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Alpla receives two international awards for revolutionary development in extrusion blow molding

March 18, 2016

Foaming in extrusion blow molding leads to lower weight and less plastic consumption

Alpla, a leading packaging molder based in Hard, Austria, has received two awards for its innovative foaming technology in extrusion blow molding (EBM). After receiving the Smart Packaging award from the Austrian government in 2014, this sustainable procedure has now also received the internationally renowned PackTheFuture and WorldStar awards.

Alpla has been working with Unilever and MuCell® to develop foaming technology in extrusion blow molding (EBM) for around four years. The result is the successful application of foaming technology in the production of EBM plastic bottles. In microcellular foaming technology, a gas is injected into the middle layer of the bottle wall. This creates bubbles in the material, similar to the structure of a honeycomb. Plastic consumption and weight are reduced by up to 15 per cent.

Alpla has been producing shower gel bottles for Unilever using this procedure since 2014. According to its own figures, Unilever will save up to 275 tons of plastic per year across Europe for this product line. The technology will be installed in other Alpla sites soon for customers in the body care and household products industries.

The process is a purely physical one and does not require any chemical additives. The bottles are therefore fully recyclable. ‘The thickness of the material is reduced, but the thickness of the wall remains the same. The bottles therefore have practically the same high level of functionality in the bottling plants and during transportation and handling as conventional EBM bottles,’ René Plattner, head of packaging management at Alpla, explains. For the end user, the bottles look and function exactly the same.

Photo: © elipso
ALPLA received the PackTheFuture award in Paris in November 2015. The award aims to promote the innovation potential and sustainability of plastic packaging in Europe.

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