Complete-line competence from Krones at the Gulfood Manufacturing food tech show

Turn waste into new products with circular solutions from Krones
Complete-line competence from Krones at the Gulfood Manufacturing food tech show
Photo - Krones

How can mankind hold back climate change? How can the world’s population be fed? And how can packaging be used responsibly? These issues have a direct impact on all social classes. Each and every one of us must help solve them. This is the only way to make sure we leave a planet worth living on to future generations. Krones is fully aware of its responsibilities and has over the past few years focused all its activities on these targets. The overriding goal driving innovation in all our new developments and design enhancements is the requirement for sustainability, which is accorded top priority not only among consumers but also among our customers. This development is supported by digitalisation, which likewise helps boost performance in our customers’ production plants while also increasing profitability and flexibility levels. It is not restricted to the machines themselves but extends across lines and systems and includes all relevant processes.

This is why Krones will focus on solutions that ensure sustainable, flexible and cost-efficient production across the board at this year’s Gulfood Manufacturing.

All-encompassing solutions for a sustainable closed plastics loop

In the beverage industry, one of the most important questions has in recent years been whether plastic packaging can be sustainable. And the answer has not changed: Yes, it can, if the production process is resource-economical and if it is kept in a closed loop. Starting with material-saving packaging design, followed by low-energy container production right through to recovery of used plastics, Krones offers a solution for every step in the process, with the aim of creating a sustainable beverage factory with a closed PET loop. All the modules needed for each production step already exist in the Krones Group’s portfolio.

One of the key elements in Krones’ plastics loop is the MetaPure recycling systems. They are already being used to recycle between 150,000 and 200,000 tons of PET bottles a year. Depending on customer demand, this can be done for different material qualities all the way up to food-grade PET.

In the processing of recyclate preforms, the crucial parameters are ambient temperature and humidity, the weight of the preform and the proportion of recycled material. If such framework parameters change, it will always be necessary to re-adjust the stretch blow-moulding process or even reset it. Previously, operating staff have had to do this manually. But the smart Contiloop AI (artificial intelligence) control system is now able to perform this task fast, accurately and fully automatically. The Contiloop AI is used in the new generation of Contiform stretch blow-moulders, for example.

The combination of sustainability, flexibility and cost-efficiency was one of the paramount goals in the development of the fourth generation of the Contiform, with a striking result: Compared to the preceding generation, energy consumption has been reduced by eleven per cent, and compressed-air consumption by up to 20 per cent.

After the bottles have been blow-moulded and filled, they can be fitted with tethered caps, a new type of closure permanently attached to the bottle. This helps avoid plastic littering.

100,000 bottles per hour

Visitors to the Gulfood Manufacturing food tech show can also pick up information on the world’s first wet-end block, producing an impressive 100,000 bottles per hour. Looking at the individual machines, you quickly realise that this new system differs from conventional blocks in quite a few features. The filler posed the biggest challenge for the development team because there are physical limits to the standard approach of “bigger carousel equals higher output”. That is why the filler features two modularised filling units and two modularised closing units, which function as a single integrated system.

Krones’ development engineers are frequently asked whether such a large block can ever be sustainable. The answer is an unequivocal “Yes” because, contrary to common belief, both energy and media consumption per packaging unit produced is significantly lower on a big line than on several medium-output lines.

But Krones is a complete-system vendor and, as such, offers far more than just solutions for plastics processing. A large number of greenfield and brownfield projects, one of the world’s biggest water treatment plants, and beverage plants that are already taking full advantage of the benefits of digitalisation are evidence of the innovative vigour, line competence and can-do professionalism as a complete-system vendor which Krones has demonstrated time and again in the past few years.

One of its innovative solutions can be watched in operation at the Gulfood. Thanks to Rapid Parts on Demand developed by Krones, it is possible to produce a brand-new “emergency part” in just a few hours. This can be used to bridge the gap until the proper spare part is delivered. In other words, there is no need to stock it.

There’s plenty to discover on the Krones stand – Visit Krones on Stand D1-4 in Hall 1.

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