Incap has created a new cap that dispenses ingredients into the beverage
Consumers are being given the opportunity to mix their own drink with the launch of a novel new cap design.
Developed and patented by Hong Kong-based Incap Ltd, the new twist-off style holds and then dispenses either dry or liquid ingredients into a PET bottle containing still or carbonated water.
The product is designed to cater for an emerging market trend for beverages enriched with vitamins, minerals or probiotics, where dry or liquid additives are stored in a separate chamber within the cap, eliminating the need for preservatives and extending the shelf life of the beverage itself. The user simply twists the cap to release the additive, triggering the mixing procedure when the product is ready for consumption.
“A beverage is so much more interesting if consumers can prepare their very own special drink. Consumers using our product feel that they are contributing to their health and wellbeing. They also regard this cap as a fun novelty item, as these caps allow them to add the ingredients themselves and watch them dissolve in their beverage,” commented Co-Owner and European Director of Incap, Axel Hauck.
For beverage manufacturers, Hauck says the cap offers a host of new product and growth opportunities. Liquid or granule additives can be stored within the cap, and these can be mixed with cool, hot, still or carbonised bottled beverages. Because the bottom of the cap is hermetically sealed, it can be sold alongside the beverage or as a standalone refill product. “Athletes can conveniently carry their additives in their gym bags, children can mix in apple or orange flavours while travelling – there is no end to the creative potential of this innovative product,” Hauck added.
German company, Horst Hähl, took on the development of the prototype mould, whilst Dutch plastics specialist, Teamplast, provided input to optimise the manufacturing process. Precision and repeatability trials were conducted on an eight-cavity all-electric IntElect injection moulding machine from Sumitomo (SHI) Demag.
Featuring wall-thickness levels of less than one millimetre and an extremely complex geometry, the cap has to withstand high pressure and different temperatures. The sealing properties of the cap membrane must not be jeopardised, particularly when carbonised beverages or hot liquids are being bottled.
“Mould optimisation trials quickly revealed that the production of Incap dispensing caps required maximum precision in terms of dimensional stability and geometry of the carrier components,” explained Jürgen Mangold, Managing Director of Horst Hähl. “To guarantee the process safety and meet the product’s exacting precision and repeatability requirement, an all-electric IntElect machine from Sumitomo (SHI) Demag was used throughout the trials.”
The companies worked closely throughout all stages of development to produce a mould for large-scale production, and the caps are now being produced at the Dutch Teamplast facility.