In a bid to meet rapidly growing demand for barrier PET containers across Europe, Amcor PET Packaging, the world's top producer, is to invest more than 8 million euros ($7.9 million) to double its multilayer PET production capacity.
Amcor PET Packaging Europe/Asia, based in Ratingen, Germany, intends to concentrate all its multilayer PET activities in Europe at site, its PET research and development center in Brecht, Belgium, beginning in March.
The move will involve switching its existing multilayer packaging production in Bierne, France, to the Brecht facility. In addition, Amcor is buying three new preform injection molding lines, plus blow molding equipment. Bierne will become Amcor's exclusive European plant for high-volume standard preform production.
Multilayer PET capacity in Europe will increase to around 400 million preforms per year, according to an Amcor PET Packaging Europe/Asia spokeswoman.
The Brecht center already specializes in PET barrier bottles for hot- and cold-fill applications and wide-mouth heat-set containers, as well as custom monolayer PET packaging. The plant has a pilot plant for preform and bottle testing, plus design and trial facilities for new PET packaging ideas.
A dedicated site for PET barrier development ``ensures high speed to market for new packaging ideas for sensitive beverages'' including beer, 100 percent juices, specialty water products and sports drinks, according to a news release from Amcor PET, part of Melbourne, Australia-based global packaging giant Amcor Ltd.
``We are now taking multilayer technology to another level,'' said Mark KÃ¶llmann, Amcor's Benelux business unit director. He noted that Amcor's total investment in multilayer PET packaging in recent years is more than 15 million euros ($14.8 million).
``This technology requires know-how that goes far beyond simply buying a machine. Brecht will continue and intensify its employee training programs to ensure the high level of skills needed,'' KÃ¶llmann said.
Local Amcor customers include brewers Holsten Brauerei AG, Carlsberg A/S and Interbrew.
Amcor PET has 51 plants in 20 countries. That includes two bottle-to-bottle recycling facilities and 16 on-site customer facilities in six countries.