Is there a recent and exemplary case study you can point to from these developments?
West: If you had a chance to stop by our booth during happy hour at NPE, you would have noticed that beverages were being served in a blue or gold cup. These are the result of collaboration between ExxonMobil and Fabri-Kal (Kalamazoo, MI) which used Achieve Advanced PP6282NE1 to produce a lighter, yet functional 9oz prototype beverage cup similar to those commonly used in the airline industry. The blue cup was produced from a sheet 10% thinner than the incumbent material being used by Fabri-Kal and the gold one was 18% thinner. Visitors were impressed with the rigid feel of the cups despite how thin they were. On a more technical note, it is worth pointing out that both cups outperformed the incumbent/original version from Fabri-Kal and the commercial cups used by two major airlines in a “crushing” test, i.e., inverted cup top load.
We also produced and showcased a cup insert tray that contained more than 60% of a heavy mineral filler. Fabri-Kal reported they had no issues with sag or processability thanks to the high melt strength of Achieve Advanced PP6282NE1.
Achieve Advanced Polypropylene customers have reported the following:
A packaging producer replaced a competitive PP with Achieve Advanced PP6282NE1 in take-out containers for a global restaurant chain. With the high stiffness of Achieve Advanced PP6282NE1, the producer offered to downgauge the container for cost savings, but the restaurant chain preferred the higher quality feel of the containers produced with Achieve Advanced PP6282NE1. The increased stiffness also prevents potential warping when containers are stacked and full of food. Moreover, the producer was able to increase their cycle times by more than 10% on its thermoforming equipment, as Achieve Advanced PP6282NE1 can process easier. Value in use with Achieve Advanced PP6282NE1: increased stiffness and improved productivity.
A producer of take-out containers is currently importing a competitive PP and replacing it with Achieve Advanced PP6282NE1 which will improve logistics (domestic supplier). In addition, the value proposition of Achieve Advanced PP6282NE1 is three-fold:
1. Reduced variation in wall thickness to eliminate thin or weak spots that jeopardize the quality and strength of the container;
2. Higher stiffness for >15% downgauging.
3. Increased cycle time for ~10% improved productivity.
A converter looking to replace a competitive PP so they can use more filler for cost savings turned to Achieve Advanced PP6282NE1. Value in use with Achieve Advanced PP6282NE1: Potential for ~15% materials cost saving with increased filler loading.
Examples of what customers have said about Exceed XP:
- Tropic Plastics & Packaging Industry (Jacobs, South Africa): “We have witnessed this extreme performance first-hand. It has allowed us to pass savings onto customers, give them better yields, but not lose food packaging integrity. We probably dropped one bag about 20 times, but still no tear in the bag, the seal remains intact and beautiful, no punctures. There’s very positive feedback from the brand owners. This is because we’ve taken their bag (food packaging) to the next level.”
- Bemis Asia Pacific (Dongguan, China): “The extreme performance of Exceed XP opened our eyes to what is possible for packaging solutions. It’s having a great impact on us, a positive impact on us. Because this type of packaging solution reduces use of materials and waste. Sales are growing in new market segments. I think this is all down to the capability of films made with Exceed XP.”
- Thanh Phu Plastic Packaging: “Exceed XP gives us the possibility to look at things that we wouldn’t be able to reach at this point in time. So with this resin, with raw material like this, it does give you the feeling that you can do more.”
- Gundle Plastics Gorup (Durban, South Africa): “We looked at the impact strength, the tensile properties, and we could see that this is a product that will be beneficial to us. There has been a big drive for us to reduce the thickness of the material. Exceed XP helps us to do that without losing any sort of technical integrity in the product – in fact it improves it.”
- Tex-Trude (Channelview, TX): “I saw the test results out in the field and I did not believe those numbers until we got them in and tested the Exceed XP 6026 and 8656 – the dart impact numbers are off the charts. It’s a significant step-up from anything on the market. We do a lot of research on a regular basis and can it achieve what we need it to achieve. And that’s what we’ve found with Exceed XP. It’s the best product we’ve trialed, the best product we’ve run and we’re going to continue to do so.”
- Shanghai Yungkai Plastics (Shanghai, China): “Exceed XP has shown superior performance and cannot be replaced by other materials.”
- Shrinath Rotopack (Telangana, India): “Exceed XP has good, extreme mechanical properties which will be very helpful for our customers. It’s a very economical and sustainable solution for them.”
- EPA Plastic (Mexico): “This resin makes an evolution – maybe a revolution – of the industry. We’re proud that we produce the best film, because we use the best resin, too.”
- Panverta (Pasuruan, Indonesia): “Because we find a better film quality, we can open a new market that we can develop together with our customer. So, it’s a big chance for us.”
You can view a video of the customer testimonials here.
Any hint as to what new products are in the pipeline?
West: At ExxonMobil, innovation is part of who we are, since the very earliest days of the company. Our ongoing program of technology innovation means there is always a pipeline of new polymer products, and even applications and processes. You can expect continued expansion of both the Achieve Advanced PP and Exceed XP performance polymers portfolio.
See also the first in the series, ‘Poly-feration’ of PE and PP innovation in packaging: Milliken, published August 2018.