In this edition of the Spotlight, KHS Group presents the addition of glued-in handles for its rPET containers – said to enable the reduction of carbon emissions, energy, and material usage in the pursuit of full circularity for plastic packaging.

KHS has further developed its rPET containers for the home care and food sectors. In addition to bottle handles that are slotted into place mechanically, the Dortmund-based company now offers a glued-in process that gives users plenty of benefits; stretch blow molded using the preferential heating method, the KHS PET bottle is more stable than the extrusion-blow-molded polyolefin alternatives1 currently available on the market. Both the bottle body and handle are fully recyclable and made of rPET.

The development of the 2.3-liter PET bottle with a glued-in handle is the result of a one-and-a-half-year cooperation between KHS and Logoplaste Innovation Lab. The aim was to design a bottle specifically for home care products with the smallest possible carbon footprint. With its ready-for-market system, KHS and Logoplaste Group wish to support the industry’s striving for greater sustainability.

Reduced consumption of energy and resources

“Our adhesive technology enables us to cut down on the amount of energy and material used in production and manufacture a container that’s both more stable and visually more appealing than the standard products currently available on the market,” says Sebastian Wenderdel, PET sales business development manager at KHS in Hamburg, Germany. Direct comparison reveals that up to 30% fewer resources are used in the manufacturing process, with 10% in material saved over a clip-in handle. Instead of producing the bottle on an extrusion blow molder, as is common, stretch blow molding it is particularly energy-efficient – a considerable advantage in light of the rising prices for energy and raw materials.

In conjunction with preferential heating, KHS provides an extremely precise and reliable piece of plant equipment. This tried-and-tested, energy-efficient heating method permits homogenous distribution of the material during the stretch blow molding process in plastic bottles with an irregular and complex design, thus lowering the number of resources used and boosting bottle stability. Neck alignment with millimeter accuracy as an optional component allows precise product dosing with the help of oriented spout caps. Furthermore, as the new PET bottle does not have any seams – as opposed to those on standard containers made of HDPE or PP – it has proved convincing in rigorous in-house drop tests, claims Wenderdel.

When selecting a suitable adhesive, the design team drew on the years of expertise accumulated by KHS during the Nature MultiPack project. The container provides a further plus when it comes to product marketing. “The transparent PET material makes the product visible,” Wenderdel states. Moreover, customers can have their very own bottle designed with the help of KHS Bottles & Shapes service program.

Moving towards a circular economy

With the development of its new PET bottle with a glued-in handle, KHS is moving closer towards a circular economy – and with this system, it wishes to not only address manufacturers of home care products but also food producers.

“We provide a circular container whose bottle body and handle consist of 100% recyclate and are themselves fully recyclable. This is still fairly unusual for containers with an integral grip,” emphasizes Wenderdel. As PET is the plastic with the highest recycling rate worldwide, it is also more readily available on the market than materials such as HDPE or PP. These also have the disadvantage that, unlike rPET, they are not yet circular.

“The growing demand for environmentally-friendly packaging and stricter legal requirements governing the use of recycled plastics are perfectly met by our latest development,” Wenderdel concludes. 

1 Polyolefins are plastics such as HDPE or PP often used in blow molding technology for packaging outside the beverage industry.

This content was sponsored by KHS Group.