Protective Skin Packaging Featuring DuPont™ Surlyn® Conserves Energy; Reduces Waste, Cost
Collaboration Credited for Sustainable Packaging Solution
Applied using a modified skin-film process, the combination of a highly transparent base film derived from Surlyn® and a specially tailored adhesive resin, both from DuPont, provides reliable protection for susceptible components – from their production and assembly right through to their first use by consumers – and saves material as well as process energy compared to alternative polyethylene films.
NEU-ISENBURG, Germany, Feb. 1, 2012 – Renowned appliance manufacturer Miele is among the first to capture the energy- and waste-saving benefits of a new process and film technology developed collaboratively with a leading machinery manufacturer, film producer and DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers (DuPont).
DuPont™ Surlyn®, a highly-transparent packaging polymer, and specially modified skin packaging equipment form the basis of this new technology designed to protect susceptible, three-dimensional component surfaces. The process is the result of joint development work between the machinery producer, Zappe Verpackungsmaschinen, Witten, Germany; the film producer, jura-plast, Reichenschwand, Germany, and DuPont.
Early-adopter Miele embraced the technology at its plant in Warendorf, Germany, to prevent high-gloss, thermoplastic bezel for washing machines from becoming scratched as they make their way through the fully automated assembly line to retail and, ultimately, to the end-user's home. The tailored skin packaging process helps prevent rejects and the corresponding raw-material waste.
Surlyn® also enables savings in terms of energy and raw material in the skin film process, compared to converting polyethylene, which was the material used in an early development stage. The skin film itself, and its production residue, can be recycled in the polyethylene waste stream.
"The development of this film has resolved two issues: the special formulation of the base layer made from Surlyn® ensures that there is no formation of air bubbles between the component surface and the film, which would otherwise spoil the high-quality appearance of the bezel."
"Moreover, thanks to its combination with a modified adhesive resin from DuPont, adhesion between the component and the film is sufficiently high for the fully assembled washing machine door, weighing around 5 kg, to be transported using vacuum grippers. Yet the consumer is still able to easily peel off the film without leaving any residue behind. Last but not least, as the Surlyn based film weighs about one third less than an alternative polyethylene film, we can summarize by saying that we have gained substantial optical, mechanical and economic benefits with this innovative and sustainable joint development."
- Jürgen Müller, Managing Director of jura-plast
Machinery producer Zappe Verpackungsmaschinen highlighted the excellent thermoforming properties of Surlyn®:
"Thanks to its chemical structure, Surlyn® remains very melt-stable and tough even when heated. This is particularly important for three-dimensional components, as it enables very high draw ratios without the risk of the film tearing at the edges. It was only by switching to Surlyn® that we could deliver the high process reliability required by Miele."
"Moreover, the good heat absorption of Surlyn® makes the film stretchable after only 10 seconds of heating, compared to about 15 seconds required for polyethylene, when working with our SKVA-5050 3D skin-packaging machine. This means that we can save a reasonable amount of process energy and on top of that achieve very short cycle times. This is particularly important when the machine – as is the case at the Miele plant in Warendorf – is an integral part of the overall production process and is required to fit a specific cycle rate."
"This time-, material- and energy-saving technology is highly suitable for the protection of almost all three-dimensional molded parts with susceptible surfaces – regardless of the substrate material."
- Managing Director, Ulrich Zappe
About the Collaborators
Zappe Verpackungsmaschinen GmbH (www.zappe-gmbh.de) was founded 1960 and today is one of the leading producers of high-quality film packaging equipment such as shrink tunnels, skin packaging machines, thermoforming machines, film sealing machines, sleeve wrap machines or shrink film machines. Around 20 employees at the company's headquarters in Witten produce standard, customised and tailored machines that are used around the globe.
jura-plast GmbH was founded in 1980 and today has a workforce of around 40 employees at its facility in Reichenschwand/Germany. Every year it produces some 8,000 tons of high-grade film with the most varied special properties. One of the main products of jura-plast GmbH is skinfilm, a sector in which it is one of Europe’s market leaders. A main point of focus for the company is the development of individual solutions, customised to meet the user’s requirements.
DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers manufactures an extensive mix of adhesive, barrier, peelable lidding and sealant resins and provides a globally networked development team to work with customers on packaging programs that help protect the product, environment; improve shelf appeal, convenience; and reduce cost in the food, cosmetics, medical products and other consumer goods and industrial packaging industries.
DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit www.dupont.com.