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Spectra have reported an increase in customers taking advantage of EBM (Extrusion Blow Moulding) packaging for their products.

Recent figures reveal rising numbers of customers are turning to extrusion blow moulding for more complex shapes for their product packs according to Darren Curtis, Development Manager at Spectra.

He said, “Extrusion blow moulding offers so many different possibilities for brands looking for creative ways for a point of difference. Both flexible and incredibly versatile, the process is hugely attractive to customers looking for more elaborate designs for their bottles”.

Indeed, extrusion blow moulding provides customers with excellent opportunities to achieve striking results. For example, sharper corner tolerances or punched holes can be achieved, enabling unique complex irregular designs. However, customers don’t have to have custom tooling to achieve these results, they can also take advantage of Spectra’s huge range of interesting existing extrusion blow moulded standards.

Another benefit of extrusion blow moulded bottles is they can be produced in a variety of plastics. These include PE (Polyethylene), PP (Polypropylene), PETG / PCTG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) and MDPE (Medium Density Polyethylene).

Spectra's extrusion blow moulded bottles are also available in environmentally friendly plastics and are ideal for brands with sustainable requirements.

PCR (Post Consumer Recycled) is very popular with customers because they can decide what strength of recycled materials, from 5% up to 100%, are best suited for their packs. Spectra can also provide biopolymer materials, which have the added bonus of not showing any difference in performance or appearance to conventional polymers.

Darren went on to say, “The opportunity to use a number of materials offers genuine versatility. What’s more, in some cases the same mould can be used for more than one specific plastic which offers added flexibility”.

He went on to point out another EBM benefit, “Extrusion blow moulding also allows different neck moulds to interchange. This means customers can use differing neck fitments on the same bottle mould to provide a fully customisable packaging solution, all without the need for a completely new mould each time which can prove cost prohibitive”.

As well as the flexibility to utilise different materials, extrusion blow moulded packs can also be co-extruded, meaning the wall of the pack can be made up of different layers of plastics. This is something Spectra utilise to provide a decorative finish that would otherwise be unachievable or simply too expensive to manufacture in a single layer.

Co-extrusion provides a number of interesting opportunities, such as having a HDPE inner layer with a 'Soft touch' outer layer for a bottle that is very tactile. Conversely, customers can enjoy a HDPE inner layer with a 'Super high gloss' outer layer for a very high quality, gloss finish.

Darren went on to say, “In many ways, extrusion blow moulding ticks all the boxes for customers looking for a bottle design with a choice of finishes and materials for their product packaging. However, should they need help to ensure they choose the most appropriate path, our in-house experts are on hand to advise customers on the most suitable manufacturing process”.

EBM (Extrusion Blow Moulding) explained

Extrusion blow moulding is the process of manufacturing hollow plastic bottles by melting plastic resin and extruding a tube which is then clamped inside 2 halves of a water cooled mould. When the tube of molten plastic is in the mould it is then inflated using pressurised air to the shape of the mould. While inside the mould, the plastic will freeze off to the shape as it is forced against the inside of the mould. The mould will then open releasing the bottle so that the process can be repeated.