GEA has unveiled its new PowerPak Plus thermoforming packaging machine that enables the use of paper-based packaging alternatives to meet sustainability demands.
Following technical modifications, the machine is now able to use paper in its range of solutions – including vacuum, MAP and shrink packaging – for a variety of food products such as meat, dairy, bakery and convenience foods.
The new packaging option is made from a moldable paper composite consisting of more than 80% paper and a residual amount of plastic for features that deliver barrier properties. The machine produces thermoformed packs of around 20mm in height with a thin top film to close and seal each pack.
Volker Sassmannshausen, senior product manager of thermoforming packaging systems at GEA, said: “While consumers and food retailers are demanding reductions in plastic usage, the food industry must ensure safe packaging from beginning to end of the supply chain.
“Not only must all hygiene and quality standards be met, but also legal requirements which call for a significant reduction in the amount of plastic used in packaging. When developing our machines, we always take our cues from what our customers need, so this was an obvious focus area for us.”
According to GEA, the packaging machine’s newly-developed multi-zone heating system and sealing capabilities ensure that fresh foods are safely and hygienically packaged. The heating system warms the coated paper to the precise temperature required so that it’s ready for molding via vacuum and compressed air.
As a result, GEA says the new features make it easier for consumers to separate the paper from the plastic for disposal into their respective recycling stream.
Sassmannshausen added: “It’s great to see that we can mold paper-based materials without any difficulty. Our paper-composite packaging solution is already successfully used and these products are now on supermarket shelves there. We’re proud that we’re able to make an important contribution to producing more sustainable food packaging.”
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