The KHS Group, together with the Martens Brewery in Belgium, has developed a more sustainable solution for the packaging of the Karlskrone beer brewed there. KHS, a turnkey supplier of packaging and filling systems, has long worked with the brewery on the development of eco-friendly packaging. The companies’ latest project concerns a film-free KHS Nature MultiPack – a redesigned six-pack consisting of fully recyclable 0.5-litre PET bottles made entirely of recyclate.
The new Karlskrone six-pack has been developed for Aldi, as part of the chain’s pledge among other things, to make 100% of its own label packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2022 (and branded products by 2025) and to reduce plastic packaging by 50% by 2025.
The PET bottles incorporate KHS’ FreshSafe PET barrier technology, with the company’s patented Plasmax coating process, which provides product protection and a long shelf life. The coating is a wafer-thin, protective layer of silicon oxide (SiOx) or chemically pure glass, which is applied to the inner wall of the PET container, thus forming an effective barrier. Aroma and carbon dioxide are retained while oxygen is prevented from penetrating the bottle resulting in no loss of taste. As a result, no additives are needed and the PET bottles remain fully recyclable.
Martens fills its beverages on a number of KHS machines – into cans, glass bottles and – as in this case – PET bottles. The brewery has invested, among other things, in an InnoPET Blomax stretch blow moulder and an InnoPET Plasmax for coating the insides of the bottles. The existing line has now been expanded with an Innopack Nature MultiPack machine.
The new system does away with shrink film, joining the beverage bottles together with dots of adhesive to form a stable yet easy-to-separate pack while saving up to 90% on packaging. The pack comes with a convenient carrying handle, which helps to keep the pack stable and eliminates the need for trays - although, if required, trays can be added into the process. Up to 67% energy savings are achieved during production compared to shrink wrapping the containers in film as the material does not have to be heated.
Furthermore, said Edgar-George Petsche, head of Market Zone Europe/CIS at KHS Petsche, CO2 emissions are up to 70% lower from the manufacture of the film through sales to disposal.
Up to 40,000 PET bottles an hour can be processed by Martens as Nature MultiPacks.
The modular machine design allows bottles to also continue to be wrapped in film, Petsche emphasises, although he sees economic benefits for bottlers if they switch their portfolio over. “As fewer raw materials are used, investing in the NMP system pays off in less than three years.”
Brewery owner Jan Martens sees the system as an investment in protecting the environment, and he is optimistic about working to further eliminate shrink film. “There’s no system to compare with this on the market,” he pointed out.
“For all of the stakeholders in the industry – from retailer to bottler – the issues of sustainability and recyclability are becoming ever more important with respect to both primary and secondary packaging. Together with KHS, we provide suitable systems in the endeavour to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic.”