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Conference Features New Networking Opportunity

The Polymers, Laminations and Coatings Conference held at the Westin Michigan Avenue Hotel on August 27-31, 2000, offered a PLC Salsa Celebration in the Signature Room on the 95th Floor of the John Hancock Building. According to Bruce Foster of Mica Corporation who was the organizer of the event, "We wanted to provide an opportunity for all meeting attendees to have an entire evening at a premier networking experience. The food, drink, entertainment, and spectacular view did attract almost all registrants."

Sponsors for this gala event were Black Clawson Converting Machinery LLC, Chevron Chemical Company LLC, Cloeren Incorporated, Davis-Standard, The Dow Chemical Company, Eastman Chemical Company, Equistar Chemicals LP, Heritage Plastics, Inc., MarTech, Mica Corporation, and Westlake Polymers Corporation. Foster noted that "people leaving the gala were unanimous in their praise for the chance to meet and greet so many old and new friends. Based on this success, the conference in 2001 will include a similar gala for networking opportunities."

Companies interested in participating as sponsors for next year should contact Karen Van Duren at TAPPI by telephone at 770/209-7291 for more information. "Sponsorship for this networking opportunity offers organizations an excellent chance to obtain exposure at a reasonable cost," said Foster.

Technical Program
The technical program consisting of more than 20 sessions attracted 489 people from 21 countries. Approximately 150 registrants were at a Polymers, Laminations and Coatings Conference for the first time. Scott J. Melrose of Westlake Group was Technical Program Chairperson for the Conference. Jim Cooper of Dow Chemical USA and Foster held the positions of Conference Chairperson and Assistant Technical Program Chairman, respectively. Assisting them were Janelle C. Cameron of H. B. Fuller Company, Michael A. Ferrante of Preferred Systems Inc., George Panagopoulos of Exxon Chemical Company, Alister M. Soutar, Retired, David G. Timm of Charter Films, Laurie Beth Tyldesley of Black Clawson Converting Machinery, and Todd Usher of Milliken & Company as Committee Technical Program Chairpersons.

The meeting began with three simultaneous primer sessions entitled "Extrusion Primer, Plus," "Extrusion Coating Primer," and "Resin Primer." These sessions attracted not only newer workers in the industries served by the Polymers, Laminations and Coatings Conference but also seasoned veterans with many years of experience. This combination of audience members contributed to the learning opportunities that were available to everybody. Subjects covered during the primers ranged from "Color and Additives Concentrates: Introduction," by Richard Novomesky of Equistar Chemicals LP, to "A Comparison of Cast and Blown Film Process and Properties," by Jan Ivey of Ivey & Associates.

In their contribution to the primer sessions, Stuart A. Greig, Peter B. Sherman, Robert Pitman, and Cliff Barley of Sherman Treaters Ltd. in their paper on "Adhesion Promoters—Corona, Flame, and Ozone," offered a comprehensive discussion on the use of corona treating and ozone as adhesion promoters during the extrusion coating process. They noted that "advanced control systems and a move toward aqueous inks and adhesives have led to increasing demands for better treatment performance and sparked a resurgence of popularity and new applications for flame treating plastic films and profiles."

Barrier Materials
Two sessions at the conference addressed high barrier materials—"Advances in High Barrier Materials," chaired by Paul R. Lund of BP Chemicals International, and "Advances in High Barrier Packaging," chaired by Ravi Prasad of Hewlett Packard Company. In his paper on "Cellulose Films: The Original Barrier Film, The Past, and Its New Future," Stewart Richards described two radically new processes under development for making cellulose barrier films having improved properties over those films made with the current xanthanate process. The new manufacturing techniques significantly reduce the complexity of manufacturing cellulose films. Uncoated cellulose films will still be fully compostable. With the advent of biodegradable moisture-proof coatings, they will provide a fully compostable moisture proof membrane.

In their paper on "Barrier Properties of EVOH at Low Temperatures and Various Humidities," Tomoyuki Yamamoto and Yuko Nishihara clarified a relationship for oxygen transmission rate, moisture content, relative humidity, temperature, and ethylene content. Using the relationship, they could estimate oxygen transmission rate from only the three factors of humidity, temperature, and ethylene content.

In a session entitled "Tips For Troubleshooting in Flexible Packaging," Richard M. Podhajny of Colorcon addressed problem solving techniques involved in analyzing a complicated ink adhesion problem. His example involved ink adhesion failure associated with metallized paper labels used in beer and beverage packaging. Surface tension and chemical analysis identified the cause of the ink adhesion failure. In the same session, Dante F. Ferrari of AT Plastics Inc. spoke on "Extrusion Coating Resins—Troubleshooting." He reviewed polymer properties, resin effects on processing, resin effects on the final product, and variables such as melt strength.

In a session on "Extrusion Beyond the Die," William N. Hellmuth spoke on "Extrusion Controls in the Next Millennium." He predicted that "integrating existing technologies in new ways will generate control systems that provide creative business solutions for film producers." Changes in controls and automation systems will come from existing technologies in communications, sensors, intelligent appliance chips, and computing technologies. The impetus for these changes will be the flexible, agile, demand-based production facilities that will soon arrive. Timothy W. Whitman of Beringer LLC noted that the "best" cleaning strategy is the one that supports the most production with the lowest total investment over time in his paper entitled "Selection Of Cleaning Methods For Coextrusion Dies." He observed that the best cleaning methods for a given operation may be influenced by factors fixed by the polymer process being run or factors of finance and plant location.

Another paper on film extrusion was "Performance and Benefits of Side-Fed Die Technology for Blown Film Applications," by Rick Keller of Davis-Standard. He discussed a side-fed concept using a "coat-hanger" style, single channel that decreases in volume to feed the bottom of a spiral distribution section uniformly. The combination of this single channel and the spiral section creates a versatile die design that offers several advantages. These include decreased wetted surface area, radically lower residence times, and increased space for internal air delivery systems.

New Materials and Applications
The Film Extrusion Committee presented a session on "New Materials and Applications" covering the latest developments in thermoplastic resins for packaging. In the session chaired by Amy B. Hitchcock of Eastman Chemical Co., Richard W. Halle and Kevin Cable of ExxonMobil Chemical Co. spoke on "A New m-LLDPE for Extrusion Coating Applications."

Nicole F. Whiteman of Cargill Dow discussed a new family of thermoplastics derived from processed corn. Her paper on "New Packaging Thermoplastic, Polyactide" compares the material to other flexible packaging materials. Comparisons to high performance sealants highlighted the combination of flavor and aroma barrier with high hot tack strength and low seal initiation temperatures.

The complete proceedings of the technical papers presented at the conference are available from TAPPI PRESS in three volumes.

Keynote Session
The keynote session featured three speakers in which leading experts in the industry gave their perspectives on the plastic converting industry. Yolanda J. Simonsis of Paper, Film & Foil CONVERTER spoke on "The Future of the Converting Industry." "State of the Polyolefins Industry" was the title of the presentation by Howard Rappaport of CMAI. Annette Comer of MarTech spoke on "Future of Flexible Packaging."

Rappaport noted that energy is a very important component of making ethylene and propylene into polyethylene and polypropylene. Price trends in the energy industry are therefore critical for the supply and cost of the polymers. Unexpected events also influence polyolefins. These include items such as the oil embargo of 1973 and 1974. Other influences are times of tight supply, eras of recession, global conflicts, and industry disasters.

Polyolefins are "the largest plastic materials in the thermoplastics market" at 60%. They find use in products ranging from packaging applications to trash bags and carpeting. Today, large global suppliers are doing business with large global consumers. "Polyethylene demand worldwide today is very healthy and continues to growth unscathed," said Rappaport. In North America, every man, woman, and child uses about 70 to 80 pounds per year. Tremendous growth rates exist for both polyethylene and polypropylene in countries such as Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand. For these Asian areas, much material will go into the manufacture of products for export to other countries. The largest applications for polypropylene are film and sheeting at approximately 10%. In the last two years, polypropylene has been taking market share from many different resins for various applications. Polypropylene has therefore been enjoying considerable growth at the expense of other resins recently.

Comer observed that "change does take place in the plastics industry. Those who keep up with it will be the winners." Consumer demand and company needs will drive growth. Three items that influence customer demand are the need for convenience, the desire for fresher taste, and the trend toward more ethnic flavors. Company needs are maintaining brand identity, following appropriate distribution channels, and addressing counterfeiting and security issues.

Other Features
The New Technology Showcase organized and chaired by Tyldesley was a very popular feature of the Polymers, Laminations and Coatings Conference again this year. Twelve speakers gave five-minute presentations on new products and equipment. "Because of the popularity of this session," Tyldesley said, "We will undoubtedly expand this to a longer time with more speakers next year." Topics included the addition of calcium carbonate to boost polyethylene film and coating performance, nanoparticulate aluminum oxide as an enhancer of inkjet media, new technology in automatic dies and coextrusion feedblocks, and a new primer for enhanced oxygen barrier. A Table Top Reception featuring products from 22 companies followed the New Technology Showcase.

A final session for the conference was an International Troubleshooting Super Panel. It featured presentations by three speakers on the converting industry in Asia and Europe followed by many questions from the audience addressed to the panel of nine experts.

2001 Conference
The 2001 Polymers, Laminations and Coatings Conference will be in San Diego, California, on August 26-30 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. Information on the program will be at tappi.org as it becomes available or from the TAPPI Service Line at the telephone numbers noted above. Some positions may still be available to present technical papers.

The Hot Melt Committee has issued a call for papers for their 2001 Hot Melt Symposium at the Westin Resort Hilton Head Island in South Carolina on June 3-6, 2001. The committee is soliciting papers covering all aspects of hot melt technology. This includes raw materials for hot melt formulations, processing equipment for manufacture and use of hot melt products, uses for hot melt adhesives and coatings, and marketing studies for hot melts. Papers on new, emerging hot melt product technology are especially welcome as are papers on hot melt pressure sensitive adhesives.

Potential authors should submit the proposed title for their paper to John A. Lovrak, Firestone Synthetic Rubber & Latex Co., Box 26611, Akron, OH, 44319-0027 now. His telephone number is 1-800-282-0222, and his e-mail address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

An abstract of the paper is due by December 15, 2000, and the completed paper is due on April 1, 2001. For further information, contact Lovrak or Bill Stafford by mail at TAPPI, Box 105113, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5113; by phone at +770/209-7201; or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The 2001 Hot Melt symposium will offer an excellent opportunity for authors to present noncommercial information on their current or recent work that can apply across the broad spectrum of growing hot melt uses. The symposium is the premier meeting in the field of hot melt technology and draws a large audience of attendees with interests in many areas that use hot melt materials.

For information about the Polymers, Laminations, and Coatings Division of TAPPI, see the web page at tappi.org. For the complete papers whose expanded summaries appear in this section (Temperature Switchable Members for Packaging Fresh Produce and UV Protection of Hot Melt Adhesives for Packaging Applications) contact TAPPI.

Telephone inquires are welcome at the TAPPI Service Line by calling 800/332-8686 in the US; 800/446-9431 in Canada; or 770/446-1400 in other countries. Faxes should be sent to 770/446-6947. Address mail to:

TAPPI
Box 105113
Atlanta, GA 30348-5113

Contact David J. Bentley Jr., the PLACE editor, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


 

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