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    Vöslauer is switching to returnable PET
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    The Austrian mineral water bottler Vöslauer is expanding an existing non-returnable-PET line to also handle returnable containers in the future.
    • The family-owned Austrian company has made sustainability a priority for many years and has set out to make each of its products more sustainable than the last. Image credits:

      Vöslauer

    The Austrian mineral water bottler Vöslauer Mineralwasser has consistently focused on the sustainability of its production. That is why the company is now switching its filling operation for PET bottles from a two-way system based on PET-to-PET recycling to a returnables system. To accomplish the change, Krones is expanding an existing non-returnable-PET line, adding the machinery necessary to accommodate returnables. 

    Project: Expand an existing non-returnable-PET line to accommodate returnable-PET filling
    Client: Vöslauer Mineralwasser GmbH
    Location: Bad Vöslau, Austria
    Commissioning: Q1 2022
    Scope:

    The line expansion includes:

    Special features

    The family-owned Austrian company has made sustainability a priority for many years and has set out to make each of its products more sustainable than the last. In early 2022, Vöslauer will launch a new deposit bottle, the 1-liter returnable-PET bottle, to replace the current rPET two-way bottle. The new returnable bottle contains 30 percent recycled material and is intended to have a lifespan of around twelve use cycles.

    Krones is expanding an existing non-returnable-PET line, adding the machinery necessary to accommodate returnables.
    Krones is expanding an existing non-returnable-PET line, adding the machinery necessary to accommodate returnables. Image credits:

    Vöslauer

    The new line in detail

    In the revamped line, an existing machine will depalletize crates full of empty bottles. A new MultiCo pack conveyor will then carry them onward to an inspector that includes a reworking station. Immediately downstream, a decapper will remove the screw caps from the returnable bottles. An existing unpacker will then lift the containers out of the crates and place them on the new SynCo container conveyor. The bottles will be accumulated and then single-filed, after which the Sekamat sorting system will separate the bottles based on whether (or not) they can be used for production. 

    Bottles that are suitable for use will be transferred by way of a vertical conveyor to a platform (or second level), during which time they will be drained of any residual liquid. Upon arrival, the Aircontronic sniffer will check for contaminants using a mass spectrometer. The AirCo air conveyor will then transfer the containers to the Lavatec D4, which will be erected in a separate hall. 

    Once the bottles are cleaned and their labels removed, a spiral conveyor will move them onward to another platform, where the Linatronic empty-bottle inspector awaits. Bottles that pass inspection will be taken to the filler by way of the AirCo air conveyor. The filler is the confluence of the non-returnable and returnable streams. New returnable bottles will be fed in by way of an unscrambler and an AirCo air conveyor.

    An existing Contiroll labeler will continue to dress non-returnable bottles in wrap-around labels. A new Ergomatic will take care of the returnable bottles, applying cold-glue labels. The line currently handles a portfolio of some 20 different bottles. The first stage of the transition to returnable-PET bottles, beginning in 2022, will involve only Vöslauer’s own brand.

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