Mannheim, Germany-headquartered RKW Group, a privately-owned leading producer of packaging films, has announced it is investing a seven-figure sum in a new extrusion line at its Echte site for the production of plastic films with a high level of recycled content.
RKW’s Echte site in Lower Saxony is the company’s centre of competence for industrial packaging. The new plant will expand the production capacity in this business area, thus securing jobs in the region.
The new five-layer extrusion line is the latest of several investments at the site, where currently some 240 are employed.
"We want to offer our customers more sustainable packaging solutions for industrial packaging with new formulations. This includes, for example, a steadily growing proportion of recycled plastics in the packaging. State-of-the-art equipment like this enables us to do that," said site director Markus Brinkmann.
RKW’s industrial packaging business comprises the research, development and production of FFS and ProVent sacks for, among others, powdery goods such as cement or other building materials, sugar, spices or salt, and various chemicals. The company also produces valve box sacks, transport packaging and garbage bags.
RKW’s product range includes 100% recyclable mono-material films made from PE and the company is developing new recipes in order to be able to incorporate recycled material without any loss of quality, specifically for the new five-layer extrusion line. Older lines with only three extruders are severely limited in this respect.
Next to producing films with recycled content, the higher energy efficiency of the plant and the lower amount of production waste contributes to enhancing its production sustainability.
In that respect, it should be noted that sustainability plays a central role at RKW. The group’s western European sites all run on electricity exclusively from renewable energy sources, a measure that saves some 100,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions per year, or around 60 per cent of RKW's direct emissions worldwide compared to 2019. The other sites are also gradually being converted to green electricity. New, energy-efficient machinery and cooling systems, modern production processes and precise measurement and control equipment all serve to curb the company’s energy requirement. LED lighting is being installed across the sites.
RKW has also implemented policies to promote equality, diversity and inclusion. In July 2021, the owners, Board of Management and top management signed the Charta for Diversity, a corporate initiative to promote diversity in companies and institutions. It was initiated in December 2006 by four companies and is supported by the Commissioner for the German Federal Government for Migration, Refugees and Integration, State Minister Annette Widmann-Mauz.