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SIPA technology, equipment bring rPET preforms closer to reality

Source:Food Bev Asia

Date Published:8/5/2019 10:08:15 AM

PET expert sees circular economy and recycling trends steering packaging sector

PET specialist SIPA forecasts recycling will be one of the main drivers of the packaging sector in the years ahead, with many packaging manufacturers integrating recycling in their core processes and equipment. The growing trend amongst organisations and companies to shift to a circular economy in response to strengthening call for environmental sustainability practices and corporate social impact will accelerate the pace by which manufacturers will incorporate recycling in their operations. 

Even in Asia, where countries have been slower to adopt closed-loop business models and many companies have yet to invest in long-term recycling strategies, the next few years could show manufacturers taking big steps towards reducing waste and converting it into products again. 

Gianfranco Perricci, SIPA’s regional manager for India and Southeast Asia, emphasised the value of educating people on the importance of and need for recycling. “We have to promote and educate the public about recycling. We need to educate them to collect the waste and that there really is no need to waste because we can convert, for example, a used PET bottle into a T-shirt or any other item. We certainly can utilize it to remake a bottle,” he shared.

Gianfranco Perricci, SIPA’s regional manager for India and Southeast Asia

Gianfranco Perricci, SIPA’s regional manager for India and Southeast Asia pointing to chart about  Xtreme Renew a pregrind decontamination system presented to ProPak Asia visitors

Perricci acknowledges that it is a long-term investment and requires commitment. “Beyond educating the people, we need to work with them closely. For enterprises, we need to find the proper triangle of business where there is a recycler, a consumer and a supplier partner that can provide the kind of solution needed just like from flakes that are not easy to clean to food-approved bottle,” he added. 

Amongst ASEAN countries, SIPA sees the shift to a circular economy gaining traction and recycling increasingly becoming important in the next 10 years. This is despite recycled PET still being more expensive than virgin PET.

“rPET requires all the process of making PET, plus the recycling. You have to clean the bottle, you have to cut and you have to go through the crystallisation process again. It’s a lot of energy and time, which is why it is still very costly,” explained Perricci.

“But that’s where we are going eventually anyway--recycled materials and products. Everybody has already announced that by 2020 and 2022, 30 percent and 40 percent, respectively, of packaging will use recycled materials, and that by 2030, 50 percent or even 100 percent for some customers will use packaging using recycling.  In Japan a Bottler has announced that it wants 100 percent of its packaging products made using recycling,” Perricci said.  

SIPA expects costs to eventually go down as more players embrace the shift and the process becomes less complex. 

New generation of PET equipment   

Equipment that enable manufacturers to reduce waste steer SIPA’s development and marketing priorities for the next few years.

The company’s Xtreme Renew is a pregrind decontamination system that also makes it possible to produce preforms from 100 percent rPET washed flakes in only one thermal cycle.

This technology, the first in the world and co-developed with Austrian recycling technology specialist EREMA, enables a bottle-to-bottle approach that is not only cost-saving but also environment-friendly. It won the WorldStar Packaging Award from the World Packaging Organisation (WPO) earlier this year. 

In addition to using fewer material and cutting logistic costs, the Xtreme Renew saves more energy and has lower TCO than traditional recycling technologies. It produces bottles PET using flakes of post-consumer scrap in a single heat cycle but suitable for use with food and with the same properties of bottles made out of virgin PET.

Perricci said the first commercial application of the Xtreme Renew was in Japan. The equipment was installed in Suntory Beverage & Food Limited, a Japanese brewing and distilling company group, at the end of last year and now produces more than 300 million containers annually.

“We are looking to install the second unit at the end of this year, this time in Kyoei Industry Co. Ltd of Japan, a company that manufactures and sells various plastic pre-consumer and post-consumer materials,” he said.

Kyoei will be the recycler but the preform will be bought and used by Suntory, Perricci added. He said that in the future, the Xtreme Renew can also be used to produce bottle and fill in synchronized systems.  

The Xtreme Renew is suitable for food-grade preforms for a variety of applications, including mineral water, juices, ready-to-drink tea and milk.

For the latest in preform injection moulding technology, SIPA offers the new XFORM GEN4 XP system, which builds on the features and capability of the XFORM 350 and XFORM 500.

The new GEN4 XP can support up to 180 cavity moulders and packs a lot of innovation in the preform system for recycling. It uses the latest servo-driven hydraulic pumps for record-low lock to lock time yet better injection rate. Its fast cycle time and high energy efficiency result in the lowest conversion and maintenance costs in the industry.

For ease of use, the XFORM GEN4 XP comes with HMI with a large 21.5-inch HD touchscreen. Besides the fast response time, operation is made easy with smartphone-like swipe functions and a multifunction control knob that enables one-handed use. These are complemented by the self-setting process setup and troubleshooting tutorial.

The GEN4 XP can also install any generation of legacy tooling with no mould modification, which according to Perricci translates into additional cost-savings for the company. It can be used with different materials—PET, OPP, PLA, rPET and rPET flakes—for making thick-wall and thin-wall preforms for carbonated beverages and lightweight bottles for mineral water and edible oil, respectively. It can also produce preforms for heat set bottles, wide-mouth preforms for jars and long preforms for large containers.

Another innovative technology from SIPA is the XTRA Rotary Blow Moulder, which boasts a high output of bottle per hour per cavity at 2,550 bottles. This translates into fewer blowing moulds and faster size changeover and ultimately overall lower costs, which then leads to up to 25 percent reduction in total cost of ownership.

The XTRA’s active angle of 200 degrees enables a wider active process to ensure plastic bottles are moulded without stress. It uses an open system for easy integration with other machines in the production setup.  

Designed for a wide range of applications, including still and carbonated water, soft drinks, fruit juices, isotonic and sport drinks, functional drinks, tea, milk and milk-based products, edible oil and alcoholic beverages, the XTRA saves energy by 25 percent and is easy to use and maintain.

“It is also flexible in that you can have an upstream defiller and downstream you can have the injection connected together. And with a changeover of 29 seconds for a single cavity, the machine is very fast indeed,” Perricci said.

360-degree custom packaging solution

SIPA also offers flexible, tailored bottling lines for PET for a broad range of applications from mineral water, soft drinks and juices, alcoholic beverages and food products, and milk and dairy products. These line solutions can also be used for making PET bottles for edible oil, sensitive products, personal care products and even household detergents.

Using its expertise in preform and container design and production, SIPA can create turnkey production lines that match customer requirements, in particular in terms of flexibility and efficiency.  Besides studying the structural consideration of the area for installation, SIPA looks into the machines and conveyors that make up the system. It also studies the cost of the individual components and operating flexibility and optimisation of logistic flows. Finally, SIPA prioritises reduced TCO and impact on the environment when designing a line.

Perricci said SIPA has sold one complete line solution to the Filipino-owned Philippine Bottling Beverage for its mineral water product, Banahaw Spring Purified Water. The line has an output of 13,000 bottles per hour.

SIPA has also partnered with Universal Robina Corporation, one of the largest branded consumer food and beverage product companies in the Philippines. To meet the latter’s container weight reduction program, SIPA provided URC with seven systems designed and optimised for hot fill and light weight. The systems are equipped with a storage silo, bottle aligning device and air conveyors, hot filling monoblock, caps sterilisation area, cooling tunnel, labelling device and cartoning machine. Each line was also dedicated to a single format to ensure high performance yet flexibility in making different containers, but with the possibility of a quick change to adapt to the type of product, label and cap.  

“Our complete line solutions can handle any kind of technology such that they can be used for water, cold fill, CSD or carbonated soft drinks, edible oil and other products,” Perricci said.

SIPA has likewise installed several lines in companies in Southeast Asia such as SSL in Myanmar and in Kitagawa in Japan.

SIPA can customise a line for both large and small companies. “We can provide lines capable of 3,000 to as many as 60,000 bottles per hour, which means we can serve all kinds of customer from small- to large-volume production. We can work with a customer that needs only 10,000 bottle per hour or another eyeing 5 million per year. We can also cooperate with companies to reduce as much as possible the investment cost,” Perricci shared.

He added that whilst SIPA can design and engineer the layout, the company allows custom lines to use components or parts from local suppliers for cost considerations. The key machines such as blowing and filling, however, can be procured from Europe to ensure quality. “Even with such setups where not all parts are from us, we assume full responsibility for the line,” he said.

 

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