PT Blog

DS Smith and Aquapak Target Single-Use Plastic Packaging Reduction with Biodegradable Alternative

A scientific collaboration between Atlanta-based DS Smith, a leading sustainable packaging company, and U.K. developer of innovative biodegradable polymers Aquapak Polymers, is expected to result in the development of next-generation single-use packaging solutions-- a fully recyclable packaging alternative to non-recyclable plastics.

Now that they have completed the pilot project stage, the partners are working on practical applications of the combined, biodegradable materials with a focus on recyclability and performance. This includes a range of packaging solutions where traditional plastic films can be replaced with Aquapak’s Hydropol, a biodegradable and water-soluble polymer that will help improve the recycling process and result in less contamination, as it is designed to dissolve completely in warm or hot water.

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Log on and Learn

We’ve been offering free webinars to our audience for more than 10 years now. If you go onto the our home page and hover over Events on the top navigation bar, you select Webinars from the drop-down box and see those that are scheduled for the next month. You’ll even to able to listen to past webinars in our archives, which go back about a year.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve noted a significant spike in our webinar attendance. I myself have taken advantage of some LinkedIn Learning programs over the past several months, some related to my job, some otherwise. We’ve witnessed the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) shift to a virtual ANTEC due to COVID-19. Closer to home, back in June our sister publication Moldmaking Technology held a virtual Amerimold show and conference, called Amerimold Connects, that featured a host of live and prerecorded presentations and an online exhibit area.

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Demystifying the Devolatilization Process

Devolatilization is the process by which unreacted monomer, solvent, water, dissolved gases, or other undesirable volatile contaminants are removed from a polymer melt or solution. It is a mass-transfer process driven by a combination of thermodynamic and diffusional variables, with the design of the machine impacting both of these parameters. It is driven by superheating the volatile component, followed by exposing the melt or solution to a rapid decompression.

Single-screw or multi-screw extruders, or any number of custom or commercially available stripping devices such as wiped-film evaporators, have been used for devolatilization. The choice depends largely on the nature of the polymer to be stripped, the concentrations of volatiles, and other processing actions required for the product.

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GM Using Stratasys 3D Printing Systems for Ventilator Tooling Production

We continue to report about how 3D printing is helping to produce equipment to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. GM details how the company’s expertise in additive manufacturing helped turn automotive production to medical production as well as the long-term growth potential of AM technology. 

In April, GM entered into contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to deliver a 30,000-unit order for critical care ventilators, in conjunction with Ventec Life Systems, by the end of August. The company reverse-engineered part data for tooling fixtures from the original ventilator manufacturer, and started 3D printing them the next day. All 3D printed tooling used for critical care ventilators was created on Stratasys systems.

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Breaking Barriers: Sheet Processor Makes Move on High-End Packaging Market

Impact Plastics has made “pivots”—the word used by company president David Kingeter—before. It was founded in the late 1960s in Putnam, Conn., as a “soup-to-nuts” custom sheet extruder. It pivoted with  a new plant in Hamlet, N.C., about 15 years ago, with a focus on producing tight-tolerance, thin-gauge sheet for food, medical and other value added end-markets (see Jan. ’18 feature). Kingeter says that effort was part of the company’s “pursuit of the perfect gauge.” But its most recent effort to identify new growth areas, in the works for more than two years, is more than just a shift. Indeed, it holds the promise of making the industry think of barrier sheet packaging in a completely different way.

To hear Kingeter tell it, innovation in barrier packaging has proceeded at a snail’s pace for decades. Brand owners are under enormous pressure from environmentally conscious consumers, retail chains, and government legislation, and thus have set aggressive target dates to roll out more sustainable products as early as 2022. The trouble is, according to Kingeter, that the solutions proffered by their processor and converter suppliers are based on legacy technology in place for 20 years or more. “Some brand owners have come to realize that they are stuck inside of a box,” Kingeter says. “We’ve created the opening to get them out of the box ... now.”

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