New technology saves on beverage packaging costs

by Jeff Gelski
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NAPERVILLE, ILL. — New Steri-Shield linerless plug closure technology has been shown to eliminate the need for liners in aseptic beverage packages, according to Naperville-based Portola Packaging, Inc. Potential applications in the aseptically-filled beverage category include juices, isotonics, dairy, energy drinks, milk, vitamin waters, drinkable yogurt and teas.

The aseptic beverage category traditionally has used closures with thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) or foil liners to achieve seal integrity in both low-acid and high-acid beverages. By eliminating the liners, the new plug design helps to minimize package costs and contribute to material source reduction, according to Portola Packaging.

“The challenge was to engineer a design that creates an effective cap-to-bottle seal for aseptic drink products without using a liner,” said Roy Robinson, vice-president of business development for Portola Packaging. “The plug design had to mate with the bottle finish inner surface to create an effective seal. It also had to withstand stringent aseptic filling conditions.”

The plug closures are compression molded using a proprietary resin blend that includes high-density polyethylene. The closure thus does not fail during the sterilization and/or distribution process. The structure has been shown to withstand an aseptic sterilization environment of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Not only does Portola’s new plug closure design deliver the desired seal performance, but it is easier for consumers to open because there is no liner to negatively impact torque,” Mr. Robinson said.

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