(Photo credit: Bericap)

Product Development

Tethered Caps: BERICAP presents new product solutions

BERICAP GmbH & Co. KG Budenheim, Germany

On 3 July 2019, the EU published a far-reaching regulation on the reduction of plastic waste in the oceans. In addition to a complete ban on certain disposable products such as cotton swabs or straws made of plastic, the regulation also includes a provision on closures for plastic beverage bottles, which poses significant challenges to the industry. According to the legislative text, plastic closures must remain attached to the bottle during consumption by July 2024 at the latest.

What sounds like a simple task at first represents a major technical challenge for closure manufacturers, the bottlers and the supplying machining industry. Even if the technical solution is clear, the time frame of five years is short for converting the entire European beverage industry to tethered caps.

The requirements of the beverage industry towards the new closures are clear: while maintaining consumer convenience and quality, the new closures must not affect the cost of production, the bottle design, the bottle neck, the filling line or the capper. In addition, the closures should be available both as light-weight press-on caps, which are mainly used in non-pressurized bottles such as still water, and as screw-on caps for higher demands on the tightness of the closure.

BERICAP has succeeded in fulfilling all these requirements, even if this necessitated a re-design of the existing closures. "Within the product development process, it quickly became clear that the screw caps had to be redesigned no matter which technical solution is proposed," states Volker Spiesmacher, Director Head of Product Sales and Marketing at BERICAP. "The tether requires more space in the area of the tamper evidence band. Hence, the screw caps had to be redesigned."

BERICAP tethered cap can be applied to all major neck finishes

The four technical proposals for screw caps now presented by BERICAP can be applied to the same closure shell which is a redesign of the current closure. All proposals can be applied to all major neck finishes available on the market. However, some proposals perform better, if small details of the neck are adapted – this modification process can be closely examined and discussed with BERICAP experts. The BERICAP proposals allow for a market introduction of the new closure design at an earlier stage than the tethered screw cap solution. These can then be introduced at a time that is in line with the marketing activities. In addition to the screw-cap solutions, BERICAP also offers press-on caps for the major still water necks as well as a premium solution with customized neck finish which offers the highest weight savings on neck and closure.

“Quite typical for BERICAP, the presented tethered cap solutions do not only offer products that fulfill the EU requirements for various applications and markets, but more so allow a step-by-step transition of our customers’ filling lines towards the use of tethered caps with minimal to no cost implied”, Spiesmacher concludes. “We are in conversation with our customers now and fully support them during the transition process”.

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