Aptar Group, the US-based giant in caps and dispensing closures, has reinforced its reputation for product innovation with new launches.

The food and drinks sector provides examples of the company’s ability to respond to greater demands being placed on the functionality of plastics packaging.

Aptar developed a custom clean lock cap for Unilever’s redesign of the packaging for Hellmann’s squeezable mayonnaise. The closure has an asymmetrical, two-component injection moulded design which helps differentiate the Unilever product in the condiment market.

The clear cap highlights a directional spout with Aptar’s SimpliSqueeze silicone valve for clean dispensing. The flow of mayo is easily controlled by squeezing the bottle and cuts-off as soon as the pressure is released. The company said there is no risk of spills, even when the closure lid is left open in the inverted position.

A clean pour is also central to Aptar’s extended development of its Duo Family Range (pictured top right). Targeting sticky products such as syrups, cordials and liquid concentrates, whose users are often children or parents in a hurry, the Duo closures are designed for “no drips, spills, or leaks, leaving consumers with a satisfied pouring experience that will want to be repeated”, said Aptar.

The bi-injected flip-top closure features a non-drip pouring lip and a glossy finish that is available in a variety of colour options to create a differentiated shelf appeal. To better meet the needs of customers, Aptar has extended the Duo Family to be available in both a 28mm 1810 neck finish as well as a 28mm 1881 neck finish. It can also produce custom closures in different neck finishes.

A particularly eye-catching innovation is Aptar’s new Proteo packaging for the personal care market. The flexible packaging is in itself different from the rigid containers currently in the market, but the dispensing closure is where Aptar comes into its own.

Unlike the screw caps found on bottles, or zip closures on pouches, the Proteo dispensing system slides to open and close. The new system was developed over the course of three years, involving extensive research and global collaboration between Aptar’s different personal care areas.

Aptar claims that Proteo “will change the flexible packaging world with its unprecedented and convenient proposal for the Personal Care market. It aims at consumers who look for convenience by offering a packaging that can easily be kept in a bag or even simply in their pocket”.

The flat packaging allows for a large billboard so that companies can convey their brand values to consumers.

“With an easy to open and reclosable button, consumers will have fun enjoying their product at all times and anywhere. A new proposal for consumers who are looking for convenience and live the on-me trend,” said Aptar.

Continuing in the personal care market (but also targeting home care applications), Runway (pictured left) is a new dual aerosol trigger which offers consumers a choice of spray action, allowing the user to actuate vertically or via the trigger for short or longer spraying. The Runway dispenser can be locked securely using Aptar’s integrated twist-to-lock technology.

Aptar’s ophthalmic squeeze dispenser (OSD) is a sophisticated mechanism for eye drops, which contain a wide variety of sensitive compounds.

Aptar said of the dispenser’s requirements: “The dropper should always deliver an appropriate drop size, the formulation must be stable for the storage and in use period, and the forces to deliver a drop should remain in a reasonable range.”

A mechanical approach, used to prevent microbial contamination of the product, is based on the “tip seal technology”, a specifically developed outlet valve technology, and sterile filtration of the venting air.

Describing the functioning of the OSD, Aptar said: “The system is primed by squeezing the bottle until the first drop is delivered. During the actuation process (squeezing the bottle) the pressure within the system rises and the liquid is forced through the liquid channel into the space between spray pin and applicator. As soon as the liquid pressure exceeds the valve spring force of the tip seal, the central part of the spray pin is forced backwards and the orifice opens and liquid is dispensed.”

It added that the outer geometry of the orifice allows the product to form and deliver a drop. “The tip seal outlet valve closes immediately with an outward movement when the pressure drops below a defined threshold. This function is self-regulating and prevents any backflow into the system and thus potential microbial contamination,” said Aptar.