In a tech talk at the 2022 Petfood Forum, Troy Snader, Senior Vice President of Business Development for ProMach’s Secondary Packaging, discusses recyclable and compostable films and machine compatibility for the pet food industry. Snader brings his 39 years of packaging experience to his talk titled, “Compostable/Recyclable Materials and Machinery Compatibility – Choices and Options.”
“In today’s environment, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a transformational change like we have going on today with film and machinery in terms of recyclability and composability,” says Snader. “There have always been advances in film and machinery but to the extent that we’re doing it today, in my lifetime, it’s unheard of.”
As one of the largest retailers in North America recently announced their objective 100% recyclable or compostable material by 2025, the reality is that these films are here to stay in the packaging industry. Flexible machinery is adapting to meet the new standards and new machinery is being built to accommodate these films.
As Snader discusses in his presentation, recyclable film materials today are oriented polyethylene or oriented polypropylene materials, which are mono-layers. Historically, packaging machinery has been based on running laminates, but this is a single material which older machinery wouldn’t be able to seal. Today’s technology allows the machines to use the same heat sealing mechanisms, such as bars, cartridges, and thermocouples, to run PE film as it has previously for laminates. However, there are still issues. Oriented PE tends to have narrower temperature sealing bands and plant-based films for compostable films have higher stretch properties.
How do we deal with this from a machinery perspective, he asks?
- Multiple seal stations are desirable for dealing with oriented polyethylene, and cooling stations are added for desirable cosmetic seal. The combination of the two ensures maintaining similar speeds to laminated films.
- Using multiple feed rollers in forming machines (roll stock) for plant-based films
Snader offers much more expertise in his presentation below. Watch the 13-minute video to hear his advice for producers and packagers and be sure to visit Matrix website to learn more about ProMach’s flexible packaging solutions.