16 Mar 2018 --- German giants of filling and packaging solutions for the food and beverage industry, KHS, have launched a new lightweight, wide-neck PET container suitable for sauce, dressing and dairy products. The company has cited the growing preference for lightweight plastic over glass containers within the food industry as the inspiration behind the new launch.
Innova Market Insights reports that 58 percent of all globally launched food and beverage products in 2017 were packaged in plastic, a 5 percent increase from 2013, while 96 percent of all newly launched water products in 2017 were packaged in PET bottles.
Frank Haesendonckx, Head of Sales and Technology at KHS, said: “PET has a number of advantages over glass, such as its unbreakability and low weight.” Another plus point is that sensitive products can also be filled into transparent plastic packaging thanks to KHS’ FreshSafe PET coating method. Already tried and tested many times over in the beverage industry, this process finishes the inside of the PET bottle with a wafer-thin layer of pure silicon oxide. “This barrier gives products a shelf-life which is comparable to that of glass,” claims Haesendonckx.
KHS manufactures modern filling and packaging systems for the high capacity range at its headquarters in Dortmund, Germany, and at its factories in Bad Kreuznach, Kleve and Worms. The KHS Group's PET expertise is pooled at KHS Corpoplast in Hamburg, Germany, where innovative PET packaging and coating systems are developed and produced. NMP Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of KHS based in Kleve in Germany, designs and markets new, resource-saving packaging systems for PET bottles.
With the aim of producing the new wide-neck PET containers, KHS developed its InnoPET Blomax stretch blow molder to achieve greater speed, variation and flexibility for PET container filling. “This latest improvement enables preforms measuring up to 70 millimeters in diameter to be processed," says Haesendonckx. The machine is available as a modular design with an output of up to 2,500 PET bottles per hour and station.
The stretch blow molder can also be blocked with other KHS systems in what is seen as a big production advantage. Depending on user requirements, it can be blocked not just with the InnoPET Plasmax for container coating but also with the Innosept Asbofill for the hygienic filling of sensitive products. The new KHS chunk dosing unit for flexible product design, which adds fruit, vegetables or cereals, can also be integrated into the system. “We’re vastly expanding the application options and providing system solutions for new markets,” claims Haesendonckx.
KHS is also extending its Bottles and Shapes program to offer greater distinction in bottle design. In combination with KHS’ Bottles and Shapes bottle design program, the systems supplier will aim to provide all-round service. Together with the customer, KHS develops individual PET containers specifically tailored for functionality. “We offer all producers of food and beverages in PET containers holistic consultancy from the design through technical engineering to production of their PET bottles,” says Haesendonckx. The aim is to produce bottles with a high level of brand recognition which stand out from those of the competition, bottles which can be produced cost effectively through lightweighting and which have a high degree of consumer affinity.
The preferential heating system developed by the KHS Group also ensures optimum material distribution and bottle quality while using less energy in the stretch blow molding process. Very precise neck orientation is possible specific to the application, even in the manufacture of very oval containers, assures Haesendonckx. This creates the best possible synchronization between packaging and line production.
KHS’s innovation towards a greater variation and production speed of its plastic packaging solutions comes during a time of international debate about the health and environmental concerns associated with the material.
FoodIngredientsFirst reported yesterday on new research conducted at the State University of New York, which found concerning levels of microplastics in 11 major bottled water brands. Meanwhile, UK Chancellor, Philip Hammond, recently called for a tax consultation over single-use plastics, after recent pledges from both the UK and French governments to work towards the eradication of "avoidable plastics," and the world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle was opened in Amsterdam in what is regarded as a major victory for environmental campaigners. However, there is a counter-argument within the industry that plastic receives an unwarranted level of criticism in relation to other packaging materials because of the unavoidable visibility of its waste. Plastic suppliers generally point to the recyclability potential of plastics and have pledged to work towards a "circular plastic economy" as defined by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
By Joshua Poole
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