those restraints, you really open it to create a low-cost, unique way of dispensing liquids," he said.
The inner liner is made of PEN because the material is strong, flexible and compatible with various chemicals, but PEN is six times more expensive than PET, Momany said. However, there's no reason the less-expensive material couldn't be used with less-sensitive chemicals, Botet said.
There are opportunities to use the container in food and beverage, pharmaceutical and industrial markets, he said, adding that the future of BrightPak is "up to the imagination of people like you."