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A Strategy for Managing Resources in the Production of Preforms

Stefan Bock, ReduPET, Switzerland

The PET bottle, one of the most important mass products in the beverage industry, is made from a preform, which is produced in-house by converters or by fi llers when there is a very high demand. Injection moulding machines are used to produce such preforms - or more precisely injection moulding systems that consist of several components and therefore require special know-how. Even if the PET market is growing inexorably, the margins are not enormous; they are only achieved through large quantities or with niche products for special requirements. There is not much room for manoeuvre when it comes to purchasing PET raw materials. In the case of converters, this is compounded by the fact that their preforms are often sold as bulk material by weight, which means that the price structure does not allow much scope for pricing with known raw material prices. It is therefore not advantageous for the converter to achieve material savings by keeping the preform weight of the individual preforms as close as possible to the lowest tolerance limit - or by keeping the weight dispersion as close as possible to the tolerance limit. It looks more favourable for the direct end customer: every weight percent saved on the preform immediately brings a cost advantage.

Within the beverage industry, the preform industry, as already mentioned, generates its margins more from the mass, so that the PET raw material throughputs at a production site of approx. 100 to 400 tons per day are the usual order of magnitude. But where are profi t optimizations possible under these conditions?


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