Standout trends were actually not terribly surprising. Faster, cheaper, easier ways to manufacture packaging; the breakthrough tech of Industry 4.0; the solid establishment of digital printing for flexible packaging; and sustainability in substrates, adhesives, coatings and inks were easily there to see for the estimated 170,500+ attendees.
For The Converting Curmudgeon, it’s truly a material world
(and lots of machinery along the way, too). Here’s a super-condensed recap for those not following my Twitter feed of nearly 200 tweets from and about the show
the past 10 days or so.
Packages, Substrates & Consumables
Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics: The resin and technology provider signed a global Pack Studios collaboration program with HP Indigo to accelerate innovation in flexible packaging. Both companies see a huge potential to advance solutions for flex packs by uniting packaging material science with printing expertise that targets new technologies for faster innovation to market. The program will accelerate flex-pack development through shared resources to understand final package appearance and shelf appeal. It grants HP Indigo access to the Dow Pack Studios network and technical facilities, while simultaneously expanding Dow Pack Studios capabilities through access to the digital-printing capabilities of HP Indigo.
TIPA Sustainable Packaging & Jindal Films Europe: The duo signed a partnership agreement where they will co-develop an original bio-based, compostable, high-barrier film targeted at the snack-food, dairy and meat product, frozen-food, coffee and tea markets. Addressing the multi-material and laminate markets, where viable reuse or recycling pathways are currently not available, the collaboration will create a new solution that meets the food industry’s needs for a high-barrier film that is both a disposable and organically recyclable end-of-life solution. Both companies bring expertise and experience to enable a collaborative approach to innovation. Jindal Films Europe recently joined the CEFLEX project (Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging) to work on recycling solutions specifically for flex packs. https://tipa-corp.com
Jindal Films Europe debuted its ALOX-LYTE™ transparent barrier and sealant films for flexible packaging. Two grades of OPP-based Alox-lyte offer a transparent barrier to water vapor and oxygen, while enabling the possibility of bright printing colors. Compared to metallized films, they allow the use of metal detection at the end-of-filling operations to make sure that no metallic particles remain in the products. JFE also introduced new SealTOUGH™ coextruded packaging film targeted to replace sealant layers in a lamination or single layers in mono-web applications. SealTOUGH provides puncture resistance at low and ambient temperatures, improved modulus and seal strength that can exceed 5.0 kg/2.54 cm. The technology offers downgauging potential of 30% to 40% compared to traditional sealant films. www.jindalfilms.com
Karlville Development & HP Indigo: The Miami, FL, converting machinery maker and Israeli leader in digital printing presses announced commercial availability of the new HP Indigo Pack Ready Laminator, reportedly allowing immediate time-to-market for flexible packaging (at left). The system creates high-quality, high-performance laminates for HP Indigo digitally printed flexible packaging without the use of adhesives. Designed for digital printing performed on the HP Indigo 20000, 8000 and WS6800 digital presses, it provides strong laminate bond strength with zero curing time for immediate pouch converting. Customer beta-testing of a model optimized for the 20000 is scheduled for this summer. First units are expected to ship by the end of the year. HP’s patented Pack Ready Film contains a heat-active polymer layer that mechanically interlocks with HP’s Indigo ElectroInk once sufficient heat and pressure are applied, allowing immediate use. Pack Ready food-contact-grade films are now available from various suppliers, including Polyplex and Polifilm.
HP Indigo Pack Ready Coating is another solution highlighted at interpack. HP customers in Europe, including Swiss flexible-packaging converter O. KLEINER AG that recently installed a second HP Indigo 20000 digital press, are using the post-print coating solution for high-performance applications in the marketplace such as retort pouches. Commercially released in November 2016, the solution is now extended to support microwavable clear retort pouches. www.karlville.com
My Thoughts: It’s been much too long since I attended an interpack at the sprawling Messe Düsseldorf. In the meantime, they’ve remodeled three halls and added another three. This triennial event is such a requirement for packaging professionals that it drew a record 74% international audience from outside Germany (and from 168 countries; that’s 86% of all the nations on the planet). And, once again, I am a full-fledged member of IPPO (the International Packaging Press Organization). With about 75 members who are either full-time packaging journalists or freelance writers specializing in this industry, IPPO contacts will help keep me – and you – even more well informed about global developments that impact your converting business and operations.