From pharmaceutical niche product to established coating technology for the beverage industry

Plasmax portfolio continuously expanded

“Eckes-Granini saw the opportunities rather than the possible snags and was open to new developments and processes. We mustn’t forget that to start with this was new territory for all involved,” Konrad explains. Both parties profited from what was learned during the intensive partnership, helping to optimize innovative processes with regard to practical use and come up with totally new solutions. In this way Plasmax has steadily expanded its range of products over the years. The machine manufacturer now supplies not just its standard coating machine and the InnoPET FreshSafe block but also a Plasmax 2Q/4Q for the low-performance range and an InnoPET FreshSafe TriBlock with a stretch blow molder and filler/capper combination which can produce up to 48,000 bottles an hour. “FreshSafe PET combines perfect product protection with sustainable recyclability. At the same time costs can be cut by saving on PET material. This gives us unbeatable arguments for this style of food and beverage packaging,” smiles Kempa.

The company’s success corroborates this: the interest shown by the beverage industry in FreshSafe PET and other KHS PET technologies is on the increase because they are sustainable, believes Konrad. In order to perfectly meet the growing demand from the market, in 2016 production capacities at the Hamburg production site were increased. One major global soft drinks producer, among other clients, is now relying on FreshSafe PET for its bottling operations at its plants in Asia and North America. “Together with this beverage bottler we’ve managed to apply all of the advantages of our Plasmax system. We’ve been able to achieve this positive result because all of the main issues – from preform and bottle design to the customer’s production options – were integrated into our search for the optimum solution. This was the breakthrough for us in the beverage sector,” Konrad exclaims.

Key factor for environmental protection

Several factors play a role when a customer makes his or her decision to buy. With FreshSafe PET no unwanted substances enter the product from the outside, for instance – and valuable ingredients such as vitamins cannot escape. Thanks to Plasmax barrier technology sensitive and carbonated beverages also keep up to ten times longer than in the conventional PET bottle. This is a key factor, especially for bottlers whose products have to travel long distances. Furthermore, the wafer-thin layer of glass reliably protects sensitive products against loss of freshness and quality, thus making a considerable contribution to the protection of the environment. “The more reliable the product protection, the lower the amount of food wasted,” says Konrad. This barrier technology is also suitable for coating PET bottles made of recyclate (rPET) and for biodegradable containers.

Kempa and Konrad believe that the key factor for environmental protection is not just weight reduction but also the full recyclability of FreshSafe PET. By avoiding the use of different material components this coating technology enables the PET material to be collected by type and thus containers to be fully recycled. This has been confirmed by a number of independent international experts and trade associations such as the APR  and EBPB , among others. In the face of the growing demand across the globe for clean recycling systems this is a crucial aspect, claims Kempa. “Customers and the public are increasingly calling for environmentally-friendly packaging systems; a product is only successful when it solves a relevant problem. With FreshSafe PET we’ve created an environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient system which combines sustainability with the best possible product protection.”

Less use of materials cuts costs

In addition to environmental aspects and the protection of the product economy is also important. By using KHS technology bottles weigh less than those which contain additives, in turn cutting down on the amount of material required and thus saving on costs. Moreover, bottlers can also switch to using less expensive standard PET preforms, again reducing the cost per bottle. 

“All of these factors have helped FreshSafe PET evolve from a mere vision to a popular and sustainable form of packaging,” enthuses Kempa. “And we’re convinced that the success of this product is set to continue for some time yet. We expect that in the future environmentally-friendly packaging will be inextricably linked to our responsibility to further reduce our carbon footprint. KHS is contributing by having less food go to waste as it’s packaged in an optimized type of container.”


PET packaging solutions and stretch blow molding technology