Clear Lam looks to stack up success with new packaging technologies
The folks at the Clear Lam Packaging booth at Pack Expo 2012 (October 28-31; McCormick Place, Chicago) were scrambling. Not due to disorganization or “putting out fires,” but rather they were trying to find more information sheets for its PrimaPak product line.
“It’s been such a huge hit at this show that we’ve run out of sales sheets,” Roman Forowycz, chief marketing officer for Clear Lam, told PlasticsToday. Calling it the most “exciting environmental packaging to date,” the PrimaPak product line offers a flexible, stackable replacement for rigid containers, bottles and jars. Produced from a single roll of film on vertical form fill seal equipment,the patented design is said to be the first flexible, stackable packaging that incorporates a recloseable lid.
“It’s not a stand-up pouch or a rigid container; it’s something in between,” Forowycz said. The printed barrier film gives brands the opportunity to deliver its messages on all six sides of the container. Forowycz said PrimaPak helps processors and retailers meet their sustainable goals by delivering improved cube utilization and weight reduction compared to traditional rigid packaging, along with reducing truck shipments and warehousing requirements. The PrimaPak is designed to retain the attributes of rigid packaging while delivering the benefits of lightweight, flexible materials.
“To me, the real sustainability story is fewer trucks on the road and reduced freight costs,” he said. “This shows sustainability is practical, it’s not just a dream, but something that is very tangible and real.”
In addition to this stackable technology, Clear Lam also announced an agreement with Toyota Tsusho Corp. to become the lead company in North America to launch the renewable bioplastic in its rollstock product line. Made partially from bio-based mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) derived from sugarcane-based bioethanol, the bio-PET is up to 30% plant-based. The product is said to be as recyclable as petroleum-based PET.
Toyota Tsusho is a major supplier of bio-PET resin suitable for use in the automotive, beverage and apparel industries. The material can be used for sheet extrusion, thermoforming, blowmolding and injection molding. “It’s a pretty important deal,” Forowycz said. “Toyota is such a market leader, and they expect this area to experience significant growth.”
The new Clear Lam bio-PET rollstock will be available in December and will run on existing equipment, including form fill and seal machinery used by food processors as well as on traditional industrial thermoformers. Clear Lam will incorporate the plant-based bio-PET in sheet extrusions that will be sold to consumer packaged goods companies and manufacturers of industrial goods.
Forowycz said the bio-PET is ideal for packaging used for foods, electronics and personal health care products. The company is touting that the material’s strength, heat resistance, durability and formability promoting it as a suitable replacement for styrene-based packaging, PVC and traditional polyester packaging.
While 30% of the materials used to produce bio-PET are plant-based, the remaining 70% are made from traditional terephthalic acid (PTA). Forowycz said the sugarcane comes from Brazil and the product is manufactured in Korea. The third product Clear Lam touted at Pack Expo was its peel and reseal lidding film that looks to replace the need for preformed, rigid lids. One of the highlights of the new package Forowycz said is the consumer-friendly design that is easy to open.
Compared to packaging containers with a rigid lid, the peel and reseal lidding film reduces weight by about 30%. Forowycz said this technology can reduce the overall plastic consumption along with saving warehouse space. Developed for multi-use applications, the peel and reseal lidding film is suited for foods and snacks such as cut lettuce, vegetables, fruits, nuts and other produce items.