January/February Roundtable on Film Extrusion
Technical Market Manager, Converting Films
Charter NEX Films
Can you briefly explain your company’s film making history? What types of films does your company currently make?
Greiner: Charter NEX Films has been making film for over 20 years and is comprised of several former leaders in the converter, barrier and cast film segments. Charter NEX specializes in producing multi-layer PE and barrier films for the flexible packaging market. While we continue to expand our footprint both geographically and into new markets, one thing that has remained the same is our exclusive focus on producing the industry’s best films.
What’s new in film making? Did you release any new films at PACK EXPO (or have any new films planned for this year)?
Greiner: Yes! Question is – where do we begin?
At Pack Expo 2018, we focused on highlighting GreenArrow, our portfolio of sustainable films that provide converters a diverse selection of films that have been developed with a sustainability-first mindset. At the show, we specifically highlighted two films – an EVOH film which provides both excellent moisture and oxygen barrier and meets the How2Recycle program requirements, and a PE sealant film which can have up to 40 percent FDA-compliant post-consumer recycled resin. Both solutions were commercialized in new packages in 2018.
This month, we are excited to launch a new sealant film certified to be used within HP’s Pack Ready platform. This film is designed to be thermally laminated to a print web for high speed to market, zero cure time and minimal packaging waste.
Later this year, we are planning to launch a new tier of multi-layer sealant films which will elevate the standards for sealability, toughness and barrier.
What are some of the biggest trends impacting film making today? Do you expect these trends to continue in 2019 and beyond?
Greiner: There were three themes that took center stage from our perspective in 2018 that most noticeably guided our development efforts. Those are sustainability, micro-segmentation and digital disruption, and consumer safety, specifically in terms of child-resistant packaging (CRP).
Regarding sustainability, 2018 began with many of the major global brand owners committing to using recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025. Those commitments triggered an exciting wave of new packaging developments where we’ve been able to leverage our GreenArrow platform to accomplish.
Micro-segmentation and digital disruption has been a quiet force in driving growth for flexible packaging. Flexible packaging has evolved to enable brand owners to target specific price points, use occasions, consumer groups and channels. This has driven us to develop films which are optimized for a broader set of converting equipment and end-use situations.
Lastly, consumer safety. Child-resistant packaging has become a key development area since the early 2018 fiasco with dishwasher and laundry pods. This theme remained centerstage as many states continued to legalize cannabis.
Bio film? PCR film? More downgauging? Something else? Where do you see the future of films as it pertains to sustainability?
Greiner: Charter NEX is committed to being a thought leader and innovator in the field of sustainable packaging. In the near future, we certainly see increased PCR content and designing for recyclability to be the primary themes guiding our efforts in this space.
We are big believers and supporters of the efforts ongoing through the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), and work collaboratively with these associations and our converting partners to share our expertise in film. In the near future, we certainly see increasing PCR content and designing for recyclability to be the key themes guiding this space.
How long will it be before sustainable films are widespread? What needs to occur in order for this to happen?
Greiner: Consumers are already voting with their wallet. Brands which have emphasized sustainable manufacturing and packaging have noticeably outperformed. We are probably 2-3 years away from sustainable packaging claims being the mainstay on most packaging.
The leading associations and companies in this space do need to come together to write a new standard for sustainable packaging, and we certainly have and continue to be drivers to make this effort a reality.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about film making?
Greiner: We believe our “Focus on F.I.L.M.” has uniquely positioned our company to embrace market trends and empower our converting customers to outperform in the market. At Charter NEX, we believe making great film spans beyond quality and consistency, but also a willingness to continuously reinvent yourself in the hope of finding a better way.