Sustainable Plastics - May/June 2020 - 28

collaboration
continued from page 27
cooperative partnership and
are proceeding to further develop and optimise the HD-BOPE
resins and film structures."
Polivouga also brought a
wealth of knowledge about
flexible packaging to the partnership. They understood 'what
was needed for establishing
added value, how you position
it, and which materials can you
replace', explained Lightbody.
Brückner's process and
stretching equipment expertise and Polivouga's film manufacturing knowledge and capabilities also made it possible
to rapidly validate product
performance.
"The selection of our partners has really allowed us to
enter the market and to move
as quickly as we have. There
were a great many innovations that needed to happen to
bring this onto the market: if
it was only resin, if it was only
the equipment, it wouldn't be
that strong a market adoption,
but it's everything together.
We now have a total solution,"
said Lightbody. "And that's
why it is really a story about
collaboration."

The result
Working together, the three
companies were able to quickly
develop HD-BOPE film technology and include the initial
learnings in improved resins
and new line designs. "Running
the film at Polivouga and on
Brückner's pilot line allowed us
to optimise the resin, the equipment and the resulting film,"
said Lightbody.

Sebastian Ruhland,
Brückner Maschinenbau
28

May/June 2020

Polivouga can now produce
3 to 5 layer films. "We have had
the opportunity to test BOPE on
our 5 layer lines with success.
Using the wide range of Nova
resins, BOPE has given us more
flexibility in film design which
allow us to meet our customer
needs," Barros said. "For us, it
wasn't the first BOPE trial, but it
was the first time that we tested high density BOPE. We are
happy with the mechanical and
functional properties results,
which can be a very interesting
solutions such PET replacement or downgauging in PE
structures."
The partnership is currently
working on the third generation
of film and developing additional grades optimised for a wide
range of BOPE applications.
The new grades have a broad
orientation window and stiffness similar to BOPP.
For Brückner, the project
has led to a new line design,
in which the necessary modifications were implemented.
Launched at K 2019, the new
BOPP/BOPE Hybrid line, is
optimised for full output BOPP
as well as BOPE film production. The line had a working
width of 6.6m and 8.7m and
generated a huge amount of
interest from existing BOPP
film producers as well as converting companies.
"And while Brückner continues to make modifications to
make BOPE as easy to run as
possible, in January, a European company already purchased
Brückner's first hybrid line and
further investments are expected in the short term," Lightbody
reported.
The development of the new
film is a timely one. At last year's
K show, visitors - from Europe,
North America and elsewhere
- to the Brückner booth were
extremely interested in BOPE,
due to its potential to provide a
recyclable, monomaterial packaging solution.
"It is what the market is asking for. There's been a huge
push for monomaterial packaging - we also call it Design
for Recycling - with a number of
brand owners who have come
out with pledges to have 100%
recyclable packaging," said
Lightbody. "Everyone wants to
implement the circular econo-

my. It's necessary - these are
valuable materials, and we want
them being reused as we do
other materials. We are moving
in the right direction."
While this is the main driver,
an additional advantage to oriented films is that, due to their
properties such as stiffness and
toughness, downgauging is real
possibility.

Diogo Barros,
Polivouga
"So material reduction is a
huge advantage," added Lightbody.

The biggest challenge
As Henry Ford allegedly once
said: "Coming together is a
beginning, staying together is
progress, and working together
is success."
Owen
Lightbody
would
agree. One of the biggest challenges in a collaboration project like this is the complexity
of bringing everyone together
- and the newness, he said.
"Newness, especially, is the
hardest thing to overcome because of the obstacles that
arise; but having this group together, our combined expertise
meant that we learned together,
we were able to solve problems
quicker by working together
and optimisation was more efficient by working together. I truly
believe that without that strong
collaboration we couldn't have
achieved what we did and how
quickly we did it."
And the pandemic of the past
months?
After K, the original idea was
to have a number of promotional stand-up pouches ready for
Interpack. "Right away, that put

a milestone down," said Lightbody. "We really got focused,
put a schedule in place and we
drove towards that target."
With Interpack cancelled and
travel restricted, it has been
difficult. Trials have had to be
postponed, as these need to
be carried out together with
the experts - the process engineers, the extrusion engineer
- who understand the sheer
complexity of the equipment
and the process.
"So right now we're still doing film evaluations, packaging
evaluations, sampling, value
chain partners, but really from
the trial perspective, those are
on hold. Hopefully we can resume these soon."
However: "The next production run is already scheduled,"
added Ruhland. "The target is
to provide a stiff HD-BOPE film
as printable base layer with
good transparency."

Transformative
innovation
Bringing a new material to market means welcoming in a new
area of flexible packaging, said
Lightbody, with evident enthusiasm. "Transformative innovations like this don't come along
too often."
"The BOPE development is a
big project with a lot of efforts
involved. We will continue this
important collaboration for sure
over the next years to provide
completely new, recyclable
BOPE films to the packaging
market," said Ruhland.
Over and above that, however, was pride in the way this
was achieved. "It is truly a team
accomplishment. Working with
Diogo Barros, at Polivouga and
Sebastian Ruhland, at Brückner,
we forged an incredibly strong
partnership and everyone's
brought their knowledge and
expertise to the table to accelerate this development," said
Lightbody.
He concluded: "Through this
collaboration we've advanced
and developed a new material,
and I am pretty sure that when
we look back in a few years
we'll think: 'Hey, we were part of
the team that brought this new
material to market'. To me, that's
pretty cool."



Sustainable Plastics - May/June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sustainable Plastics - May/June 2020

Contents
Sustainable Plastics - May/June 2020 - Cover1
Sustainable Plastics - May/June 2020 - Cover2
Sustainable Plastics - May/June 2020 - Contents
Sustainable Plastics - May/June 2020 - 4
Sustainable Plastics - May/June 2020 - 5
Sustainable Plastics - May/June 2020 - 6
Sustainable Plastics - May/June 2020 - 7
Sustainable Plastics - May/June 2020 - 8
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Sustainable Plastics - May/June 2020 - Cover3
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