Plastic Compounding

custom polymer compounding

Plastic Compounding by Flex-Pack Engineering

Solving Tough Plastic Compounding Challenges

At Flex-Pack Engineering we enjoy taking on the toughest toll, custom and specialty plastic compounding challenges. Through careful analysis of the fitness for use (FFU) and chain of use (COU) and understanding of the performance expectations for your compounded product, we can select the best raw materials, engineer the best performing screw designs, and develop the process and manufacturing control plans to ensure a smooth running and high performing result.

For example, consider a challenging application of compounding a very high viscosity, polyethylene – which is extremely difficult to compound on its own and you also have the need to include a difficult functional filler, such as clays, glass, or nanoparticles into the mix. It takes a significant amount of torque, requires a special screw design, and a great deal of expertise in process understanding to achieve a winning result. This type of technical challenge is at the center of our wheelhouse at Flex-Pack Engineering. We can analyze, design, and put in place a plan to produce the best results for these types of technically challenging plastic compounding applications.

Once the ideal design and process are created and proven we then select the best plastic compounding line on which to run on from our network of solid, reliable, and consistent contract/toll plastic compounding partners who share our philosophy of taking on the toughest plastic compounding jobs and who can produce high quality compound quickly and cost effectively.

Additionally, when working with Flex-Pack Engineering for your custom plastic compounding needs you have our entire team as your partner throughout the process. Since we selected the materials and engineered the screw designs and processes, we understand what can go right and what can go wrong and are in the perfect position to troubleshoot any issues that may occur in the plastic compounding process. We work synergistically between production and customer as a very well informed and educated bridge throughout the business relationship.  

Flex-Pack Engineering: An Ideal Partner for Plastic Compounding

In our 30+ years of experience we have worked with customers who have had a wide array of technical challenges related to plastic compounding, or who needed short runs for proof of concept. We can accept smaller jobs and are an ideal choice to get plastic compounding projects done quickly. By applying sound science and engineering principles to solve the toughest plastic compounding challenges, we help our customers overcome those challenges and make a great product that can help win new business. And we can get it done quickly!

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 difficult custom plastic compounding challenges!

OIT Testing, Oxidation Induction Time Testing

OIT Testing, Oxidation Induction Time Testing

Oxidation induction time, also referred to as oxidative induction time or abbreviated as OIT (ASTM D3895) is a standardized test performed via DSC (differential scanning calorimetry) which measure the level of thermal stabilization of the material tested. OIT testing allows us to take many types of materials and determine their thermal stability, especially in a hot environment. Oxidative induction time testing can be used in a variety of applications, but we are always testing the level of thermal stabilization of the material.

The process for oxidation induction time (ASTM D3895) testing involves putting the material in a DSC, heating the material to a certain temperature and over time evaluating when the material starts to thermally degrade. At Flex-Pack Engineering, our process would typically include heating the material up beyond its melting point in an inert gas such as nitrogen and holding it at this temperature for the duration of the testing.   We would then change the atmosphere from nitrogen to air or pure oxygen and hold the material at a constant temperature and evaluate the heat flow curve start to change. Where the heat flow curve starts to change, its rate of change and when the changes end, helps us determine the thermal stability of the material.

Oxidation induction time testing allows Flex-Pack to analyze the thermal stability of materials and find better performing materials relative to thermal stabilization for specific customer requirements and situations.

Why Flex-Pack Engineering for OIT Testing?

At Flex-Pack Engineering, we have experience not only with polymers but with additives and additive chemistries and the mixing and blending of those additives through compounding to improve thermal material performance. We understand the materials, we understand the additives, we understand how to put them together and we understand how to test the materials to evaluate their performance. Moreover, we understand what the material performance means as it relates to application development and can make recommendations to our customers to achieve the best thermal performance results.

We not only provide you testing results, but we also provide insights and recommendations on what the results mean and how to improve or upgrade your current materials for better overall performance.

Let’s 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 OIT Testing.

Reverse Engineering Services for the Flexible Packaging Industry

Reverse Engineering Services for the Flexible Packaging Industry

In the flexible packaging industry, reverse engineering services involve evaluating competitive samples that are available in the public domain or available commercially for packaging products. The process involves breaking those products down to understand how they are assembled and the types of materials that comprise those structures. At Flex-Pack Engineering based on our long history in the flexible packaging industry we can understand how those structures were made and what processes were used to create those structures.

For example, consider the evaluation of a potato chip bag. The team at Flex-Pack would discover that the bag consists of two layers of polypropylene laminated together, with the first layer clear and reverse printed so you could see the packaging artwork. The second layer when you look inside appears shiny and would be metalized polypropylene and be a slightly different film which has excellent sealing properties. The reverse engineering process involves not only understanding the materials involved, but the special properties associated with each material. Flex-Pack would use a variety of analytical testing techniques such as infrared and DSC (differential calorimetry testing) and other tests to make the determinations of what the properties of the structures entail.

After these tests are completed we can understand very well, about 95%, of what that structure is comprised of as well as its unique properties and be able to tell our customers the details of the package: here’s what it is made of, here’s how it was put together, and here’s how we believe this can be assembled using your capabilities.

Why Reverse Engineering?

One of the most common reasons that companies want to do competitive analysis and reverse engineer structures is when they don’t currently participate in a particular industry or market segment. If they are making film and selling to converters who are making various types of flexible packaging products such as potato chip bags, frozen meat ball bags, etc., they may want to participate in that industry, but don’t know what is required. So, they have two choices: they can send their sales teams out to talk to potential customers to investigate what the specifications are and if there is an opportunity to work together. Or they can pull a package off the shelf and reverse engineer that structure to understand what is involved in that package, what materials make up that product, and if they currently have the capabilities with their current materials, equipment, and facility to make a similar package. Reverse engineering is easier, faster, and less expensive.

Why Flex-Pack Engineering for Reverse Engineering Services?

Flex-Pack Engineering is your ideal partner for reverse engineering services in the flexible packaging industry. We bring our long history (of 30 years of experience) to packaging analysis and evaluation. We not only provide you results, but we also provide insights and recommendations on what the results mean and how to improve or upgrade your current capabilities to be able to participate in additional industries and market segments.

Let’s 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 reverse engineering initiatives!

Permeation Testing Services – Fast & Affordable

ASTM, ISO, Physical and Analytical Testing

Permeation Testing Services – Fast & Affordable

Permeation testing is the process of analyzing a substrate to determine how much of a certain type of gas or liquid can pass through a substrate per unit time. Oftentimes our customers need to know how much of a liquid or gas will pass through a flexible packaging material in the design and development of their packaging products.

 Primarily Flex-Pack Engineering provides the following permeation testing services:

MVTR Testing – Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate Testing

Moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) also known as water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) 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 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 measure the permeation value. For more information on our MVTR Testing, check out our article “MVTR Testing – Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate Testing” in our Learning Center.

OTR Testing – Oxygen Transmission Rate Testing

Oxygen transmission rate (OTR) testing is the process of measuring the amount of oxygen that can pass through a polymer package film or membrane on a square meter basis in 24 hours. We measure OTR by placing 100% pure oxygen on one side of the film and 100% pure nitrogen on the other side of the film. As the oxygen molecules pass through the film, they are caught up in the nitrogen stream and swept off to a detector that counts the oxygen molecules and determines the volume (in CC’s) per unit time. For more information on our OTR Testing services, check out our article “OTR Testing – Oxygen Transmission Rate Testing” in our Learning Center.

Additionally, other types of permeation testing services Flex-Pack Engineering provide include CO2 testing, and ethylene testing.

Why Choose Flex-Pack Engineering for Permeation Testing Services?

In today’s fast-paced world, companies need testing results quickly. Flex-Pack has invested in state-of-the-art testing equipment infrastructure to expand our capabilities to provide test results quickly. We have multiple testing units available for permeation testing and can provide results faster than the industry standard. We reference and calibrate our permeation testing equipment to known and recognized standards provided by NIST; all our testing equipment is verified to be working properly before testing begins.

What truly sets Flex-Pack Engineering apart though is our 30-year education in the science and practice of flexible packaging development. We don’t simply provide permeation testing results; we offer insights and recommendations for our customers to help them interpret the test results and make better decisions to improve their flexible packaging products and processes.

Ready to have a conversation about our permeation testing services? Contact us today at 330-704-9436 or fill out our request information form and learn how Flex-Pack Engineering can help!

DSC Testing

ASTM, ISO, Physical and Analytical Testing

DSC Testing

Differential scanning calorimetry testing also known as (DSC) Testing measures the crystalline content of a polymer or material. Materials that have crystalline content will have a phase change from solid to liquid or liquid to gas. This fully relaxed annealed melting point of a material is a unique property that is reproduceable and can be used for referencing.

Here at Flex-Pack Engineering we use DSC testing as a thermal analysis tool in conjunction with FTIR to look at the chemical composition of an organic material. We use DSC testing as part of our analysis and evaluation process for the following:

  • To help solve a customer’s flexible packaging problem
  • Competitive analysis, to help determine what makes a competitor’s package work so well
  • Provide reverse engineering of flexible packaging products
  • Product and process development of flexible packaging products

DSC Testing is a very useful tool in the analysis of flexible packaging materials.

Flex-Pack Engineering Provides Fast and Reliable DSC Testing

At Flex-Pack Engineering we bring over 30 years of experience in our flexible packaging analysis and evaluation, and DSC testing is an important tool that we use in our workflow. We know how to use DSC testing to get the information our customers need to improve their packaging products.

Furthermore, we have invested in state-of-the-art DSC testing equipment to provide reliable results with better than industry standard turnaround times. All our testing equipment is calibrated to NIST traceable standards and verified to be working properly before testing begins.

While having the knowledge and equipment necessary to provide DSC testing is important, what benefits our customers the most is Flex-Pack’s extensive background and experience in flexible packaging product and process development. We not only provide you test results, but critical insights and recommendations on how to improve your packaging design, or production line operations. We offer very competitive pricing with exceptional turnaround time and friendly customer service to help you with all your flexible packaging requirements.

Let’s 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 DSC testing requirements today!

OTR Testing – Oxygen Transmission Rate Testing

OTR Testing, Oxygen Transmission Rate Testing

Oxygen transmission rate (OTR) testing is the process of measuring the amount of oxygen that can pass 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 OTR by placing 100% pure oxygen on one side of the film and 100% pure nitrogen on the other side of the film. As the oxygen molecules pass through the film, they are caught up in the nitrogen stream and swept off to a detector that counts the oxygen molecules and determines the volume (in CC’s) per unit time.

OTR testing is important in the flexible packaging industry because it ensures that food products maintain their flavor and odor profile. This is important for products such as meats, nuts, or fruits and vegetables that can change or spoil based on the amount of oxygen ingress into the packaging.  

Flex-Pack Engineering provides OTR 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 oxygen transmission rate value for a particular package. Additionally, we can provide OTR Testing as part of the design and development process to evaluate if a new film material has a better OTR than the previous film design. We also help customers who are having issues with the OTR of a particular film and assist in determining the problem and offering recommendations for a solution.

Flex-Pack Engineering offers very competitive OTR Testing rates and turnaround times. However, the most important element that Flex-Pack offers our customers is the interpretation of OTR 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 OTR 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 OTR Testing and Analysis

At Flex-Pack Engineering, we bring a nearly 30 year education in developing packaging products that help our customers not only with OTR testing results, but also to help you understand those results to help you compete in the marketplace. We offer very competitive pricing, quick turnaround times, and outstanding customer service to help you with all of your flexible packaging testing requirements.

Contact us today at 330-704-9436 or fill out our request information form and learn how Flex-Pack Engineering can help with OTR testing challenges!

MVTR Testing – Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate Testing

MVTR Testing, Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate Testing

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!

Film, Compounding, and Flexible Packaging Consulting

Film, Compounding, and Flexible Packaging Consulting

Helping customers achieve their film, compounding and flexible packaging goals

At Flex-Pack Engineering, Inc. we provide flexible packaging consulting that helps our customers not only improve existing manufacturing efficiencies, but also analyze and evaluate potential new market segment opportunities. Our process begins with understanding the application and desired outcome, understanding the context of what the customer wants to achieve, and then lab testing and lab result interpretations to explain results and make recommendations on how to achieve the desired results. With our nearly 30 year education in all facets of flexible packaging, once we understand what the customer has tried and what is not working, and the context of the application, we often can identify the problem and be ready with recommendations on how to proceed for a successful outcome.

Customers often reach out to Flex-Pack Engineering for flexible packaging consulting services with the desire to enter into a new market segment that appears lucrative, one for which it appears they can participate based on their experience, equipment, and capabilities. We will meet with the customer and discuss what packaging they are doing today, and what packaging they want to be doing tomorrow to enter into that new market segment. We will review equipment, quality systems, manufacturing capabilities, raw materials selection, and supply and distribution chains. We evaluate all facets of the initiative, not just technical but also business and economic concerns to help customers determine what they can do today, and what changes or investments are needed to enter the new market segment. Do you need to buy equipment, change systems, or modify what you have to make it suitable for what you want to do? And does it make sense to pursue the initiative or do you have to change so much and invest heavily that it disrupts what you are currently producing and adversely affects the existing manufacturing product lines.

At Flex-Pack Engineering, we can help you understand these dynamics and make a sound business decision. We can evaluate your existing equipment and determine which assets can be modified to run the new product line, and which cannot be modified or are needed to maintain existing product lines. If there are capacity concerns to run both existing and newer product lines, we can review design, screw configurations, system configurations, and control systems in order to improve the capacity of existing manufacturing assets.

Flex-Pack Engineering: Beyond Consulting, We Offer Turn-Key Solutions With Extensive Capabilities

One of the unique aspects of Flex-Pack Engineering is that we are not only consultants but can offer our customers an extensive array of flexible packaging capabilities. These capabilities include such activities as lab testing, proof of concept processing, small lab lines for compounding and film making, as well as printing and laminating. Through our extensive partner network, we have access to commercial assets that can handle most any size runs for toll compounding and commercial manufacturing.

Flex-Pack Engineering is ready to help you find the answers you need to achieve your desired goals. Ready to have a conversation? Give us a call at 888-300-1492 or contact us today!

Flexible Packaging Testing Services

ASTM, ISO, Physical and Analytical Testing

Flexible Packaging Testing Services That Offer A Competitive Advantage | ASTM, ISO, OTR, MVTR and Much More

The Need For Comprehensive, Unbiased 3rd Party Flexible Packaging Testing

For nearly 30 years, Flex-Pack Engineering has been providing unbiased, 3rd party ASTM and ISO flexible packaging testing. We identified a need with our customers to analyze and validate the effectiveness and usefulness of their products in the marketplace, or to help them understand the requirements for entering a new market. For example, a customer may only sell into the potato chip industry but would like to start selling into the frozen chicken or meatball industry. Flex-Pack helps our customers understand the requirements for this new market and provide the testing services to meet the fitness for use and chain of use requirements.

Perhaps the most important element that Flex-Pack offers our customers is the ability to interpret test results and help them solve their flexible packaging problems. A normal testing lab will deliver testing results but not provide any insights into what the results mean in the context of your problem. In short, it is not the testing that is so important, it is the answers and recommendations to solve the problem and improve your flexible packaging products.

Additionally, many manufacturing facilities such as film producers, converters, printers, laminators, bag, and packaging converters may not have a packaging engineer and/or full laboratory, or the time for flexible packaging testing. Also, they may need to do testing that is outside the scope of their in-house capabilities.

Furthermore, some customers may have a good flexible packaging product that they want to make even better to help them compete in the marketplace. Flex-Pack Engineering can offer reverse engineering services including competitive analysis as well as defect analysis and production troubleshooting to help our customers understand why their competitors packaging products outperform their own and make recommendations on how to improve their flexible packaging product.

Flex-Pack Engineering is able to provide these comprehensive services and help customers gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Analytical and Physical Flexible Packaging Testing Services We Provide

At Flex-Pack Engineering we offer a wide array of flexible packaging testing services to meet our customer’s needs. Whether it is one test or one hundred we have the capabilities to handle your requirements. We can also design and perform custom flexible packaging tests as needed.

Analytical Services:

Ash, DSC (Differential Scanning Calorimeter), TGA (Thermo Gravimetric Analysis), TMA (Thermo Mechanical Analysis), DMA (Dynamic Mechanical Analysis), FTIR Transmission and  ATR, Microscope (Fourier Transform Infrared), Solvent Extraction, GCMS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry), HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography), XRF (X-Ray Florescence), ICPMS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry Inductive Coupled Plasma), AA (Atomic Absorption), SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy), OIT (Oxidative Induction Time), UV-VIS Spectrophotometry, Karl Fisher Titration, Moisture Analysis, and more.

Physical Testing Services:

OTR (Oxygen Transmission Rate) , MVTR (Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate) , Tensile, Elongation, Secant Modulus, COF (Coefficient of Friction), Block Re-Block, Elmendorf Tear, Dart Drop, Slow Rate Puncture, Puncture Protrusion (puncture resistance), Thickness Profile, Burst Testing, Melt Index, Density, Optical Microscopy, X-Section Analysis, Surface Analysis, Heat Seal, Heat Seal Profile, Hot Tack, Hot Tack Profile, Ink Draw Down, Ink Rub, Sheffield Smoothness, Gurley Stiffness, Gelbo Flex, Surface Tension Testing (Dyne Testing), Haze,  45 degree Gloss, 60 degree Gloss, Opacity, Lab Color Testing,  Capillary Rheometry (Rheology) and more.

Flex-Pack Engineering: Your Best Choice For Flexible Packaging Testing Services

What separates Flex-Pack Engineering is our extensive know-how in testing flexible packaging based on our nearly 30 year education in developing packaging products. We know how to do the tests correctly and correlate the results to the customer’s problem or what the rules are in making a specific package.

We have experience in all facets of flexible packaging including:

  • Blown film
  • Cast film
  • Extrusion lamination
  • Adhesive lamination
  • Printing
  • Metalizing
  • Bag making
  • Secondary processes
  • Compounding of additives
  • Resin chemistries
  • Additive chemistries
  • Combining additive chemistries and resin chemistries to achieve something special

We have done all of the above services for many years professionally which allows us to review a package and know what we are looking at immediately and when a customer describes the problem, we have a good idea of the cause of the problem and direction of the solution. We cannot say it often enough to our customers: it is not the testing that is so important, it is the answers and recommendations to solve the problem and improve your flexible packaging products.

Flex-Pack Engineering is here to help you find the answers you need to be more competitive and improve your products in the marketplace. Ready to start a conversation? Give us a call at 888-300-1492 or contact us today!

Custom Polymer Compounding That Can Help You Win Business

Solving Tough Compounding Challenges

At Flex-Pack Engineering we love digging deep into the toughest toll, custom and specialty compounding challenges. Through careful analysis of the fitness for use (FFU) and chain of use (COU) and understanding of the performance expectations for your compounded product, we can select the best raw materials, engineer the best performing screw designs, and develop the process and manufacturing control plans to ensure a smooth running and high performing result.

For example, consider a challenging application of compounding a very high viscosity, polyethylene – which is very difficult to compound on its own and you also have the need to include a difficult functional filler, such as clays, glass, or nanoparticles into the mix. It takes a tremendous amount of torque, requires a special screw design, and a great deal of expertise in process understanding to achieve a winning result. This type of technical challenge is at the center of our wheelhouse at Flex-Pack. We can analyze, design, and put in place a plan to produce the best results for these types of technically challenging applications.

Once the best design and process are created and proven we then select the best compounding line on which to run on from our network of solid, reliable, and consistent   contract/toll compounding partners who share our philosophy of taking on the toughest compounding jobs and who can produce high quality compound quickly and cost effectively.

Additionally, when working with Flex-Pack Engineering for your custom polymer compounding needs you have our entire team as your personal advocate throughout the process. Since we selected the materials and engineered the screw designs and processes, we understand what can go right and what can go wrong and are in the perfect position to troubleshoot any issues that may occur in the compounding process. We work synergistically between production and customer as a very well informed and educated bridge throughout the business relationship.  

A Winning Approach To Custom Polymer Compounding

In our experience we have worked with customers who have had a wide array of technical challenges, or who needed short runs for proof of concept. We can accept smaller jobs and are an ideal choice to get projects done quickly. By applying sound science and engineering principles to solve the toughest compounding challenges, we help our customers overcome those challenges and make a great product that can help win new business. And we can get it done quickly!

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 difficult custom compounding challenges!

For more information, visit our Custom Polymer Compounding page.