Savvy Vietnamese Firm Launches All-PE Laminated Pouches

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Thanh Phu’s ‘Veloflex’ converting technology results in packaging with optics similar to conventional laminated structures but is readily recyclable.

A leading Vietnamese manufacturer of laminated flexible pack- aging, Thanh Phu Plastic Packaging Co. Ltd. has sought toaddress the market’s demand for a more readily recyclable alternative to conventional laminated structures, which this company also makes. Such structures typically include BOPA, BOPET, and BOPP laminated with either PE or PP.
 
More recently, in collaboration with experts from ExxonMobil Chemical, Houston, Thanh Phu produced a package that can be recycled in the same collection stream as PE by using ExxonMobil’s new Exceed XP and Enable mLLDPE polymers and its own Veloflex film- converting technology. “This is a true synergy between material science and conversion technology innovation,” says Alex Dam, executive v.p. at Thanh Phu. “We have changed the cradle-to-grave cycle into a more responsible cradle-to-cradle concept. Our aim is to have a full PE alternative to conventional laminated solutions without compromising performance, while maintaining an attractive cost-efficiency ratio.”

The company has produced commercial packages and pouches for feminine-hygiene and adult-incontinence products and baby diapers for both Japan’s Unicharm Corp. and Kimberly-Clark, New Milford, Conn. The company is also exploring an all-PE package for frozen uncooked seafood and other such non-barrier frozen applications to replace the current nylon/PE laminate.

Dam’s company produces conventional flexible packaging materials for Vietnamese seafood suppliers who pack the seafood under order from U.S., European, or North Asian buyers. 

Thanh Phu is now looking for distributors to introduce its 100% PE/PE laminated products to the U.S. Depending on the potential partnership, Thanh Phu could supply the fully printed laminated pouches or film, or it could supply the film to a printer with downstream processing capability.

The company’s plant is outfitted with the latest blown film technology from Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp. (U.S. office in Lincoln, R.I.). The latest of several lines, acquired at K 2013, is a Varex II with machine-direction orientation (MDO) technology installed in 2015.

Ditto for the latest printing technology from W&H: The firm operates Heliostar S gravure presses, the latest of which is a 2016 model.

Asked to characterize Veloflex laminates, Dam noted their very similar optics compared with OPP or PET/PE laminates, but explained that when a Veloflex film is stretched, improved clarity and stiff- ness result. Moreover, he touts the resin’s excellent processing, noting that his firm has run a 25-micron film with ±1-micron thickness deviation. He says this film has twice the strength of a conventional 50-micron coextruded lamination at half the thickness.

About 60% of most of Thanh Phu’s films are of mLLDPE, but for some products they will go to 80% or 100%. Because the film is very stiff and strong, gravure presses can be used to back-print the 100% PE pouches.

More recently—and jointly developed with ExxonMobil— Thanh Phu produced a 100% PE/PE laminated stand-up pouch, using Veloflex technology for Unicharm Vietnam. 

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