The calls for environmentally-friendly packaging are growing louder. With its current project, the KHS Group is again addressing precisely this issue – together with traditional Martens Brewery in Belgium, the turnkey supplier has made the portfolio for a German discounter more sustainable. Karlskrone beer is now to be sold as a film-free KHS Nature MultiPack of six – in redesigned 0.5-liter PET bottles made entirely of recyclate. FreshSafe PET, the patented KHS Plasmax coating process, also offers optimum product protection and long shelf life. The collaboration with Belgian partner Martens Brewery saves up to 90% in packaging with dots of adhesive instead of plastic film to form a stable yet easy-to-separate pack.
As part of its sustainability strategy, one of the goals the German discounter has set itself is to use 30% less packaging material for its brands by 2025, for example, by doing away with shrink film. Moreover, recyclable packaging is to be introduced in this segment by 2022. The KHS Group and Martens Brewery have played a significant role in the first step in the switch to a sustainable portfolio. The brewery and Dortmund engineering company have been working closely together on the development and establishment of disruptive technologies for decades.
“We enjoy a long, strategic partnership based on mutual trust. Our current project is sending out an important message,” says brewery boss Jan Martens. “The development of this ecofriendly packaging shows that with the commitment of all those involved sustainable systems can be successfully established on the market,” adds Edgar-George Petsche, head of Market Zone Europe CIS at KHS.
Packaging module added to existing PET line
Martens fills its beverages on several KHS machines – into cans, glass bottles, and – as in this case – PET. According to KHS, the two companies’ many years of partnership has facilitated the quick market launch of the new style of packaging. The brewery invested, among other things, in an InnoPET Blomax stretch blow molder and an InnoPET Plasmax that coats the insides of the bottles with a wafer-thin film of chemically pure glass. A Nature MultiPack machine has now extended the existing line.
Lightweighting and lower CO2 emissions
The adhesive uses just 1.5 g, as compared to conventional film’s 7.5 g, KHS highlights. Furthermore, its new technology slashes CO2 emissions by 70% concerning the overall eco-balance. The beverage producer saves up to 67% in energy during production compared to shrink wrapping the containers in the film as the material does not have to be heated.
“The entire production process is significant here – from the manufacture of the film through sales to disposal.” With the new pack, Martens also does without trays. This saves raw materials such as paper and cardboard without impacting the pack’s stability. Should bottlers and retailers require, however, trays can be easily incorporated into the process.
New generation with increased capacity
Up to 40,000 PET bottles can be processed every hour by Martens as Nature MultiPacks. Although the modular machine design allows bottles to continue to be wrapped in film, Petsche sees economic benefits for bottlers if they switch their portfolios over. “As fewer raw materials are used, investing in the NMP system pays off in less than three years.” KHS is also set to launch a new generation of Nature MultiPacks machines to market this year for the high-capacity range of up to 108,000 containers per hour.
After Evian and Carlsberg, the Belgian brewery joins a growing list of partners embracing KHS’ technology. “We see ourselves as visionaries and technological pioneers,” Jan Martens smiles. “Opting for this system is also an investment in the protection of the environment.”
In addition to using Nature MultiPack and FreshSafe PET, those responsible at the company have also consciously gone for a fully recyclable bottle made of 100% rPET, even though virgin PET is less expensive. “For all of the stakeholders in the industry – from retailer to bottler – the issues of sustainability and recyclability are becoming ever more important with respect to both primary and secondary packaging. Together with KHS we provide suitable systems in the endeavor to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic,” he concludes.