Q: What is the most widely misunderstood or unknown thing about raw materials/feedstocks/resins for the flexible packaging industry?
A: Depending on what part of the value chain you are looking at, there are a few misconceptions that Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics tries to address through several industry-wide initiatives and engagements.
When you look at our direct customers, typically converters of plastic resins, one of the misconceptions is resin design and how the chemistry behind various grades drives performance advantages versus other resins. Since much of the technology behind our materials is proprietary in nature, it makes it a bit challenging to get down to the granularity required to help educate converters. However, our technical service and development leaders frequently conduct “Polyethylene 101” seminars to help customers become more aware of how Dow solutions help save material costs and how Dow can help develop technically advantaged packaging solutions through higher performance resins.
Q: What is the most widely used type of film in the flexible packaging industry?
A: One of the most common films in the flexible packaging industry continues to be the sealant film. While sealant films are most commonly laminated to other films such as OPP or PET, we see certain segments such as frozen foods trend towards simpler structures without the need of a lamination.
Q: What are the newest raw materials offered by your company for flexible packaging film?
A: Dow’s SEALUTION peel polymers can be a great choice for applications such as dry food liners found in cereal boxes or your favorite potato chips; films for cups and trays; and lamination films for standup pouches. These polymers help manufacturers create packages with a versatile and consistent peel packaging technology that enhances the consumer experience.The technology is a single-pellet system that requires no online blending; helps lower processing variability which reduces the potential for defects; offers consistent, easy-to-open functionalities; and resists splitting, shredding and tear stringing.
Dow has also been focused on developing a line of low density polyethylene resins called AGILITY Performance LDPE, which helps our customers increase throughput on existing extrusion equipment – improving overall productivity and reducing energy consumption per pound of film produced.
Q: What types of raw materials are your customers requesting more of?
A: As American consumers evolve their eating habits and begin to seek more nutritious food choices, packaging has an invaluable opportunity to communicate how food products can help consumers live a healthier lifestyle. Dow OPULUX Optical Finishes features acrylic bead technology and polymer design that provides the package with a soft, luxurious feeling to the touch. It also provides a unique combination of visual benefits including a high degree of clarity, reduced glare and a rich matte finish. This optical finish can help brands create a relatable, natural-looking package that consumers can see and feel.
Q: What do you believe is missing from this sector?
A: With the age of hyper connectivity upon us, the industry is challenged with bringing new and increasingly sustainable, innovative packaging designs to the market quickly. The need to be collaborative is more prevalent than ever before.
As a result, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics has opened a network of global Pack Studios facilities for packaging development. At Pack Studios, anyone throughout the packaging value chain ranging from a converter, equipment manufacturer, brand owner, to a retailer can come conceptualize, fabricate and test new flexible and rigid packaging designs.