Food packaging: options open up for in-line forming and sealing of cup lids

By Paul Gander

- Last updated on GMT

Yogurt lids can be formed in-line
Yogurt lids can be formed in-line

Related tags: Packaging

New options have opened up for dairy and other cup-and-lid combination products with the introduction of a system that thermoforms a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) snap-shut lid in-line with cup forming, filling and sealing (FFS), avoiding the need for sealed film lidding and overcaps.

The line, developed by Barry Wehmiller company Synerlink and based on Arcil FFS technology, won an Oscar de l’Emballage prize in November.

According to spokeswoman Dominique Bouchet, the novel SnapLid system currently runs with a PET/polyethylene (PE) laminate, but the company is working on an all-PET version. Polystyrene (PS)/PE laminates will also run on the line.

Benefits include the fact that, for multi-serve products, there is no need for a two-stage closing process where film or foil lidding is heat-sealed and an overcap applied.

Tamper-evident shrink sleeves

For dips, for example, it can also replace the common combination of snap-on lidding and tamper-evident shrink sleeves. Both cup and lid can be printed, with a pull tab for easy opening.

Synerlink chief executive Eric Lesbats said: “We devoted two years of research and development to adapting the SnapLid concept to work with the type of film popular in the food packaging industry today.”

The company added that its greatest challenge was to develop laminates that could retain high-quality print throughout the thermoforming process while also sealing in one second. The system can also be used with in-mould labelling.

The ‘ultra-clean’ cups produced by the process are formed contiguously, without the need for a scrap grid, at output rates of up to 30 cycles a minute. Pack sizes on the production line can range from just 10g to 1kg.

In addition to dairy, Synerlink said the system would work well for spreads and dips, as well as dry products.

The company has a demonstration line running at its plant located outside Paris.

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