Q + A with CIAC PD Member Husky Technologies™

The CIAC Plastics Division consists of a wide range of companies that represent the entire plastics value chain. We recently sat down with Husky Technologies™ to get a better idea of what the company is all about.

For anyone not familiar with Husky, can you give us an overview of the company – the size of your company, the main services and solutions you offer, etc. 

Since 1953, Husky TechnologiesTM has been pioneering technologies that enable the delivery of essential needs to the global community with industry-leading expertise and service. A global leader, Husky is powered by teams of exceptional people in more than 40 locations with valued customers who operate in over 140 countries. Husky continues to be committed to enabling the circular economy now and into the future.  

At Husky, innovation and sustainability are built into our corporate DNA. From machinery and molds to proactive service and support through our Advantage+Elite system, our solutions are designed with a focus on safety, performance, and sustainability; enabling increased use of rPET, delivering consistent quality, and designing technology to produce packaging solutions.   

Our headquarters is located in Bolton, Canada, where we employ over 1,300 team members. And our reach is global with over 4,300 team members serving customers in over 140 countries. Husky’s manufacturing facilities are situated in Canada, the United States, Luxembourg, Switzerland, China, India and the Czech Republic. With our size and scope, we have an incredible opportunity to support our customers in our shared sustainability journey, and we play an integral role in driving the circular economy of plastics. In short, our purpose at Husky is to enable healthy and sustainable livelihoods globally.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a lot of challenges for Canadians and businesses. How has Husky handled the pandemic? Have you had to adapt your operations? 

Like most businesses in the Canadian manufacturing sector, we had to quickly pivot our operations to adapt to the new and constantly changing circumstances as we continued to focus on the safety of our people. Another key factor to our resilience and success throughout these past two years has been our corporate communications strategy. We ensured that we engaged with our Husky team members through regular COVID-19 emails, town halls, and other communications channels and asked our employees for feedback as well to better understand their needs and foster engagement.   

We’ve also continued to work alongside our customers by leveraging virtual technology solutions that enabled us to stay connected during this challenging time. Our service technicians, for example, have provided on-site service and support wherever possible. Another important service development we are seeing is an increasing demand for our Advantage+Elite proactive, predictive and transparent monitoring solution. 

Overall, it’s been a dynamic environment and we’ve had to selectively add capacity, shorten lead times and shift production to serve the evolving demands of the food, beverage, consumer goods and medical industries.  

Husky started as a Canadian-based company and now has customers all over the world. What is the secret to Husky’s success? What separates Husky from your competitors? 

At Husky, we strive to find the best solutions for our customers in everything that we do, and above all else, we are driven by our culture of innovation. Through the years of Husky’s success, the three main themes have driven our culture and growth include our Talent, Innovation, and Sustainability.  

We have always ensured we attract, engage, and retain the best people. Our people are empowered and encouraged to grow and develop and we offer above average benefits as well. In addition to our robust pension program, we have developed engagement programs centered around sustainability such as our GreenShares initiative which we’ve been running for the past 22 years now. Through the GreenShares program team members receive points for engaging in environmentally responsible activities. (e.g.; cycling to work, eating a plant-based meal per day, etc.). 

Our culture of innovation has helped drive our growth and shape our approach to tackling and solving complex challenges. We are solution-focused and creative, and as a result, we enjoy a strong leadership position in our industry. From technology to processes and service models, innovation and sustainability are embedded in all that we do.  

After reading through the Husky website, it’s clear that sustainability is a priority for your company. What’s Husky’s view on sustainability and the role plastics play in a modern society?  

Plastics play an essential role and have many advantages over alternatives. Responsibly managed polymers are the best material today and are a key part of the solution to a low carbon economy. We must shift form a linear economy to a circular one. 

The trend towards more sustainable packaging and manufacturing processes is here to stay and we see this evolution embodied by leading brands who continue to introduce increased percentages of recycled PET in their packaging. The top sustainability trends we expect to continue seeing include the reduced use of virgin resin through light weighting initiatives, increasing use of recycled PET, and increased conversion from other packaging materials into infinitely recyclable PET. 

Husky’s vision for sustainability includes a focus on the polymers which can be circular and to re-use those materials over and over again. And as innovation and sustainability go hand in hand, we at Husky are driving leading edge technologies and solutions to reduce environmental impacts through:  

  • Eliminating Waste – Using only the material we need to; our ongoing innovation continues to push packaging solutions to become lighter and lighter. 
  • Designing for Circularity – We are constantly looking at how to support our customers in creating packages that can be truly circular and maximize value recovery.  
  • Encouraging Sustainable MaterialsWe focus on supporting our customers to use more and more recycled materials with new advanced recycling technologies and supporting innovations for new sustainable feedstocks. 

On a similar note, developing a Circular Economy for plastics is a goal of many companies and organizations, including CIAC. What is Husky’s view on developing a circular economy for plastics and what steps do you think need to be taken?

Investing in the production of more sustainable packaging has long been a top priority for Husky and an area that we will continue to invest and innovate in. With today’s circular economy driving package design, we work closely with our customers to ensure their products meet specific regional design requirements, particularly regarding recycling, enabling recycled content in packaging and reducing the overall use of resin in their packaging. 

We view plastics as a resource not waste, which is why we are using our global position to: 

  • Increase collection through advocacy and design for circularity. 
  • Enable recycled content through our proven technologies and new recycled melt to preform system. 
  • Collaborate along the circular economy value chain with groups such as CIAC PD, NAPCOR, , PETCORE, Association of Plastic Recyclers as well as customers, brands, and reclaimers and new advanced recyclers. 

Lastly, would you like to highlight any new products or solutions Husky offers? 

Recently, Husky has developed a suite of solutions for Tethered closures, which ensure the closure remains affixed to the bottle without compromising functionality and consumer experience. This breakthrough is aligned with the European Single-Use Plastic Directive which introduced mandates for all plastic beverage containers sized three litres and below must have the closure tethered to the container by July 2024. This is to increase the collection of closures that often fall through the cracks of recycling facilities and end up as waste.  

Additionally, apart from our standard PET system platform, our newest Recycled-melt-to-preform system (rMtP) technology is offered as a module for our proven HyPET HPP5e system. The system is designed to support the closed-loop conversion of washed flake to preform by accepting melt from an upstream provider. This solution facilitates the effective production of preforms made from 100% rPET material by eliminating the drying and melting steps associated with traditional rPET preform manufacturing. Streamlining this process allows for less energy usage, enabling an even greater sustainable solution.