Flexible Packaging sat down with John Norder of Rohm & Haas to get his thoughts on the current coatings/adhesives market and what innovations may be on the horizon.

Q: What has made Rohm & Haas such a successful supplier of coating and adhesives technology?
A: We have always considered ourselves a part of the industries we serve, not just as a supplier of materials. With this focus on the industry and our customers, we have been able to really focus on creating solutions that will move packaging forward. Our goal is to be the first in bringing new adhesive and coating technology to the marketplace. This innovative focus has led to a product line of adhesives and coatings for packaging that provides a broad range of differentiated performance.

Q: How are Rohm & Haas’ equipment and services different than others in the industry?
A: What stands out as being a unique offering from Rohm and Haas is having the “total package” to quickly solve any adhesive problem or opportunity. First, we have superior technical expertise in our field technical service team where each individual has more than 20 years of industry experience working one-to-one with packaging converters. Next, we have the ability to trial new adhesives and materials in-house at our midwest pilot coating facility where we can simulate any converting process, including high speed, full production scale solventless laminating. Finally, our analytical capabilities are state-of-the-art. Having experts armed with pilot line and analytical capabilities is what sets Rohm and Haas apart.  

Q: What flexible packaging materials or circumstances cause specific difficulties with regard to adhesives? How are those challenges met?
A: As the industry moves to reduce packaging costs, there is a trend to reduce packaging materials by using thinner films, reducing adhesive coating weights or eliminating a layer in the total package altogether. All of these provide significant technical challenges for adhesive performance that can be met with higher performance adhesives or by working directly with a converter to select the right product and/or adjust their process to handle these new structures.

Q: Has the pendulum of the flexible packaging industry swung toward solventless adhesives, or do solvent-based adhesives still play a major role in the market? <
A: We are certainly seeing stronger growth in solventless adhesives and expect this to continue as converters seek to lower their solvent usage and increase line speeds. However, solvent-based adhesives still play a prominent role and will continue to do so, particularly in more demanding applications. As a supplier of both technologies, we strive to provide the best range of performance in adhesives regardless of whether it is solvent-based or solventless. To that end, we have expanded our solventless product line to cover high performance areas such as hot-fill and retort. These advances in solventless technology will further fuel the growth.

Q: What are the newest and most significant advancements in the adhesives industry that are currently being used?
A: One of the most significant recent advancements in the adhesives industry is the emergence of high performance water-based technology for laminating adhesives. New water-based adhesives offer converters who want to reduce their solvent usage without investing in new equipment an opportunity to make a change without sacrificing overall adhesive performance.

Q: What breakthroughs or advancements lie in the near future for the coating/adhesives market?
A: The next real advancement in adhesives will involve curing technology. There is a real need for faster cure, particularly for solventless adhesives. The next new product we will be introducing will be a fast cure solventless adhesive that can meet hot-fill requirements. This product cures at room temperature in about three days or 50 percent faster than typical systems, and can allow for same-day second pass. It can give converters a significant productivity advantage and the ability to simplify their operation.