Muller Technology Develops Industry’s First Hybrid Pail with 75 Percent Less Plastic

Muller Technology, a leading global supplier of molds and automation solutions for thin-wall packaging, has collaborated with a leading European packaging manufacturer to develop the industry’s first hybrid pail which significantly reduces plastics use and delivers strong barrier properties and a more sustainable and environmentally-sound packaging option.

The 1.2-L Skel-Pac system – targeted for food and industrial packaging – will be launched at the Netstal booth (B5-5217) at the 21st Fakuma International trade fair Oct. 12-16 in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Netstal serves as a project partner, providing injection molding technology.

“We take our responsibility as stewards of the environment very seriously and we’re committed to helping our customers meet the growing demands for more sustainable packaging,” said Taras Konowal, director of sales and marketing, North America, Muller Technology. “In response to volatile resin pricing, brand owners and packaging manufacturers are exploring alternative packaging that delivers sustainability benefits and cuts cost.”

Konowal notes that the new package takes a unique approach to improved sustainability. The injection molded container consists of a polypropylene (PP) skeletal structure and a pre-cut paperboard label. The 24.6-gram hybrid pail uses 75 percent less plastic than typical PP pails of this volume. The container has 47 square centimeters of projected area with an L/T (flow length/wall thickness) ratio of 350.

The container also incorporates a tamper-evident break-off tab made of PP. The Skel-Pac makes use of Muller’s unique mold and IML technology, fully automated cobot case packing system, and vision inspection system.

The manufacturing system reportedly features a two-cavity mold and a four-cavity IML base robot which results in a 4.5-5 sec cycle time. The hybrid pail offers an attractive shape while excellent printing and design capabilities showcase the brand. The new package is commercially available in Germany. Leading brand owners are considering this technology for a range of other food and non-food products.

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