New PE-based, high-barrier, flexible stand-up pouches deliver toughness, stiffness and shelf-appeal and can be produced at speed, on existing VFFS production lines.
The flexible pouches are made predominantly from a single material: PE. Mono-material pouches are easier to recycle than packaging structures available on the market today, which are made up of multiple materials, each performing a different function. The solution that the team has been able to create enables customers to achieve the necessary functionality provided by those multiple materials – for example, oxygen and water vapor barrier, printability, toughness, stiffness, excellent gloss and clarity – without compromising recyclability.
Each project member was able to bring in a unique perspective and experience from decades of packaging processing expertise, which led to the new pouch design being developed to run at speed on existing machinery, delivering high quality at each step of the way and therefore providing a commercially-viable solution to the market:
- The creation was enabled by the combination of a high-performance, tenter-frame biaxially-oriented polyethylene (TF-BOPE) film developed by Ticinoplast and produced at Plastchim-T, with an enhanced barrier lamination film produced at Dow’s Pack Studios Tarragona.
- High-quality, solvent-free, offset printing was demonstrated on a CI8 press at Comexi where the solvent-free lamination step was also performed.
- The packaging was created at high speed on Syntegon’s innovative vertical form-fill-seal (VFFS) machinery with an output of 80 pouches per minute, which makes it a commercially viable solution.
Jaroslaw Jelinek, global marketing manager for oriented PE technologies, Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics commented: “By working collaboratively with all project members, we’ve been able to accelerate a new offering that has been designed with recyclability in mind from the outset. This is not a concept or a project anymore, this is reality. Our global teams have been working through Pack Studios to bring the success of this PE-based barrier pouch to customers and we can’t wait for them to see it.”
Pierre Hamelink, global account management and sustainability, vertical segment, at Syntegon, commented: “Syntegon is embracing the sustainability challenge towards a circular economy and therefore wants to collaborate with leading brands in the marketplace to offer the best solutions possible to its customers. It’s a big step forward: through this joint solution brands who need a recyclable packaging material with appropriate barrier performance for a range of dry goods, and who do not want to compromise on bag quality and machine speed, now have a tune-able option at hand.”
Felip Ferrer, brand manager and business development manager of the offset printing business unit at Comexi, commented: “Designing recyclable, flexible packaging is an essential step towards a circular economy. In addition, using sustainable Electron Beam technology in the printing process allows a 100% reduction of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and 40% less energy in comparison with conventional solvent-based printing technologies. This project shows that by connecting our know-how with film suppliers - and our global customers for printing – we can develop more sustainable and recyclable solutions.”
Paolo Rossi, CEO and mono-material flexible packaging engineer of Ticinoplast, commented: “Stand-up pouches are often the most suitable flexible packaging for solid goods, powders and liquids, in both food and non-food sectors. The possibility to form and fill this PE-rich pouch at a high production rate is a step forward for the market. BOPE is a rising technology and thanks to projects like this, companies can come together and create new polyethylene films that can be customized to achieve the best possible efficiency and viable solutions for consumers.”
Aydin Faik, owner of Plastchim-T, commented: “It is really exciting after several years of development to have in-hand pouches entirely based on fully recyclable material where BOPE is the novelty that makes the difference. Mutual efforts of all the participants have brought us here and we are confident that by investing in the first hybrid BOPE/BOPP line, we will manage to develop and present to the market new products for many other applications where recyclability will remain the main focus. The PEoneer® BOPE project films are the perfect blend of high performance and enhanced sustainability. The innovative plastic films further support our increasing commitment to finding concrete solutions to enhance and sustain the circular economy and sustainable bioeconomy.”
This collaboration is another example of how Dow is working with partners to ensure that flexibles and films, which are currently hard to recycle, are able to be recycled – and to drive game changing innovation to help keep plastic waste from entering the environment. It aligns to Dow’s target to ensure that all of its products sold into packaging applications are reusable or recyclable by 2035.
As a leading provider of sustainable packaging materials, Dow is committed to driving the adoption of PE-based, recyclable flexible packaging and this joint effort is an important step on this journey. Designing innovative packaging with recyclability in mind from the outset is a key part of Dow’s sustainability strategy and will help lead to a more circular economy for plastics. Dow’s work in this area is enabled by its Pack Studios, where it is using industry-scale testing and production capabilities to accelerate the development of concepts which can be replicated at scale. The design of recyclable, flexible packaging through collaborations such as these are important if the industry is to meet European Union regulations of having 100% recyclable packaging in the market by 2025.
Comexi, founded in 1954, has extensive experience in manufacturing equipment for the flexible packaging conversion industry. As a world leader, it operates five product lines, each specialized in a different conversion process: flexography printing, offset printing, laminating, slitting, and digital services. Furthermore, it has a Service and Technical Assistance Business Unit that offers service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The company has two production plants: one in Riudellots de la Selva (Girona, Spain) and another one in Montenegro, in the State of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil). Comexi includes the Manel Xifra Boada Technological Centre, Comexi CTec, where the company provides support and shares its knowledge with various groups involved in the flexible printing industry process. www.comexi.com
Plastchim-T is a leading European manufacturer of BOPP, CPP, and flexible packaging products. The company was founded in 1967 and since then has grown to a leader in the packaging and packaging-related industry and is committed to continuous progress and constantly incorporates advanced technologies in its operations – the latest addition is the innovative BOPP/BOPE hybrid line with an annual capacity of 27 000 tons. Today the company employs over 1000 people and has three factories conveniently located close to the country’s borders. Plastchim-T has a current annual production capacity of 110 000 tons of BOPP films, 12 000 tons of CPP films, 2 500 tons of PE films, and 10 000 tons of woven PP packaging.www.plastchim-t.com
Syntegon Technology is a leading global process and packaging technology provider. Formerly the packaging division of the Bosch Group, the company, headquartered in Waiblingen (Germany), has been offering complete solutions for the pharmaceutical and food industries for over 50 years. About 6,000 employees at 30 locations in more than 15 countries generated a total revenue of 1.3 billion euros in 2020. The portfolio of intelligent and sustainable technologies includes stand-alone machines, as well as complete systems and services. Fields of application in the pharmaceutical industry are the production, processing, filling, inspection and packaging of liquid and solid pharmaceuticals (e.g. syringes and capsules). In the food industry, the portfolio includes process technology for confectionery as well as packaging solutions for dry foods (e.g. bars, bakery products and coffee), frozen foods and dairy products. www.syntegon.com/technologies/sustainable-packaging
Ticinoplast is a company active since 1967 in Europe on the extrusion and co-extrusion of blown film for flexible packaging in the food, industrial and pharmaceutical sectors. The company is one of the technological leaders in the flexible market and is globally recognized as one of the most innovative. The increased attention to environmental issues and sustainability has led Ticinoplast to create products that meet the principles of the circular economy. These solutions translate into the production of films designed for mono material, compostable and renewable packaging, with and without gas and aroma barrier. It has an annual production capacity of over 15,000 T, selling both in Italy and abroad and is ISO9001, BRC GS Packaging Materials and ISCC PLUS certified. www.ticinoplast.com
About Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics
Packaging and Specialty Plastics (P&SP), a business unit of Dow (NYSE: DOW), combines core strengths of R&D, worldwide reach, broad product lines and industry expertise to deliver high performing technologies for end use markets in food packaging, personal hygiene, infrastructure, consumer goods and transportation. P&SP is one of the world’s largest producers of polyethylene resins, functional polymers, and adhesives, and enabled by Pack Studios, is a leading innovator and collaborator across the value chain on sustainable application development and circular economy life-cycle design for plastics. www.dowpackaging.com
Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth, asset integration and scale, focused innovation and leading business positions to achieve profitable growth. The Company’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company, with a purpose to deliver a sustainable future for the world through our materials science expertise and collaboration with our partners. Dow’s portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility and consumer care. Dow operates 106 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,700 people. Dow delivered sales of approximately $39 billion in 2020. References to Dow or the Company mean Dow Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information, please visit www.dow.com or follow @DowNewsroom on Twitter.
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