Page 44 - Packaging News Magazine Nov-Dec 2021
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PACK PRINTING & DECORATION | | November-December 2021
  Walking the
The global trend for greater sustainability has led to the demand for more environmentally friendly solutions. PKN speaks to Stephen Pratt, MD of Kurz Australia about how to balance sustainability and profitability on a large scale within the packaging industry.
PACKAGING and high-quality embel- lishment is still very much in demand, according to Kurz MD Stephen Pratt, while at the same time, consumers also want more sustainable products.
He notes that, as pandemic restrictions ease, people are look- ing forward to splashing out and that, according to feedback from colleagues who have attended trade fairs, the consumer is craving an experience of tactile products.
Pratt confirms that, on the one hand consumers are asking for more elaborate shiny embellishment and on the other, they want more eco- friendly products.
“Nowadays, wherever you go to shop, you are overwhelmed by an almost unmanageable variety of dif- ferent products, all vying for your attention. The smart use of embellish- ment when integrated into design helps brands to stand out and consumers to make an easier choice, but the results also need to be eco-friendly. Therefore, it is more important than ever for the packaging industry to champion sus- tainable packaging and embellishment in order to meet consumer demand for more sustainable labelling and pack- aging if they are to remain competitive and relevant in future,” he says.
“It is no simple matter, but we are developing more environmentally friendly technologies for packaging and are making positive progress on a daily basis.”
According to Pratt, an important measure Kurz is taking to ensure that packaging is more environmentally
friendly, is to offer products that don’t add foil to the surface itself but transfer only minute layers of metal- lic aluminium as a motif to the paper or cardboard substrate.
“These decorative layers are as thin as 0.00002 millimetres – roughly 6000 times thinner than a human hair, and our experts at Leonhard Kurz in Germany are tirelessly working on improving the current technologi- cal standard,” he explains, pointing out that cold transfer and stamping products transfer decorative layers enhance the look and feel of the prod- uct without reducing the recyclability of it, when finished.
“Speaking of the recycling process, deinkability is another important fac- tor in the recyclability of packaging,” says Pratt, confirming that the process has been certified by Ingede.
“Most of our transfer coatings in cold transfer as well as hot stamping have excellent properties when it comes to deinking so labels and packaging can be recycled into normal recycle streams.”
Pratt confirms that, with Kurz’s sus- tainable transfer product, Recosys up and running in Germany and other European countries, it can now bridge the gap to the closed-loop economy.
“We take back the leftover PET car- rier material at the finishing plant, repurpose and reuse it. My colleagues at Leonhard Kurz invented a take-back system that enables us to produce PET recyclate for the plastics industry. We are the only manufacturer in this industry worldwide to do so adding a sustainability component to the embel- lishing process,” he states.
ABOVE: In Europe, Kurz has developed a take-back system that enables it to produce PET recyclate for the plastics industry.
BELOW: An example of packaging embellished using Kurz’s digital transfer product, Digital Metal.
Even though there is the perception that certain sustainable products and processes can be expensive, Pratt says that this is not necessarily the case.
Pratt cites Kurz’s digital transfer product, Digital Metal, which provides the option to create digitally printed products and packaging with metal effects, as an example of a product that makes high-end embellishment possi- ble while being economical, even with individually enhanced print motifs.
“Because of Digital Metal’s unique inline operation, there is no need for additional machine passes. This saves time, energy and resources and there- fore your budget.”
“We understand that our clients have to be economical, and pricing pressure is not going down,” says Pratt, confirm- ing that Kurz is dedicated to providing solutions that balance the need for sus- tainability and profitability in its quest to become “a green leader”. ■

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