At its stand at the K 2022 trade show in Dusseldörf, Germany, ENGEL demonstrated the capabilities of its latest e-speed injection moulding machine. Featuring a wall thickness of 0.32mm, the transparent, round 125ml containers made from recycled material (rPET) are representative of a whole genus of packaging, especially in the food industry. Thanks to integrated in-mould labelling (IML), the containers are ready-for-filling as soon as they leave the production cell. The special feature in this application is the material. The thin-walled containers are produced directly from rPET in a single step.
Up to now, it’s only been possible to process PET in thick-walled parts such as bottle preforms in injection moulding. The final packaging format was created in a second step of the process – through blow-moulding.
Under the European Plastics Pact, the intent is for all plastic packaging to contain 30% recycled material and to be 100% recyclable by 2025. The typical materials for packing foods in thin-walled containers are polyolefins or polystyrene. However, according to a ENGEL press release, experts estimate that it will be impossible to achieve the stated objectives with these materials. rPET offers a solution for avoiding penalties and special taxes. Although the price for PET is still high right now, this material could prove to be a cost-effective alternative in the long term. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved numerous recycling processes for PET, ensuring that the material is available in Europe.
Ed’s note: ENGEL is represented in the South African market by GreenTech Plastics Machinery.