Process Adds Glass Barrier Layer to PP Tub

Believed to be a first for PP thermoforming.

Tech II, Inc., injection molder, sheet extruder, and thermoformer in Springfield, Ohio, has used Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition to apply a thin layer of silicon dioxide (glass) to the inside of a thermoformed PP tub. The glass layer is only nanometers thick but gives the package a high level of oxygen and vapor barrier. Vapor deposition technology has been used in the past in PET bottles, but Eric Shiffer, Tech II president, believes this is the first time it has been applied to a thermoformed PP container.

The package is still in the R&D phase, Shiffer says, but when commercialized will achieve what he calls the “holy grail” of manufacturing a plastic package that will compete in barrier properties with glass and metal containers. In some cases the package may permit food companies to use less preservative to improve flavor and freshness, Shiffer states.

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