As I said yesterday we aren’t yet at the end of my selection. Today we meet with the updated portfolio of bio-based thermoplastic compounds from FKUR, the Flexfresh Waterless Internet flower packaging, and the novelties in Green PE from Braskem. And maybe more if I see something special during one of the last days of Interpack 2017.
Here we go. Meet:
Bioplastics specialist FKuR (Hall 9 / F14) presents its updated portfolio of bio-based thermoplastic compounds for the production of films, profiles and mouldings. FKuR highlights a number of new products with improved resource efficiency potential.
With new biopolymer compounds based on cellulose acetate (Biograde) or polypropylene (Terralene), FKuR has widened the options for reducing the use of fossil resources in the production of mouldings and extrudates.
For the new Biograde injection moulding compounds C 5509 CL and C 5508, a highly advanced raw material plus additive is used to increase the share of the bio-based content from its previous level of 50% to now more than 65%. These grades can be easily processed with short cycle times on standard injection moulding machines with a universal screw and are suitable for multi-cavity moulds.
The Biograde series of compounds features high stiffness, strength and impact resistance as well as a pleasant surface texture. As Biograde compounds do not contain any hazardous plasticizers, they are approved for food contact (EN 10/2011 and FDA) and for the production of toys (EN 71-3).
The Terralene PP grades are newly developed polypropylene compounds for injection and extrusion moulding applications which are partially based on renewable raw materials. The renewable content of the various types is about 35% and can be clearly demonstrated to the final customer by the 14C method. Their processing and application properties are similar to those of comparable petroleum-based materials.
With Terraprene the application of bio-based raw materials into the product group of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE-S) is extended. Depending on the grade, the share of renewable resources can be as high as 80%. The performance features and resistance of these newly developed bio-based types largely correspond to those of their petrochemical counterparts. They are suitable for both injection and extrusion moulding. The currently available standard types of Terraprene cover a wide Shore hardness range from A 20 to D 40.
Terraprene is also a sustainable substitute for PVC.
Waterless Internet flower packaging
Flex Films Europa (Hall 10 / D44) shows the Flexfresh Waterless Internet flower packaging that won two Gold Awards for Technical Innovation.
The flower packaging is made from a compostable film that lets flowers breath in hydrated oxygen during shipping/storage, allowing the cut flora to survive for up to five days without watering, as the packaging releases excess humidity to “feed” the bouquet while keeping it dry to the touch.
Flexfresh is a “proprietary polymeric composition” that can be custom-engineered as either a mono- or a multilayer film. The biggest enemy to fresh cut flowers is condensed humidity, leading to Botrytis (grey mould). Oxygen is the second biggest enemy, as it catalyses maturation. With Flexfresh, the humidity is not allowed to condense, keeping the product dry, and with less oxygen available, the flowers breath less as well, reducing the humidity and heat generated by respiration.
Different flowers have different respiration rates, based on their genetics, the amount of water they receive, their growing conditions, and other factors. Hence it is important to ascertain the respiration rate of the specific flower and arrive at the accurate transmission value to determine the perforation matrix for the film.
To create Flexfresh for flowers the company partnered with PerfoTec B.V., which uses its Fast Respiration Meter to determine the respiration rate of the flowers along with software to calculate the required film permeability. PerfoTec also supplies an Online Laser Perforation System that uses the software-generated respiration data to adapt the permeability of the film through micro-perforations.
The Waterless Internet Flower Packaging solution is targeted at e-commerce flower companies and flower retailers, allowing them to keep flowers fresher longer and potentially eliminate “millions of gallons” of water from the supply chain.
The film is constructed of a proprietary blend of biopolymers that make it biodegradable via composting, certified under DIN EN 13432 (2000-12).
One of the first users of the new flower packaging is Dutch e-commerce flower retailer BloomPost Nederland B.V. BloomPost began using Flexfresh film in 2016, packaging their flowers via an Ulma Packaging flow-wrapping machine, with in-line laser scoring to actuate the exact transmission required for the bouquets.
Braskem (Hall 9 / G15), the biggest producer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas, highlights its research into technology that allows packs to change colour alerting the consumer when the product is unfit for consumption.
The technology is developed in partnership with Clemson University in the US and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in Brazil.
Intelligent packaging uses specific indicators to demonstrate the state of conservation of its contents, emitting an external alert. The packaging will change colour to warn the consumer if the product is unfit for consumption. This technology can be used for perishable product packaging in various sectors. Chemical substances able to react to specific indicators of product damage are added to the thermoplastic resin used in the packaging. When product integrity suffers any type of alteration, it’s indicated by a change in the packaging’s hue. In research conducted with poultry, meat and fish, for example, pH alterations determine a packaging colour change.
This gives consumers greater quality assurance on the products they take home, and, at the same time, allows companies to control product integrity after manufacture, either during transport or at the point of sale.
A promising future, but “intelligent packaging needs to be customized for specific segments. This means it may be a few more years before it appears on supermarket shelves”, explains the company.
Ok, this was my selection of bioplastics found at Interpack this year. Although Interpack closes its doors today I have two more topics to describe, namely intelligent (or smart, or active, or whatever the rich fantasies of people like to call them) packaging and folding cartons, particularly the special constructions with folding cartons.
They are coming up in the next few days.