Packaging Material Polypropylene With New Features

Editor: Anke Geipel-Kern

The new NX Ultraclear PP is the optimal, cost-effective option to help brand owners address the growing packaging trends for both resource efficiency and attention-grabbing appeal.

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Ultraclear Polypropylene packaging
Ultraclear Polypropylene packaging
(Source: Milliken)

„NX UltraClear PP, which is polypropylene clarified with Milliken’s Millad NX 8000, is the ideal material to bring exceptional clarity, aesthetics, lightweighting and increased sustainability to a variety of commercial packaging applications,” according to Sami T.K. Palanisami, Milliken Commercial Manager – EMEA. “It offers the clarity of materials such as PET, while delivering specific benefits for different processes.

What are new features?

When it comes to thermoformed and foldable packaging, the clear PP delivers a vast range of property and performance benefits to converters and brand owners, allowing the resin to offer an all-round packaging solution. These include:

Glass-like transparency — The days of thermoformed polypropylene applications with a milky appearance are gone. For thermoforming and sheet packaging, the material rivals the glass-like clarity of commonly used resins such as A-PET and polystyrene, while also offering a glossier appearance than that normally associated with standard, nucleated polypropylene.

Lighter weight — NX Ultraclear PP has a significantly lower density than other plastic material options, reducing the weight of a thermoformed part. PP’s density of 0,9kg/m³ compared to PET’s density of 1,37kg/m³ allows converters to produce significantly more trays per kilo of material. Using less material also can help to reduce eco-tax contributions.

Stiffness & impact strength — Ultraclear Polypropylene is to achieve the same stiffness as A-PET, the PP sheet typically is 15–20% thicker compared to the virgin A-PET sheet. But opting for a ribbed or improved design often can obviate the need for those thicker walls. The lower density yields products that weigh much less than corresponding PET applications yet with equal stiffness.

Sealing effectiveness — Polypropylene is known to be very robust and easy to seal. Standard PP sealant films still seal well even when residue is left on tray edges and exteriors during filling. A mono-material PP tray & PP film solution offers the advantage of a 100% recyclable system that does not require the use of an adhesive.

Hot filling, retort & microwave ability — The material is a great choice for any thermoformed cup or tray application where higher temperatures are concerned. Its excellent heat resistance and good cold-temperature performance combine to make it suitable for hot fill and microwaveable applications, while also enabling the “fridge to microwave” concept.

Recycling & sustainability — Polypropylene offers a compelling circular-economy story in that a strong market exists for recycled PP in a variety of end products. As a material, PP consumes the least amount of energy during production and produces the fewest carbon dioxide emissions. Its lower density means that adopting the resin also reduces the absolute amount of waste. Thermoformed applications also are straightforward to recycle because their mono-material concept.

The material allows molders to reduce processing temperatures from 235°C to 190°C, resulting in lower energy use, reduced CO2 emissions and up to 10% faster cycle times.

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