ColorMatrix and the PET beverage packaging industry continue to be at the forefront of plastics innovation. As brands and manufacturers do battle on the supermarket shelves, more emphasis and resources are being devoted to designing packaging that delivers consumer appeal and product protection, while allowing companies to manufacture efficiently and sustainably.
The overall use of PET in beverage packaging continues to grow. Parallel to this, the PET resin, colour and additive markets are also growing and evolving to facilitate the wider use of PET in beverage packaging. PolyOne's ColorMatrix business specialises in liquid colour, and performance-enhancing and barrier additives for PET packaging. These technologies enable brands and manufacturers to turn to PET as a lighter, cost-effective alternative to many other packaging materials. They also help improve the aesthetics, processing and sustainability of existing PET packaging systems.
Colour is a powerful tool for brand leaders, market managers and designers, and in response to demand for innovative colours and effects, ColorMatrix launched a collection of colours that create shimmer and frost effects for PET containers. Developed as part of PolyOne's InVisiO suite of colour services and solutions, these advanced liquid colour dispersions produce effects such as iridescent colours, movement and unique, frost-effect surface appearances.
"These formulations offer varying degrees of reflection, translucency and apparent texture to push design boundaries," explains Gary Fielding, marketing director, PolyOne ColorMatrix. "This collection was developed to inspire customers and showcase the design possibilities of using liquid colour."
The wide variety of beverage types on the market gives rise to very different requirements. The nature of the product, the bottle shape and size, and even the part of the world where it will be sold are major considerations when determining the final make-up of a PET drinks container. Additive solutions may be required and these could range from processing aids that improve manufacturing to barrier additives that protect certain types of beverages.
UV and visible-light barriers, oxygen scavengers and acetaldehyde reducers are just a few of the additive solutions that can help maintain quality and control shelf life. A good example is the company's Amosorb SolO2 technology. It provides a ready-to-use combination of active O2 scavenging and a passive O2/CO2 barrier performance, making it ideal for carbonated and non-carbonated beverages. It can be used in mono and multilayer applications and with any grade of PET to give customers greater purchasing flexibility to specify the PET grade most suited to their operation.
Where exposure to UV light promotes oxidation and affects the taste, odour and rheology of products, Ultimate UV light barrier products offer protection without affecting PET container clarity. This technology is recognised by the Association of Postconsumer Plastics Recyclers and the European PET Bottle Platform as having no negative impact on the recycling stream. It is an example of the way ColorMatrix formulations add value beyond their primary function. "As environmental pressures build in the PET packaging industry, next-generation additives help to improve clarity and increase the potential to recycle and reuse post-consumer containers in a wider variety of new applications," adds Fielding.
Additives are also able to deliver sustainability benefits at the start of the manufacturing process. ColorMatrix Joule infrared absorption agents enhance the absorption of infrared energy during the secondary blowing process for container performs. Based on inorganic materials, they can naturally withstand higher temperatures and are less likely to yellow, which helps to maintain clarity.