Digital Magazine

Converter Panel Attracts Interest at Conference

The most popular session at the 2003 TAPPI PLACE Conference and GLOBAL HOT MELT Symposium was the Converter Spotlight organized and chaired by Rory Wolf of Enercon Industries Corporation. Panel participants were Douglas Dodrill of Rollprint Packaging Products, Thomas G. Thompson of Glenroy, Inc., Thomas J. Dunn of Printpack, Inc., Mark Montsinger of Bryce Corp., Whitney Beale of International Paper, Ezra Bowen of Lawson Mardon, Greg Garde of Pliant Corp., David Lisk of Bostik Findley, and John S. Ozcomert of Rexam Medical Packaging. These panelists covered a wide range of converting operations including the medical and healthcare industry, flexible packaging laminations, barrier products, films, adhesives, etc.

Other sessions involving panels that addressed topics of current interest to the audience at the conference were “Pilot Plant Facilities: Adhesive Laminating and Film Extrusion” organized and chaired by Warren Durling of Glad Manufacturing Co., “Marketing Panel — Accelerating New Product Development and Supply Chain System Platforms” organized and chaired by Rory Wolf of Enercon Industries, “Retort Packaging Panel Discussion/Roundtable” organized and chaired by Thomas R. Mueller of Rohm and Haas Co., and “Troubleshooting Case Studies” organized and chaired by Louis W. Piffer of Davis-Standard.

The conference drew 392 participants to the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida, for the technical presentations on August 4-6, 2003. More than 10% of the attendees were from countries other than the United States including Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and United Kingdom. Technical Program Co-chairpersons for the meeting were Richard B. Allen of Mica Corp. and Beth M. Wells of Black Clawson Converting Machinery LLC. They provided an extensive program that included four tracks of sessions each day. A feature of the meeting was the track devoted to various topics concerning hot melt products. Other session topics included high barrier resins, active packaging, film extrusion additives, hot melt pressure-sensitive adhesives, pilot plant facilities, knowledge management, extrusion coating pre-treatment, new developments in film, etc.

High Energy Curing
A session developed and chaired by Rick Sanders of Energy Sciences, Inc., had seven papers covering various areas of radiation curing. Albert A. Lin of Sovereign Specialty Chemicals, Inc., spoke on “EB Coatings Replacing Paper And Film Laminates — Are They Up to the Challenges?” “As converters strive to improve the cost structure of the packaging materials, increase production efficiency, enhance product performance, reduce carrying inventory, lower VOC emissions, reach for the goal of on-demand manufacturing, or create new packaging designs,” he said, “they always search for the latest available technologies or chemistries.” One obvious solution is an electron beam coating mono-web approach that offers the following benefits:

  • Reduce cost by 10%-20%

  • Reduce package design complexity

  • Provide more in-line, on-demand manufacturing

  • Use same processing systems

  • Maintain or improve package appeal

  • Achieve FDA compliance.

In his paper on “The Effects of Electron Beam Processing on Polymeric Films,” Anthony J. Berejka of Ionicorp+ observed that the development of new, lower cost accelerators now makes electron beam processing of polymeric films an energy efficient process more accessible to film processors. When using such processing, film grade selection is critical. An understanding of the effects of electron beam on the polymers used in film manufacture can facilitate the development of value-added electron processed products. Final properties can be grade specific. Converters face the challenge of opening new markets for the proven technology of electron beam processing of films

Similar papers included “Safety and Handling of UV/EB Curing Materials” by Ronald Golden of UCB Chemicals Corp., “Wet-on-Wet Flexo Printing Technology Update” by Michael J. McGovern of Sun Chemical, “EB Curable Overprint Release Coatings for Cold Seal Flexible Packaging” by Charles J. Wasserman and Stephen C. Lapin of Northwest Coatings Corp., “Creating Success: UV Equipment for the Flexible Film Converter” by Erich Midlik of Prime UV Systems, Inc., and “New Novel Oligomers Designed to Ease Formulating of UV/EB Laminating Adhesives” by Deborah Smith of Sartomer Corp.

Active Packaging
Lee J. Murray, Rick Merical, and Roger Kaas of Pechiney Plastic Packaging were authors of a paper entitled “Moisture Scavenging Packaging for Diagnostic Test Strips, Pharmaceuticals and Other Moisture Sensitive Products.” They discussed the replacement of desiccant sachets in a package by incorporating the desiccant in the sealant or product contact layer of a packaging material. This is an extension of the well-known process of blending polymers with inorganic materials such as pigments, fillers, and anti-blocking additives. Packaging converters can use concentrates of these materials to produce films or layers in multi-ply structures. By incorporating a desiccant in the product contact layer, contamination of a product by leakage from a sachet will not occur. This approach also eliminates the risk of ingestion. The desiccant is also next to the product so that permeation through another layer does not delay the absorption activity.

In his paper “A Systems Approach to Oxygen Scavenging Films,” Frank B. Edwards of Sealed Air Corp. covered a related topic. “Recently developed oxygen scavenging films provide a further advancement in the ability to reliably produce high quality products with extended shelf life,” he said. “Oxygen scavenging films remove residual headspace oxygen, remove oxygen entrapped in the food product, block oxygen ingress, and provide a simple, non-intrusive means of scavenging oxygen.” The polymer films use a systems approach that activates immediately before inclusion in the final package. The system also incorporates quality control methods that verify finished packages are actively scavenging oxygen. Oxygen scavenging films provide value to food processors, retailers, and consumers by maintaining quality, increasing shelf life, expanding sales, decreasing returns, and providing an alternative to sachets.

Other papers devoted to barrier applications in packaging included “Study on Orientable EVOH” by Ikko Matsui of Nippon Gohsei, “Fundamentals of Nylon” by Michael D. Crist of BASF Corporation, “Flexible Multi-layer Barrier Films from Acrylonitrile-Based Copolymers” by Robert C. Sentman and Amy Plancon of BP Chemicals, and “Improved Technique for Monitoring the Grease Permeation Through Substrates” by Gary D. Cheney and D. Ryan Breese of Equistar Chemicals L.P. Timothy M. Young and Michael D. Crist of BASF Corporation spoke on “DSC and Crystallinity Analysis of Films from Various Nylon Blends,” and Michelle Stevens and Joel Fischer of MOCON Inc. addressed “New Methods for Accelerated Oxygen Transmission Rate Tests of Scavengers.”

Film Extrusion and Extrusion Coating
Many sessions covered various aspects of film extrusion and extrusion coating. In the session entitled “New Developments in Films” developed and chaired by Gary D. Oliver of Cloeren Inc., Amy B. Hitchcock of Eastman Chemical Company spoke on “A Simple Alternative to Ethylene Vinyl Acetate Copolymers for Produce and Packaging Films.” Richard W. Halle of ExxonMobil Chemical Co. made a presentation entitled “Plastomer-mVLDPE Blends for High Performance Heat Sealing Applications.” He discussed a new family of metallocene-catalyzed polyethylenes that have outstanding toughness and excellent hot tack performance.

Barry A. Morris and John C. Chen of the duPont organization spoke on “The Stiffness of Ionomers: How It Is Achieved and Its Importance to Flexible Packaging Applications.” “Using Simulations to Determine Optimum Run Processing Conditions in Extrusion” was the title of the paper given by Beth M. Wells of Black Clawson Converting Machinery LLC. Janevieve A. Parks of AT Plastics Inc. and L. C. Huang, Mairanna Kontopoulou, and Jennifer Lee of Queen's University spoke on “Binary Blends of EVA and Metallocene Catalyzed-alpha-Olefin Copolymers and Their Film Properties.” They examined the effect of blend composition on rheological properties, heat seal, and optical and tensile properties. Depending on their composition, the blends can offer a good balance of properties and processing.

The ever-popular speaker and expert on web handling, David R. Roisum of Finishing Technologies, Inc., spoke on “Thinking Thin.” Noting that the markets driving converters to ever thinner webs to reduce material costs and waste going to the landfill provide challenges for running a lighter basis weight or thinner caliper that are at least as difficult for web handling as for web manufacturing. “These challenges may not be as familiar as more commonly known machine limitations such as width or speed,” he said. “Because they are not as familiar, they may catch us off guard.” The challenges described in his paper include wrinkling, air entrainment, tension control, roller design, and problems associated with profile variations.

New Technology Showcase
The high attendance and enthusiasm of the audience at the New Technology Showcase attested to the continuing popularity of this event. Presenters gave commercial talks restricted to a maximum length of five minutes to the audience. Topics included flame treatment, new films, measurement of coatings and substrates, high barrier laminations, new polymer additives, primers for extrusion coating, and unwind splicers. Presenters at this annual event are becoming very creative in their attempts to spread their message to the audience. Bruce Foster of Mica Corp. had an especially novel approach using no verbal presentation but black and white slides similar to old movies based on a James Bond theme.

Following the New Technology Showcase, the conference held its Table Top Reception. Approximately 30 organizations had displays promoting their wares with personnel to offer explanations and answer questions. This event, the daily session breaks, and the PLACE Gala provided many opportunities for the conference attendees to network with others at the meeting.

Next Conference
The 2004 TAPPI PLACE Division Conference will be August 29 to September 4, 2004, at the Westin Indianapolis Hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana. Information will be available on the TAPPI web site at www.tappi.org and from the TAPPI Member Connection service at 1-800-332-8686 for the United States, 1-800-446-9431 for Canada, and +1-770-446-1400 for other locations. The Technical Program Chairperson will be Beth M. Wells of Black Clawson Converting Machinery LLC. Her email contact is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For information about the PLACE Division of TAPPI, access the TAPPI web page at www.TAPPI.org. To obtain the complete papers whose expanded summaries appear in this section, go to the TAPPI web site at www.TAPPI.org. Then click on “the PLACE” in the section designated Journals.

Telephone inquiries are welcome at the TAPPI Service Line by calling 1-800-332-8686 in the United States, 1-800-446-9431 in Canada, or +1-770-446-1400 in other countries. Send FAX 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..

he PLACE sponsor:

Subscribe to PFFC's EClips Newsletter