Chicago — After opening its first manufacturing site in the United States, Greiner Packaging Corp. realized the company needed a bigger portfolio of offerings to truly be successful on this side of the pond.
So the company is doing just that — expanding the types of containers and packaging decoration techniques at Greiner's Pittston, Pa., manufacturing site.
The Kremsmünster, Austria-based company originally expected to rely on its K3 technology that combines both plastic and paper to make packaging at the new manufacturing location, but then recognized a need to offer more.
“This is the approach we have in Europe, having all decoration and production technology available and to offer the client the best solution for him,” said Jörg Sabo, marketing director at Greiner. “Now we are developing that [in the U.S.]”
“It's important to have a bigger portfolio,” Sabo said.
Greiner started operations in Pennsylvania 2014, taking up 110,000 square feet at a location that has another 110,000 square feet available for expansion.
“The mandate was to have the facility where we have enough space for the future because we are not here to be happy with what we are having here right now. We want to be a major force in the future,” Sabo said. “There will be a need for more space.”
Greiner's K3 technology uses both polypropylene and cardboard and gets its name from karton-kunstoff-kombinationen in German, or cardboard-plastic combination.
And while that approach, which uses PP as both an inner and outer layer around cardboard, serves some customers well, Greiner also realized it had to offer different packaging options as well in Pittston to better utilize the facility.
The company has expanded to include in-mold labeling packaging, including barrier IML. That's an approach where the oxygen barrier is contained in the label as opposed to the container resin.
“In the beginning, we thought K3, this is what the U.S. needs. But then we met with the reality,” Sabo said, that the facility had to offer more packaging options. “Our portfolio is growing and growing,” he added.
Part of that expanded approach is to also offer clients printing options that utilize laser-etched printing plates, which the company says are more environmentally friendly than printing plates developed using chemicals. This approach also provides higher resolution printing capabilities, the company said.
Greiner's K3 technology has used PP for more than a generation at company facilities around the world, but Sabo said his firm also is looking to expand beyond that resin for the first time ever in that application.
“Another thing we want to focus on the future is on the materials side. We want to focus the future more on [high density polyethylene]. We see an advantage here as well on the recycling side,” Sabo said during an interview at the recent Pack Expo in Chicago.
“When we are talking about recycling, PET is the best material to recycle and right after PET comes HDPE. And especially when we combine it with the cardboard, HDPE is a very rigid material, so in combination with the cardboard, we achieve a very great top load,” Sabo said.
Greiner was in initial testing of HDPE use in K3 containers, Sabo said at Pack Expo.