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Update: New high-barrier PET polymer from Solvay and Husky

Solvay Husky logo combo
Partnership yields Verian HBP advanced high-barrier polyester, a new polymer for sustainable packaging.

In partnership with Husky Injection Molding Systems (Toronto), Solvay Specialty Polymers (Bollate, Italy) is launching Verian High Barrier Polyester. Verian HBP is a recyclable line of high-performance polymers that will enable a new generation of sustainable packaging solutions for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and films. It expands Solvay’s portfolio of specialty polymers for barrier packaging.

“Working together with Husky, the development of Verian HBP highlights our robust capability to design cutting-edge and game-changing products and technology that will play a major role in high performing sustainable packaging solutions of the future,” says Augusto Di Donfrancesco, President Solvay’s Specialty Polymers GBU.

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The material is is not a homogenous monomaterial solution, but a multilayer structure for bottles and films with Verian HBP used as a middle layer, explains Yves Vanderveken, Research, Development & Technology and Trademark Manager, High Barrier Polymers, Project Manager, Verian HBP.

“It is used as a barrier layer embedded in PET, which enables the introduction of smaller-volume PET bottles with enhanced barrier performance required to meet the shelf life requirements of carbonated soft drinks (CSD),” he tells PlasticsToday. “[It] is expected to be the best melt processable carbon-dioxide barrier polymer for packaging solutions used in current bottle technology for CSDs and other beverages.”

High barrier at low levels

A multilayer structure with just 2.5% percent Verian HBP as middle layer has a barrier improvement factor of five compared to PET and of three compared to a multilayer structure with nylon, Vanderveken points out.

“It’s a barrier solution that doesn‘t disrupt the high-quality PET recycling chain,” he adds. “Using it as a barrier layer allows packaging lightweighting, which will reduce significantly the PET quantity needed for making bottles.”

The compound is not yet commercially available. “However, ongoing developments aim to make cost competitive packaging solutions versus established alternatives considering the added value this new product provides,” Vanderveken points out.

Husky has developed a breakthrough technology allowing a thin barrier layer (just 2-3 percent of the added material) in a co-injected multilayer structure for preforms to be stretch blow molded on existing equipment for bottles. The Solvay-Husky partnership is seen as a key to propose a new generation of sustainable packaging solutions to the beverage market.

Near-term and long-term plans for NA and Europe

Previous studies demonstrate a compatibility with established PET recycling streams. For bottle-to bottle applications, however, more work on recyclability still needs to be done, according to Vanderveken. “We are planning the final tests later this year.”

Currently, only samples from pilot production lines are available for testing, he explains. “It is expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2018.”

The product will be first introduced into markets in North America and Europe. “Depending on food requirements country by country, we will extend the availability,” Vanderveken says.

Solvay expects to use the material to create barrier films as well. “However, this is a second stage development area that will more likely happen at the end of next year,” Vanderveken says.

Drinktec demo

At the upcoming Drinktec 2017 tradeshow, Husky (Hall A4, Booth 338) will be running a HyPET HPP5 fully integrated preform manufacturing system that demonstrates its ability to process Solvay’s Verian HBP for a 17gm carbonated soft drink bottle. By combining the benefits of its high-performing HyPET HPP5 platform with an advanced melt delivery system and highly sophisticated controls, Husky’s Multi-Layer Technology delivers all-new capability that enables the most precise distribution of Verian HBP within a Multi-Layer preform.

“We are excited about our partnership with Solvay and the potential that Verian HBP presents in minimizing the impact PET packaging has on the environment,” says John Galt, Husky President and CEO. “We believe this development will open new growth opportunities for the next generation of high performance engineered PET packages, while ensuring compatibility with existing recycling streams.”

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