Sustainability Takes Center Stage at GEA Packaging Event


With sustainability increasingly important in food packaging, packaging systems not only need to be efficient, safe and flexible but also conserve energy and resources. GEA product experts demonstrated the technology group’s solutions for this segment during this company’s Packaging Days 2019, staged at the Biedenkopf plant (Germany) in November.

Over two days, more than 220 participants were welcomed at the event. They gathered information on equipment solutions that meet food producers’ various requirements regarding optimized packaging quality, safe and economical packaging processes as well as better recyclability coupled with reduced film usage. The event focused on the GEA PowerPak PLUS packaging machine as well as covering every step in the packaging line from feeding, through inserting, cutting and sealing, to labeling and separating.

Additionally, the event hosted a lecture series, which kicked off with a presentation on the GEA PowerPak PLUS thermoforming machine and compatible GEA DualSlicer. Attendees were shown a packaging process that makes rapid film changes extremely simple while minimizing film wastage. Characterized by low give-away and high yield, the slicer can be perfectly adapted to suit the relevant product.

An exploration of topics revolving around reduced film consumption and recycling subsequently highlighted FoodTray, a system solution for sustainable food packaging. The tray concept combines corrugated paperboard and plastic film to create a consumer-friendly packaging system for fresh foodstuffs. Automatically assembled on the GEA Thermoformer, the two materials can easily be separated after use for appropriate disposal.

Moreover, GEA also showed off the SmartPacke during the event. With a simple format change, the vertical form-fill-seal packer can handle up to seven different pouch designs. GEA works closely with plastic manufacturers from as early as the film development stage. Extensive testing ensures that the SmartPacker provides packaging companies with proven solutions for reliable and sustainable product packaging that consumers can dispose of in environmentally friendly ways.

Alongside practical solutions, the GEA Packaging Days also showcased a number of the Fraunhofer Institute’s projects that aim not only to enhance packaging safety during transport but also explore the state of the art in recycling composite films. The event wrapped up with basic guidelines on packaging recyclability in line with the new German Packaging Act.

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