Vitalis, a major Portuguese bottled water brand, has produced a new bottle that is lighter than traditional polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles while also providing a strong brand identity.In 2009, Unicer, Vitalis' brand owner, challenged Logoplaste Innovation Lab to create a new range of PET bottles with an exclusive design that would reduce Unicer's environmental impact while enhancing its emotional link with consumers. The goal was to develop the lightest PET water bottle on the market that would still fit existing industrial filling lines.
The new range of 100% recyclable PET bottles (33cl, 50cl and 1.5L) were released in the spring of 2010. Unicer estimates that the new design has reduced total raw material use by 7%, enabling savings of 250 tons of raw material per year.Unicer now exports Vitalis to a wide range number of regions in Western Europe, Africa, Latin America, United States, and Canada. The new bottles play an active role in the consolidation of both brand identity and sustainability strategies of Vitalis.
The Logoplaste Innovation Lab team conducted biomimicry research looking for alternative and more effective and sustainable solutions in nature. AskNature was a source of information that enabled Logoplaste to speed up its research process. From several potential solutions analyzed, one stood out as being the most inspirational and effective: the spiral growth principle of the fibers of some pine trees.Based on the natural model of spiral growth, the team developed a new design for the structure of the bottle's main body, creating helical structures that make the bottle more durable without adding extra weight. To protect the bottle from pressure under compression, impact, or shear forces, the inclination angles, thickness, and depth of the helical structures vary. They vary according to the amount of vertical and horizontal strength needed at a certain surface curvature of the bottle.Finite Element Analysis simulations demonstrated that the new structures were, in fact, more effective in achieving the reduced weight goal than traditional horizontal structures. In the end, Logoplaste Innovation Lab was able to not only create a new exclusive bottle design, tightly linked to Vitalis' brand values, but simultaneously developed the lightest PET bottle on the market.
The traditional engineering solution to lower the weight of PET bottles is to add horizontal structures that create a rib-like appearance. The more you add, the stronger and lighter the bottle is. But Vitalis' new design accomplished a unique design that distinguishes it from its competitors, building brand recognition. At the same time, Vitalis' bottle can withstand vertical, horizontal, and diagonal loads with minimum material usage.