Plastic Bottle Thread Standards

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Well-engineered threaded plastic bottlecaps protect millions of bottles from leaks and contamination.
Well-engineered threaded plastic bottlecaps protect millions of bottles from leaks and contamination. (Image: monticelllo/iStock/Getty Images)

Standards for plastic bottle neck and cap threads have been established to ensure safety, quality control and performance. While plastic bottles can vary greatly in size and by industry-specific use, certain terms and ratios are consistent in their engineering and manufacturing.

Who Sets the Standard?

Industry standards for plastic bottle threads, among other related manufacturing issues, are established and promoted by industry trade groups such as the Society of the Plastics Industry and the Closure and Container Manufacturers Association.

Standard Terms

Key terms used in discussion of plastic bottle threads are: The height or H dimension, which is the the neck portion of the bottle from the top of the neck to where the neck meets the horizontal shoulder spread of the bottle; the screw or S dimension, which is measured from the end of the bottom thread to the top edge of the first thread, which is what makes the tight connection between the bottle and the cap; the inner diameter of the bottle neck or I dimension for filling and pouring; the thread or T dimension, which is the outer diameter of the thread at their utmost protuberance from the bottle neck; and the E dimension at the narrowest diameter taken at the base of each thread.

Thread Standards

Depending on the size of the bottle neck, thread standards range from between 5 threads per inch and 12 threads per inch.

Benefits

A tightly fitting bottle and cap that are well engineered will protect the bottle contents by keeping them fresh and free from being tampered with and from leakage or spilling, which would not only lose product but damage bottle and products shipped or stored adjacent to them.

Proprietary Thread Design

Most plastic bottles with threaded caps conform to industry standards, which facilitate interchangeability and the production of different bottle components by different manufacturers. Some enterprises, though, custom engineer proprietary thread designs to achieve a specific functional or aesthetic effect.

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