Sustainability and the move to replace non-recyclable high barrier multi-material packaging structures with recyclable mono-material alternatives is a driving force in the plastics industry. With sustainability the central theme of K 2019, BOBST is joining forces with pioneering companies Dow, Brückner Maschinenbau, Hosokawa Alpine and Elba to present state-of-the-art solutions utilising a new generation of polymers to achieve mono-material packaging designed for recyclability. The innovative full packaging solutions will be on display on the BOBST stand #A39 in Hall 4 at K 2019. 

“The plastics industry is starting to undergo one of the biggest transformations it has ever seen. Packaging encompasses almost 40% of plastic use globally, it is our duty to address this challenge and invest our innovation capabilities to bring high performance industrial solutions and gain a competitive advantage” commented Stephan Maerz, Head of BU Web-fed at BOBST, “This is a challenge which needs to be addressed in a fast-paced and collaborative manner. Partnerships are critical as we need to demonstrate how sustainability transformation can minimise environmental impact while maintaining economic viability. We are at the beginning of a long journey with big challenges ahead which drives fast-paced innovative research, something all partners in this collaborative project thrive on”. 

The project involved using different high barrier mono-material structures to provide packaging designed with recyclability in mind. Each solution had to be thoroughly tested to guarantee all industry requirements were met in terms of processability, barrier, safety and optical quality. The different types of mono-material standup pouches (MDO PE, BOPE, BOPP and CPP) which will be displayed at K are the outcome of considerable investment and intense research by the partners. 

Dow as resin supplier are the first step in the production chain, Romain Cazenave, EMEA Marketing Director at Dow commented ”Partnerships, like this one are the future of our industry. For the past few years we have been investing in collaborative models through our PackStudios and we are delighted to see the results of it and be able to prove that high barrier can be combined with design for recyclability”.

For extrusion, two partners were involved, Brückner Maschinenbau for the production of the biaxial stretched polyolefin based films and Hosokawa Alpine for the production of MDO PE. Hosokawa Alpine is a leading supplier in the field of blown film extrusion with more than 20 years’ experience in MDO (Machine Direction Orientation) technology. The proven and trusted MDO film orientation lines from Hosokawa Alpine are a crucial component in manufacturing high-performance single-material compounds made of polyethylenes. Brückner Maschinenbau is the market leader for film stretching lines. At K 2019 new innovations for the demands of a circular economy with focus on mono-material films will be presented. Amongst others, Brückner shows latest line concepts for the production of such films as well as new inline coating technology.

Commenting on the project, Eric Pavone, Business Development Director at BOBST said “The joint project team is working on these innovations utilising the BOBST Competence Centers for high barrier, printing and lamination to test the viability of the new materials. The team were able to leverage BOBST unique technologies to see the production process through and carry out barrier and adhesion tests on the substrates in our laboratories equipped with world-class measuring equipment. At K 2019, new high barrier flexible packaging solutions designed for recyclability are presented. At the same time, BOBST and its partners confirm their commitment to invest in R&D to further develop high performing industrialised solutions”

Both AlOx deposition and metallization with the AluBond® process have been carried out on a BOBST K5 EXPERT. The AlOx also had a protective water-based top coat applied on a BOBST CO 750 coater to protect it during conversion. Both machines are housed in the High Barrier Competence Center and represent BOBST unique AlOx Integrated Conversion Solution. In the area of clear barrier, BOBST can also offer a SiOx solution which produces high barrier recyclable film which is retortable with a high degree of transparency. 

At the CI Flexo Competence Center, the coated reels were flexo printed on a 20SEVEN CI flexo press, using both water-based inks for reverse printing and EB curing inks for front printing. EB surface printing gives brilliant results with high gloss, good adhesion and scratch resistance, meeting industry requirements for these new substrates. Due to the sustainable agenda, the process of choice for printing the pouches was the extended gamut printing (ECG) technology. Our Lamination Competence Center has been processing all barrier substrates on a CL 850 multi-technology laminator. Two different kinds of adhesive were used, monomer free and a new generation of solvent based-barrier adhesives in order to match sustainable packaging targets and further increase barrier levels.

The finished reels were converted into pouches by our partner Elba. Elba will show at K a SA-V model designed to run recyclable films, offering to the market really flexible equipment not only in terms of pouch range but in terms of runnable materials. The independent servo driven sealing stations cause less material stress and have a perfect seal. Visitors to Elba’s stand #D36 in Hall 3 will be able to see live the final production stage of one of the high barrier mono-material pouches.

Another key collaboration between BOBST and Constantia Flexibles produced metallized PE standup pouches. EcoLamHighPlus by Constantia Flexibles is a 100% recyclable flexible packaging solution due to its oriented mono-PE structure. It delivers very high barrier properties close to aluminium foil combined with excellent printability and is suitable for a broad variety of applications. 

All of the finished pouches will be on display on the BOBST stand #A39 in Hall 4 at K 2019, as well as the partners stands Dow (#K48, Hall 8a), Brückner Maschinenbau (#C90, Hall 3), Hosokawa Alpine (#D06, Hall 16) and Elba (#D36, Hall 3).