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Paper Coating Improved

Paper Coating Improved Paper Coatings Article contributed by John T. Moore, Vice President- Business Development, DaniMer Scientific, Bainbridge, Georgia, USA Many companies are building the value of their brands and growing their business by investing in development of product offerings that utilize renewable-based biopolymer materials. DaniMer Scientific, LLC is enabling brand owners and converters who focus on environmental stewardship to grow their market share by offering biopolymers for extrusion coating of paper and paperboard. Extrusion coating is an excellent application for biopolymers, and there is no current opposition concerning contamination of the existing recycle stream for paper articles when biopolymers are present. Further enhancing its appeal, DaniMer’s extrusion coating resin provides additional value by enabling coated articles to be repulpable. DaniMer’s advances in the use of biopolymers led to the introduction in 2006 of the world’s first commercial extrusion coating resin that meets global standards for compostability while utilizing renewable resources. This new DaniMer technology enabled International Paper to launch the Ecotainer product in a partnership with Green Mountain Coffee. Since that launch, DaniMer’s extrusion coating product has continued to enjoy the market’s embrace and steady growth. In fact, International Paper recently announced it has crossed the one billion cup milestone and is expanding their product line to include cold cups for a certain large global brand owner; further demonstrating that biopolymer coated paper substrates are more than just a fad. DaniMer has expanded its customer base and is working with key customers on a global basis in various stages of commercialization for new products. DaniMer’s proprietary extrusion coating resin is based on NatureWorks Ingeo Biopolymer. Ingeo biopolymer is an excellent material, but requires modification for melt strength, melt curtain stability, and adhesion to paper in extrusion coating applications. In most cases, DaniMer’s extrusion coating resin can be run on existing equipment with minimal adjustments relative to the 18 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/09] Vol. 4

Paper Coating setup typically used for low density polyethylene. One challenge encountered with the use of biopolymers is the need to process the material at lower moisture content than that typically acceptable for polyethylene. Like PET and other polyesters, biopolymers (which are typically bio-polyesters) can gain moisture when exposed to ambient conditions. Moisture management is often a new area of focus to most converters of LDPE. Another difference often noted with biopolymer materials such as the DaniMer extrusion coating resin is the lower processing temperatures than those used when processing traditional polyolefin materials such as LDPE. The ability to process at much lower temperatures enables an additional cost savings when using biopolymers. With proper training and instruction, most processing changes are recognized as minor and require only slight adjustment in procedure. The market success that DaniMer has enabled its customers to experience with the first generation renewable-based, compostable extrusion coating biopolymer has led to development of a second generation formulation. Development of this second generation material is in the final stages of commercial-scale validation with cost reduction and broader operating parameters as the primary new characteristics. Increased efficiencies in manufacturing of the next generation material will translate into cost savings, which along with broader processing and converting parameters are expected to enable converters and brand owners to gain and retain greater market share for coated paper articles that are intended for single-use and short-term-use applications. In response to requests from key market leaders, DaniMer has recently developed a wax replacement coating. This proprietary material is also made from renewable resources and is both compostable and repulpable. Traditional wax coatings are losing favor with paper companies and converters, due to large fluctuations in consistency and price. Utilizing their Seluma technology platform, the Danimer R&D staff has developed a wax replacement material using renewable based monomers to create a coating resin that can be used as a ‘drop in’ for existing wax coatings of paper and other substrates. Early customer evaluations confirmed that because the DaniMer material has a higher stiffness vs. wax, a reduction in part weight or paper thickness is possible resulting in significant overall package savings. Photos: International Paper DaniMer continues to focus on cost-effective innovation in order to serve brand owners and converters with a broad product portfolio of biopolymer materials. DaniMer recently acquired the Procter & Gamble intellectual property portfolio for a new type of biopolymer known as polyhydroxyalcanoate (PHA) and is commercializing the technology via a new company identified as Meredian, Inc. It is expected that Meredina PHA (scheduled for commercial-scale production in 2010) will provide additional innovations in the area of biopolymer technologies suitable for paper and paperboard coatings as well as for other unique combinations of biopolymers that will be offered through Meredian’s sister company DaniMer Scientific. bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/09] Vol. 4 19

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