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When he talks to his customers, two clear trends have taken shape in the past 12 months, said Paul von Kirchbach, export manager, medical packaging at globally active flexible plastics packaging processor Kobusch-Sengewald. They are much more interested in monomaterial packaging than they were just two years ago, and they are keenly interested in bioplastics, he said.

Matt Defosse

March 25, 2010

2 Min Read
Monomaterial packaging “yes,” bioplastics “no” at flex packaging processor

The first trend has legs, but the second doesn't, he predicted in an interview with MPW during this week's Medtec show in Stuttgart, Germany. "We're really not seeing much with biodegradable films...well, lots of end users seem interested at first, but we need to educate them on the costs and the mechanical limitations. Often then their interest fades," he explained, noting many customers mistakenly assume biodegradable plastics will be less costly than standard petroleum-based thermoplastics.

On the other hand, Kirchbach said the interest in and demand for monomaterial medical packaging is growing and seems likely to continue increasing. Designing packaging for recycling is the main driver for this trend, he said, with the interest in monomaterial medical packaging most obvious from manufacturers of high-volume medical devices. 

Sengewald is divided into two business units. Kobusch-Sengewald is its high-volume film extrusion unit, which counts many large-volume film converters and thermoformers among its customers. Secu-Pack-Sengewald is its bespoke business unit for more custom-designed packaging, often from end users that do not do their own film conversion, he said. "About 80-90% of our business comes from customer-specific packaging," he said of this unit. One new development out of the Secu-Pack operation is its Flexopro pouch, a paper/Tyvek (DuPont's HDPE) combination which he said is the first such package able to be steam sterilized, albeit only to 120°C.

The Medtec series of trade shows are organized by MPW parent company Canon Communications LLC. In related flexible packaging news from that event, officials at Perfaseal (Derry, Northern Ireland), part of globally active flexible plastics packaging processor Bemis, said their company will soon introduce in Europe the PerfecPharm pouch package marketed since last summer in North America. "It's an alternative to Barex," explained Stefan Bauwens, sales manager Central Europe for the processor/converter. Barex is the trade name for the acrylonitrile copolymer marketed by Ineos Barex. Bauwens said his company's PerfecPharm pouches, are less expensive than comparable ones made of Barex. PerfecPharm packaging is made with a bioriented polypropylene/tie layer/polyethylene terephthalate construction, with the BOPET layer also treated with aluminum oxide. —Matt Defosse

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