Product and packaging differentiation are fundamental to success in the consumer food and beverage market, but the traditional beverage can market had seen few innovations in the past several years. A recent technology breakthrough enabled XOLUTION GmbH (Munich, Germany) to change the landscape entirely.
XOLUTION, a design and development company, created the XO resealable can closure. It’s simple to use: consumers lift a pull tab similar to traditional can closures, breaking a tamper-evident band. Users then push the XO Slider to the open position. To reseal, they just reverse the process and push the tab to “seal” the can. This deceptively simple innovation met established consumer demands for convenience and portability, but could also be processed on existing filling lines.
Market studies show that consumers will accept a higher price point for a resealable can, and that the XO closure can be expected to generate significant market demand in the 16–28 year old age group. Beyond these benefits, the new design is compatible with existing production facilities. Bottling companies can even process traditional and resealable cans simultaneously on the same filling line without any issues.
XOLUTION needed a supplier that could help them identify the best material for the application – one that would meet performance and food-contact regulation requirements. In addition, XOLUTION wanted a supplier that could provide the same material locally in the EU, US, and other potential markets, such as Asia or South America.
XOLUTION turned to PolyOne for help. After analyzing the application requirements, the PolyOne team developed a customized GLS™ themoplastic elastomer (TPE) material for cold-fill applications that maintains an internal pressure of up to 6 bar and adds no taste or odor. The material also provides excellent adhesion and good flow properties for use in two-component (2K) molding.
The design includes complicated geometries that are challenging to fill, so the material also flows easily to fully fill the part. In addition, the custom formulation is dimensionally stable and provides the high levels of compression set and mechanical performance needed to maintain the seal during transportation or storage at extreme temperatures and over long time periods. As required, the material complies with EU 10/2011 and US food-contact regulations.
Using the custom-formulated GLS material, XOLUTION produced an innovative beverage can closure. The new formulation provided the following benefits: