Talking PET innovation with Polyoak Packaging

Established in 1976, Polyoak Packaging now counts as one of Southern Africa’s leading rigid plastic packaging suppliers, with various divisions specialising in thermoformed, blowmoulded, injection-moulded and compression-moulded plastics packaging for the dairy, food and beverage, and retail sectors. A customer-focused approach combined with leading-edge PET packaging designs have kept it at the top of its game.

The PolyPET division is at the forefront of innovative packaging design, manufacturing PET preforms and containers for many of today’s leading wine, food and beverage manufacturers.

Operating in a highly-competitive market is not for the faint-hearted and MD Jeremy Mackintosh maintains that PolyPET holds its own by addressing consumer needs and leading from the front. “Polypet has shown steady growth and continues to thrive in a tight local market,” he declares. “There’s some churn but customers do appreciate our dedication to quality, service and the fact that we hold reserve capacity and don’t falter during peak season periods.”

“Lightweighting initiatives are the key driver at present as there’s a resistance to cost,” he continues. “Design First, our in-house research, development and design service, has a lot of experience and can optimise new developments through the use of FEA (finite element analysis) software.”

Most recently, he explains, the 1881 Super-shorty 28mm neck finish has been the ‘big thing’, but almost every product has had some weight shaved off. “It’s a sort of Weigh-Less programme that often goes hand-in-hand with a reduction in the outer packaging. It’s good to see how the planet’s resources can be stretched.” 

The 1881 neck finish has created a need for new closures for several juice and soft drink brands and is quickly becoming the industry standard. Two-piece closures are also losing ground to single-piece closures as sealing technology and gas retention improves, he notes.

Proving that it is always one step ahead in the game, Polyoak’s closure division, African Closures, released a 28mm snap-on tamper-evident flip-top squeeze cap to suit the 1881 neck. This nifty closure has proved popular for juices and concentrates and a new pourer version of this cap will soon be available for salad dressings, olive oil and vinegar.

The process of ISO 14001 Environmental Management System compliance is well advanced at Polypet and the Polyoak Packaging group as a whole is an active member of PETCO, that’s 100% focused on promoting and improving the waste management and recycling of post-consumer PET on behalf of all stakeholders.

Several products in Polypet’s extensive range already include rPET content and, despite some practical constraints in terms of application, necessary investments in infrastructure have been made to process the blend cost-effectively.

“Extensive trials have ensured package integrity in terms of product preservation, container clarity and compliance with food safety standards. This is an exciting initiative and is part of our continuous efforts to work closely with customers to make a contribution towards a sustainable future,” comments Wessel Oelofse, Polypet’s regional executive.

“Plastics packaging manufacturers are working hard on their environmental image through the efforts of Plastics|SA and organisations such as PETCO and I’m sure this will continue to bear fruit,” adds Jeremy.

“PET continues to be a material of choice and as rPET qualities and barrier technologies improve, I predict there’ll be exciting PET developments and more glass substitution in the FMCG market,’ concludes Jeremy.

First published in PACKAGiNG & Print Media Magazine, March 2013