Turning craft into art

When you look at the human body, one thing stands out: vital processes need water to run properly. Where would we be without oxygen and nutrients, all of which are transported to our organs by blood? And how could we expect creative ideas to flow unless we kept our brain supplied with liquid refreshment? And that brings us straight to the point: anyone wanting to get through their workday running on peak levels of concentration and mental performance must ensure they drink enough.

This is why the MHT AG company decided to give its staff an added incentive to head over to the water dispenser – by providing them with an extra special bottle, what else? To this end, Krones‘ PET Packaging Development and Consulting joined forces with the preform design team from MHT. The result of such cooperation? The brand-new MHT bottle, sporting an eye-catching design that marries tradition to innovation.

Along the apple-wine road passing via Hochheim am Main

Since the bottle did not need to be designed for line manufacture, the container design team at Krones AG was free to experiment with the bottle shape. The team made its choice from a spectrum ranging from clean shapes with few graphic elements right through to highly sculptured forms.

Decisive for the winning design was that it drew creative inspiration from a centuries-old tradition of the Rhine-Main region – at the heart of which lies Hochheim am Main where MHT AG is headquartered: numerous wine festivals full of culinary delicacies are regularly held here. Apple wine, called “Äbbelwoi” in the dialect of central and south Hesse, is the calling card of these events. Visitors from all over Germany flock to the region to enjoy it. It’s a cherished part of the cultural heritage in the region surrounding MHT AG, which was why the new bottle’s design incorporates some typical elements of the traditional apple wine jug.

With the familiar diamond-shaped pattern on the outside, the jug’s frame ensures a firm grip on the bottle when drinking from it and on a hectic workday helps with accurate positioning beneath the water dispenser. When the dispenser’s button is pressed, the bottle’s wide-neck mouth makes it easy to fill the bottle with fresh water.

The designers didn’t stop there, though – they wanted to exploit the potential of bespoke design even further. Additional design elements were added in the shape of preforms as well as the MHT AG company logo, creating raised tactile structures on the PET bottle’s surface. Such finishing touches make the bottle a real ‘stunner’ both in terms of look and feel.

Designed for continuous use 

Before selecting a PET-type and preform design, the team thought long and hard about what requirements the bottle would have to meet. It is meant to serve the employees for many long years, and therefore has to be dishwasherproof for reasons of hygiene. Moreover, it was important to us to prevent the bottle changing its shape when people drink from it.

The solution: a heavy preform, injection-moulded from a PET hotfill type, and then stretch blow-moulded into a bottle in a heated mould. Thanks to this trick, tensions inside the bottle wall are reduced and heat-induced reshrinking can be minimised.

In conventional dishwashers, dishes and cutlery are cleaned in the main washing cycle at temperatures of around 60 °C to 70 °C. This is one of the prerequisites for activating the degreasing properties of the dishwasher tab. When you look at the molecular structure of PET, it becomes apparent that the material will hold a stable form at temperatures of up to 60 °C.

It was for this reason that a modified hotfill type was chosen, which ensures dimensional stability at relatively high continuous temperatures. Dimensional stability is enhanced still further by reinforcing braces in the bottle’s base and a thick wall throughout the preform. The star-shaped base geometry only has a few beads and edges, which makes it easy to remove any beverage residues. What is a bead? That’s what a groove-shaped recess is called – you will surely have seen them quite often in bottles.

After the bottle is washed, its wide-neck mouth comes in handy again: it means the bottle’s interior will dry quickly so that there are no water residues in it when it is filled again.

A sporty stopper

Once design and materials had been finalised, all that was left to do was choose a stopper. After all, we don’t want dust or dirt getting into the bottle, nor do we want the carbon dioxide to escape. Here, we opted for a sporty, one-piece stopper from the Aptar company called “Uno”, which is made of sturdy polyethylene. This is a flip-top with a high flow rate, which makes it the ideal companion for our MHT bottle.

Every day we are reassured that our decisions about the design and features of the bottle were the right ones: we regularly come across staff with their bottles on their way to the water dispenser. Such a brilliantly conceived design also makes the MHT bottle a perfect gift for customers. From preform design right through to the expert utilization of polyethylene terephthalate, the bottle brings together everything that MHT AG stands for.