June 2019 Roundtable on Adhesives
We sat down and discussed adhesives with Kim Hensley, marketing manager for Mactac.
In what areas of packaging are you seeing growth for adhesives?
Hensley: We see growth in adhesives that help cold food and beverage manufacturers, and co-packagers overcome package-labeling challenges. These adhesives are used in general refrigerated and frozen foods labeling, beverage labeling, meat and poultry labeling, cheese labeling and other cold food labeling. Mactac had a significant 2018, and arguably the highlight of its offerings was the release of the CHILL AT adhesive designed for cold temperature label applications. We believe the label industry is as strong as it has ever been and product differentiation will continue to drive labeling innovation in 2019 and beyond.
Brands continue to seek and stand out with special effects that give perception of quality, the last thing a brand owners wants to see is a label falling off.
Hensley: Clear films are very popular to give a “no label look,” as the label looks like it was printed directly onto the container. The adhesive must be clear and non-water whitening. The last thing a brand owners wants to see is their label turning milky white when put into an ice bucket at a party.
Customers are also demanding more convenient packaging for their food and beverages, household, cosmetics and other products. Our new ReLatch adhesives were formulated specifically for convenient, easy-to-use open-close cycling. The unique properties of the adhesive create a high-performance resealable/reclosable label that offers excellent functionality. Users simply pull back the label to reveal the contents of the container, then, reseal it to preserve the product inside for later use. In food packaging applications, for example, our new peel and reseal labels help ensure food stays fresher, longer.
Which types of packaging films are most commonly used for laminated structures using your company’s adhesives?
Hensley: A common challenge in labeling is the wide variety of product packaging materials used in the market today. Most food, beverage and health & beauty packages are made of low-surface energy (LSE) substrates, such as low-density polyethylene (LDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), cardboard, plastic films, polypropylene and polyester, which can be difficult to adhere to when it comes to labeling.
For example, in cheese applications, shrink film is a commonly used packaging material. However, shrink film tends to harden in cold temperatures and when cheese is packed, transported and stored, temperatures usually range from 34˚F to 38˚F. Another common packaging example is corrugate. Corrugate is lightweight, low cost and has ideal graphics capabilities, as well as an established recycling infrastructure — it is also one of the most challenging substrates for label adhesion.
How is the industry responding to concerns about adhesives when it comes to recycling of packaging?
Hensley: For those looking to achieve superior environmental and economic goals, choosing a hot melt adhesive label is a great option. As opposed to other adhesive manufacturing methods, neither solvents nor water is used in the coating process. This eliminates the need for adhesive drying in long conventional gas-fired ovens, as is common with other adhesive manufacturing. Instead, hot melts dry quickly by way of a cooling drum — resulting in a manufacturing process that significantly reduces overall energy consumption.
Additionally, because no solvents are used, hot melt adhesives also allow for ultra-low levels of VOC out-gassing, migration and residuals — making them environmentally safe. Other benefits include increased production efficiencies, a smaller physical footprint, less preparation and resources (i.e., raw materials), and, generally, lower overall costs.
What types of adhesives are being used for the different label formats commonly used in today’s market?
Hensley: There are distinct “systems” of pressure sensitive adhesive applications. Rubber-based hot melt and acrylic based adhesive systems continue to dominate the pressure sensitive labeling industry. The decision for choosing a rubber-based hot melt adhesive versus an acrylic based adhesive must be based on the requirements of the application because each adhesive system offers distinct properties and benefits. Rubber-based hot melt adhesives offer excellent initial tack, very good adhesion to low-energy substrates, like plastics, excellent water-resistance, and can be suitable for direct food contact applications. Acrylic-based adhesive systems offer a broad service temperature range, a long shelf life suitable for archival applications, UV resistance, good flexibility for wrapping small diameter cylinders and good chemical resistance.
Mactac’s newest adhesive products are ReLatch, CHILL AT and CHILL EXTREME. These adhesives are proven game-changers.
Formulated for convenient, easy-to-use open-close cycling of flexible packaging, Mactac’s Relatch portfolio of film facestocks and specially engineered adhesives is perfect for demanding household, personal care and food packaging applications. Used where packaging is opened and closed multiple times, ReLatch creates an economical, user-friendly open-close packaging experience.
With an extremely versatile temperature range spanning -65˚F to +150˚F, the custom-engineered CHILL AT features an innovative hot-melt adhesive that is specially formulated for demanding cold temperature applications, but works great at room temperature too. It is commonly used in general refrigerated and frozen foods, meat and poultry, corrugate, and cheese products labeling and performs exceptionally well on LSE substrates.
For demanding, hard-to-adhere-to applications, such as wax, corrugate, plastics, cold, damp, uneven surfaces and more, A high tack innovative all-temperature adhesive that is custom-engineered specifically for any temperature label application — including challenging cold, wet or rough substrates. CHILL AT EXTREME is an ideal off-the-shelf, all-in-one product for a wide variety of label applications from food and beverage packaging to short-term shipping applications where a high tack adhesive is needed.
Is there anything else you’d care to share about adhesives?
Hensley: Differentiating product offerings to stand out from the competition is more important than ever. Brand owners are trying to capture a certain look. With only seconds to persuade potential customers, the labels on containers are just as important as the product inside. With a goal to stand out as much as possible, we need to help brand owners with product differentiation such as unique adhesives, specialty facestocks (i.e., metallic, clear no label look) to make products stand out and to give the perception of quality.