Bakkavor packaging solution cuts waste

24 July 2009

Anson Packaging turned to Illig for a thermoforming system that helped it meet the requirements of food producer Bakkavor. The third generation RDM70K system is used on the production line for 101 and slim-pot food containers.

Illig claims its system enables pots to be formed from recycled PET (rPET) with thinner walls without affecting overall strength or rigidity. This helps Anson improve cycle speeds and reduce both scrap material and total material usage.

The new RDM70K was installed by Anson at its UK headquarters near Ely as part of a large contract, to supply food producer Bakkavor with a major share of their 101 and slim pot requirements. The contract also stipulated that the pots should be produced using rPET, and that the weight of each pot should be up to 20 per cent lower than similar food containers previously used by Bakkavor. Reaching this target helps Bakkavor meet its packaging weight reduction targets, and additionally helps the company meet the goals of the Courtauld Commitment, drawn up between WRAP and major UK grocery organisations.

As a major supplier of containers to the European food industry Anson already made extensive use of Illig pressure and vacuum forming machines and the two companies therefore worked closely together to meet the specific requirements of the Bakkavor contract.

Andrew Osborne-Smith, managing director of Anson, said: "We have had considerable experience with Illig machines over the years and felt that the company was best placed to help us create an effective method of providing the production output required, while at the same time reducing the weight of containers".

The RDM70K incorporates advanced management systems designed to provide variable control of the speed and positioning of transport, tooling, heating, cooling and cutting functions at each process stage.

Osborne-Smith said the standard features of the RDM70K helped the company meet its objectives. He added: "However, Illig’s design engineers helped us create dedicated tooling that in conjunction with the new downholder overcame one of the problems with earlier forming systems, where the pressure of the downholder would have a rapid cooling effect on rim of each container as it formed. As a result, containers often had a thin bead of material around the rim, which made them difficult to stack.

"The new system has enabled us to eliminate this bead, so we can now stack more containers in each box for transit. Just as importantly, the system gives us precise levels of control over the forming process, with variations in the thickness of formed material now being reduced to just a few microns; this has allowed us to reduce the wall thickness of each container without any reduction in top-load strength."

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