Sustainable packaging made of recyclate

Trendgineering

Sustainable packaging made of recyclate
| Ana-Laura Vera, Petra Rehmet

Agroplastic JB starts production of his own avocado crates

Green and firm, sturdy peel with a creamy inside. Those who grow gorgeous avocados know a few things about nature and that they need protection. This can be achieved, for instance, by packing the fruits into crates made of recycled plastic. Agroplastic JB, which is based in Mexico, began polymer processing in 2021 for this purpose – as a complete newbie, and with KraussMaffei. Ahead talked to production manager Jesus Rodriguez about his experience.

ahead

What qualities must a perfect avocado crate have?

Jesus Rodriguez

First and foremost, it must be stable in transport, but it must also be sufficiently delicate so that the cooled air in the storage room can flow around the inside freely and protect the contents from decay. We at Agroplastic JB produce top-quality fruits. These fruits must be of the same high quality when the customer receives them. 

ahead

We often see that cardboard packaging, don't we?

Jesus Rodriguez

Yes, but it must be disposed of after a single use, which is why it is better suited to shipments abroad. In the domestic market, however, you can use plastic crates in a sort of closed circuit for a long time and, after that, recycle them as raw material as well. This is much better.

The beautiful location of Agroplastic JB in Condembaro, Michoacán México.
The beautiful location of Agroplastic JB in Condembaro, Michoacán México.
Pre-selection and quality control of the avocados.
Pre-selection and quality control of the avocados.
From here into the world: packaging and dispatch.
From here into the world: packaging and dispatch.

ahead

When did you begin to look into this matter?

Jesus Rodriguez

Starting around 2016. Then, in 2017, we visited some injection molding companies in the area and talked to the owners. The KraussMaffei machines immediately caught our attention because they were fast and sturdy and also because they were recommended to us. Therefore, we commissioned a comprehensive quotation that included molds and peripherals. 

ahead

Who advised you on that, and what was your goal for crate production?

Jesus Rodriguez

At that time, Alejandro Rodriguez was in charge of us. We felt that he did a great job in taking care of us and advising us. Now it's Alejandro Sanchez, who also provides us with comprehensive support.

"We wanted to produce at least 1.4 million crates with lids per year, as this is the total demand of Agroplastic JB. And of course, we wanted to save time on logistics and also save money by producing on our own rather than buying from other manufacturers. "   
Jesus Rodriguez

ahead

Have you been able to meet your goal?

Jesus Rodriguez

To be honest – we simply relied on what KraussMaffei suggested, and everything went smoothly. For the lids, we bought a PX 160 and for the crates, a GX 500. We ordered the molds and peripherals from wherever we were recommended, and followed the instructions, even in the case of the hall floor.

Perfectly happy with the results of the GX 500 (from left):
Perfectly happy with the results of the GX 500 (from left):
Agroplastic JB's Jesus Rafael Mendez (machine operator), Jesús Filiberto Rodríguez (shift manager), Alonso Daniel Espinoza (production manager) and Alejandro Rodriguez, Regional Head of Sales (KraussMaffei Mexico).

ahead

And now, are you satisfied with the project as a whole and the output?

Jesus Rodriguez

We have been producing items since 2021 and we have a cycle time of 10 seconds for the crates. For the lid, it's 7 seconds. We use recycled polypropylene because it is tough, lightweight and viscous, which speeds up the cycle time. The product quality is awesome. We work very well with the machines and appreciate how easy it is to control them. We really have to say: We are completely satisfied.

ahead

Any challenges you had to meet to achieve these goals?

Jesus Rodriguez

We currently have a high demand for 10kg boxes. To meet this need, our engineers Jesus Filiberto Rodríguez Carranza, Alonso Daniel Espinoza Soto, Fernando Torres Viveros, and Jesus Rafael Mendez Guerrero worked for several months to make the operating cycle of the GX 500 machine more efficient. After carrying out numerous tests and making adjustments, they were able to reduce the cycle time from 15.68 seconds to 11.30 seconds. This was no easy feat, considering that one hundred percent of the material they work with is recycled material.

"KraussMaffei has perfectly supported us in optimizing the cycle times through its empirical knowledge and the professional training courses on mechanical-hydraulic and electrical-electronic maintenance as well as on the MC6 management and control. A big thank you goes to the course instructor José Luis García."  
Jesus Rodriguez

ahead

But you were still not happy with these cycle times, right?

Jesus Rodriguez

Yes, that’s right. So we continued to improve the process even more together with the team of KraussMaffei, eventually obtaining a final cycle time of 10.30 seconds. This impressive cycle time was achieved while also taking care at all times not to exceed pressure limits, injection speeds, or the closing force of the mold. The machine currently works with five closing stages as mold safety.

ahead

And today, how does KraussMaffei continue to provide you with support?

Jesus Rodriguez

If a question arises in everyday production, we can just call them, and Alejandro Rodriguez or Alejandro Sanchez will stop by and assist us. Having a strong partner is a good feeling.   .   

Kontakt

Commercial Director, KraussMaffei México

Kontakt

Regional Sales Manager Bajio, KraussMaffei México
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