Studies on antimony trioxide, the heavy metal catalyst often used in the production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), have long demonstrated the relative safety of the catalyst. Its migration into food and beverages packaged in PET occurs--when it does occur--at very low levels. Unfortunately, though, it is a suspected carcinogen. So when UK-based Catalytic Technologies Ltd. (CTL; Stockton-on-Tees) launched its cutting-edge titanium catalyst technology specifically developed for the industrial production of PET polyester, major industry players around the world stood in line to test it out.
Established in late 2010, CTL launched its patent-pending UP catalyst technology platform in 2013. According to the company, the technology allows catalysts with unique chemical composition to be produced that eliminate undesired side reactions in this application.
In addition to eliminating antimony oxide, the new catalyst offers a range of other benefits. These include high polymer thermal stability, improved brightness and clarity owing to lower impurity content, a significant net reduction in the overall process energy required to produce plastic packaging and, most significantly, lighter bottles without compromising on bottle strength.