A finalist in the Machinery Category of the Sustainability Awards 2022, Synerlink’s Snapcut tool is an equipment modification that allows for the pre-cutting of recyclable and recycled materials like rPET to the correct depth for Form Fill Seal (FFS) applications, without compromising on quality and safety.
You’re a finalist in the Sustainability Awards 2022. Congratulations! To start off, could you summarise your entry, Snapcut for PET Form Fill Seal Cups, in less than 50 words?
Synerlink’s Snapcut tool is an equipment modification developed in response to customer requests to run more recycle-friendly materials (PET, PP, rPET). Snapcut’s patented technology allows the material to maintain the same quality and safety parameters as the former materials while helping our customers meet their sustainability goals.
Why do you think the judges were impressed with your entry? Tell us about what is innovative about your project and/or about its impact on packaging sustainability.
We believe the judges understand the value of being able to run more sustainable solutions that will help our customers meet their sustainability goals without having to buy new equipment. This customer is headquartered in France where legislation is very aggressive towards single-use plastics and the circular economy. The customer reported seeing a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions while being able to run PET vs. PS (Polystyrene).
This innovation was made possible because of our team’s deep understanding of the resin characteristics and how different materials perform. Our team leveraged this knowledge to create the Snapcut tool that pre-cuts the PET, PP, or rPET material to the proper depth, so that our customer’s experience using sustainable materials equals the quality and safety performance they require (i.e., having clean lines when breaking apart the multipacks) without compromising production speeds.
Our customers enjoy these benefits without having to invest in new machinery, which is 10 times more expensive than the change part itself. Our team invested €2MM, 2 years of R&D time, and have achieved lifetime certification on the part, indicating it will successfully produce 10K impressions. They worked with 3rd party vendors, invested in lab equipment, and developed testing protocols to ensure repeatability and reliability in the data. The process to achieve this tooling upgrade was extensive and holistic, achieving success for our customers.
How has your innovation/initiative been received?
During the past 3 years, we have achieved a very positive response from our customers (we were able to realize 3 new PET machine sales, 1 new PP machine, and 14 upgrades to existing machines.
You’re shortlisted for the Machinery category. What do you see as the key demands, challenges, and opportunities in relation to machinery in packaging?
We see several key demands in relation to packaging machinery in sustainability:
1. Sustainable materials compatibility with equipment
2. Sustainability impact of the equipment itself and how it can reduce the energy draw on machinery
3. Reducing our own carbon footprint (which will also help our customers reduce their carbon footprint)
The challenges for an OEM in sustainability as BW sees it:
1. How to accommodate customer/ brand owner requests in the time frame they are hoping for. Some of this requires extensive R&D time; Snapcut took over 2 years of R&D time. To engage with us early in the process is critical to understand if we need to develop an engineered solution, and to have sufficient time to bring it to market under the launch requirements the customers are looking for and
2. Customers have aggressive sustainability targets and their suppliers (e.g., BWPKG Systems) will be part of that process to track and manage our carbon emissions (Scope 3 emissions for our customers include our carbon emissions). We have begun this environmental awareness and tracking, but certainly takes time to become proficient, and efficient.
This innovation represents two areas of opportunities for BW Packaging Systems, and for our customers:
- Our customers are able to reduce their carbon emissions because of a modification that takes only 20 minutes to install, that is 20-30% of what a new machine would cost and is able to reduce the carbon impact by 30%.
- BW Packaging Systems has several tangible benefits as well. One is that the success brings in new revenue potential as noted above, but it also offers a platform for us to show our customers our commitment to our customers’ sustainability goals, and our commitment to sustainability as a company.
The winners of this Sustainability Awards category will be announced at a dinner taking place at the Sustainable Packaging Summit in Lisbon on 13th-14th September 2022. To attend the ceremony, register here.