CRs (post-consumer resins) lie at the heart of a modern approach to sustainable rigid packaging. Until now, “recycling” has largely been limited to PET. However, with the advent of the tethered caps - and, therefore, the possibility of setting up a supply chain mainly structured on the recovery of caps - the topic is becoming ever-more important.
So what are the technological challenges of the circular economy from a cap line development perspective? We’ll be answering that question at the Drinktec fair in Munich (Messe München, Messegelände, 12-16 September 2022)
On the one hand, we offer manufacturers the opportunity to produce higher-quality caps, save energy (CM-Flow) and optimize the quality of the extrusion process. On the other, the intrinsic characteristics of our technological (compression) process open up opportunities for cap retrieval after the caps have been sent for disposal, allowing them to be recycled and used again for the same applications.
This formula lets SACMI extend the working life of plastic polymers, setting a new standard from a circular economy perspective.
➤ LEARN MORE ON THE SACMI WEBSITE
Optimised CM Flow extruder. Starting with the outstanding characteristics of the compression process, SACMI has upgraded its CCM press range by adding innovations and controls that improve the process, boost quality and reduce consumption.
The solution to be exhibited at the fair will feature one of the most recent technological developments, the new CM-Flow extrusion unit. The absence of motor-linked gearing ensures overall on-press electricity savings of up to 9%, giving process efficiency and quality a considerable boost.
Thanks to direct screw-motor connection, the line layout can be as compact as 1 meter. Moreover, the CM-Flow feeds a plasticizing screw with a diameter of just 35 mm, allowing the machine to process up to 200 kg/h of resin, the same as a conventional 75 mm extruder.
However, unlike the latter, the CM-Flow offers simpler, faster maintenance and higher extrusion process quality.
Caps produced with this system feature stress cracking resistance that is at least on a par with that of traditional plasticizing units, making it easier to manufacture lightweight caps. This is because the extrusion process occurs at lower temperatures, resulting in less on-material stress and therefore greater profitability.
From waste to opportunity. The food packaging “recycling” chain has undergone profound changes in recent years. The first key area concerns PET lines: this material is so recyclable that all the main machine manufacturers have focused on being able to process a growing proportion of recovered resins, that is, rPET in granule and/or flake form.
What are the challenges? Being able to feed resin back into the manufacturing cycle with sufficiently reliable final product quality outcomes is a challenge, one that’s particularly relevant to caps as they’re generally made of HDPE and are separated from the container at the recycling stage as they have a different specific weight.
The intrinsic advantages of SACMI compression (polymer life extension). Opportunities to be illustrated at the fair will include feeding the CCM rotary press with ground caps.
Why is this variable better managed on a SACMI line? The answer stems from the outstanding characteristics of the compression process, which involves extruding the material at lower temperatures.
Why a “real” (and profitable) circular economy? Producing a new cap is just one of many ways of recycling. Plastic can, of course, also be recycled to make lower-quality materials and objects. That said, it’s the principle of being able to reproduce a same-use object - and do so for an increasing number of cycles - that forms the basis of a genuinely profitable circular economy which extends the life of plastic polymers.
This becomes even more crucial in light of the new tethered standard, to be adopted by all European producers by 2024. Our primary European partners have, in fact, already made the switch, thus aiding the establishment of this supply chain and laying the foundations for a new economy that truly takes the 3Rs approach which, as far as caps are concerned, has so far been almost exclusively limited to lightweight items.
Needless to say, the two approaches run parallel to each other: thanks to extensive expertise in materials and technologies, SACMI already produces extremely light cap-preform solutions that offer the same performance. Indeed, over the years that weight reduction has, on average, exceeded standard-set targets by an average of 50%.
Waitin’ 4 you at Drinktec 2022! (HALL B5 BOOTH 302/304/101)
DISCOVER MORE ➤ SACMI@drinktec
FOLLOW US ON LINKEDIN ➤ SACMI@drinktec event