Canadian Packaging

MULLER Undertakes New Strategies to Reduce Material Use amidst Plastics Resin Shortage

By J. Grande Communications Inc.   

FORT COLLINS, Colo., March 17, 2021 – Muller, a global leader in tool making and automation technology for thin-wall plastic packaging, is working closely with brand owners and processors to employ a range of strategies to enhance the sustainability of plastic packaging and meet today’s challenges posed by plastic material shortages.

“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 while also helping customers navigate the current material shortage caused by the February ice storm that hit the Gulf Coast.,” said Taras Konowal, director of sales and marketing for Muller North America.

Muller has worked closely with its customers throughout the design development stage to reduce the amount of plastic in containers by up to 30% through light weighting and by up to 80% through substitution with paperboard. The company’s latest automation equipment designs have reduced energy consumption by up to 40%.  These efforts have distinguished the company in the automation industry as manufacturers explore new packaging alternatives that deliver sustainability benefits and cut costs, according to Konowal.

One recent application illustrates how plastics use can be optimized in the packaging industry. Muller is working with leading brand owners in the U.S. to develop polymer-coated paperboard solutions which deliver strong barrier properties and a more sustainable and environmentally-sound packaging option. Muller worked closely with Swedish packaging manufacturer Arta Plast to develop a renewable paperboard cup called Fiber Cup.  To ensure strong barrier protection and freshness, for products such as crème fraiche, butter, and chilled food, the paperboard is coated with a thin polypropylene (PP) layer on both sides.

The cup is recyclable, and its attractive shape and excellent printing and design capabilities showcases the brand. “This new package takes a fresh approach to improved sustainability while also optimizing the use of plastics materials,” said Konowal.

During a two-year developmental process, the intercompany project team refined the injection molding process and developed a specialized mold and in-mold labeling (IML) technology.  The fiber-based cup significantly reduces plastic use and keeps the product fresh. The container is sealed with a foil cover and incorporates a standard PP lid.

Leading brand owners are considering this technology for a range of dairy products including yogurt, cheese spreads, and margarine in multiple sizes.

About Muller Technology
Muller Technology Colorado (formerly CBW Automation), based in Fort Collins, Colo., is a leading U.S. supplier of robots and automation solutions with a focus on injection molding and thermoforming applications in the packaging and medical sectors.

Swiss-based Muller Technology Conthey (formerly H. MÜLLER-Fabrique de Moules SA) was founded in 1959 and is a pioneer and leader in the field of packaging design, mold, and automation solutions for injection molded thin-wall packaging with leading-edge expertise in in-mold-labeling (IML).

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