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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_0901

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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_0901

Foam Foamed PLA Trays

Foam Foamed PLA Trays Depron, from Weert, The Netherlands (a former Hoechst division) supplies trays of approx. 600 different models for food packaging, i.e. meat, poultry and vegetable & fruit trays, for dry, MAP and fresh applications. About 600 million trays are produced per year. Depron serves the Benelux (market leader), Germany and France. First S-Shaped Loose Fill Made from Vegetable Starch Pelaspan Bio is an innovative new product of Storopack from Metzingen, Germany. The packaging chips made of vegetable starch have a resilient S- shape. Thus the individual chips interlock each other to form an effective padding around the packaged product, wedging and consequently locking it in place. Pelaspan Bio is totally biodegradable and compostable according to EN 13432 without any risk of ground water contamination. Pelaspan Bio was developed by Storopack in the USA for companies aiming to demonstrate their environmental credentials with a new alternative to loose fill made of crude oil based plastic. Based on the success of the polystyrene version, the aim was to transfer the benefits of the S-shaped chip to packaging chips made of vegetable starch. This entailed engineering work to modify the extruder, as vegetable starch is conventionally produced only in a simple cylindrical format. The US team determined the optimum balance between contour and material density to ensure that the product demonstrated the right degree of protective resilience, a good blocking effect and the capability to withstand high contact pressure. The product has been available in the Benelux states for quite a while and is now available in Germany and France too. Other countries are to follow. Currently supplying mainly trays made of extruded and thermoformed polystyrene, Depron started experimenting with bio degradables in its laboratories in 2003. The first trays were thermoformed in 2004. Alternative raw materials such as potato- or corn starch were tested as well, resulting in the final decision to pursue the usage of Ingeo raw material as supplied by NatureWorks in 2005. Reasons were the good characteristics (stability) of Ingeo during the thermoforming process and the looks of this new food tray, from the consumer point of view. Depron expects a definite change towards bio products / food trays in the next 10 years, whereby the substitution rate towards bio degradable / fully compostable products is difficult to predict at this point in time. “We expect the start of a new Ingeo product generation to be in the fruit & vegetable packaging with one of the leading fruitpackers in Europe,” says Siebe A. Sonnema, General Manager of Depron, estimating a potential of 120 million trays per year per 2010. “Depending on the emerging ‘green policy’ at the major retailers in the Benelux and government fiscal policy (i.e. tax on packaging material per 2008) the change towards bio products will be enhanced,” he says. Depron decided to use NatureWorks’ Ingeo because besides the excellent features of the material in the extrusion and thermoform process, the sustenance from NatureWorks was impressive, regarding among others the Process Guide, Q&A facilities with engineers, cross references with other producers experimenting with PLA and very important as well, the introduction to Fogarty turbo screws, an essential part supplier of the extruding process as Bas Zeevenhoven, Head of R&D emphasizes. www.depron.nl www.storopack.com 24 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4

Foam Significant Extrusion Throughput Rate Increase for PLA Foam Flexible Foam Made of Starch Based Bioplastic Glycan Biotechnology Co.,Ltd from Jhongli City, Taiwan offers different starch and cellulose based bioplastics. Besides grades such as for injection moulding (Glycan JT-030), extrusion blow moulding (Glycan JT-035, e.g. for tubes, bottles or toys) or film blowing (Glycan FT-075, e.g. for shopping bags or garbage bags) the company also has two flexible starch based materials for foaming in their product portfolio. Whereas Glycan ET-045 is suitable for making mattresses, the second type Glycan WT-065 is ideal for shoes and sandals. “Even if our material is not as strong as EVA or rubber types usually used it can be applied for sandals, walking- or sport shoes as Dr. Robin, Technical Director of Glycan Biotechnology points out. “Shoes and sandals have a natural character,” he says, “they are lightweight, comfortable and in winter they can warm up your feet fast.” Available colours ore rather soft and can of course be customized. According to Glycan Biotechnology the foam is an ‘eco-product’ that – in the right environment – shows biodegradation after 90 days. “And in waste-to-energy plants the material burns odorless, non-toxic and without any black smoke,” Dr. Robin adds. Glycan Biotechnology, who look back to almost 20 years of development in their laboratories, have signed international contracts on environmental protection. “Our goal is to offer products, services and solutions of ‘green technology’ that are hightech with less cost to meet the customer’s needs for various applications”, as stated by Glycan. www.glycan-biotech.com Plastic Engineering Associates Licensing, Inc. (PEAL), from Boca Raton, Florida, USA recently announced new trial results. The technical team has increased the throughput rate for NatureWorks Ingeo ® biopolymer (PLA) extruded foam by an impressive 40% on a 4.5” x 6.0” tandem extrusion system. PEAL expects further and significant throughput rate increases as the Turbo-Screws ® technology continues to advance the state of the art of Ingeo biopolymer foam extrusion. Turbo-Screws technology for PLA foam extrusion is commercially operating and is available & ready for the foam food packaging industry today. PEAL is a preferred equipment supplier to NatureWorks LLC and Turbo-Screws technology has been recognized by NatureWorks as the preferred technology for foam extrusion of NatureWorks’ Ingeo biopolymers. Last November PEAL announced its first European license of its Turbo-Screws technology foam feed screws for the production of PLA foam sheet & food containers. “This licensee is a major player in the European food packaging industry.” said Dave Fogarty, president of PEAL. “Our new customer told us they were unhappy with the quality of the PLA foam food packaging trays currently being made in Europe. They saw an opportunity to introduce much higher quality PLA foam food containers. We are very excited to be a part of the introduction of PLA foam food containers into the European market. It’s a real win-win for both companies.” stated Bill Fogarty, V.P. of Plastic Engineering Associates Licensing, Inc.. www.turboscrews.com bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 25

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