Everything for PET: the entire cycle from a single source

Can plastic packages be sustainable? A question that Krones repeatedly encounters. Our answer is: yes, they can – if they are resource-economically produced and kept in a closed cycle. Both these things are possible with Krones’ technology and services. From material-minimised package design and energy-economical container production all the way through to the recycling of used plastics: we offer PET bottles and other packages an opportunity for a sustainable, eco-compatible life – not just once, but again and again.

Holistic package recycling

One of the key elements in Krones’ plastics cycle – and thus also one of the keynote themes at the K 2019 – is the MetaPure recycling systems. They are already being used to recycle between 150,000 and 200,000 tons of PET bottles a year. Depending on customer demand, this is done in different material qualities all the way up to food-grade PET. Because our R&D people pursue a holistic approach, they are successively extending the technology to cover other types of plastic. The clearly defined goal is to recycle entire beverage bottles and other plastic packages, including all the materials contained in them. The MetaPure W washing modules can already be used today for processing not only PET, but also polyolefins (PO) – adopting an upcycling approach for high-quality re-use. The pre-washing component of the module will be on show at the K 2019, where it will even allow a view of its internals.

In border to equip our clients with application-tailored turnkey factories, we are also working closely together with Stadler Anlagenbau GmbH. The company ranks among the market leaders in the field of sorting systems, and has already sold more than 350 turnkey systems and 2,000 individual components worldwide. Experts from both of these Krones cooperation partners will be on Krones stand at the fair, and will be pleased to talk to you about the specific synergetic effects and overall solutions created by this collaboration.

Fast, energy-economical container production

Handling preforms with a recyclate content of up to 100 per cent? Not a problem with the Contiform stretch blow-moulding machines. The high-speed version of the series, the Contiform 3 Speed, is represented at K 2019 by a blow-moulding station. With a station output of up to 2,750 containers per hour, it produces application-tailored packages for still water, CSDs and sensitive products. Like all machines of the Contiform series, it has been designed for high energy/media-efficiency, undercutting by up to 15 per cent the already very low power and compressed-air consumption of the Contiform 3 Pro.

Direct printing as part of the cycle

High-quality printing on recycled containers, and complete recycling of imprinted containers: Krones’ subsidiary Dekron will be showing live at the fair how even digital container dress can be integrated into the recycling flow of PET: with a laboratory machine that is based on the technology of the DecoType Select direct printing machine. On the stand at the fair, this will be printing on containers made 100 per cent of rPET – and which nonetheless are not lost to the circular economy: as the APR, the American Association of Plastic Recyclers, had already certified last year, the ink used can be removed in its entirety from the PET in the recycling process. For users of this technology, direct printing provides more freedom for package design. Firstly, the high colour brilliance and the imprintability of reliefs and structures create attractively striking combinations of visual and haptic appeal. Secondly, motifs can be changed literally at the touch of a button, and new or even daily updated marketing strategies thus implemented in next to no time.

New technology for preforms

In the shape of MHT Mold & Hotrunner Technology AG, we are bringing another subsidiary on board in Düsseldorf. The company has been part of the Krones family since 2018, and specialises in manufacturing PET tools and post-treatment systems for preform production. Its sophisticated high-tech injection-moulding tools image all preform designs and threads. They are suitable for almost all known machine platforms. MHT will be showcasing the latest success from the in-house innovation incubator both in the Krones pavilion and on its own stand (Number C42 in Hall 1): one of the exhibits is an innovative hot-channel technology that achieves superlative results even with a flakes content of over 70 per cent rPET, excelling not least in terms of special homogeneous temperature of the melt and natural balancing.

Eco-friendly, resource-economical container design

The ideal package scores highly through every stage of its life-cycle: both at the point of sale and in the production process, during transportation and ultimately at recovery. This is why at Krones the development of bottle design and machine technology go hand in hand. Only when both these aspects complement each other can the best solutions be implemented – for producers, consumers and the natural environment alike. Krones’ packaging designers optimise existing designs in terms of weight, haptics and line efficiency. And they posses profound expertise on the ecological and economic requirements involved, like choice of material, recyclability or weight optimisation. The results and benefits can be verified at the fair directly at the object itself – exemplified by a selection of current design studies and clients’ projects. These also include Flip Lid: an entirely innovative packaging system jointly developed by Krones and Aptar. Because it lastingly links the lid to the bottle, it prevents the lids from entering the natural environment, while ensuring that beverage bottles are recovered in their entirety.