In the latest edition of the Spotlight, KHS Group introduces its new calculation tool for measuring carbon footprints and recommends ways in which manufacturers can reduce their own emissions.

There are many reasons why packaging has high CO2 emissions – as many as there are KHS technologies that consistently reduce the consumption of energy and resources. The impact the respective system has on a bottler’s carbon footprint can now be measured in figures with the help of calculation tools developed together with independent experts. The systems supplier thus provides the beverage industry with a reliable guide when planning machine conversions and switching to a sustainable portfolio.

With this new tool, KHS is adding a further component to its holistic packaging services. In cooperation with the Hamburg Institute for Environmental IT (ifu), a leading independent international software developer for material and energy flow analyses, the Dortmund systems provider clearly shows its customers which style of packaging has which impact on the climate and whether a conversion for a stretch blow molder, for instance, has a positive effect on their carbon footprint or not. Besides economy and efficiency in beverage production, the KHS agenda focuses primarily on reducing the ecological footprint.

Carbon footprint much smaller following conversion

This objective can be reached by modernizing KHS stretch blow molders already on the market: for instance, by converting heaters and recovering compressed air in the stretch blow molding process, energy is saved during bottle production and the carbon footprint is thus considerably reduced. In heaters, the main factor is the thermal energy that is needed to heat up the preforms before they pass through the stretch blow molding process. Depending on the machine generation and equipment, the conversions save up to 45% in energy during heating. Recycling the air also helps to cut down on the amount of energy consumed. The compressed air required for the stretch blow molding process is generated by a compressor and usually vented to the production shop after use through a valve. This air is then lost. An upgrade with the KHS AirbackPlus technology, however, returns it to a ring line and uses it to blow mold the next container. This means that the compressor has less to do, thus cutting the amount of electricity needed by up to 40%.

Carbon footprint for conversions

How this type of conversion, which KHS has had in its program for ten years now, specifically affects the beverage filler’s carbon footprint can be calculated more accurately with the new tool. In principle, the solution is a simple Excel tool fed with data where, in a first step, all parameters that impact the climate are recorded in the entry mask. These include, for instance, the materials used for the conversion, packaging, and transportation and the distance engineers have to travel for installation. The tool then computes how much CO2 has been ‘spent’ on the conversion. In a second step, the number of kilowatt hours the conversion has saved is then entered into the computer, plus the customer’s location and which type of electricity it uses or produces. Once combined, these figures show how long it takes for the CO2 expended during the conversion to be neutralized. What’s very pleasing here is that, as KHS conversions save so much energy, they usually balance out their ecological footprint within just a few days or weeks. In view of rising energy prices, the cost benefits are of course a primary concern for lots of customers. However, in light of increasing regulation that rewards CO2 savings with tax benefits or grants, for example, the environmental aspect is also becoming ever more important. Furthermore, a growing number of companies have committed themselves to ambitious climate targets.

This content was sponsored by KHS Group.