A new invention from Krones and a strong international partnership with Coca-Cola HBC has brought an innovative, plastic-free packaging solution to the Austrian market.
The 100% recyclable, plastic-free LitePac Top Strap is part of a new secondary packaging system called LitePac Top, which also has a recyclable paper wrap. This allows consumers to carry 1.5-litre multipacks of Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite home safely.
LitePac Top Strap is handled at the Edelstal facility on the Krones VarioPac Pro packaging machine. The PET bottles in the packs are held in formation by carton clips with an integral handle below the bottle neck. A band made of tear-resistant kraft paper provides additional transport security and at the same time offers a functional surface, for example for barcodes or individual advertising messages. Both the band and the cardboard clip are made of 100 per cent renewable and recyclable raw materials and come from the two packaging manufacturers Mondi and DS Smith.
"With LitePac Top, Krones is pursuing the approach of offering a sustainable alternative to conventional shrink film. This involves replacing the shrink film with a top clip and sleeve from renewable raw materials. By eliminating the shrink film, energy consumption during processing is significantly reduced. Our tried-and-tested Variopac machine series, which has been expanded to include banding and clip application functions, is used for this purpose in production. We are particularly pleased that, together with Coca-Cola HBC, we are able to use this new technology for the first time at the Edelstal site and thus make an important contribution to the company’s sustainability strategy. What was outstanding about this project was the efficient cooperation of all four project partners, from the idea to implementation in the shortest possible time", explains Wolfgang Huber, Head of Order Center and Assembly Packaging Technology.
“This is the first-ever packaging solution of its kind for 1.5 litre multipacks of Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite. It’s the result of our entrepreneurial mindset, an absolute belief in collaborating with trusted partners and our focus on reaching net zero emissions by 2040,” explains Marcel Martin, CCHBC’s Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer.
After LitePac Top Strap proved itself in the test runs, the market launch in Austria began in September. It is estimated that the introduction of LitePac Top in Austria will save about 200 tonnes of plastic per year and significantly reduce energy costs in production.
Ivo Bjelis, CCHBC’s Chief Supply Chain Officer, adds: “We know that to carve new paths and make real progress towards Net Zero, we must work with companies that share our sustainability goals. “This solution offers a real opportunity to take plastic out from secondary packaging, so we’ll assess how well it performs and if people want to buy it.”