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European Meeting Presents Large Technical Program

A communication from the PLACE div. of TAPPI. Providing practical information to the converting and packaging industries.

The Sheraton Roma Hotel and Conference Center in Rome, Italy, was the location of the TAPPI 9th European PLACE Conference on May 12-14, 2003. More than 250 people attended the meeting that featured eleven sessions containing 56 technical papers. Otto Plassmann of BP Chemicals was the technical chairperson for the meeting. Registrants for the conference primarily came from the European countries but also included North American, South American, and Asiatic locales.

The meeting provided the latest trends, applications, and technologies for the film extrusion and extrusion coating industries. It reviewed new developments in polymers as they pertained to raw materials, processing, converting, and applications. A special feature was an overview of the polymer environment specifically for the European market.

Kaisa Putkisto and Juha Maijala of Tampere University of Technology, Johan Grön of Metso Paper Inc., and Mikael Rigdahl of Chalmers Univ. of Technology presented a paper entitled “Polymer Coating Of paper Using Dry Surface Treatment — Coating Structure And Performance.” Dry surface treatment combines coating and surface finishing in steps of applying layers of dry coating particles onto a substrate followed by densification and smoothing of the surface layer during a thermomechanical fixing phase. An electric field directs charged coating particles onto a surface where the deposited layer attaches electrostatically. During a heating and compression phase, the polymer layer exhibits sufficient flow, deformability, and affinity to the substrate surface to provide an adequate, homogeneous coating. Their work studied the effects of the thermomechanical properties of a polymer and fixation conditions on the formed structure and performance of the coatings prepared in a laboratory scale dry surface treatment unit. The authors concluded from their work that DST may be a promising technique for producing coated structures.

“Environmentally Benign Packaging With Innovative Adhesives” was the title of a talk by Hermann Onusseit of Henkel KGAA. He noted that consumers are demanding more and better information about products they buy. A trend therefore exists toward recognizing the increased importance of environmental protection in the manufacturing of packaging and the distribution of products. Since adhesives play a major role in the production of many goods especially in packaging, the question of how adhesive applications influence the idea of a closed-loop economy is becoming more and more important. Bonded, lightweight constructions save resources and are substituting for many conventional systems today. Modern packaging adhesives fulfill the ideals of “Responsible Care” and “Sustainable Development” and help establish a well-functioning global packaging industry.

Materials
In the sessions covering materials, Virginia P. Cushing and Bruce W. Foster of Mica Corporation discussed “How to Achieve High Bond Strength and Low Oxygen Transmission Rates with a Chemical Primer.” Yves M. Trouilhet of DuPont de Nemours Intl. S.A. talked on “New Acrylate Based Resins for Extrusion Coating.” “Study on Orientable EVOH” was the title of the presentation by Ikko Matsui and Kenji Ninomiya of Nippon Gohsei. “New Polymer Solutions for the Lamination Industry” was the presentation by Kurt Kronawittleithner and Anna Perez Moreno of Dow Chemical Iberia. In “Polymer Processing Additives to Enlarge the Process Window for Polyolefin Extrusion,” Greet Dewitte of Dyneon N.V. noted that fluoropolymer based polymer processing additives find frequent use in the plastics industry for processing of polyethylene and polypropylene. They also optimize the process conditions in a wide range of applications without requiring compromises on properties of a final product. His presentation provided insight into the mechanism of fluoropolymer-based polymer processing additives and the benefits they provide. Improvements in polyethylene extrusion result in a broader processing window for a plastic converter and higher productivity.

Machinery
Klemens Krumm of Reifenhaeer GmbH and Co. talked on “Direct Extrusion — A New Challenge for Economical Extrusion Coating.” He discussed a corotating twin screw extruder with tailored processing steps to achieve optimum coating properties. In “Producing Co-Extruded High Barrier Heat Shrinkable Packaging Films,” James D. Stobie of Macro Engineering and Techology Inc. reviewed some process and equipment developments regarding barrier packaging and compared barrier polymers and applications.

“Aspects of Cooling Roll Technology for Extrusion Coating and Laminating” by Martin Pilcher of Core Link AB noted that the surface texture of cooling rolls is important for properties of a laminated product. All cooling rolls will develop interior deposits on the water channels with time. These impair the cooling capacity of cooling rolls. Regular internal cleaning of the cooling rolls is important to ensure maximum cooling capacity. Several methods for internal cleaning are available.

In their paper on “Near Infrared Sensor Technology and the Modern Approach,” Gareth Joseph and Chris McGowan of NDC Infrared Engineering discussed the development of near infrared sensor technology for measurement of films and various different types of coatings. New developments in the field have led to increased use in such systems. Their paper assessed different sensor technologies available today and examined how this measurement principle fits with other sensor technologies.

Processing
The sessions devoted to processing contained fifteen papers. They ranged from “Shear Modification of Long-Chain Branched Polymers: A Theoretical Approach Using the Pom-Pom Model” by Sylvian Bourrigaud and Gerard Marin of Universite De Pau to “Designing Screws and Dies for Extrusion Coating with Straightforward Solution Procedures” by Natti S. Rao of Plastics Solutions International and Guenter Schumacher of Transfer Mathematics Technology.

A. J. Den Hartog, C. J. Spaans, A. C. M. Hertogh, and D. H. Van der Weijde of Corus Research, Development, and Technology presented a paper on “Polyester Coextrusion On Steel: Adhesion And Sterilization Behavior.” They noted that polymer coil-coated packaging steels are attracting increased attention. Advantages compared with sheet and coil lacquered systems include the absence of volatile organic compounds during coating application, consistent quality of the application process, and the absence of food legislation issues for the product. Their paper described developments regarding polymer-coated steel for demanding applications such as sterilization.

A paper by Thorbjorn Andersson of Tetra Pak Rresearch and Development AB and Bengt Wesslen of Lund University entitled “Degradation of LDPE and HDPE in Film Extrusion” discussed the degradation of polyethylenes during extrusion coating processing with and without antioxidants using different oxygen concentrations in the polymer granulates. Examination of the degradation used on-line rheometry, size exclusion chromatography, surface oxidation index measurements, and GC-MS chromatography. The degradation products identified included aldehydes and organic acids present in homologous series.

Next Conference
The TAPPI 10th European PLACE Conference will be held in 2005 in Vienna, Austria. Information will be available on the TAPPI web site at tappi.org as the specific plans for the meeting develop. To participate as a presenter at the next meeting or become otherwise involved, contact an officer of the European PLACE Committee. The chairperson is Erkki Laiho of Borealis Polymers Oy, the vice chairperson is Plassmann, the secretary is Mikael Krook of Packforsk, and the committee liaison is Bruce Foster of Mica Corporation.


For information about the PLACE Division of TAPPI, access the TAPPI web page at TAPPI.org.

Telephone inquiries are welcome at the TAPPI Service Line by calling 1-800-332-8686 in the United States, 800/446-9431 in Canada, or +1-770-446-1400 in other countries. Send faxes to 1-770-446-6947. Address mail to TAPPI, Box 105113, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5113. Contact “the PLACE” editor using e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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