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Issue 02/2017

  • Text
  • Bioplastics
  • Packaging
  • Biodegradable
  • Materials
  • Products
  • Biobased
  • Films
  • Plastics
  • Compostable
  • Germany
bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1702

Thermoforming / Rigid

Thermoforming / Rigid Packaging Transparent dairy and dessert packaging Haze [%] elasticity modulus [MPa] 100.0 90.0 80.0 70.0 60.0 50.0 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 4000 3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 PET Ingeo Ingeo Impact Modified 140% increase in stiffness Transparent Ingeo FFS dairy & dessert packaging Figure 1. Ingeo provides clarity on par with PET and PS with SBC. HIPS SBC HIPS GPPS Ingeo PS + SBC Figure 2. Ingeo’s inherent stiffness compared to GPPS & HIPS allows for cost-saving downgauging. Transparent packaging is one of the hottest trends in retail sales today. With the drive toward wholesome foods, showcasing appealing products through crystal clear packaging is a natural next step in marketing. To meet this trend, dairy and dessert companies who use highly efficient form, fill, and seal (FFS) packaging processes are looking for cost effective ways of going – transparent. The most commonly applied material in the form-fill-seal process today is opaque or semi-transparent, high impact polystyrene (HIPS). While a modifier such as styrene block copolymer can be used to increase transparency, this adds packaging cost. And, while producers have worked to modify well known transparent materials such as PET and clarified PP to satisfy the stringent performance demands of the FFS process and package, the resulting modified resins have not so far, maintained the transparency for which these plastics are normally known. Solving the cost and performance issue for transparency Naturally advanced Ingeo biopolymer (PLA) is transparent and NatureWorks personnel felt it to be an excellent candidate because of its stiffness and transparency for dairy and dessert applications. For FFS applications, NatureWorks scientists developed a formulation that not only processed well on existing packaging lines while maintaining its clarity, but also offered performance and cost advantages in terms of utilizing less material per cup as compared to HIPS. The new Ingeo grades optimized for dairy and dessert packaging include both conventional and high impact options. Both offer a crystal-clear transparency rivaling unmodified PET. The chart in Figure 1 shows the wide gap in transparency between Ingeo and HIPS. PS modified with styrene block copolymer (SBC) additive is comparable in terms of clarity, but brings cost and performance ramifications. Cost is on everyone’s mind in packaging One of the facts that most surprise packaging specifiers considering PLA for a material substitution is that the cost of Ingeo is competitive with HIPS. The perception is that a relatively new plastic must be more expensive. With over 450,000 tonnes (a billion pounds) sold and an efficient, mature sales channel in place, the economies of scale make this innovative plastic a candidate for substitution where it exceeds incumbents in terms of cost and performance. In addition, because Ingeo is renewably sourced, it is not subject to the wide price swings of the global petroleum market and 16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/17] Vol. 12

Thermoforming / Rigid Packaging By: Mark Vergauwen Global Segment Lead, Rigids NatureWorks LLC Belgium offers significantly lower price volatility than fossil derived plastics. Companies can hedge their purchases over a prolonged time period and lock in favorable pricing. France-based Synerlink (Puiseux-Pontoise), a worldwide leader in integrated packaging equipment with its Arcil brand form-fill-seal lines, has thoroughly assessed the performance of Ingeo on its equipment. Ingeo is an inherently stiff plastic, with stiffness 140 % that of HIPS. This translates directly into package light weighting and cost savings compared to HIPS, GPPS, SBC, PET (Figure 2). Calculations on this high stiffness indicate that approximately 20 to 30 % less wall thickness is needed for Ingeo compared to HIPS at equivalent top load strength (Figure 3). For the consumer, the stiffness of Ingeo also inherently makes for excellent snap-apart characteristics in multipack cups. According to Clear Lam Packaging (Elk Grove Village, Illinois, USA), a developer and manufacturer of innovative flexible and rigid packaging materials used for foods, Ingeo sheet has ideal performance for form-fill-seal applications – the most cost effective packaging for single serve and multipack cups. Keeping products fresh and appealing Extensive testing of the flavor and aroma barrier properties of Ingeo showed that permeation was too low to measure for two common aroma and flavor tests in the packaging industry – the pineapple odor of ethyl butyrate and the citrus odor of d-limonene. And, as (Figure 4) indicates, Ingeo packaging has a superior oxygen barrier as compared to HIPS for longer term freshness. Carbon footprint lower than fossil carbon plastics Replacing a plastic made with fossil carbon with a biobased functional material provides another compelling reason to make the substitution in the dairy and dessert industry. Many consumers today prefer less processed and more natural products and packaging. Furthermore, the energy consumed and the greenhouse gases emitted while manufacturing Ingeo are lower than petroleum-based plastics as (Figure 5) shows. In terms of the ability to utilize packaging to improve sales, materials science in the form of a relatively new plastic, Ingeo, has come to the aid of marketers at the correct time, cost, performance, and carbon footprint. www.natureworksllc.com Figure 3. To achieve similar top load strength, Ingeo cups can be made with walls 20-30% thinner than GPPS. Top Load (critical compressive strength) [N] HIPS Ingeo Ingeo GPPS HIPS 0.006 0.005 0.004 0.003 0.002 0.001 0.000 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120 125 130 135 140 145 150 155 160 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 Oxgen Barrier [cc mil /100 in 2 day atm @ 23°C] 0.62 Same top load strength achieved with thinner cup wall and less material Wall Thickeness [microns] Figure 4. Ingeo’s excellent oxygen barrier can enhance longer term product freshness. Figure 5. Producing Ingeo creates half the greenhouse gases compared to GPPS and HIPS. 2.25 2.43 3.24 3.26 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 Greenhouse Gas Emissions [kg CO 2 eq/kg] EU Producers US Producers Ingeo GPPS bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/17] Vol. 12 17

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