According to new research by The Freedonia Group (Cleveland, OH), demand for caps and closures in the U.S. is expected to grow 4.2% per year to $11.8 billion in 2020.
To address demanding caps, closures and fitments application needs, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics (Dow P&SP; Midland, MI) has developed a portfolio of PE resins called Evercap PE for rigid caps and closures that will debut at K 2016. Evercap’s versatile portfolio caters to mega trends and emerging issues shaping market needs, including an aging U.S. population and the call for improved sustainability.
The new product line of PEs will help drive new market opportunities for polyethylene closures and fitments by addressing senior dexterity limitations through easier open and close functionality. To ensure end user convenience, Dow P&SP tested every lot of material with a human sensory lab.
While achieving unmatched product performance, the technology also delivers sustainability improvements. PlasticsToday caught up with John Sugden, Technical Services & Development Leader for Dow to discuss these recent improvements.
How does Evercap address market needs?
Sugden: The caps, closures, and fitments market faces a multitude of challenges as the range of innovations in packaged food, beverages, cleaners and other chemicals markets continue to diversify. In addition to the basic tasks of preventing leakage and preserving freshness, cap and closure technologies need to cover everything from durability to lightweighting, processability to taste and odor, product safety to recyclability, and much more in between.
The Evercap PE resin portfolio offers exceptional versatility to help address these emerging issues and drive new market opportunities for polyethylene closures and fitments. The new resins family for caps and closures responds to mega trends and other important issues that impact not only the packaging industry, but also the world at large. The Evercap portfolio can:
- Help reduce food waste via improved barrier and shelf-life performance
- Assist the aging population by enabling easier opening and closing
- Ensure health and wellness through both aseptic and hot fill sterilization processes
- Enhance product safety with consistent, reliable tamper evidence
What were some recent improvements?
Sugden: Beyond addressing the demanding caps, closures and fitments application needs, Evercap also provides more sustainable solutions. For example, conversion from two- to one-piece closures and increased opportunities for lightweighting help reduce material usage and enable more efficient, cost-effective transportation throughout the value chain. Closures made with Evercap PE resins can also be recycled.
The broad range of material and processing options enable room for creativity in design and aesthetics. This proves to brand owners that sustainability improvements won’t necessarily compromise packaging appearance.
Evercap also offers the opportunity for more intermaterial substitution. A few of the many possibilities include metal cap replacement; alternative materials for existing hinged closures; and the modification of pull tab fitments.
How does Evercap differ from other alternatives in the market?
Sugden: Evercap is the only resin portfolio that enables the right balance of performance properties to meet demanding closures and fitments application needs. Dow currently offers multiple grades within the Evercap portfolio to cater to specific industry needs and deliver unsurpassed levels of key attributes, including industry-leading sealability, barrier protection, durability, security, organoleptics and lightweighting. Evercap resins also offer excellent processability, with many drop-in solutions for use in existing compression and injection molding equipment.
Demanding closure performance is dependent upon the closure design, processes used to make closures, and the PE chemistries and processes used to make the resins. Stringent manufacturing specifications and sensory mapping of products provide quality control, and advanced supply chain technology helps ensure safe and timely delivery. Dow collaborates throughout the value chain to ensure the Evercap PE resin portfolio will continue to meet evolving closure and fitment needs.
What types of technologies does Evercap provide the caps and closures industry?
Sugden: The Evercap portfolio enables innovative, wide-ranging chemistry and processes, giving customers an easy path to create a range of closures, caps and fitments. This offers the caps and closures industry many diverse, proprietary polyethylene technologies, ranging from HDPE to LLDPE to LDPE, from unimodal to multi-modal, from Ziegler Natta to metallocene, and from gas phase to solution to slurry.