Not to be outdone by drinktec and K 2013, PETnology Europe was recently held and show organizers said that about 150 international visitors, from places such as India, South America and Australia, attended the event.
A wide range of topics covering the entire PET value chain attracted interest from material manufacturing to preform and bottle production, to filling and recycling.
In his welcome speech, Professor Otto Appel, managing director of hosting PETnology/tec PET GmbH, summarized the key topics that concern PETnologists in all sectors.
"Costs, quality and sustainability have been our concerns for some years now, and will certainly continue to keep us on our toes in the future," he said. "There is still a lot of work to be done."
The PET market is continuing to grow overall, according to Euromonitor International Ltd. After flexible packaging, PET bottles are an important product in the international packaging market today. About 406 billion bottles were sold in 2012 and an increase of 4.4% is expected for 2013. The comparably low growth in Western Europe, which stood at an average of 2.6% from 2007 to 2012, is compensated by the increases in Asia, which amounted to more than 9% during the same period. Mexico, Russia and Indonesia are also strong emerging regional markets.
In terms of the products, Euromonitor observes that in addition to soft drinks and water, ready-to-drink tea and dairy products are clearly on the rise. Juices, sports drinks and spirits in PET bottles are also popular, whereas beers in unbreakable bottles were only able to gain regional acceptance. According to Euromonitor, PET bottles also have growth potential in the areas of baby food and concentrates for household products, such as detergent and washing up liquid.
Overall, the variety of products bottled in PET worldwide is continuing to grow, and with it, the variety of shapes and sizes - although the trend is towards smaller containers. As a result, manufacturers of preforms and bottles as well as bottling companies require machines with high flexibility and sterilizing and pasteurizing options, which are especially important for tea, juice and milk drinks.
Mechanical engineers have been responding to the changing needs, as well as the constant demand for more sustainable, lighter bottles and increased use of biopolymers and recycled materials.
KHS used the PETnology Europe platform to present a blowmolding machine with a H2O2 preform sterilization unit, Sacmi introduced a buffer for storing caps and preforms in sterile conditions, Sipa unveiled its new Xtreme injection molding machine for the safe manufacture of particularly thin-walled preform, and Unisensor presented a sorting system based on laser spectroscopy, capable of separating colors and plastics.