Linpac Packaging is investing an extra €3m in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) extrusion and automation at Ritterhude, Bremen, on top of €6m in the past two years spent there and at Beeskow, Brandenburg.
The move was announced today at the FachPack 2012 trade show in Nuremberg.
Speaking exclusively to FoodProductionDaily.com, Linpac chief executive David Meldram said: “Going forward there is a €3m investment that will double our extrusion capacity in Germany.
“We have increased capacity for polypropylene (PP) trays and have significant capacity for sales.”
European markets such as Holland and the UK had already shifted from polypropylene (PP) to PET. Germany was still a traditional PP market, but Linpac aimed to lead it towards PET, Rene Christensen, managing director and general manager for northwest Europe, told this website.
However, at the present time there was still a place for both materials, he said.
The company had been through a restructure in the past two years Christensen said. “We have invested heavily in an upgraded commercial team.
“We had lost some focus in Germany. Now with new experienced people on the commercial side we are in a strong position to meet the needs of the market.”
Jo Stephenson, vice president, marketing and innovations told us that Germany was Europe’s largest packaging market, so it made sense for Linpac to increase its stronghold there.
Rfresh Elite lightweight tray
In addition to investing millions of euros in plant equipment, Linpac also unveiled a new Rfresh Elite lightweight monomaterial tray for meat and poultry at FachPack.
The patent pending tray uses a sealant on the tray flange to create a secure seal with the film lid, removing the industry standard laminated PE base film.
Previously, the combination PE/PET trays had proved a challenge to recycle, but Linpac’s trays, being made completely of PET, are 100% recyclable.
Total weight reduction more than 10%
The removal of the laminated base film from the tray had reduced tray weights by 3%, but additional lightweighting technology had achieved a total weight reduction of more than 10%, said Stephenson.
Following customer trials, the innovation would be rolled out across certain tray sizes from next month, the company said.
The lighter trays enable Linpac to cut greenhouse gas emissions during packaging production. Tray sealant is transparent and food contact approved. Sealant strength and contamination prevention are equal to current trays and trays can be processed at the same speed as existing tray types.