MESON Innovation Story
Over a decade ago, a close friend Harry Epstein, then VP of Innovation for the world’s largest supply chain Havi Global Solutions, challenged me with:
Wouldn’t it be great to have a 100% recyclable coffee cup!
Spring-boarding a unique 3D tube-forming technology I had previously innovated, known as the 3D EXFORM Technology, I conceptualised:
- Blow-forming two cups together, both cups integrally attached at their lips
- One cup slightly LARGER and the other “Anti-Cup” slightly SMALLER
- Then, INVERTING the slightly smaller Anti-Cup inside-out to thereby form:
A double-walled cup with integral thermal barrier
formed as a single body
Some weeks after innovating and filing a provisional patent, Harry, who by training is a Physicist, was late one evening enlightening me with sub-atomic particle basics:
He explained that Quarks and Anti-Quarks combine to form Mesons
It was obvious to adopt the name – MESON Technology
Under cover of NDA’s, the concept was shown to two of the world’s largest single service cup makers:
- One responded that the concept “sounded interesting, but the technology had to be proven before they had any further interest”
- The other responded that there was no possible way to make such a cup for anywhere near the weight or cost of a single-walled thermoformed cup, noting that “Your cup would likely be more than twice the weight of our thermoformed cup and therefore totally unviable”
Undeterred, I decided to proceed with the international patent process, and in the event a USA Patent could achieve Grant, I would then personally invest the necessary funds to make working prototypes
- The USPTO Granted the product-based concept of a double-walled cup with integral thermal barrier formed as a single body in May 2016
- Product Patents have also been Granted in China, Mexico and Europe and are in progress in India
- Two process-based patent applications are now underway internationally – one of which has entered National Phase Globally and the other of which is still in the PCT Phase
- “MESON” as a Trademark is also in-progress internationally
As the 3D EXFORM Technology remained in trial phase at the time of USA Grant, it was not suitable as a production platform. The closest alternative process appeared to be stretch-blow moulding.
With the material of choice Polypropylene and in order to address the issue of a double-walled cup potentially having double the weight of existing cups, a wall thickness well under a thermoformed cup had to be targeted.
This determined the need to find a highly experienced stretch-blow moulding resource who could proveably target a PP wall thickness well under 0.3 mm.
As part of our search, an email was sent to Aoki’s Laboratories Executive General Manager, Mariko Nishizawa.
Mariko promptly responded, claiming that using their injection-stretch blow moulding platform, they had a 500 ml PP bottle with an AVERAGE wall thickness of 0.15 mm!
Seeing is believing. I flew to Japan and held one of their PP bottles .
A development agreement was signed the next day.
Based on global supply chain discussions, we prototyped a 16 oz cup format – suitable for hot and cold beverages.
We designed and constructed a single-cell Inverter Station to undertake Anti-cup inversion, using Festo pneumatics, Omron controls with the rest “made in China”.
And the results of our first-off trials?
Cups that do not condensate, comfortably hold piping-hot beverages without a heat-sleeve, are ultra-clear and as a trial starting point only – are approximately 30% heavier than equivalent thermoformed cups.
One Day Shy of a Decade!
On the 1st of November 2016 I had the first-ever drink from a MESON Cup