To meet growing demand Amcor group, which bought Schmalbach-Lubeca earlier this year to create Amcor PET Packaging, is to invest in excess of €8 million to double its multi-layer PET production capacity in Europe.
Thanks to recent acquisitions, Amcor is now the European market leader in multi-layer technology for the supply of quality barrier PET packaging, with a capacity in excess of its two nearest competitors combined.
In parallel to the capacity expansion, Amcor will concentrate all its multi-layer activity at its Centre of Excellence in Brecht, Belgium, making the plant Amcor's "Multi-Layer Centre of Europe." The company will transfer its existing multi-layer facilities from its plant in Bierne, France to Brecht and in a corresponding development for mono-layer, Bierne will now be devoted exclusively to producing high volume standard PET preforms.
As Amcor's PET Research & Development Centre, the Brecht site includes a pilot plant for testing bottles and preforms alongside its main production operation.
In particular, the facility has been designed to ensure new packaging ideas for sensitive beverages such as 100 per cent juices, specialty waters and sports drinks. With the fastest development process from initial concept to commercial production, Amcor already supplies barrier PET solutions to customers such as Eckes-Granini, Pampryl, Nestlé Waters, Sangemini, Bacardi, Holsten, Carlsberg and Interbrew.
The Brecht Centre of Excellence will continue to offer a full range of products which, in addition to preforms, will include fully blown bottles for both cold and hot fill applications and wide mouth heat set containers.
Mark Köllmann, Amcor's Benelux Business Unit Director, who has overall responsibility for the Brecht plant, commented on the development: "We are now taking multi-layer technology to another level. Our total investment will be over €15 million.
"This technology requires know-how that goes far beyond simply buying a machine. Brecht will continue and intensify its employee training programmes to ensure the high level of skills needed to operate this sophisticated-technology platform.
"Furthermore by concentrating all our multi-layer activities at Brecht, we will be able to offer a dedicated, fast-response service to meet the needs of our customers and their highly competitive end-markets".
The new Multi-Layer Centre is due to be fully operational by March 2003.
Amcor PET Packaging is the leading producer of PET packaging in the worldwith 51 plants operating in 20 countries. The group produces PET preforms and bottles for soft drinks, water, juice,milk, hot-fill beverages, alcoholic beverages, food and non-foodapplications.