Inorganic SiOx coatings improve the barrier properties of bioplastics
The NanoEurope from September 11 – 13, 2007 will present the latest nanotechnology developments for the packaging industry
What significant applications are possible today, and what are the fields of the future? At the “Packaging” specialist conference that will be held at this year’s the NanoEurope Fair & Conference in St.Gallen from September 11 through 13, different aspects of materials and layers as well as their processing and applications will be discussed.
Europe is a large market for transparent barrier materials. In 2006, the packaging industry consumed over 1,225 million square meters of these materials. The total market is growing annually by about 7 percent, and that for inorganic films is increasing at an even faster rate. In the next few years, growth rates in this field are expected to swell to about 20 percent.
One of the reasons for this success is doubtlessly the highly developed barrier properties of these packaging materials. But inorganic barrier films offer even more benefits: They are absolutely waterclear and allow outstanding visibility and thus presentation of the product. Moreover, they ensure high product safety thanks to their transparency for metal detectors and – because they can be used in microwave ovens – they also offer high consumer convenience.
PLA films as an environmentally friendly alternative
PLA films (polylactic acid) are made from corn (maize) starch. In view of the rise in crude oil prices, the fact that such barrier film materials are produced from corn or some other renewable material is becoming increasingly important. Their price is not linked to that of crude, which further increases their competitiveness in terms of price.
But PLA films are also being more frequently applied for marketing reasons, since they are fully biodegraded into carbon dioxide and water. A German study has shown that 90 percent of all consumers would like to replace plastic packaging with bio-degradable alternatives.
Improved barrier properties of bioplastics
At the “Packaging” specialist conference at this year’s NanoEurope, Oliver Vetter, Business Manager at Alcan Packaging in Kreuzlingen, will show how inorganic SiOx coatings can improve the barrier properties of bioplastics.
The possibilities of packaging products in bioplastics used to be limited due to the poor barrier properties of packaging films. They were used as trays for fresh fruit or bags for vegetables, where the breathing capability of the film is an advantage.
On the other hand, the barrier was inadequate in applications involving products with higher shelf stability requirements. But today, inorganic SiOx coating technology allows an effective barrier to be applied to bio-based films. The barrier efficiency that can currently be achieved is high enough to enable the films to be used for MAP trays or MAP pouches.
The speakers at this year’s “Packaging” specialist conference at the NanoEurope will present and discuss innovative industrial products, possible strategies in the creation of new products, and the main direction of future research and development efforts. The event is addressed to entrepreneurs, management staff, and employees from development, production, and purchasing in the packaging industry and industries that upgrade their products through innovative packaging systems.
Following last year's successful event, which was attended by some 3,500 visitors from over 40 countries, the NanoEurope will once again this year provide a meeting platform for the interested specialist public. The event in 2008 offers businesses and managers from industry and research institutions a forum for exchanging information on commercialization strategies and investment know-how. In addition, the participants will learn more about the following focal subjects: Multifunc-tional Textiles, Nanobased Electronic and Sensor Systems, and Systems with Functionalized Sur-faces and Structures. Lastly, for the fourth time now, the internationally renowned "NanoRegulation Conference" on voluntary measures in Nano Risk Governance including an international Nano Stakeholder Dialog will be organized as part of the NanoEurope 2008.
At a glance: NanoEurope 2008
Date: September 16 – 17, 2008
Venue: Olma Messen St.Gallen, St.Gallen, Switzerland
Exhibition: Hall 9.1; Congress: Halls 9.1.2, 9.2, and 2.1.
Registration: Via OnlineTicket at www.nanoeurope.com