Biodegradable Flexible Packaging Solutions

Biodegradable Flexible Packaging Solutions

What is a biodegradable polymer?

Biopolymers have been around for quite some time. Here at Flex-Pack Engineering, we have been working with biopolymers for at least 20 years. During that time, we have seen biodegradable polymers continue to evolve to offer more and more options for the flexible packaging industry. Biodegradable polymers are a special class of polymer that breaks down after its intended purpose by bacterial decomposition process and results in natural byproducts.

Probably the most common biodegradable polymer is PLA which is a polylactic acid polymer. PLA is different from thermoplastic polymers since it is derived from renewable resources such as corn or sugar cane. In contrast, most plastics are derived from petroleum resources. Bioplastics is a term that is used to describe plastics that are derived from biopolymers such as PLA.

Challenges in Using Biodegradable Polymers in Flexible Packaging Products

There are many challenges when considering using biodegradable polymers for a flexible packaging product. Currently, there is limited production with biopolymers as compared to standard polymers, so the economies of scale are not present which makes producing biodegradable packaging more expensive. A typical polyethylene manufacturing facility can produce hundreds of millions of pounds of material annually while availability of biopolymers is limited to millions of pounds. Additionally, the availability of biodegradable polymers which are fully renewable and sustainable and can also function and contain our food products and industrial products is challenging. The materials must be strong, clear, shiny, allow for printing, and can be run through standard equipment and have fitness for use characteristics equal to standard plastic options, as well as be price competitive. It is a serious challenge.

Future Considerations and Expectations with Biodegradable Packaging

As technology for biodegradable polymers continues to evolve we expect more and more opportunities to integrate bioplastics into our everyday workflow for flexible packaging products. Currently, there is a spectrum of expectations regarding biopolymers. On the one side is the expectation that biopolymers have to match existing materials in physical property performance, shelf life, and cost expectations. On the other side of the spectrum is the reality of where biopolymer technology and performance are at today. As the technology for biodegradable polymers continues to improve we feel the expectations will shift from the outer edges of the spectrum and converge more in the middle allowing for more integration of improving bioplastics into flexible packaging products.

How Flex-Pack Engineering Can Help Make Sense of Biodegradable Polymers

At Flex-Pack Engineering we help customers make sense of biodegradable polymers from an engineering perspective. We help sort out and characterize biodegradable polymers along with all of the other polymers available in the marketplace. We can analyze standard film products vs. biofilm products and make informed recommendations on the applicability of one product vs. another in fitness for use and chain of use criteria.

Furthermore, our team can provide the flexible packaging testing and consulting services related to proof of concept on compounding, film making, printing, and laminating. We have the knowledge and expertise with biodegradable products and are actively working on projects that are utilizing biodegradable plastics with our customers to produce biodegradable packaging. We are an experienced and talented partner for companies who want to develop biodegradable packaging products.

When you are ready to have a conversation about if biodegradable packaging is an option for your packaging products, call Flex-Pack at 888-300-1482 or fill out our request information form.

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    MVTR Testing – Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate Testing

    MVTR Testing, Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate Testing

    WHAT IS MVTR?

    Moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) also known as water vapor transmission rate is the process of measuring the amount of water that can permeate through a polymer package film or membrane on a square meter basis in 24 hours. Flex-Pack Engineering has the experience and highly specialized instruments which measure MVTR by creating a moisture gradient from one side of the film to the other that allows the moisture to pass through the material and measures the permeation value.  

    MVTR testing is important in the flexible packaging industry because it ensures that food products maintain the necessary amount of moisture within their package: not too dry, not too moist, just right!

    Flex-Pack Engineering provides MVTR Testing for customers for a variety of reasons including quality control or to allow a manufacturer to provide a certificate of conformance that certifies the moisture permeation value for a particular package. Additionally, we can provide MVTR Testing as part of the design and development process to evaluate if a new film material has a better MVTR than the previous film design. We also help customers who are having issues with the MVTR of a particular film and assist in tracking down the problem and offering recommendations for a solution.

    Flex-Pack Engineering offers very competitive MVTR Testing rates and turnaround times. However, the most important element that Flex-Pack offers our customers is the interpretation of MVTR test results and providing recommendations to help solve flexible packaging problems or improve a new film design. A traditional testing lab will deliver testing results but not provide the insights into what the results mean in context of a customers’ goals or issues. With our consultative approach at Flex-Pack, we always discuss MVTR testing results with our customers to make sure they understand the data and how it effects the overall product design.

    Flex-Pack Engineering, Your Turn-Key Provider for MVTR Testing and Analysis

    At Flex-Pack Engineering, we bring our 30 year education in developing packaging products to not only bring you MVTR testing results, but to help you understand those results to improve your business. We offer very competitive pricing, quick turnaround times, and outstanding customer service to help you with all of your flexible packaging testing requirements.

    Ready to have a conversation? Contact us today at 330-704-9436 or fill out our request information form and learn how Flex-Pack Engineering can help with your MVTR Testing!

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