Packaging with plastic materials – especially PET, PP, HDPE and PVC – is quickly gaining ground in new markets outside the beverage sector, from food to cosmetics, from pharmaceuticals to chemical detergents. Similarly, the ‘sleeve’ labelling technique (i.e. plastic labels applied using heat-shrink methods that have the considerable advantage of being suitable for containers of any shape and screening the product from exposure to light) is rapidly gaining ground, with annual growth rates in the order of 10-15%.
Yet while plastic as a material for containers and labels is rapidly becoming more popular on the packaging market, there is also a growing awareness within industry that the environment is a finite resource and must be approached in a way that is ecologically sustainable. Always attentive to the needs of both market and environment, Sacmi Labelling confirms its position as a leading innovator with the launch of the Opera R.F.S.T. (Roll Fed Sleeve Technology), a modular labelling machine that applies tubular sleeves – by making use of vacuum technology – starting directly from roll-fed film. The sealing station works with a laser source and a high speed scanner head: the thus-obtained sleeve is positioned on the containers while the heat-shrink process is completed at the subsequent thermal stations.
The advantage of Opera R.F.S.T.? Unlimited autonomy, can be used with different types of film, economical and safe: unlike other sealing methods that use agents such as glue, ultraviolet rays, ultrasound and chemical solvents, laser sealing produces no toxic gases such as ozone, dioxin or chlorine, substances that pollute and can also contaminate the packaged product. So the Sacmi Labelling response offers a high-level solution to the need – a strong need among the world’s plastic film giants – to find an alternative to PVC and PET, such as Polyolefins, carbon or hydrogen-based synthetic polymers.
High-performance and less costly that PET, Polyolefin labels allow for easy re-utilisation of the pack. It is, in fact, estimated that a lot of soft drink containers slip through the recycling net not only through carelessness but also because of the effective difficulty of separating labels made of other materials commonly used for sleeves from the container at the recycling stage. With Polyolefins, instead, which are lighter than PET, complete separation is easily achieved via simple floating in water. Blending the two technologies – Roll Fed Sleeve Technology and Polyolefins –thus gives a perfect synthesis of safety, ecology and economy, making it the best shrink-wrap labelling system currently available.