At this year’s drinktec trade show in Munich, Germany, the KHS Group presented awards to three design concepts for PET milk bottles. As part of a student competition 25 students of product design and communication design in the Department of Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Germany’s Münster developed new bottle shapes and associated marketing strategies in an interdisciplinary project. The first companies in the milk industry have already signaled their interest in the new designs. The project was run in close cooperation with KHS, with students able to consult with KHS experts and visit the filling and packaging specialist’s plant technology in Hamburg.

The competition marked a zenith: the milk industry is increasingly switching its packaging over to milk in PET, as Arne Wiese, product manager for Bottles and Shapes™ at KHS Corpoplast, says. “Unlike the classic multilayer carton PET provides many different design options and is also more economical in its production.” In this context the students were challenged to come up with attractive bottle designs for milk and mixed milk beverages while keeping production economical and sustainable.

To this end, in cooperation with the Department of Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Münster the Dortmund company launched a competition in the winter semester of 2016/17. The competition met with great interest among the students. Split into eight interdisciplinary groups, 25 students studying product and communication design developed different, individual bottle shapes and appropriate marketing strategies for these, presenting their final results in March. KHS PET and dairy specialists then assessed the eight concepts together with professors Rüdiger Quass von Deyen and Torsten Wittenberg from the Department of Design who also jointly ran the seminar.

Great relevance for industrial practice

The competition produced numerous creative PET milk bottles, many of which were quite different from one another: from square bottles forging a link to regional milk products in their marketing strategy to containers shaped like a hip flask for hotels, the contest saw many totally original designs rivalling one another. KHS presented the designs to some of its customers in the milk industry in advance; the first few producers showed enthusiasm and are now interested in the designs.

The students were given support by KHS experts in the development of their new bottle shapes. KHS also showed them its stretch blow molder and PET filling technology during a tour of its production site in Hamburg, with the KHS dairy team introducing them to trends in the various categories of the milk industry. The feedback from the students was extremely positive. “The close cooperation with us with its relevance to industrial practice was something which was especially praised,” says Wiese. KHS would also like to stage a competition of this kind in the coming year.

Über die KHS GmbH

KHS is one of the leading manufacturers of filling and packaging systems for the beverage, food and non-food industries. The KHS Group includes the following companies: KHS GmbH, KHS Corpoplast GmbH, NMP Systems GmbH and numerous subsidiaries outside Germany.

KHS GmbH manufactures modern filling and packaging systems for the high-capacity range at its headquarters in Dortmund, Germany, and at its factories in Bad Kreuznach, Kleve and Worms. The KHS Group’s PET expertise is pooled at KHS Corpoplast GmbH in Hamburg, Germany, where innovative PET packaging and coating systems are developed and produced. NMP Systems GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of KHS GmbH based in Düsseldorf in Germany, designs and markets new, resource-saving packaging systems for PET bottles.

In 2016 KHS and its 4,995 employees achieved a turnover of around €1.18 billion within the Salzgitter consolidation. The companies in the KHS Group are 100% subsidiaries of the MDAX-listed Salzgitter AG corporation.

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