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Blow Moulding 100

Blow Moulding 100 million PLA bottles per year Sant’Anna continuously on the road to success. As early as 2008 bioplastics MAGAZINE reported on the North Italian mineral water company Fonti di Vinadio Spa, which bottles and sells Sant’Anna di Vinadio mineral water. In 2007 the company introduced their water in Ingeo PLA bottles. In those days producing about 650 million PET bottles per year, in the meantime the Italian market leader has ramped up its PLA bottle production to annually 100 million. “And still growing,” as Luca Cheri, Commercial Director of Fonti di Vinadio explained in an interview with bioplastics MAGAZINE. Currently the so-called Bio Bottles of Fonti di Vinadio represent about 2% of the Italian water bottle market. Most of it being sold in Northwest and Northeast Italy. “About 12 million families regularly buy Sant’Anna water in Bio Bottles,” Luca explains. “There is a growing green movement in Italy, and so we are also growing in sales. The people like the PLA bottle because it is natural – not chemical”. And the customers are accepting a slightly higher price for the environmentally-friendly bottle. Instead of 0.50 € per 1.5 litre bottle, 0.55€ is accepted by the consumers. The water company is closely cooperating with Coop Italia, a retail chain with about 100 hypermarkets and more than 1000 supermarkets in Italy. But Fonti di Vinadio is also interested in geographic expansion. “When we look at other countries where the Sant’Anna value proposition would fit, of course we do that holistically” noted Cheri. “This means that we proactively assess all parts of the value chain, including understanding how new materials fit any existing post-consumer infrastructure, national or local policies, and compliance schemes. It must all be consistent with what we stand for as a Brand.” For the end-of-life Sant’Anna has performed recycling tests with Galactica, showing that PLA bottles can be recycled to PLA bottles. However, recycling is not really happening yet. Instead, the consumers are encouraged to dispose the PLA bottles in the biowaste bins. Their website says: “For further information, contact your local waste collection office.” And Luca confirms that the local authorities accept PLA bottles in the biowaste collection. While the labels of the bottles as well as the shrink films for 6-packs (at least for the 1.5 litre size) are also made of PLA, the caps have to be disposed of in the normal plastic waste. However, a biobased and compostable solution for the caps is being investigated. So, even if other PLA bottles – most of them in the 0.5 litre range or smaller – have disappeared from the market, Sant’Anna (by the way the only company worldwide offering a 1.5 litre PLA bottle), is seeing continuous success with further expansion plans. MT In addition to the environmental advantages already mentioned, PLA offers some more (mainly energy related) benefits for bottle producers: PET PLA Advantage Granulate drying 6 hours ά 185 °C 6 hours ά 80 °C 60% less energy Preform cooling water temperature 8°C 25°C 70% less energy Preform heating oven 107- 110°C 80°C 30% less energy Blowing process 11 bar (preblow) 32 bar final blow 6 bar (preblow) 23 bar (final blow) ----- Application of label (temperature of glue tank) 145°C 135°C 7.5% Shrink film tunnel 210°C 190°C 10% 24 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/14] Vol. 9

Blow Moulding Blow moulded air ducts made from bio-PA The plastics used in the automotive industry are primarily based on petroleum. In its search for alternatives, Stuttgart/Germany based MAHLE GmbH tested various biobased plastics and ultimately validated one material as ready for series production. This new bioplastic is first being used for air duct products. Large quantities of various types of plastic are found in vehicles. Due to the limited availability and rising prices of petroleum-based plastics, it seems reasonable to investigate alternatives and develop them to readiness for series production. These alternatives should protect the environment and not represent an encroachment on the food chain, i.e., they should not be based on starch as a raw material, for example. Biobased plastics must also be available in sufficient quantity. As part of a predevelopment project, Mahle, in conjunction with DuPont Performance Polymers, has investigated a biobased blow mould material (presumably a Zytel RS polyamide) for pipes for unfiltered air as well as clean air, and validated it as ready for series production. Furthermore, a comparison with conventional petroleum-based blow mould plastics was performed. Regardless of the material selection, the requirements for air ducts, such as unfiltered and clean air guides, continue to rise. The trend toward a modular system approach demands more flexible and lightweight components that can be employed even under very tight installation space conditions. Another challenge consists in the low-cost, effective production of what are often very complex shapes. The increasingly difficult installation and removal conditions for service purposes are central aspects in the development of current air duct products. In an effort to validate the properties of the new biobased blow mould material, first prototypes were initially produced without modifications to the sample and series production mould. In comparison with a conventional, petroleum-based material, the biobased plastic is convincing, with improved machinability and excellent flow properties. Better surface quality means less air turbulence within the air duct system. Extensive validation work in accordance with typical OEM specifications demonstrates better flexibility of the blow mould parts due to greater motility of folds. The greater component flexibility not only allows more freedom in shape design, but also provides advantages in the installation and removal of air duct products at the customer and in maintenance service. After simulated aging, the components were tested for rigidity, elongation at fracture, deflection, and pull-off forces. All recorded values are at least as good as the comparable values from the conventional material that was evaluated in parallel. Flawless functionality is thus established in prototypes. Another positive aspect is the achieved weight reduction, which can amount up to 25%, depending on the component size. MT force [N] 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 motility of folds Conventional plastic Bioplastic Conventional plastic after ageing Bioplastic after ageing force [Mpa] 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 tenacity Conventional plastic 130 °C Bioplastic 130 °C Conventional plastic 150 °C Bioplastic 150 °C Conventional plastic160 °C Bioplastic 160 °C 0 5 10 15 20 25 displacement [mm] 0 200 400 600 800 1000 ageing [h] bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/14] Vol. 9 25

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