In order to create true circularity in food packaging a common and sustainable path is fundamental. A majority of present solutions in thermoformed packaging are designed for a linear economy. The concept of the ECOTRAY represents the ideal packaging of the future.
20 years ago PET Bottle to Bottle recycling was facing a rudimental challenge to be overcome. Today we are facing similar challenges in the context of Tray to Tray recycling: maximum recycled content, intrinsic viscosity, transparency and mono Material solutions.
Maximum recycled content:
Recycled content is a twofold term in thermoforming business. Two aspects of recycled content need to be seen as reality of the industry and accordingly considered. A maximum of post consumer bottle/tray content of 2/3 and 1/3 post industrial regrind/skeleton from thermoforming process needs to be reused in the closest possible loop, ideally recyled in-house.
iV of post consumer tray material will be considerably lower compared to bottles. The difference is expected to be 10 to 12 points, for example 0,72 for PCR bottles and 0,6 for PCR trays. The consequence is that iV increase of post consumer material will become mandatory in the sheet extrusion process in order to keep final iV of sheet and final thermoformed packaging on an acceptable level above 0,6. Besides iV increase in advance of the extrusion process, the iV loss during extrusion needs to minimized.
Only with a transparent type of packaging 100% recyclability can be considered. As seen in the PET bottle market, colored packaging is determined to be downcycled in recycling loops.
Materials which are affecting the recycling stream in a negative way or even hinder recyclability need to be eliminated or replaced with proper alternatives and different approaches. PE laminated on PET trays for sealing purpose needs a replacement. Additionally lidding films with PE and EVOH need design fit for recycling streams. A good example is the principle of bottle caps which are made of PP or HDPE in order to assure separation in recycling plants.
Future proof solutions need intelligence on different levels. Plant level intelligence is reflected in a modular plant concept that contains configurations for any type of application. The Focus in the context of plant level is effectivity – doing the right things.
Machine intelligence is reflected in highest usability of the extrusion line providing unique features. This results in a maximum of efficiency in production – doing things in the right way.
Efficiency in that context means, minimized production losses, energy savings and shortest changeover times for a highly flexible production.
Extrusion Controlunique control loop of dosing, extruder & melt pump
autoGAGEthickness change within seconds, perfect average thickness
autoDIEperfect thickness profile from left to right due to automatic bolt control
autoGAPautomatically controlled Rollstack for highest optical appearance and stressless sheet
autoSTARTone button to start line from dosing to winder
viscoLYZERanalyze, visualize, optimize. Full transparency and control of production process