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New Player in Enhanced PLA Compounds, Additives

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19. February 2014

Yesterday, I wrote in this space about Innovation Takes Root 2014, the biennial international biopolymers conference and exhibit hosted by NatureWorks LLC, Minnetonka, Minn., the maker of Ingeo poly lactic acid (PLA) and the world’s largest producer of bioplastics. Yesterday’s report focused on the launch of new rubbery PHA impact modifiers and flexibilizers for PLA from Metabolix, Cambridge, Mass. Here’s another new entrant in this growing field, Floreon-Transforming Packaging Ltd. of Hull, U.K. The company spent four years in R&D but has offered products for sale only in the last few months.

As explained by technical director Andrew Gill, Floreon offers two kinds of products—fully formulated compounds of Ingeo PLA and additives—including combinations of two other biodegradable polyesters—and masterbatches of PLA and additives. These additives are said to make PLA up to four times tougher than the neat polymer and enhance processability while retaining high stiffness, transparency, gloss, and over 90% biobased content. Process temperatures can be lowered with some formulations. The compounds are biodegradable and can be converted back to lactic acid feedstock and repolymerized into virgin PLA. The company uses the services of a toll compounder and aims primarily to develop and license the technology to other producers.

Current Floreon compounds include general-purpose Floreon 100 injection grade, Floreon 200 opaque white pigmented grade for sheet extrusion, Floreon 300 for extrusion blow molding, Floreon 400 for films, Floreon 500 for injection stretch-blow molded bottles, and Floreon 600 for thermoforming.

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