What is EVOH?
Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol, commonly abbreviated EVOH, is a formal copolymer of Ethylene & Vinyl Alcohol.
The production of EVOH contains of a two-step process of Polymerization and Saponification. First, ethylene and vinyl acetate are polymerized using an initiator/activator complex. Second, the ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer (EVAC) is saponified to ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer.
AMP Robotics Extends AI Capabilities to Packaging Producers, Improving Infrastructure for Plastics RecoveryNews:
AMP Robotics Corp. (“AMP”), a pioneer in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics used to recover commodities reclaimed as raw materials for the global supply chain, is extending its ability to identify and pick recyclables at the brand level by working with consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to recover higher rates of these materials.
As the company expands its reach into other nodes of the circular economy, one of AMP’s first corporate partners is consumer beverage giant Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) in support of its introduction of recyclable K-Cup® pods. Following KDP’s conversion of its coffee pods to polypropylene, a sought-after plastic for recycled materials, the companies worked together to equip AMP’s robotics systems to properly identify and sort K-Cup pods in recycling facilities. All of the K-Cup pods KDP produces are now recyclable.
Monique Oxender, chief sustainability officer, Keurig Dr Pepper, explained, “Our move to recyclable plastic is a critical first step, but to make greater strides toward circularity, we need to improve acceptance and sortation so we can more readily incorporate recycled plastic back into our products and packaging. Recycling systems in the U.S. are diverse, and we need technology and infrastructure upgrades to improve the quality and quantity of recycled plastic available.”
AMP provides technology to help with this multifaceted challenge. The AI platform that guides AMP’s robotics systems can differentiate objects found in the waste stream by color, size, shape, opacity, brand, and more, contextualizing and storing information about each item it perceives. AI and machine learning enable the robotic sorting of material as granular as a type of plastic at a pick rate of upwards of 80 items per minute—more than two times as fast as human sorters, and with greater accuracy and consistency. This process produces a higher quantity and quality of plastic that suppliers of polypropylene resin can sell back to CPGs to create new packaging. AMP’s AI platform becomes smarter and more effective over time as the company deploys more robots; AMP can add limitless subcategories of brand-level material to meet market demand and distribute the functionality to identify and sort it across its fleet.
“Intelligent plastics sortation, powered by AI, robotics, and advanced data analytics, can have cross-value chain impact and direct benefits to plastic waste generators, sorting facilities, recyclers, and consumer packaged goods companies,” said Rob Writz, director of business development for AMP Robotics. “AI-guided sortation ensures a higher-quality end product that isn’t contaminated by other materials, and a larger volume of recycled material. Collaboration across the recycling value chain will turn product and packaging waste back into the inputs for future manufacturing while growing and strengthening our recycling system.”
In a move that demonstrates the continuous innovation of its AI capabilities, AMP has opened a new 40,000-square-foot test facility in Colorado to explore expanded applications of its technology with the goal of increasing the feedstock of recycled content for CPGs and container producers. This facility will help prototype new, economical ways to ensure recyclables are indeed recycled, even for low volumes that historically have not been economical for recovery. By lowering the cost of recycling marginal volumes, AMP aims to maximize resource recovery and quality for the manufacturing supply chain.
In July, The Recycling Partnership launched the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition to improve its recovery and recycling in the United States and further develop the end market for high-quality recycled polypropylene. The Coalition announced the first four materials recovery facilities to receive grants to fund improved sortation of polypropylene through technology like AMP’s robotics systems and support targeted consumer education efforts. KDP is a founding member of the Coalition and its largest funder; the company has committed to ongoing collaboration with industry peers and other players in the recycling ecosystem to drive meaningful change along with its financial sponsorship. The Coalition’s investments will widen total nationwide acceptance of polypropylene in curbside recycling programs by approximately 1.7% to an additional four million people, resulting in the recovery of a larger supply of polypropylene that could be made into new products.
Oxender concluded, “Investing in ways that amplify our individual actions will enable us to truly drive progress in eliminating packaging waste by improving recycling infrastructure and enhancing consumer education efforts, both of which will increase the recovery of valuable plastics.”
For more about the efforts of AMP and KDP to bring AI to the sorting process at recycling facilities to generate a higher-quality end product for reuse, see this Vox explainer. Further, at 1 p.m. ET today, GreenBiz is hosting a complimentary webcast about how innovation and collaboration is strengthening recycling with AMP Founder and CEO Matanya Horowitz, KDP’s Oxender, GFL Environmental’s Brent Hildebrand, and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners’ Michael DeLucia.
The company explained to Confectionery Production that its latest process has been designed with environmental benefits that have been designed to make manufacturing processes more stable.
Development of its new system follows a recent European study on consumer preferences for packaging carried out in March 2020 revealed that almost 70 percent of respondents were actively trying to reduce their use of plastic packaging (Two Sides: “The Packaging Report 2020”).
Particularly in the market for flexible packaging, for example the primary packaging of products offered to the end consumer in retail outlets, sustainable and recyclable packaging is becoming increasingly important. This has led to interest among brand owners, and thus among players in the packaging industry, to switch to sustainable materials such as recyclable mono-materials and to packaging processes that have been designed precisely for these materials.
This is a switch that is challenging to implement, especially in the packaging of chocolate products. Two traditional methods of effectively packaging sweets are outlined below.
A variety of bars are packaged using composite materials, such as a base of plastic or paper in combination with an aluminium layer. The products can therefore be easily packaged by fold wrapping and do not require any additional securing of the packaging by sealing or glue.
However, packaging materials made of composite materials are not recyclable and are therefore not sustainable in view of market developments. It therefore makes sense to switch to the use of recyclable mono-materials for packaging processes. However, these materials have poor dead-fold properties, i.e. the packaging must be closed and fixed after folding by sealing or with the aid of glue so that it cannot open again.
For well-known brand products, a second packaging variant is traditionally used: a combination of two packaging materials – aluminium paper laminate and plastic packaging. This first “packaging layer”, the inner wrap of aluminium paper laminate, is required as a barrier to protect the sensitive chocolate products during the actual packaging process.
When closing the outer wrap using contact sealing technology, the chocolate could otherwise be damaged by the heat that is generated or by the sealing tools used. As an alternative to this process, packaging has been glued with hot melt. The packaging specialists at Theegarten-Pactec have now developed a technology called “suction supported sealing”, which offers numerous advantages over these conventional processes.
According to the group, food waste contributes 8-10% to total man-made greenhouse gas emissions, and approximately one-third of food produced around the world is wasted each year.
The ‘DeXel’ conceptual design innovation uses connected technology to transform existing jars and bottles into intelligent packaging with the aim of limiting food waste. The timer device magnetically attaches to the lids of food packaging, and seeks to use motion sense technology and an LED light system to help consumers reduce their food waste.
Prior to opening a jar or bottle, the user scans a QR code on the pack with their smartphone, then enters the colour of the device and the use-by date into the app. The DeXel timer device is then ‘connected’ and can track and advise on the extended use of the product.
For example, if the cross is fully lit up in green, the product is safe to use. If the cross shows only one green bar, then the product needs to be consumed that day. A red LED indicates that the product is no longer safe to use and needs to be disposed of.
The DeXel app is sponsored by partnership brands who can engage with consumers by providing tips for food preservation in aid of reducing food waste. Data shared by consumers and stored by DeXel can then be used to provide unique consumer insights on the use of their brands.
Coca-Cola European Partners delivers a first in Europe through the introduction of CanCollar® technologyNews:
Coca-Cola European Partners has today announced the introduction of CanCollar®, an innovative paperboard packaging solution, for multipack cans in Spain. The move supports its work, in partnership with Coca-Cola, to remove all unnecessary or hard to recycle plastic from its portfolio, avoiding the use of more than 11,000 tonnes of virgin plastic a year across Western Europe. Initially, Coca-Cola European Partners will launch the new, PEFC certified recyclable and sustainably sourced paperboard CanCollar® in the Balearic Islands in November 2020, a first in Europe. Innovative packaging design is a core principle of Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste strategy and through collaboration with WestRock, a global company that provides its customers with sustainable differentiated packaging solutions, Coca-Cola European Partners will start to use the CanCollar® paperboard can ring technology in the Balearic Islands, replacing the current Hi-cone solution and saving more than 18 tonnes of plastic annually. Coca-Cola European Partners has invested 2.6 million euros in its Barcelona plant to support this initiative. The installation of WestRock’s CanCollar® Fortuna™ manufacturing equipment will enable multipack cans to be grouped in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, with a process that does not require the use of glue or adhesives. Joe Franses, Vice President of Sustainability, Coca-Cola European Partners said, " The agreement with WestRock exemplifies our clear commitment to reduce plastic in our secondary packaging. By the end of 2020, we will have removed more than 4,000 tonnes of hard to recycle plastic from our secondary packaging in Western Europe. It’s through collaborating on innovative packaging solutions like CanCollar® that we are able to do this.” Dwayne Irvin, Vice President of Enterprise Solutions at WestRock said, “We are proud of our longstanding partnership with Coca-Cola. For 70 years we have supported Coca-Cola in bringing innovation to global beverage markets. CanCollar® is the latest initiative supporting Coca-Cola’s vision to create a World Without Waste.”
Messe Muenchen India develops its own online platform to reconnect exhibitors and visitors worldwide.
Messe Muenchen India answers the predicament of business networking and visitor engagement amidst the COVID-19 pandemic with a singular, online exhibition and conference platform for the exhibitors and visitors of analytica Anacon India & India Lab Expo, drink technology India, electronica India and productronica India, IFAT India, LASER World Of PHOTONICS INDIA, MatDispens, Pharma Pro&Pack Expo, PackMach Asia Expo, World Tea & Coffee Expo and The Smarter-E.
‘APK is committed to filling the gap between the quality of recyclates and product requirements and to achieve circularity for packaging’, affirms Klaus Wohnig, CEO, APK AG. Against this backdrop, APK mandated a detailed risk assessment and two toxicological evaluations for its Mersalen LDPE NCY recyclates. The analysis of the random recyclate samples confirmed the higher level of purity and attested to both the fulfilment of REACH requirements and conformity to the provisions set out in the General Product Safety Directive as well as in the Regulation on Cosmetic Products.
Besides PET-recyclates from drinking bottles most recycled plastics do not yet feature food contact approval. And also for cosmetic packaging only few suitable recyclate is available. Requirements are ambitious, as the packaged products do come into direct contact with the human body. If virgin plastics are to be replaced with secondary raw materials, quality standards for the use of recycled plastics in cosmetic packaging need to be defined and implemented through innovative recycling technology.
As a recycling company, APK adheres to waste legislation. However, as a manufacturer of products such as the Mersalen LDPE NCY recyclates, APK also operates within the scope of chemicals and products regulations and provides its clients with a REACH declaration.
Currently, APK uses pre-consumer LDPE/PA multilayer films as input material for the Newcycling process. The renowned testing company Eurofins performed a comprehensive migration analysis based on random samples of Mersalen LDPE NCY recyclates as well as on various pre-consumer input materials. Specific migration tests confirmed that Mersalen LDPE NCY recyclates feature a decisively higher level of purity than recyclates from standard mechanical recycling. For example, the process’ purification step resulted in an over 90% reduction of the impurity caprolactam (contained in the input material). In the different analyses, no significant amounts of substances of very high concern (SVHC) as set forth in REACH EC 1907/2006 were found.
Based on the risk assessment, two human toxicological risk evaluations were performed in 2020 by two independent toxicology experts. The purpose was to evaluate the use of Mersalen LDPE NCY recyclate types for flexible (films) and rigid (bottles) packaging applications for cosmetics such as creams (leave-on scenario) and shampoos (rinse-off scenario) as well as various personal hygiene products (e.g. sanitary towels, wet wipes, diapers, and toilet paper), all in contemplation of use by adults and for children and babies. Both evaluations concluded that Mersalen LDPE NCY recyclates are of appropriate quality and can safely be used for the applications mentioned. Mandatory legal requirements of either a more specific type, such as those for cosmetic products, as set forth in Regulation (EC) No 122372009 on cosmetic products, or the less specific legal obligations contained in the General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EC, were fulfilled. In addition, the evaluations specified that any health problems or diseases in adults, children, and infants caused by listed non-intentionally added substances could be completely excluded.
‘To strengthen statistical representativity, APK will continue to analyse and develop the purification potential of its advanced physical solvent-based process Newcycling with regard to different pre- and post-consumer materials’, says Hagen Hanel, Head of Research and Development at APK. The ultimate aim is to achieve food contact approval for Mersalen LDPE NCY recyclates in the midterm. APK is involved in several corresponding R&D projects.
The centre will be used to accelerate material and packaging innovation. It will also be used as a collaboration platform for global customers and technology partners. The centre will cover 1,500 square meters, house R&D facilities, packaging design studio, customer feedback centre and a laboratory providing more than 100 different measurement methods and analytics. Virtual collaboration workshops have also been developed to enable joint development and co-creation considering the current situation which requires physical distancing and inhibits international travel.
ePac Flexible Packaging, the industry leader in digitally printed flexible packaging, has announced the launch of ePacConnect. ePacConnect leverages the power of digital printing to create serialized, trackable packaging, and new ways for brands to engage consumers, gain market insights and protect their brand. ePac will offer all its customers an entry-level no-cost solution, ideal for small and medium-sized brands, as well as a fee-based solution for customers with broader requirements. ePacConnect will be piloted in Q4 2020 in the US and Europe, with a full roll-out to all ePac locations planned in early 2021.
All customer orders received by ePac will include smart, serialized secure QR codes on every package or the brand can opt-out and no codes will be printed. By serializing each package it is automatically digitally enabled, given a unique digital identity, and can be “activated” at any time to give brands flexibility for how and when the codes are used.
ePac will offer two solutions under ePacConnect. One is ePacConnect Lite, a no-cost solution ideal for small to medium-sized brands that want to enter into connected packaging, but until now have had difficulty doing so due to cost. ePacConnect Premium will provide a broader set of fee-based capabilities offered by ePac’s solution partners. These solutions will address applications for consumer engagement, brand and product authentication, anti-counterfeiting, track and trace, and reports that provide new market insight to our customers”.
To make ePacConnect viable at mass scale on billions of products, ePac will partner with leading Connected Packaging software suppliers. According to Carl Joachim. ePac CMO, “We have been working with software providers that focus on connected packaging over the past several months in both the US and the UK. These companies provide the necessary secure QR codes and back-end data capture and management needed for a complete solution, and can support us globally”.
Jack Knott, ePac CEO added: “By harnessing the power of digital printing brands of all sizes can now leverage the power of connected packaging and enhance the marketing value of every packaged product they sell. ePacConnect will also play a role in our sustainability efforts to educate consumers and provide transparency into the recycling process.”
The film is matte finished on one side while the other side is extrusion coated for thermal lamination applications. Through initial tests, these newly designed films have proven to remain fragrant for more than two months, and it is expected that the film would continue to release a fragrance for almost six months.
The film is available in 24-micron thickness and is suitable for thermal or wet lamination. Its applications include packaging for cosmetics and personal care products.
Chief executive Pankaj Poddar said: “A sense of pleasing smell acts as a catalyst for a positive outcome. BOPP-Fragranced packaging film has been introduced in the market to give the customers a feel good factor.”
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