“The idea of Pack Studios is to collaborate with the market chain,” says Apurva Shah, market development manager for Dow food and specialty packaging.

Dow is currently driving innovations in three main areas: sustainability, consumer convenience and shelf appeal. The three products the company introduced at PACK EXPO 2014 are meant to exemplify each area. To address sustainability, Dow debuted RETAIN polymer modifiers—a portfolio of compatibilizers that improve the ease of recycling post-industrial barrier films without compromising performance or aesthetics. Typically, millions of pounds of barrier film are wasted during the manufacturing process, but now, that scrap has a second chance. Based on a reactive ultra-low viscosity, RETAIN polymer modifiers allow the creation of pelletized barrier films that contain materials like ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) or polyamide (PA) to be more evenly dispersed into a polyolefin matrix.

“The reuse of other control films have led to some issues with gels, optical problems and weak spots in the film, which can be catastrophic,” says Lamy Chopin, application technology leader for Dow food and specialty packaging. However, the RETAIN technology is helping to make packages clearer, maintain mechanical properties and significantly reduce gels in films produced from barrier film recycle streams.

To increase consumer convenience in packaging, Dow has expanded its SEALUTION peel polymer line with the introduction of its 220 version. The polyolefin-based, single-pellet polymer can seal to both polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) to deliver a broad, easy-to-peel seal window with low, consistent peel force.

“Easy-open packaging has gone from a value-add to a consumer expectation,” says Shah. “But it has to be strong enough to survive the value chain.” SEALUTION 220 polymer provides improved clarity, higher output rates and simpler processing by eliminating the blending required for conventional peelable-seal solutions. It is also designed for low peel-force application, such as lamination films and stand-up and pillow pouches; flexible forming webs; and lid stock for PP and PE trays for meats and cheeses.

For greater shelf appeal, Dow introduced OPULUX matte optical finishes for flexible packaging. Made of highly engineered, uniform acrylic beads with an acrylic-based carrier emulsion technology, the coating gives the plastic a more organic look.

“The finishes were designed with grocery store lighting in mind, which creates a lot of glare,” says Shah. “This product line avoids that, creating a luxury feel.”  

For more information: Tori Unger, 312-648-6700, tunger@gibbs-soell.com, www.dow.com/packaging.