SACMI Rigid Packaging

Technological solutions for sustainable rigid packaging

The primacy of PET, the new frontier of paper-based biomaterials, the opportunities offered by ‘composites’.
Research, development drivers and advanced prototyping by the SACMI Rigid Packaging laboratory



PET is the recyclable material par excellence.

The SACMI Rigid Packaging Laboratory has an entire line of research dedicated to extending the application range of PET as a replacement for - to name a few - traditional polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP) and  polyethylene (HDPE) used to make classic yogurt pots and probiotic drink bottles.

yogurt pots
and probiotic drink bottles

The new PET pot, already prototyped by the laboratory and tested in the field by leading customers, makes optimal use of SACMI's compression and stretch-blowing know-how.
SACMI uses compression, a process in which it is the world leader. This allows for the manufacture of lighter products, offering short cycle times and ensuring energy and raw material savings. 


  • lighter products
  • short cycle times
  • saving energy and raw materials

Bottle-to-bottle opportunities

Additional opportunities with an application of this type include the creation of a complete, integrated bottle-to-bottle system; this spans from disposal of the container to melting of the resin, which can be fed directly to the preform production system and the subsequent stretch-blow container molding station.


In this case we’re looking at a further revolution that consists of grinding and regrading PET to make directly the containers similar to those obtained from virgin polymers. In practice, the mechanical recycling and melting system feeds the plant directly, as if it were an ‘extruder’, consequently providing energy savings and logistical advantages.

And the cap?

Remaining on the topic of PET, the Laboratory is also exploring the possibility of making the entire package (i.e. both container and cap) out of a single material. From a circular economy and supply chain simplification perspective (one material, one supply chain), this is, in principle, the perfect solution. 


  • both container and cap
  • circular economy 
  • supply chain simplification


Cellulose is nature’s most abundant biopolymer.
It is fully recyclable within the classic paper recycling chain.

Using special lab machines, SACMI has already developed and tested new capsules and caps made entirely of cellulose fiber. Moreover, in this field SACMI also works with leading Italian and international universities and major food product packaging companies.

capsules and caps made of cellulose fiber

One of the opportunities tested was that of feeding the system with high-purity cellulose. This is subsequently ‘pulped’ and transformed into a moldable material, with additives being used to give the material the necessary resistance to water absorption. It is then ‘pressed’ inside a specially designed mold using an industrial process currently under development.


  • resistance to water absorption
  • recyclable within paper recycling chain

Full metal isostatic moulding

The type of mold and its characteristics play a crucial role in the effectiveness and efficiency of the cellulose fiber material molding process. 
SACMI has come up with a dry molding process as opposed to wet molding, which is typically combined with porous molds.


This makes it less energy-intensive. Moreover, the process consumes no water and, above all, can be made ‘isostatic’ to achieve, in practice, true ‘full metal isostatic molding’. Until now, the latter has only been applied with ‘flat’ objects, yet has now been developed so the mold can also exert its pressure on the side walls to compact the material adequately.

The ‘composites’ opportunity

The ‘composites’ opportunity

The SACMI Laboratory has been looking into composite bioplastics, plastics of natural origin which can contain very high concentrations of natural fibers. After having developed, over the years, compression techniques for PLA and its derivatives, the research now turns to PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates) and materials that can, in any case, be composted at home.

blown bottles, caps and coffee capsules

The objects produced with these materials, of high natural fiber content, have, beyond their compostability, another interesting feature: adding fibers to the polymer drastically reduces the consumption of bioplastics, which are scarce and therefore expensive. 


  • renewable materials
  • compostable
  • reduction of the consumption of bioplastics


As for PET, the tested process is similar to compression molding, with all the relative advantages. The system can handle high quantities of ‘solids’; lower extrusion temperatures degrade neither the polymeric material nor the fiber;


high-viscosity materials can be handled thanks to the absence of ‘hot runners’ (the narrow mold channels through which material must be injected in an injection molding process).

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