Lightweight bottle cans to take off in US?

Lightweight bottle cans could soon be adopted for drink brands in the US market following the launch of new manufacturing technologies. And that means a potentially rich market for aluminium manufacturers who have seen the US beverage can market plateau over the last five years. The new aluminium bottle designs – made possible by the convergence of drinks can manufacturing technology with the necking systems for screw-top closures – are half the weight of those used for specialty brands such as Iron City beer, Molson’s Kick mixer and a limited edition of Budweiser. And that makes them attractive for the new wave of mixer drinks. Coca-Cola launched its Powerade range last year in bottles and is being tipped to roll out its Blak brand in bottles soon. The new technologies that make all these possible are in two tie ups, one between canmaker Rexam and equipment supplier Belvac and another between Exal Corporation, already a leader in bottle can manufacturing, and Italian equipment supplier Frattini. Both projects are expected to result in high-speed aluminium bottle lines being commissioned this year, the first from Exal in July. Lightweight bottle cans originated in Japan five years ago and more than three billion are made there every year.