VOID Technologies, a materials science company, has officially opened its first US-based, plastic reduction research labs and compound manufacturing facility to help packaging manufacturers and brand owners transition to more sustainable plastics and packaging.
Following a multi-million-dollar investment, the new facility in Neenah, Wisconsin offers R&D services and toll compounding for customers interested in developing flexible polyethylene (PE) packaging based on VOID’s patented VO+ technology.
VO+ engineers nano- and micro-scale air pockets into plastics to create high-performance products with a lower environmental impact. It is effective in a range of thermoplastics including polyolefins and polyesters. The technology is most developed in white Machine Direction Orientation (MDO) PE films. By combining the benefits of MDO with VO+ cavitation technology, products can achieve:
- Material reduction: Lower density and downgauging
- Enhanced performance: Improved puncture, toughness, and high opacity without TiO2
- Improved recycling: VO+ white films turn clear during recycling because they are free of pigments like TiO2
With the official opening of the site, VOID has launched VOID Labs, an R&D Services business through which plastics, packaging, and consumer goods companies can access the company’s start-of-the-art equipment. That includes pilot-scale blown film extrusion with inline MDO, lab- and commercial-scale twin screw compounding, as well as a range of testing and analytical equipment.
“VOID is combining VO+ plastic reduction technology with R&D Services to help manufacturers and brand owners accelerate their commercialization programs for MDO PE films and flexible packaging. VO+ MDO PE films allow companies to reduce their plastic footprint by addressing the tension between material reduction, performance and recyclability,” says VOID CEO James Gibson.
VOID is already working with leading companies along the supply chain to develop VO+ MDO PE films for a range of applications such as laminates, wicketed bags and frozenfood. The company expects initial product launches in the second half of 2022.