New demonstration plant launch

From PET bottles to food packaging

Technology - Tuesday, 8 May 2018

From May 28 to 31, Amut and Erema invite guests to experience the closed material loop of PET first-hand. Washed post-consumer PET bottle flakes will be recycled live at the Amut headquarters in Novara, Italy, to make food contact grade thermoforming sheet in a direct process. This rPET sheet will be used at the Plast 2018 in Milan - which is being held at the same time - to make thermoformed trays for the food sector. Interested producers will be able to process their own input material on the demonstration system in future to make plastic rolls. They can then test the samples later in their own thermoforming production to check the quality.

Amut and Erema are holding an open house to present a sophisticated "bottle to packaging" process and show that the desired closed material loop in the PET sector is already reality. The post-consumer flakes are processed in the new demonstration facility - a direct combination of Vacurema technology and the Amut Inline Sheet plant - in a single process to make food contact grade thermoforming sheet. "Energy savings, IV preservation, lower logistics and process costs lead to higher profitability and are unbeatable arguments which are driving the trend towards direct food grade PET processing", says Amut president Piergianni Milani (in the top picture).

Thanks to the direct combination of recycling and production technology there is no longer any excess process stage. This is because the melt goes straight from the Vacurema to the Amut plant without the detour of pelletising.

"The Open House visitors will hold food contact grade thermoforming sheet produced from 100% post-consumer PET bottle flakes in their hands - without even the slightest amount of virgin material added", says Michael Buchberger, sales manager for the bottle sector at Erema.

A free shuttle service between the trade fair in Milan and the Amut headquarters in Novara will be available for attendees. The 100% rPET sheet will be used to make thermoformed trays for the food sector at the Amut booth 111/112 in hall 13 during the Plast show. The demonstration facility in Novara will continue to be available for customer trials also after the Plast show. "Our Vacurema technology is currently in use on 61 Inline Sheet facilities around the world. You have to be able to rely on the upstream and downstream process, especially in the case of direct processing. With Amut we are delighted to have found another long-term partner in the Inline Sheet sector", says Buchberger (in the bottom picture together with Christoph Wöss, business development manager for the application bottle at Erema).


100% PET flakes with 100% food contact approval

The post-consumer PET material is already decontaminated and pre-dried prior to extrusion in the vacuum reactor of the Vacurema Basic, with a throughput of up to 1,000 kg per hour. The newly developed Erema PET Laserfilter processes input material with a degree of contamination of over 1% without any difficulty and discharges the filtered particles continuously. Thanks to its unique pressure consistency this filter system is particularly suitable for inline production. Despite varying moisture, IV values and bulk densities in the input material, the melt has a constantly stable IV value and colour. Additionally, the process stands out through what is only a marginal IV drop. The melt then goes directly into the Amut Inline Sheet plant where it is processed into thermoforming sheet.

The integrated online viscometer shows the user the actual viscosity of the melt. High-stiffness cooling rolls guarantee precise material planarity. Another boost in sheet quality comes from the fully integrated inline thickness gauge control. The hot lamination system represents an additional production benefit and is particularly suitable for sensitive barrier film thanks to the adjustable contact point. The wet coating at the end makes for an antistatic and anti-blocking solution.

The clear advantage over other suppliers: the monolayer thermoforming sheet produced from pure rPET is not only 100% food contact compliant, it also fulfils the FDA regulations and Efsa guidelines.

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