Load security represents a major challenge for the supply chain and the freight industry: 4% of the products transported every year on the road in Europe, are estimated to be lost or arriving damaged at destination.

Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics has been looking at the perspective of two main industries representing the largest consumers of flexible packaging to work on new developments that ensure a better overall performance of the load packaging systems, taking into consideration the type of application and the interaction between all different packaging components while addressing cost efficiency and environmental impact.

Lighter and Brighter Consumer Goods

In the case of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), the requirements of a typical beverage producer were used to optimize the palletization, combining stretch wrap and collation shrink for bottles or cans packaging. Dow’s ELITE™ AT Resins enabled a reduction of the thickness of stretch wrap film, while INNATE™ Precision Packaging Resins helped to downgauge the collation shrink film.

The overall optimized packaging system resulted in 25% material savings and improved optics, puncture, tear and elongation of the films, compared to incumbent solutions. The flexible packaging consumption was reduced from 2,606 grams to only 1,942 grams per pallet, while load stability performance was significantly improved. Overall CO2 consumption was also reduced by 219 MT for one packaging line per year (considering a standard line with an average productivity of 21 pallets per hour).

Stretching the Robustness of Industrial Goods

The requirements of a typical chemical producer were examined to find a more efficient way of palletizing industrial goods such as cement, chemicals, fertilizers, or seeds. In this case, Dow’s XZ89507.00 resin provided the opportunity to move from EVA-based stretch hood to an all-PE one, allowing for more robust, lighter and flexible packaging. INNATE™ Precision Packaging Resins enabled downgauging of the heavy-duty shipping sacks.

The all-PE optimized packaging system resulted in 14% flexible packaging consumption savings compared with incumbent solutions. The flexible packaging consumption per pallet was reduced from 6,278 to 5,383 grams while maintaining load stability performance. CO2 emissions were significantly reduced by 210 MT for one packaging line per year (considering a standard line with an average productivity of 15 pallets per hour).

Collaborating for Outstanding Results

By working in close collaboration with ITENE Research Center, Dow succeeded to address challenges faced by industrial and consumer industries when packing and shipping goods and their need of combining multiple packaging components in their operations. “Months of product testing have led to the design of new flexible packaging solutions that optimize the overall performance of the packaging systems, resulting in significantly lighter pallets through up to 25% material savings and a reduction in CO2 emissions. All this while maintaining or even improving the load stability performance,” commented Helga Gomez, marketing manager Industrial and Consumer Packaging at Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. 

“We are addressing load stability challenges by taking a holistic approach,” continued Helga Gomez. “We believe collaboration across the value chain is critical to enable the successful evaluation and improvement of packaging technologies and for the development of load stability solutions that meet industry requirements and regulatory standards.”

Through value chain collaboration and a holistic, solution-driven approach, Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics was able to co-design novel packaging systems that are more efficient in improving pallet load stability, while also offering retailers, brand owners and supply chain significant cost efficiencies and opportunities to enhance their sustainability footprint.

Load Stability Academy

The joint developments were presented at the Load Stability Academy on October 25th, co-hosted by Dow and ITENE at their testing facilities in Valencia, Spain. The event brought together stakeholders from across the value chain and provided the opportunity to discuss new legislation and standards, address market trends and challenges, and to see first-hand the benefits of the new films’ developments based on Dow’s technologies.

“The load stability challenge cannot be addressed in isolation by Dow, or a film producer, or ITENE. Our collaboration with Dow and other partners throughout the value chain is fundamental to share knowledge and experience to drive new practices and innovations forward,” commented Javier Zabaleta, ITENE’s managing director.