One thing is certain: how the human race deals with packages and recyclables will have to change significantly in the future – away from resource consumption and towards a sustainable circular economy. Whereas this idea is only just beginning to gain wider acceptance, the people at Krones are already several steps ahead. Because the technology conglomerate’s solutions are already taking effect way beyond the first cycle. Why? Because they retain packaging plastics in a closed cycle. Non-returnable products like PET bottles are thus given a chance for a sustainable and eco-compatible life – and this not only once, but again and again. For the subsequent path of the preform to a ready-for-sale product, all the way through to recycling of the used bottles, Krones’ portfolio includes a whole bandwidth of fit-for-purpose technical solutions.
Krones’ MetaPure systems are already being used for recycling millions of PET bottles – depending on the requirements involved, in different material qualities all the way through to food-grade PET. And because the company pursues a holistic approach, it is progressively expanding its technology to cover additional types of plastic. For instance, the MetaPure washing module can already be used for processing not only PET, but polyolefins (PO) as well.
The food-grade PET can be injection-moulded again to create preforms for beverage bottles. On the basis of its innovative hot-channel technology developed in-house, the Krones subsidiary MHT offers for this purpose a performatively enhanced high-tech injection-moulding tool that achieves outstanding results even with a flakes content of over 70 per cent rPET.
But can the preforms with a recyclate content be handled even without any additional features? With the Contiform stretch blow-moulding machines, this is not a problem: and all this at high speed too. Because the Contiform 3 Speed can achieve production outputs of up to 2,750 bottles per cavity and hour. And its energy and compressed-air consumption is another 15 per cent less than the already-very-low figure achieved by the Contiform 3 Pro.
For decorating the containers, the appropriate choice is the DecoType Select direct printing system, which provides high colour brilliance even on rPET. The material cycle is not interrupted, since the USA’s Association of Plastic Recyclers has confirmed that the ink can be completely removed during the recycling process.
Simple and profitable in practice: Krones’ solutions for a closed plastics cycle