Handling of new film materials produced with different degrees of recyclates

The European Union as well as other governments around the world initiate greater actions on recycling of plastic waste. Closing the circular flow of collected plastics back into the current plastic production is one of the main focus. This eventually leads to a higher availability of recycling plastics for these manufactures. Driven by governmental standards newly produced plastics will contain a higher level of recycled material.

 

This given trend will also influence the composition of plastic films used in packaging industry. The different degree of used recyclates in the new foils will also affect the film sealing characteristics. This challenges the packaging industry when introducing new products packed in these new film materials. To seal thermoplastic films a certain temperature is required defining the process window of the material. Therefore, the ROPEX impulse sealing technology with a precise process control of temperature and time is key to success for a seal fulfilling highest qualities.

Suitable solutions for compostable bio-film material

The global environmental pollution caused by consumer plastic waste introduced from the packaging industry is currently a topic on everyone's lips - whether it is huge islands of waste in the oceans or microplastics that are making their way back into the food chain. For the processing industry, the great strengths of plastics such as stability, persistence and inertness are precisely those factors that hinder the decomposition or degradation of polymers and thus pave the way for a permanent influence of plastics on the environment.

 

According to the German Federal Environment Agency, the degradation time of plastics can be up to 450 years depending on various environmental factors, although even then it cannot be assumed that they will be completely degraded (umweltbundesamt.de).

 

Not in every use-case it is possible to dispense the use of plastic packaging e.g. medical/pharma. Biofilms made of biodegradable plastics are now more used as an alternative. The biological degradation of such polymers takes place by hydrolysis of the polymer chains into many smaller fragments, which are mostly water-soluble. They can then be absorbed by cells and further degraded. These bio-films pollute our environment considerably less and are also very popular with consumers.

 

The introduction or conversion to such biodegradable films requires a precise temperature input, a controllable process window and a validatable sealing strength. The ROPEX impulse sealing technology is therefore the ideal solution for our customers.

Sealing of mono-layer materials

Recovering plastic material through recycling is now one of the most important goals of large consumer companies. The key to successful recycling lies in separating and splitting waste into its original raw materials, which are then ready for direct further processing in the recycling chain. Complex composites pose a particular challenge because they have to be separated into their components at great expense.

 

One such challenge are the multi-layer packaging materials commonly used in the packaging industry. Many multi-layer films provide different barrier properties, e.g. food packaging made of PE/PA, which considerably extends the shelf life of the packaged food. The addition of PA to the multi-layer solution also significantly reduces the total layer thickness and thus improves the mechanical stability of the film. The use of aluminium layers in the layer composite also makes the subsequent recycling process considerably more difficult.

 

Currently, the recyclability of packaging films is a high focus topic. Film manufacturers are now challenged to offer mono-material films to the packaging industry that achieve sufficient barrier properties with low layer thicknesses. These barrier properties required for the packaged product can also be achieved, for example, by coating with biodegradable films with high-performance functional coatings. To this end, ROPEX is working together with partners on solutions that optimally combine the advantages of coated mono-layer materials with the ability to impulse seal - towards a holistic solution for packaging companies.

Energy-optimized CO2 footprint in production

Climate change, fuelled by the worldwide emission of greenhouse gases, is challenging policymakers to constantly call for lower emission limits, new savings targets and innovative measures for a sustainable future. Also, large corporations do not want to evade this responsibility being on the consumer focus. That is why many companies are striving for CO2-neutral production.

 

Every product packaged in plastic film was sealed by melting a thermoplastic. Energy in the form of a temperature input to the material is required to melt the two film layers together. However, the majority of systems on the market use a very simple, outdated sealing process that provides a certain temperature at all times independent from demand. However, the packaging process is an intermittent process that only requires the energy to seal in the millisecond range if made contact.

 

Intelligent solutions are needed to ensure that packaging companies' efforts to achieve efficient and environmentally friendly production are successful. ROPEX's impulse sealing technology ensures that heat is generated only at the time of film contact to sealing tool and actual heat demand. Else, the sealing system remains cold: Heat-on-demand.

The ROPEX impulse sealing system makes a very effective contribution supporting our customers to achieve their CO2 targets.

Narrow and tensile seal seams for foil saving

The sustainable use of plastic film as source of recyclable raw material in product packaging is more and more shaping the actions of packaging companies. Product designers, film manufacturers and technology companies such as ROPEX are challenged to provide innovative solutions for the sustainability of packaging.

 

This includes efforts to reduce the width of the film area to be sealed in order to save packaging material in the top, side and bottom sealing area. With narrow seals, the used sealing technology must meet the highest demands on the seal, such as tensile strength and gas tightness, while at the same time providing visually appealing quality.

 

With ROPEX's impulse sealing tools we offer you exactly this performance: high temperature resolution in the borderline area, minimal heat impact - both on film and product -, high seam quality even with the smallest sealing contours.

Order your film sealing samples created with your specific film now for your own testing’s. Our customer team will be happy to consult you with any application.

Cellulose based packaging solutions

Bioplastics can be produced from a variety of natural plant and bio raw materials. The most important raw material suppliers are wood (cellulose and lignin), cereal plants and potatoes (starch), sugar cane and sugar beet (sugar) and oil plants (vegetable oils).

 

Biopolymers based on wood are a promising approach: the most abundant renewable natural resource in the world is cellulose, which can be extracted from wood. About 150 years ago, the first modern bioplastics were developed from cellulose. The best known is probably the so-called cellophane (regenerated cellulose), which has developed from a simple candy-film into a modern, multifunctional packaging film.

 

In the dry food packaging sector, technologies for high-performance paper materials are already available today. Here, too, the focus lies in the closure of the packaging bags so that the product reaches the consumer safely, securely and cleanly. In the choice of environmentally friendly paper packaging, the commitment to sustainable plastic-free offers plays a particularly important role. Especially in health-food stores, organic supermarkets and delicatessen shops, paper packaging is currently becoming increasingly popular. In corresponding customer projects, ROPEX is required to process a sealing medium between the paper layers into a tightly sealed package. Usually, a thin PE coating, a wax layer, a resin application, a sugar-based solution or even a hot-melt are stimulated to react, usually by a controlled thermal impulse.