23 Oktober 2013

Wifag-Polytype and Avantium announce agreement on 100% biobased PEF for thermoforming

Both companies see exciting market opportunities of PEF in the novel application area of thermoforming

Dusseldorf, October 16 – Today at the start of the K-show, Wifag-Ploytype and Avantium announced their agreement to collaborate on thermoformed products from 100% biobased PEF. This collaboration will be complementary to collaborations Avantium has in place with The Coca-Cola Company, Danone and ALPLA. Both parties are excited about the market opportunity of PEF in the novel application area of thermoforming of cups, containers and trays, which are used today for the packaging of food products like meats, nuts, or dairy products like cheese and yoghurt.

PEF (or polyethylene furanoate) is a novel polymer produced by Avantium’s proprietary YXY technology. The YXY technology is running in Avantium’s pilot plant in Geleen, and converts plant based feedstock into chemical building blocks. PEF is a next generation plastic. It has superior properties over existing materials, it can be produced cost competitively and is 100% biobased, resulting in a more than 50% reduction in carbon footprint and non-renewable energy usage.

“Thermoforming is an excellent application for PEF plastics”, commented Gert-Jan Gruter, Avantium CTO. “Since PEF has superior barrier, thermal and mechanical properties over PET, it offers exciting new growth opportunities. Due to its ten times higher oxygen barrier, PEF could extend the shelf life of perishable goods like meats or cheeses. The higher thermal stability of PEF compared to PET could enable packaging opportunities for microwaveable products.”

Wifag-Polytype is a leading manufacturer of thermoforming and printing equipment, and the sole company producing the entire range from sheet extrusion, to thermoforming, to coating and printing of thermoformed products. “The collaboration with Avantium on PEF in sheet extrusion, thermoforming and decoration of thermoformed products fits therefore well in our strategy of offering equipment enabling a total packaging solution comprising color, contour and convenience”, says Peter Ruth, Wifag-Polytype CEO. “With the recent integration of OMV into the Wifag-Polytype Group of companies we take a leadership position in providing innovative and sustainable packaging solutions to the thin wall packaging market. Today we are happy to announce this partnership with Avantium which will allow us to offer our customers thermoforming and decoration solutions for PEF, a biobased polymer with very attractive technical properties.”

Tom van Aken, CEO at Avantium, adds: “Thermoforming can be a potential outlet for recycled PEF, providing an additional end-of-life solution for our PEF bottles. Wifag-Polytype’s proven track record of innovation and paradigm shifts has resulted in its ability to address every step in the thermoforming process from sheet extrusion to decoration. This makes them the ideal partner for developing these new PEF applications. Avantium and Wifag-Polytype would welcome other parties interested in working with us on PEF thermoformed packaging.”

About Wifag-Polytype
The wifag//polytype Group is a global group of companies with 1200 employees active in the manufacturing of production lines and systems for aluminum/steel containers for aerosols, beverage bottles and tubes, extruded and laminated plastic tubes lines, as well as decorated plastic cups/containers systems, coating lines for flexible packaging and technical films/foils, newspaper/book printing machines and services and in trading and service business for the graphics industry. With its sales/service and manufacturing network in USA, Brazil, India, Thailand, China/Hongkong and Turkey our customers are supported globally.

OMV Machinery – Member of the wifag//polytype Group – is the direct heir of OMV Divisione Meccanica, a company founded in 1963 to design and build thermoforming machines. Since the early 70’s, OMV exported its first thermoforming machine, very soon distinguishing itself being a pioneer in introducing new materials, like PP, in extrusion and thermoforming for high volume quality containers.

About Avantium
Avantium is a leading technology company specialized in the area of advanced high-throughput R&D. The company develops and commercializes YXY – the brand name for its technology platform to catalytically convert plant based carbohydrates into chemical building blocks like Furanics and Levulinics. These chemical building blocks can be applied for making green materials with superior product properties at competitive pricing. Currently the focus of the YXY technology platform is on a building block called FDCA, (2,5- furandicarboxylic acid). FDCA can be polymerized together with ethylene glycol (EG) to form PEF (Polyethelyne Furanoate), which is Avantium’s lead application. Combined with the significant reduction in carbon footprint, PEF fulfills key criteria to become the next generation biobased plastics for bottles, film and fibers. PEF for example has gas barrier to oxygen, carbon dioxide and water is superior to PET, leading to longer product shelf life and offering the potential for lightweighting of packages. Avantium has demonstrated the value and commercial potential of its unique technology by collaborating with leading companies in the energy and chemical industries. Avantium offices and headquarters are based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Avantium is running an YXY pilot plant in Geleen, the Netherlands.

Contacts
Wifag-Polytype
Peter Ruth
E-Mail: peter.ruth@polytype.com

Avantium
Nathan Kemeling
Tel: +31 (0)20 5860183
E-Mail: nathan.kemeling@avantium.com

Source: Avantium, press release, 2013-10-21.

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