Reduce the Severity of Scuffing and Etching on Returnable Glass Bottles

Remove bottle etching Remove bottle etching
Apr 14, 2023

Do your returnable bottles look worn out with scuff rings and etching? Learn how to preserve their aesthetic appearance for much longer and extend bottle lifetime by up to 50% 


Scuff marks and etchings on bottles can mean that consumers switch to competition and purchase products in a more visibly appealing packaging. These impairments result from recurring physical processes like washing and transportation, compromising the longevity of returnable bottles. Below we explain how you can prolong the aesthetic appearance of your bottles and use them for 50+ cycles with Diversey's world-leading bottle coating solution DivoMask. In a free expert meeting, we evaluate your individual challenges and provide insights about your potential revenue and brand protection, plus cost savings.


Why scuff marks and etchings on your bottles can drive consumers away from buying your brand's image at the point of sale


Returnable bottles are subject to physical processes and susceptible to damage, including during the washing cycle and the conveyor belt transportation that follows. Routine exposure to high temperatures and harsh chemicals begins the process of corrosion. 


Gradually, bottles develop very noticeable scuff rings – typically at two points just below the neck and on the bottle’s base. Bottles rub together or create friction in contact with the guide rails of the filling and packaging system, as well as in transportation.


Glaze removal accelerates scuffing on each subsequent refill cycle. The more you use the bottles, the more you accelerate the deterioration of their appearance. Accepting a trade-off in the look of your bottles can result in brand damage and loss of revenue as a looming risk, which has been a drawback of returnable systems to date. 


Find out more below, or get in touch with us now for further information.


How you can extend the life of your bottle fleet by up to 50%?


When bottles reach an etching degradation threshold, they are removed from the fleet and sent for cullet. This process typically occurs after the bottle has taken 20 trips to and from the market. By increasing the number of trips, you can maximize the return on investment in your bottle fleet. That's why you need to ensure that your bottles keep their appealing look as long as possible. With Diversey's complete bottle maskant system, DivoMask, the number of trips can be increased by up to - and in some cases exceed - 50 cycles. The protection solution delivers a high shine, quick drying, and non-sticky coating. 


It has long been recognized by both marketers and behavioural scientists that colour and aesthetic appearance are intrinsic in influencing purchase decisions, especially in fast-moving consumer goods categories such as beer and beverages. The intersection of science and design is beautifully represented on the dress of the bottle to stimulate an emotional response from the buyer.


Research conducted by WestRock (below), the 2nd largest American packaging company, found that “aesthetics are the primary driver impacting consumers’ decisions to try something new, buy something again or switch brands”. 81% of respondents reported trying something new because the packaging caught their eye. 

aesthetic appearance impact


Similarly, studies carried out by Nielsen in 2016 (below) and 2018 asked ‘What makes a product premium?’. In both years of the study, a superior style or design ranked 3rd in importance. Furthermore, their 2016 report states that “packaging helps brands get noticed and can significantly elevate perceptions of a product…. Visual cues can signal that a product is premium.”

premium product


How you can make your returnable bottles stand out and look luminous?


In markets using the returnable and refillable glass bottle format, seeing white scuff marks is embedded in the consumer’s expectation of how the bottle will look. With concerns around glass shortages resulting in bottles destined for cull being reused more times than expected, scuff marks are even more visible and could be sending negative signals to the buyer at the point of purchase. Using effective bottle washer chemistry and a coating maskant like DivoMask can help disguise the severity of the etching and leave the bottle looking luminous.


DivoMask meets demanding industry requirements for masking technology, exceeding required industry parameters. These include a freeze-thaw test to ensure the maskant is not affected by the transition from chilled to ambient temperatures. A 48-hour ice challenge ensures the coating remains when the bottle is submerged in iced water for that period. The drying time meets production packaging requirements and the coverage of the maskant and its ability to cover scuffs is superior. 


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Extremely economical: Masking 1 bottle costs significantly less than the equivalent replacement cost


So, how does it work? After bottles are filled and labelled, they pass through an application spray that is tailored to the specific factors influencing the packaging line such as water quality, temperature, humidity, type of labels etc. Measuring the ‘whiteness’ of the scuffing pre- and post-masking shows it is significantly reduced with DivoMask and therefore could be utilized as a point of differentiation alongside other subliminal visuals.


The application system is designed to be retrofitted without significant line alterations, providing consistent dilution, and avoiding additional cost and downtime. In addition, DivoMask is extremely economical, with the cost of masking one bottle significantly less than the replacement cost. These would be the first steps to improve the appearance of your returnable bottles significantly.


We would start with a production line audit and take measurements on-site, such as the current bottle rejection rate, and determine with your team a measurement of acceptable scuffing in terms of light units. Measurements are taken from bottles straight off the production line, after warehousing and after an ice-bath test to demonstrate the effectiveness of the maskant at the point at which the bottles enter the market.


Divobrite Defend, our next generation Bottlewasher additive, can be dosed through existing equipment. We monitor dosing during the initial set-up and optimize to achieve the optimum level of protection for your bottle fleet.


For DivoMask masking technology, we will review any existing application equipment and aim to adjust it to apply our masking technology. Alternatively, we would install non-invasive maskant equipment. The stand-alone system is placed over a single-lane section of conveyor and is fully adjustable to ensure that the spray nozzle and air blade system deliver the optimum application for your line and bottle design. 


Get in touch for a free expert consultation with no obligation. We will describe:


  • Potential benefits your company will receive from implementing Diversey BottleCare
  • How to get the most out of best practice approaches 
  • What your journey might typically look like if you decide to work with us
  • Why we are the perfect partner for your challenge