Coca-Cola Europacific Transitions to Tethered Caps and Lighter PET Bottle

Iranpolymer/ Baspar  Large-scale conversion of European PET bottling lines for carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) is underway by Coca-Cola European Partners (CCPET) and Sidel. EU Directive 2019/904 requires that nonreturnable PET bottles up to 3 L size must have tethered caps by July 3, 2024 at the latest. With a large number of PET bottle blowing and filling lines to be converted across the EU, CCEP reportedly was among the first CSD producers to switch to tethered caps, along with a new lighter bottle neck.
Drawing on its long historical partnership with Sidel, CCPE worked with the machine builder to navigate the numerous technical challenges of implementing tethered caps — preforms, caps and OEM equipment modifications — and to introduce a new 1-g lighter neck (GME30.40). Pilot tests with the new bottles were performed on two lines, including one Sidel line in Barcelona, Spain. These tests enabled Sidel and CCEP to assess the new specifications along with the new equipment configuration to ensure optimum efficiency of the converted lines, validate quality requirements of the new necks and enable CCEP to conduct a small-scale market test of the new bottles.
The first line to be converted was completed in April 2022 in Scotland, which produced a 1.5 L bottle, and a second single-serve line was completed at the end of 2022. The first market-test bottles from the pilot line in Barcelona were released in the UK in May 2022. Once pilot tests were finalized in Barcelona, Sidel was engaged to convert all of CCEP’s Sidel lines in Europe. Some conversions required significant development for a change to the tethered cap and new neck, including adaptation of the preform feeder, stretch-blower, capper, cap feeder and labeler. To date, Sidel has converted one-third of CCEP’s European PET bottling lines for CSDs, with final line conversion scheduled to be completed by the end of the first quarter in 2024.


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