A well-known driving force behind packaging innovation is the commercialization of products that help a product stand out on the shelf. To deepen this discussion, let’s look at aerosol containers.
The vast majority of aerosol dispensed products are in metal cans. It’s a type of packaging that has withstood intruders longer than most of the other categories. Perhaps now is the right time to consider plastic-based aerosol containers for a wide variety of uses, including shaving gel, sun block, cooking oil, detergents, air fresheners, and more.
The plastic that quickly comes to the fore in this discussion is PET, although in theory others could also be considered.
With its ability to be blow molded into shapes with ergonomic properties and marketing appeal, PET is adaptable to the application. For those brand owners looking to market packaging that can become icons, PET is a solid consideration.
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The shape, transparency and feel of PET can significantly improve the consumer experience compared to metal alternatives. Since PET does not leave a “rust ring” when the floor comes into contact with moisture, consumers no longer have to worry about surface cleaning when spray bottles have been placed.
Improvements in processing technologies also create a way forward. The key is to create a container that can withstand the pressure of the propellant while providing a sufficient barrier to provide the shelf life properties required of the product.
To ensure proper performance, stress cracking, drop impact and burst strength of the container must also be considered. The optimization of the bottle and preform design as well as the injection and blow molding processes are crucial in order to meet the desired criteria. State-of-the-art injection and stretching / blow molding machines make it easier today than in the past to achieve the desired properties.
It is important to mold high quality preforms with low IV loss and flawless injection molding residues. These preforms must then be blow molded into containers with the optimized material distribution and molecular orientation required to achieve the required performance. Developments in compression and injection compression technology for PET preforms will continue to enable the use of high IV materials and produce higher quality gates.
Organizations such as the Plastic Aerosol Research Group (PARG) of the Household & Commercial Product Association in the US and the European Aerosol Federation (FEA) in Europe provide guidelines for plastic aerosol packaging and support the growth of the aerosol industry. They are international consortia working with brands and processors as well as government agencies.
For example, PARG has created and maintained a manual of voluntary testing methods that converters and brands can use to guide their packaging development and production. These methods mimic those used by the beverage industry in many ways, but with particular reference to the aerosol industry and the use of valves and propellants.
PARG also develops fire test matrices and collects data to aid the Department of Transportation (DOT) code change. It works with industry on regulations that allow the transportation and storage of plastic aerosols.
With a growing number of brands launching new aerosol products and offering new experiences to their consumers, we are sure to see a growing number of offers from packaging manufacturers for both dip tube and bag-on-valve plastic aerosol containers .
Author: Dan Durham is Director of Technical Client Services at PTI. He has decades of experience in the field of plastic packaging from design to injection and blow molding. He is currently focused on helping multinational brand owners successfully manage packaging projects from concept to marketing and support their sustainability goals.
PTI is recognized worldwide as the preferred source for preform and packaging design, packaging development, rapid prototyping, pre-production prototyping, and material evaluation technology for the plastic packaging industry. Further information: www.pti-usa.com.