Watch out, corkscrew makers. The connoisseurs may not need you any more. New to the wine packaging industry is MetaCorkTM, a polymer-based twist-to-uncork solution that also guarantees easy storage.
Key to the MetaCork design is the AMODEL® polymer by Solvay Advanced Polymers (http://rbi.ims.ca/4403-511) for the threaded anchor, says Paul Novak, COO of Gardner Technologies Inc. (http://rbi.ims.ca/4403-512), which designs MetaCork. In addition to the threaded anchor, MetaCork consists of a hard plastic capsule with a threaded interior surface, a matching plastic threaded cap, and a natural or synthetic cork fitted with the threaded anchor that is screwed into the cork during the bottling process.
To open a wine bottle, users can simply twist off the foil-finish-looking capsule and push out the cork. To serve, simply spin the capsule back on the bottle and tighten. The capsule can act as a drip-resistant pour feature. For reseal, users can remove the capsule and twist back on the reseal cap, which allows placing the bottle on its side.
MetaCork offers not only a new twist to the wine packaging industry but also to the application potentials of AMODEL, a polyphthalamide (PPA) typically found in automotive, electrical, and industrial uses for its heat resistance, chemical resistance, and low moisture absorption properties. Torque strength and stiffness were the key factors in choosing AMODEL over other polymer for the MetaCork's threaded anchor, Novak says.
According to Patrick Whelan, P.E., Gardner's director of engineering, the threaded anchor is critical to the design of MetaCork since the average breakaway torque required between the anchor and capsule to extract a natural cork is about 14.5 inch-lbs. AMODEL can withstand more than twice that level of torque, he says. "We have a unique product: that's why we had to go to something so strong."
In MetaCork, the AMODEL material used is a 45 percent glass-reinforced grade of PPA resin. Novak says the material has also proven to have the suitable flow characteristics. It is easy to be molded into the threaded anchor and other parts with complicated geometries at temperatures as low as 150F (65C), he adds.
Cost is another factor. Novak says AMODEL allows his company to get more part volume per pound. Despite the higher cost of AMODEL, production is more scalable and cost efficient, Whelan adds.
New Twist: MetaCork, an AMODEL-based
wine packaging solution, makes opening and storage of wine much
easier--just twist off the capsule, push out the cork, and then twist back
on the reseal cap.
So far, customers love the MetaCork design, says Kerry Manahan-Ehlow, citing
research results that show the drip-resistant pour feature of the plastic
capsule is most welcome. Co-owner of Amusant Wines (http://amusantwines.com), the first winery to
use MetaCork, Manahan-Ehlow adds that she also likes the color matching option
"We chose the packaging to match the label for the next release," Manahan-Ehlow says, adding that the decision gives more differentiation to Amusant.
Meanwhile, the brand even has a new slogan—Amusant is better to be twisted than screwed.