In the Netherlands Heineken recently introduced for its brands Heineken and Amstel “Tapje”, a light and user-friendly home beer tapping packaging made of the plastic PET. “Tapje” is handy, fits easily in the refrigerator and beer enthusiasts do not need a separate appliance as was the case for BeerTender. “Tapje” is chilled within ten hours in the refrigerator while a chill pack cools the beer within one hour.

It is not just some beer packaging, but a unique product with a presence of its own as an innovative image carrier for Heineken and Amstel. It can be carried comfortably, is easily made ready for use and especially suitable for special occasions, like a party or barbecue.

Not only the brand image and ease of use were important starting points for the development, but also efficient assembly, the resistance to pressure of the keg and a minimal use of material were of great importance. This new home tapping keg is 50% lighter than the steel Draughtkeg, which it will replace over time.

BPO contributed to this project with several activities. At the start the emphasis was on the feasibility and technical development of the most challenging part of the product: the PET-keg. The keg must not only have a relatively large content volume, but also resist the high pressure the carbon dioxide in the beer can build up. Besides, material properties like oxygen and carbon dioxide permeability are of crucial importance, because the beer requires a long shelf life.

The shape of the keg has been optimised to have as little deformation as possible, while using as little material as possible. Many different shapes have been analysed and optimised using FEMcalculations. A couple of variants have been made and tested in practice, until the final design best combined the strength and stiffness requirements with the required look of the product.

BPO has subsequently engineered the other parts of “Tapje” to reliable and easy to produce plastic parts. BPO also made all the part and assembly drawings for Heineken. The launch of “Tapje” in the Netherlands is the start of a worldwide introduction for different brands of the Heineken portfolio. For more information see www.heineken.com.

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