PET packaging manufacturer UAB Putokšnis, during the investment period of the European Union (EU) funds in 2014–2020, in cooperation with the Lithuanian Business Support Agency (LBSA) received almost EUR 6 m in funding under various instruments. Representatives of the company are open about this – the received support helped to achieve impressive results.

Produces twice as much

Putokšnis has implemented and is still developing projects focused on innovative PET preform casting technologies, waste-free production, reduction of primary PET raw material, increasing the use of secondary PET raw materials, increasing the company’s efficiency, digitisation and automation of production processes.

The company acquired three advanced PET preform casting lines for the EU funding allocated by LBSA, and started the production of new, lighter weight and geometric preforms, as well as six efficient raw material drying systems, PET preform processing equipment, preform quality inspection equipment and more.

‘Thanks to the projects implemented with EU investments, in 2020 the company produced almost twice as many preforms as in 2015, but due to the introduction of advanced technologies and eco-innovative, facilitated product design solutions, the consumption of primary raw materials grew by only 33.6%,’ said the company’s CEO Dovydas Stulpinas.

With funding under the ‘Eco-inovacijos LT’ (Eco-innovation LT) instrument, the company has purchased a machine for grinding and returning the production waste from PET preforms. This investment paid off in seven months.

Putokšnis is also rapidly digitising and automating production processes. Thanks to the energy-saving measures implemented, the company has managed to reduce its energy consumption by 25% per unit of production over the last six years.

‘The opportunity to benefit from various EU funding instruments has been fully beneficial – we have become more environmentally friendly and technologically innovative, and the demand for the company’s products has increased,’ Stulpinas remarked, listing the advantages of the cooperation with the LBSA.

Quarantine has not stopped exports

‘This company’s activities can serve as an example of how the successful use of EU investments and professional project management can lead to international recognition, create added value to the region and introduce environmentally friendly technologies,’ said Aurimas Želvys, Head of the LBSA.

In 2020, the company had a turnover of EUR 46.3 million and a net profit of EUR 2.09 million.

‘As a result of the direct and indirect impact of EU-funded projects, more than forty new jobs have been created in the company,’ says Stulpinas.

Last year alone, Putokšnis produced 1.47 billion PET preforms and 33.8 million PET bottles. Most of the production is sold to producers of soft drinks, mineral water, beer, juice and other products.

Almost 90% of its production is exported to western and central Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltic states, and the company works with the world’s most renowned producers of soft drinks and other beverages.

The LBSA’s ‘Naujos galimybės LT’ (New Opportunities LT) measure has also contributed to the export process: even during the quarantine period, the company’s representatives participated remotely in international exhibitions such as Pack Expo in the USA and Brau Beviale in Germany.

Despite the quarantine restrictions, in 2020 the company started exporting to new export markets – Croatia, South Africa, New Zealand, Belgium and Haiti.

More production in less time

In 2021, the company successfully completed a project under the ‘Regio Invest LT’ measure.

A new innovative PET preform injection moulding line was purchased to start production of new PET preforms developed as a result of the company’s research and experimental development, and thus to significantly expand the range of products.

The company also purchased five new modern drying systems for drying and dosing of secondary raw materials. These installations have improved the company’s recycling capacity by up to 35%.

‘The new drying/dosing systems allow for online changes of raw material mixes without interrupting the production process, saving up to six hours of production time. The technology saves up to 50 raw material changes per year. One production line produces up to 12 million units of additional output in the time saved,’ says Stulpinas.

After the installation of image recognition systems and quality control systems based on artificial intelligence technologies, inline colour analysers have been installed on nine preform moulding lines allowing the analysis and assessment of the colour of the preforms produced during the continuous production process, and to prevent the production of even a few low-quality preforms at once.

‘This technology has not only automated the process of checking the quality of the preforms, but has also enabled the company to save up to 89,760 hours of manual labour per year,’ remarked Stulpinas.
‘It is these technologies, which have been deployed and continue to be deployed, that have helped to reduce the number of non-conforming products by as much as 41% in 2020 compared to 2019.’

The company continues its cooperation with the LBSA. By implementing a project under the LBSA’s ‘Skaitmeninimas LT’ (Digitisation LT) measure, the company plans to purchase an automated container wash line to reduce the need for manual labour and to fully automate the process, ensure quality and safety, and save company resources.

The projects implemented and the EU support received in cooperation with the LBSA significantly contributed to the increase of company’s competitiveness and long-term investment, as well as to the employment of the population of the Šiauliai region and the solution of social problems.

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