Reifenhäuser Blown Film is displaying the ‘world’s first’ 18-micrometre MDO-PE film at drupa 2024; it is said to reduce thickness by 25% compared to previous films and unlock the use of fully recyclable, low-carbon mono-material flexibles.

The solution is produced on Reifenhäuser’s EVO blown film lines using the patented EVO Ultra Stretch technology – this time combining it with suitable raw materials. The Ultra Stretch unit is positioned directly in the system’s haul-off, meaning the film is stretched from the first heat; this is believed to result in a stable, reliable process that can be reproduced over many hours.

LG Chem and BOBST worked alongside Reifenhäuser to develop and test the film for practical suitability. Reportedly, it performs ‘excellently’ in the converting process.

It is said to adhere to the current market standard for stretched PE films, demonstrating a modulus of elasticity MD exceeding 1,400 MPa and a modulus of elasticity TD exceeding 1,100 MPa. Moreover, it claims to beat the market standard for optical properties, achieving a haze of less than 5% compared to a more widely-achieved 6-7%.

Reifenhäuser believes that, thanks to downgauging, manufacturers can now use the MDO-PE film to achieve fully recyclable packaging at a lower cost.

Printed samples are being displayed at drupa, located in Hall 10 at Stand B30-1. MDO process and applications expert Mohamed Timol is acting as Reifenhäuser’s contact person at the stand.

“The way this extra-thin 18-micron MDO-PE blown film behaves on our printing machines is unique on the market,” says Davide Rossello, head of Competence Center and Process Manager Gravure at BOBST. “We have printed the film at high speeds of up to 500 m/min with excellent results in terms of printing quality and register performances.

“But even more impressively, we were able to demonstrate the quality of our machine when printing in the BOBST oneECG process, achieving excellent print results at 300 m/min (and above).”

Christoph Lettowsky, senior product manager at Reifenhäuser Blown Film, comments: “Machine builders and manufacturers have been pursuing the same goal for some time: not to use more material in fully recyclable All-PE solutions than in conventional PET-PE laminates. Technically, this is achieved due to the different densities of PET film and MDO-PE film by replacing the 12 μm PET film with a 16 to 17 μm MDO-PE film.

“With the reduction to 18 μm, we have taken a significant step in this direction – with further downgauging potential for the future.”

In a similar development, COLINES and ExxonMobil showcased their low-thickness High Tenacity Hand Wrap film at NPE 2024. Containing 35% post-consumer recycled material, it is designed for manual and automatic application.

At the same event, Reifenhäuser Extrusion Systems revealed its Coextrusion Adapter Flex for cast, sheet, and coating extrusion. It sought to offer customers with high flexibility and ‘perfect’ film profiling at a low cost.

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