In-Situ Nucleated PP Rivals Conventional Nucleation

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 19. May 2015

A new technology for polypropylene nucleation just might be a game changer. We were recently contacted by Borouge, the joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Austria’s Borealis regarding this apparently breakthrough technology.


Since its founding in 1998, Borouge has become a leading innovative polyolefins supplier serving plastics processors in 50 countries across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Daniel Van Houcke, lead application development engineer, explains that the new nucleated PP is based on the Borstar Nucleation Technology (BNT) which was developed with the help of their new Borouge Innovation Center in Abu Dhabi.


What should be of particular interest to PP injection molding processors is that the nucleating effect of BNT is obtained in the polymerization reactor (in situ), and boasts numerous advantages over the standard approach of adding a nucleating agent during pelletization. These include: a robust and consistent nucleation effect; higher and faster crystallization temperature; inertness and low taste and odor; and, reduced impact of colors or shrinkage of the material.


Borouge has launched the first BNT-based grade--fully compliant with food-contact regulations BorPure HJ311MO--for use in such applications as confectionary packaging, microwaveable containers, take-out food containers, media cases, and houseware containers. Field tests comparing this material to a conventionally nucleated PP grade showed the following significant benefits for processors and/or end users:


• >10% improvement in flow leading to better processability


• >10% reduction in cycle time—mainly through reduction of cooling time and easier demolding due to faster crystallization


• >10% reduction in processing temperatures leading to lower energy consumption


• >10% improvement in Charpy impact performance


• Significant improvement in organoleptics (taste and odor)


• Less breakage (waste) due to enhanced impact


• Microwaveable and reusable  


A lower carbon footprint is also claimed for the new PP achieved by cycle time and energy reduction. “With the drive for sustainable innovation supported by proprietary Borstar technology and our advanced research capabilities, Borouge is committed to add value to life by shaping the plastic materials of the future,” says product development manager Balakantha Rao Kona.


According to Kona, the new Innnovation Center serves as a focal point for innovation in the polymer development and application technology. With over 70 professionals and technicians from 20 different countries, the Center is designed to provide value-added plastics for customers worldwide, focusing on the infrastructure, automotive, and advanced packaging industries. This investment includes extensive laboratory and application pilot resources. Product development focuses on high-performance, cost-effective, and differentiated polymer solutions that ensure the success of Borouge customers throughout the value chain while also helping to address some of the major global sustainability challenges. The Borouge facility also collaborates with the European innovation centers of Borealis, local and international educational institutions, and many key industry players.


Initially, processors interested in the new BNT-nucleated PP can contact Kona at: The material, which is now being produced commercially and which has been tested at various processors with excellent feedback, according to Kona, can be expected to be made available in the near future via Borealis (U.S. office is in Port Murray, N.J.).


Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastics Technology’s Plaspec Global materials database.


Italian Equipment Makers Aim For U.S. Expansion

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 12. May 2015


I had the terrific opportunity to attend last week’s Milan Plast 2015, held at the Fiera Milano (Rho) fairgrounds which hosted three satellite shows: Rubber 2015; 3D Plast—3D printing and related technologies; and, StartPlast—innovative startups.  In my visits among the more than 1500 exhibitors, I got a strong sense from some Italian equipment manufacturers that their current global expansion plans are focused on the North American market. Here are four examples:


  • Sandretto S.p.a. a long-time manufacturer of injection molding machines, unveiled a range of heavy-duty industrial 3D delta-type printers, which makes the company the second injection molding machine manufacturer entering the additive manufacturing arena after Arburg, which launched its Freeformer two years ago. These machines use 1.73mm filament and have been tested with PLA, ABS, TPU, HIPS, SEBS, PET and PETG. By the end of the year, they expect to have a new list of materials, including granulated plastics, according to Roberto Moretti, COO Additive Manufacturing Division.


 Meanwhile, CEO Fausto Ventriglia told me the company will be participating in IDTechEx’s 3D Printing USA 2015 in Santa Clara, California, Nov. 18-19. “For the USA market, Sandretto will set up a direct branch for additive manufacturing—which will cover Canada as well, by the end of the year. Afterwards, we will use a distribution model based on agents for each state.”


 • Termostampi s.r.l. ‘opened up’ its U.S. office six month ago in Elkhorn, Wisc. Franscesco Faluomi, sales area manager for USA-East Europe-Russian Federation, explained that the site is part of thermoforming, extrusion and in-line systems maker OMV USA.


Termostampi, maker of precision molds and product development for thermoforming of food packaging is part of the Elkhorn Tech Center—a unique co-operation of independent companies combining their expertise in thermoforming to provide customized solutions in today’s marketplace. Also included are WM Thermoforming, maker of precision plastic thermoforming machinery and TPM-USA, maker of pulp and fiber forming machinery.The company is working with owner of OMV USA Kent Johansson, known for his expertise in the thermoforming packaging industry. Initial projects are focused on customized prototypes but the company has plans to produce its molds here within a year.


Bausano & Figli S.p.a, manufacturer of a wide range of single- and twin- screw extruders is currently in the midst of negotiating with Italian manufacturer of chillers Frigo Systems Srl. to share space in the latter’s U.S. site in Columbus, Ohio. Says sales manager Alessandro Robotti, “We are working with them to share the location there within the next year—possibly with a couple of other Italian plastics equipment manufacturers.”


Comac s.r.l, a 37-yr old family-owned manufacturer of co-rotating extruders and complete compounding lines for the production of a broad range of masterbatches, according to export coordinator Pietro Zanotto, is now looking for “more consistent, long-term representation in the United States”.



Milan Plast Was Good With Plans To Be Even Better

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 12. May 2015

Last week’s Milan Plast 2015  the triennial international fair for the plastics and rubber industry, featured 1558 exhibitors (+3% compared to 2012), entirely occupying the six biggest halls of Fiera Milano fairgrounds. There were over 50,000 visitors, with more than 35% from outside of Italy. To ensure even bigger turnout in the future, Giorgio Colombo, president of Assocomoplast announced that the next Plast will take place Sept. 26-30, 2017. As such, this trade show will be taking place in both non-NPE and non-K Show years. Take a look at our slideshow of this year’s event.

Kuraray Expands Into Biobased Barrier Materials Through Plantic Acquisition

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 30. April 2015



Expect biobased barrier materials in food packaging to thrive, as is indicative from a recently announced acquisition. Best known for making the world’s first commercial introduction of the high-performance barrier resin EVOH, Japan’s Kuraray (U.S. office in Houston) has acquired Australia’s Plantic Technologies (U.S. office in North Andover, Mass.), enabling the company to make its entry into the biobased food packaging market sector.


Kuraray has been the exclusive distributor for Plantic’s EcoPlastic film product line in the Japanese and South Korean markets since September 2014. Both companies have introduced new products within the last few years. Kuraray launched Kurarister, a transparent barrier film for retort applications, which uses the company’s proprietary organic/inorganic composite coated on a base substrate: Film structure grades CF and C are based on PET film and grade N is based on biaxially oriented nylon film.


Plantic’s commercial introduction of its first ultra-high barrier renewably-sourced film packaging format, eco Plastic, was in 2011. This is a multilayer semi-rigid sheet used for refrigerated goods such as meats, fish and fresh pasta. The structure’s core, which accounts for 80% of the total structure, is predominately made from corn starch, while the skin layers are primarily HDPE or PP.


Plantic has now introduced two other packaging formats: Plantic R1 and HP1, both of which are also made with Plantic’s unique patented technology based on the use of high-amylose corn starch but have PET skin layers. These fully biodegradable sheet products are suited for thermoforming applications (e.g., packing foods and goods with water activity of 35% to 70%. R1 is also suitable for direct contact with fatty foods.


As one of the world’s leading producers of barrier materials, Kuraray is aiming to further develop its business through the addition of Plantic’s biobased barrier material, which is now used in a broad range of products in the barrier packaging sector and is supplied to major supermarkets and brand owners on three continents—Australia, North America and Europe. Kuraray Group officials say, they expect their global sales network to assist in further developing the biobased barrier business with Plantic film in response to the global demand for improved freshness, reduced food loss and waste.


In the Australian market, Plantic film is well known and is being used by a major supermarket chain. In the U.S., one of the largest meat consumer countries, Plantic has commenced supply to a number of brand owners and retailers, and Kuraray plans to further develop this business including the potential establishment of a production base or an alliance with third parties. In Japan, where the demand for extended shelf life for fresh meat and other fresh food in increasing, Kuraray says it can assist customers to reduce food loss and waste with the environmentally friendly Plantic film.


In addition, there are significant synergies between Kuraray’s existing barrier business and Plantic’s biobased barrier technology which are expected to drive new applications.


Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastic Technology’s Plaspec Global materials database.


Five-Year Study Culminates In Viable Biobased Plant Containers

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 27. April 2015



The Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2), Ames, Iowa, has been successful in developing a viable and sustainable biobased replacement for petroleum-based plant containers. In fact, the new Bio-Res PLA renewable and compostable pots were fabricated at NPE2015 last month.


The plastic used is a blend of PLA and Bio-Res, a biobased enhancer developed by CB2 industry member Laurel Biocomposites, Laurel, Nebraska. It is made from distillers grains using a proprietary process. The initial product Bio-Res powder is high purity and characterized by controlled particle size and color (light yellow). This renewable and biodegradable feedstock can be blended with thermoplastics and thermosets in a variety of applications.  Laurel also now offer a 20% Bio-Res filled HDPE masterbatch and has a PP masterbatch under development.


The Bio-Res PLA plant pots are part of a five-year study, supported by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, of the production and performance of various bioplastic pots led by CB2 faculty members at Iowa State University. “These biobased plant containers are a viable and sustainable replacement for the petroleum-based pots currently used,” says David Grewell, director of CB2 and professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State.


At NPE2015, attendees had the opportunity to see the containers made with an injection molding machine and an integrated end-of-arm-tooling robot. Wittmann Battenfeld provided CB2 with the molding machine and auxiliary equipment and VistaTek provided the plant container mold. “We saw this as a great opportunity for industry and users, including gardners, to see these pots firsthand…the hope it to develop industrial collaborations that will lead to long-term acceptance of this novel product,” says Grewell.


CB2 is a National Science Foundation Industry & University Cooperative Research Center that brings together industry partners and university researchers who have a common interest in biobased plastics and composites. It is led by Iowa State University with Washington State University as a site. Organizations interested in the market introduction of economically viable biobased products are encouraged to joint CB2 and its 23 industry partners.


Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastic Technology’s Plaspec Global materials database.


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