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Logically, the thickness of that minimum weak spot is going to dictate the weight of the entire bottle. So because of that one little weak spot, the entire bottle has to be heavier in order to provide enough material in that spot to withstand the shock. In other words, to achieve a stronger weak spot, more material must be used in the whole bottle. Thankfully, there is an alternative: if the bottle can be handled more gently, less material can be used to make the whole bottle. To that end, Standard-Knapp offers a feature called “Soft Catch,” which allows users to reduce the shock energy by 80% over a conventional drop packer. Taking 80% of the shock energy away enables the use of thinner gauge bottles and thinner glass. Another important directive in the sustainability push is to use less corrugated material in the shrink-wrapped trays that hold the bottled product. To achieve this objective, Standard-Knapp offers a U-board that effectively eliminates the end walls of the tray, thus using less material while offering more support
In terms of lowering energy consumption, Standard-Knapp has made significant progress in shrink wrapping, an area of packing that has traditionally proven to be one of the greatest drains on energy usage. “The metal chain pulling the cases goes into the tunnel at about 200 degrees and come out of the tunnel at 260 degrees,” Weaver explained. “So every inch of chain that goes through the tunnel increases in temperature by about 60 degrees, which means that on the return path it’s heating up the room. That turns out to be the single biggest energy user in a heat train tunnel because it’s taking the heat out of the tunnel.” Standard-Knapp took a major step by replacing the metal chain circulating through the heat tunnel with a plastic conveyor belt which significantly lowers energy consumption. “We’re still calculating the energy savings, but we already know it’s substantial,” Weaver contends. While these advancements are clearly helping customers make major strides in the green campaign, Standard-Knapp has yet to declare “mission accomplished.” Not by a long shot. “We’re always listening to our customers and looking for ways to meet the demand for new equipment that improves sustainability,” said Weaver. “To a certain extent, these technological breakthroughs sell themselves. They not only help companies become greener, they generate cost reductions in materials, labor and energy without sacrificing quality.” In developing the formula to reach sustainability, Weaver cautions that cost-effectiveness should be an integral part of the equation. “Being sustainable, by itself, is a worthwhile pursuit,” Weaver added. “But if it costs a company an arm and a leg to get there, it makes the effort far less attractive – and less achievable. Our goal is to help customers attain sustainability while justifying the payback on their investment.” Weaver points out that his company puts its own money where its corporate mouth is. “All of our machines are unpainted stainless steel,” he said. “That’s actually much greener than painting them.” But don’t let their color fool you. Despite their silver hue, Standard-Knapp’s bottle packaging machines are about as green as they get.
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