Kautex Shifts Focus from Automotive to Packaging and Use of Recycled Plastics
Global slump in automotive blow molding investment convinces Kautex that its future is in sustainable packaging.
Kautex Maschinenbau in Germany reported recently on its continuing restructuring and reorganization, begun last year, which involves a “shifting of focus” from its historical concentration on automotive applications to a new emphasis on packaging—especially sustainable packaging. The company is reallocating personnel from its automotive division and making “double-digit millions of Euros” investment in its Packaging, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Packaging businesses this year. Kautex said this shift is necessitated by “the sudden drop in new orders in the automotive business” and “a noticeable, worldwide reluctance of automotive suppliers to invest.” Nonetheless, “Kautex expects that demand in the automotive market will recover over time. The company will, therefore, remain committed to developing composite applications in this business as well.”
At K 2019, Kautex molded three-layer HDPE bottles with a foamed center containing 70% PCR. The result was almost 19% overall weight reduction and resin savings.
Kautex also stated, “The dominant issues that affect the future direction of the company are waste prevention and processing of recycled materials.” This was already apparent at last October’s K 2019 show in Dusseldorf, where Kautex’s main exhibit was an all-electric KBB evo shuttle machine molding HDPE bottles with a center layer of foamed material containing 70% post-consumer recycle (photo).
With virgin resin so expensive, there’s plenty of recycling action—from PET bottle-to-bottle plants to new projects aimed at agricultural film, carpets, and auto-shredder residue.
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Two recently developed technologies are said to make high-quality PET recycling more economical.