E6PR launches global distribution of its high-performance sustainable can holders – A win for molded fiber displacing plastic
Houston, Texas. February 8, 2022. After four years of market validation and continuous improvements, E6PR announces that its products are now locally available in most major markets through warehouse operations in the US, Canada and Europe, and a network of 20 distributors, reaching over 500 active customers in 25 countries.
It all began in early 2016 when E6PR created a solution to replace plastic can holders with a fully sustainable product made from natural fibers. “Molded fiber technology offered a natural path for this development but posed many obstacles since it was not ideal for dense and heavy products given the extended cycle times and increased costs involved, compared to regular foodservice products. The big challenge was to develop a fiber-based product that had a holding performance comparable to plastic carriers. We went through approximately 18 months of tests and iterations, working closely with global beverage producers, to meet their strict performance requirements and ensure cans don’t drop off the pack in their everyday use and handling” commented Francisco García, COO of E6PR, adding “Our customers really wanted a sustainable solution, but they also needed something that works. We soon learned that the ‘performance bar’ for these customers was very high, and that was hugely beneficial since it drove our whole team to think out of the box and push the boundaries of molded fiber technology”.
“The molded fiber industry has provided multiple solutions to replace plastic but not in applications where high mechanical strength and humidity resistance play such a key role” said García. After working with several raw materials, customizing production technologies and optimizing the can carrier design, in 2018 E6PR launched a high standard product that met customer requirements, giving way to a multitude of patent protections.
“The next big hurdle was to create application solutions for customers of all sizes to be able to adopt our rings swiftly. We needed to develop manual application tools, as well as sophisticated high speed application machines for large beverage customers” said Jorge Reynoso, CEO of E6PR, adding “This meant exploring unchartered terrains since molded fiber products are not typically used in high-speed automated applications where very low tolerances are the norm”. To this end, in 2019 E6PR partnered with Tecma Aries, a leading European manufacturer of end of the line machinery, and co-developed an array of applicators for speeds ranging from 100 cpm to 1,200 cpm.
E6PR’s can holders have been awarded multiple recognitions for innovation, creativity and technology, including three Lions in the Cannes Festival of 2016 and 2018 editions, the World Changing Ideas award by Fast Company in 2017, a ‘Planet or Plastic’ Solution by National Geographic in 2018, and 1st place in Technology Excellence Awards of the 2019 Pack Expo for its Tecma application solution, among others.
Beyond the rings, E6PR is a developer of high-performance sustainable packaging solutions. In addition to can holders, E6PR works with global beverage and CPG companies to develop truly sustainable packaging solutions for several high-performance applications.