Paper Products Testing Repulpability Laboratory – launched at KTU

The Centre for Packaging Innovations and Research of Kaunas University of Technology (KTU PITC) has launched Paper Products Testing Repulpability Laboratory.

Testing services are open for all the flexible and rigid paper/cardboard pure or combined (laminated or mixed) food and non-food packaging as well as other sort of paper / cardboard production manufacturers and importers, that produce or supply paper and cardboard productions marked as recyclable.

Plastic and microplastic pollution, rising consumer awareness and demand for sustainable materials, EU Directive 2019/904 Reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment implemented in national regulation on July 3rd 2021, led producers to new materials research and production.

A year marked by challenges and new opportunities

The year 2021 was quite good for businesses in the Lithuanian plastics industry even though they faced significant challenges. In 2020–2021, Lithuanian producers, just like companies all over the world, experienced raw material shortages; prices were rising rapidly. Competing on international markets and finding new customers became more difficult. Still, Lithuanian businesses made sizable investments in equipment and innovation, succeeded in expanding and increasing their turnover, and were bravely planning next phases in their development.   

A successful growth of the companies in the Lithuanian Plastic Cluster was observed in 2021. One of these companies that operates in Šiauliai and Vilnius – Putokšnis, a producer of PET pre-forms and PET bottles – has become DOLOOP. The company decided to change its brand name to better reflect its focussing on sustainable production and zero-emission packaging solutions. The company’s strategic objectives are to apply energy and raw material efficiency solutions in its productions processes and to create products of eco-innovative design.

In 2021, the company’s production volumes were almost 1.5 billion of PET pre-forms and approx. 35 million of PET bottles. This year saw an enlargement of the range of sustainable packaging solutions offered and an introduction of the PET film product. The company’s clients include well-known beverage producers, both international and domestic. 90% of the company’s products are exported to over 20 countries of the world including Germany, Norway, Finland and Sweden. In 2020, the company’s turnover totalled EUR 46.3 million and net profit was EUR 2.09 million. As of October 2021, the company employed 157 people.

3D Creative has put into operation fifty state-of-the-art 3D printers in 2021. The company is implementing (jointly with Vilnius University and Kaunas University of Technology) an innovative project on the use of soya beans as a 3D printing material, for which a patent is being sought. This environmentally friendly project links the 3D printing technology to the circular economy and reduces the use of fossil fuels in the production of raw materials as waste generated in the production of foodstuffs from soya beans is reused.

The company plans to increase its turnover by more than 60% in 2021 as compared with 2020. It is important that the result is expected to be achieved without increasing the number of employees: human resources are used more efficiently – due to employment of LEAN and AGILE platforms, work is focussed on operations and services of higher value added.

‘The calendar change from one year to another should not bring up ‘tectonic faults’ – we expect that the growth in both turnover and exports will be in double-digit figures. This will be achieved through investments in industrial equipment and introduction of new unique materials to satisfy the growing demand’, says Saulius Lileikis, the company’s CEO.

Frilux UAB is another company that can report success in the year 2021. According to its CEO Aurimas Bulkšas, this year the company acquired as many as four new plastic casting machines in order to increase both efficiency of operations and competitiveness on the global market. As most companies in the plastic sector, Frilux UAB faced the challenges of raw material price increases and much longer order fulfilment periods. ‘Raw material prices were growing at a pace higher than our price increases, and our clients were sensitive to these changes’, says Aurimas Bulkšas. Despite market uncertainties, the company is projecting a turnover of approx. EUR 15 million.

Rimantas Damanskis, CEO of Pack Klaipėda UAB, speaks about projects of 2021 with an emphasis of social responsibility, pointing out that the company has invested over EUR 5 million in development and protection of the environment. Plastic recycling and circular economy principles in production processes are strategic lines of Pack Klaipėda UAB. New process equipment installed enables the use of 30% of recycled polystyrene in packaging products thus contributing to the circular economy. The company employs a technology of reducing the weight of packaging, with 95 % of air and just 5 % of plastic in the product. As a result, the company has minimised the CO2 emissions of its packaging products. Pack Klaipėda UAB is planning an approx. 12 % growth compared with 2020.

Terekas UAB operating under the FlexBlow brand name was selected as Lithuania’s Exporter of the Year for the tenth time in a row. The company has succeeded in increasing its production capacities almost 20% and has enlarged its service and distribution network – now it covers Europe, the US, Saudi Arabia and Japan. On its website, the company offers an enhanced 24/7 service for customers including direct video support, monitoring, supervision and system updates. Apart from its core activity, FlexBlow has started, in cooperation with scientists, the development and production of innovative plastic face shields. The company managed to increase its R&D capacities at the peak of COVID-19 pandemic and opened a new factory 3,200 m2 in area at the end of 2020. Part of the factory is designed for engineering, prototype development and testing, and the other part is intended for production. All manufacturing processes are automated, with enhanced in-house form production and development of containers and pre-form prototypes. The innovative solutions have enabled the company to offer exclusive products and services for clients in the bottling and packaging industry.

It is probable that companies of the Lithuanian Plastic Cluster will encounter challenges in 2022 due to insufficient raw material supply and growth in prices, however, heads of the companies unanimously assert their intentions to continue sensible phased development in future.

Putokšnis adopts a new DOLOOP trademark

Putokšnis UAB adopts a new DOLOOP trademark as a sign of its focus on sustainability

Putokšnis UAB, a private company which is one of the leading manufacturers of PET packaging in Lithuania has adopted a new DOLOOP trademark. This reflects new orientation of the company toward sustainable production and zero-emission packaging solutions.  DOLOOP means operation based on the principles of circular economy, where the impact on the environment is reduced through efficient use of electricity and raw materials, development of renewable packaging, and solutions that enable all partners in the value chain to operate sustainably and responsibly.

‘Our company is very well aware that it operates in a global world where everything is interlinked. Today, the greatest challenge is the adverse effects of climate change that touch upon everyone without exclusion. As manufacturers of packaging that is among the most recyclable and popular types of packaging – PET, we assume responsibility and demonstrate leadership by developing and providing sustainable solutions that are not limited to production. These daily efforts are embodied in a new trademark, which also marks a strategic line of activities of the company,’ – says Dovydas Stulpinas, Managing Director of DOLOOP.

The company consistently works toward development of a zero-emission packaging: solutions based on energy and raw material efficiency are used in production processes, products of eco-innovative design are created and offered to customers.

100% of electricity used in production is generated from renewable energy sources. Implementation of energy saving measures enabled the company to cut its energy costs per product by more than one-fifth. A PET production waste recycling unit ensures manufacturing process without waste; packaging created according to the principle of regenerative design helps resolve issues of sustainability related to the entire product life cycle.

According to Dovydas Stulpinas, ‘in the era of circular economy, manufacturers of packaging are closely related to the manufacturers of the end product, and to processors as well, which means that our operations exceed the limits of usual commercial cooperation. We are all united by the same purpose of preserving this world for future generations. By operating according to the concept of open and fair business, we develop renewable packaging solutions that produce a global impact and reduce the negative impact of the product’s footprint. This is the only way into sustainable future for all of us.’

The new DOLOOP brand symbolises cyclical nature of production. The interlinked letters represent the symbol of infinity and the path of circular production chosen by the company. The green colour of the logo emphasises the aspect of sustainability of environmentally-friendly production and enhances the effect of the closed production circle.

The new corporate trademark and identity were created by  Brandity, a trademark and packaging identify agency; Impact Advisory, a business consultancy, was hired as the project‘s consultant.

About DOLOOP (formerly Putokšnis)

DOLOOP that operates in Šiauliai and Vilnius is one of the leading PET manufacturers in Lithuania. The company specialises in the production of PET blanks and PET bottles. Last year‘s production volumes amounted to almost 1.5 billion PET blanks and almost 35 million PET  bottles. This year the company added PET film to the range of its sustainable packaging products. Customers of the company include well known domestic and foreign producers of beverages. 90% of the products are exported to over 20 countries including Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden etc.

In 2020, the company‘s turnover totalled EUR 46.3 million and its net profit was EUR 2.09 million. The company employed 157 people as of October 2021.

How to recognise packaging that is truly recyclable?

Cluster members Gerovė share their knowledge and raise awareness on plastics recycling on Lithuanian media.

  • Company is convinced that the key is to produce recyclable packaging. Since 2012, the company has been looking for ways to use as much recycled material as possible in its products. Currently, Gerovė uses as much as 86 % recycled plastic in its products. The factory buys plastic packaging waste and uses it to make new products – plastic bags.
  • According to the company, sustainability should not be achieved by giving up plastic (which today would be a huge inconvenience), but by recycling it as many times as possible. This helps to reduce CO2 emissions and, at the same time, to stop climate change. A new plastic product can be made using 100 % recycled material.
  • In Lithuania, industrial waste is recycled quite easily, but the main aim is to recycle consumer and household waste, because recycling industrial waste alone does not solve the problem.
  • In order for recyclers to recycle plastics, they must be made of a homogeneous material, i.e. of one type. The number in the triangle on the packaging should ideally indicate 1, 2, 3 or 5. If the number is 7, the packaging is not recyclable because it is made of several different plastics or a mixture of plastic and paper.

Full article on 15min.lt.

Bags from bioplastic are 100 % recyclable

The basis of JSC Gerovė business is circular economy. That means they use recycled materials in their manufacturing process, and the products can be reused and recycled.

Gerovė recycles and uses up to 2,000 tonnes of plastic materials per year to manufacture such products as waste bags, film in rolls, industrial packaging and packaging for retail companies.

In 30 years of the company’s existence, it has always operated in a socially responsible manner, encouraging customers and community to sort their waste, to reuse products and to recycle everything that can be recycled.

Company’s expert team keeps up with the global trends and innovations and applies new technologies to present products as well as create new products. One of these new recently developed products is biobased waste bags. These bags are made using plastic derived from sugarcane and are 100% recyclable.

Installation of new technological lines in 2022

The year 2021 has been very successful for Plasteksus UAB, a private company producing plastic bottles, canisters and tops, PE films and bags, and many other plastic products. Despite rising raw material prices globally, which has forced the company to increase prices for its products, CEO Egidijus Vitkevičius is satisfied with the growth in turnover.

In 2022, Plasteksus intends to install new process lines financed by funds received under a project, attract new customers and further consolidate its market position.

Lately the company has been giving much consideration to the processing of raw materials. Plasteksus also specialises in the use of bioplastic in the production process in line with the objective of promoting sustainability and circular economy.

Flexblow – expansion of R&D and manufacturing capabilities

FlexBlow, chosen as Lithuanian exporter of the year for 10 consecutive years, has started year 2021 stronger than ever before. The company managed not only to deal with the global challenges brought by 2020, but also to turn them into new opportunities and increase manufacturing capacity by almost 20 per cent.

FlexBlow manufactures the world’s most flexible PET stretch blow moulding machines, offers turn-key solutions for bottling and blow moulding industries, installs and services complete bottling lines, analyses and develops container and preform designs.

Tackling the issues in the global supply chains, the company expanded its service and distribution network to the USA, Europe, Saudi Arabia and Japan. In response to the world going online, FlexBlow also solidified its on-site and online services by offering 24/7 live video support, online monitoring, maintenance and system upgrades on top of its local services.

“Alongside our main business, last year we’ve responded to the global demand related to COVID-19 issues by cooperating with scientists in developing and manufacturing plastic face shields (visors). We are currently working on a new protective solution – engineering and prototyping innovative protective shields,” says Gintautas Maksvytis, the CEO of the company.

FlexBlow has already expanded R&D and manufacturing capacity during the peak of the pandemic. The company launched a new 3,200 square meter plant at the very end of 2020. It has around 1,000 sq m dedicated solely to engineering, prototyping and testing, and 3,000 sq m, to the manufacturing of blow moulding systems. “Thanks to our recent increase in capacity, we now have a large part of all manufacturing processes automated; we’ve also secured our positions in in-house mould production, in-house container and preform prototyping and real-life testing. This business decision definitely made us a strong player in bringing complete solutions for customers in the bottling and packaging industry,” stresses Mr Maksvytis.
The company is constantly seeking to attract competent employees. Engineers, CNC operators, programmers, service technicians and developers willing to join a growing highly-skilled team are always welcome at FlexBlow.

Innovative 3D printing services by 3D Creative

The year 2021 is abundant in orders for 3D Creative UAB, the largest plastic and sand 3D printing business in the Baltic States. CEO of the company Saulius Lileikis estimates that, by the end of the year, turnover will increase 40% to 50% as compared to previous year.

The company invests in digitalisation processes and purchases innovative industrial printers of various size, which enables it to broaden the range of its services. At present the company owns 50 industrial printers of various types and the latest one in addition is industrial SLS 3D printer Prodways. Next acquisition of 3D Creative of a new-generation 3D scanner enables for clients to get the digital models with very high accuracy, which performs accuracy of 9 microns.

3D Creative sells its products and services both in Lithuania and abroad, and expects a further increase in the number of clients and revenue.

HODA expecting to increase volumes of new orders

2021 marks an extraordinarily productive and significant year for cluster member UAB Hoda, one of the largest plastic injection moulders in the Baltics, with 3 new clients having joined the pool of its 137 regular customers. Subject to the projects being implemented on time as scheduled, the head of the company Raimundas Gražys estimates that “it is planning to reach over 20 million in turnover for the first time in the company’s history.”

Like other industries, UAB Hoda has been facing a shortage of raw materials used for manufacturing purposes during the pandemic period; however, the company’s technologies manager Egidijus Gražys claims that there is an ongoing search for alternatives so as to avoid disappointing customers and delayed deliveries of production. As it stands now, the company manages to fulfil its orders on time as it has put efforts to ensure the supply of necessary raw materials via its own channels. The second challenge faced by the company at this moment is a shortage of technical staff holding the necessary expertise. It is expected, nonetheless, to attract the staff in the foreseeable future from the major cities across Lithuania by offering them an appealing benefit package.

According to the head of the company Mr. Gražys, the company’s expansion through the introduction of new equipment has recently left no room for physical growth. Therefore, it is planned in the next 3 years to have a 5,000 sq m warehouse built for raw materials and a centralised raw material feeding system introduced to help ensure an even greater number of orders and a chance of securing a position in new markets.

Cooperation with AIMPLAS

This summer, LINPRA – Engineering Industries Association of Lithuania, the coordinator of Lithuanian Plastics Cluster, signed a cooperation agreement with AIMPLAS · Technological Institute of Plastics, the Spanish Innovation and Technology Center, with over 30 years of research and other experience in the plastics industry.

This cooperation will provide members of the Plastics Cluster with access to AIMPLAS knowledge, an international network of contacts and services: training, seminars, studies, consultations, calls to HORIZON projects.

AIMPLAS provides solutions, technical assistance, R&D, testing, analysis and training in a wide supply chain, from raw materials to plastic product manufacturers and end users. AIMPLAS specializes in packaging, construction, automotive, recycling, agriculture, electrical engineering, aeronautics and more. sectors.

👉 www.aimplas.net