With subsidy by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture of the Federal Republic of Germany, two industrial companies are working together with a research partner on the development of recyclable stand-up pouch packaging made of bio-based plastics (made from renewable raw materials) and their efficient production.
The stand-up pouch has enjoyed increasing popularity since the mid-1960s. It is lighter than comparable packaging made of glass or metal and is suitable for a wide variety of different products. Beverages, dairy products, nuts, powders, grated cheese, soups, sauces, vegetables, fruits, pet food and cosmetics are often packaged in stand-up pouches. By incorporating resealing systems such as zippers or spouts, this form of packaging can be optimally adapted to consumer needs.
Despite the great success, with double-digit growth rates in the last years, there is potential for improvement: the plastic materials used to date are difficult to recycle materially – bio-based plastic films are not used until today.
At this point the research project “Technology Development for Biobased Pouch Packaging” (TechBIOPouV) comes in. Profol Kunststoff GmbH as film manufacturer, SN Maschinenbau GmbH as manufacturer of pouch packaging machines and the Institute for Polymer Materials and Plastics Technology at the Clausthal University of Technology as scientific institution want to develop competitive pouch packaging made of bio-based plastics.
Depending on the requirements profile, the films to be developed should be at least 80% bio-based. The aim is to produce a so-called monofilm material that is easy to recycle. These films are processed into pouches, filled with product and closed (form-fill-seal) on a test facility specially equipped for bio-films. Especially the pouch sealing, which must take place in an efficient and process-safe production window, poses a great challenge to the mechanical engineering.
In addition to providing scientific support for film and processing development, the Institute of Polymer Materials and Plastics Technology is also responsible for developing a design that is suitable for recycling. As a result of this, the entire production path from the material over the packaging machine up to the stand-up pouch can be considered in the joint project. Since the focus of the work is on bio-based food packaging, food manufacturers are also involved as associated partners in this triennial project.