Bosch Packaging Technology has shown visitors its innovative approaches in the area of sustainability at this year’s FachPack. Avoiding waste in secondary cardboard packaging is a concept in line with the main theme of the fair – environmentally friendly packaging.
“Sustainable packaging requires new solutions at a number of levels. We are developing and testing various approaches and are already implementing concrete projects with customers,” explains Torsten Sauer, project manager for sustainability at Bosch Packaging Technology.
Primary packaging is mainly concerned with two aspects: the use of monomaterials in comparison to conventional films, and using paper packaging as an alternative to plastic. For secondary packaging, the focus is on both reducing packaging material waste and increasing the recyclability of packaging materials. Due to their good sealing ability, barrier characteristics and formability, films are currently indispensable for primary packaging. Flow wraps have established themselves as popular packaging for a wide range of products, the company explains. “The trend is clearly towards monomaterials, which can be more easily and efficiently recycled but are more difficult to process on packaging machines. The biggest challenge is the sealing of the films at high speeds. Here we are already achieving good results in tests on our horizontal flow wrapping machines,” says Sauer.
Paper packaging offers an alternative to flow wraps made of film. Yet, because the material is much stiffer than plastic films, folding at the transverse and longitudinal seams tends to be a challenge. In addition, at high speeds paper is more prone to tearing. Bosch is currently developing the optimum format part contours for paper forming, using systematic material and machine test series to do so.
“Our goal is to manufacture product packagings that are completely free of cracks and wrinkles. We can already provide our customers with solutions for types of paper commonly used on the market,” says Sauer.
Secondary packaging made of paper and cardboard is sustainable per se because it consists of renewable and recyclable raw materials. Nevertheless, its full potential has not yet been exhausted. There are other ways of making production even more environmentally friendly, for example by avoiding packaging material loss during production. This can occur e.g. when packaging material cannot be processed due to quality considerations. Bosch already has systems that are capable of processing slightly bent or recycled cardboard. Consequently, what machines previously sorted out as rejects can now be used thanks to a larger tolerance range. In addition, Bosch is working on an alternative to hotmelt gluing for paper and cardboard. “Hot glue is a challenge in the paper recycling process. In addition, it consistently leads to disruptions in the production process. Ultrasonic sealing is a sustainable alternative. There is already considerable interest on the part of our customers, and we are currently running several pilot projects to implement this promising technology in real packaging,” Sauer adds.