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When it comes to thermoformed and foldable packaging, NX™ UltraClear PP (Polypropylene clarified with Millad® NX™ 8000) delivers a vast range of property and performance benefits to converters and brand owners, allowing the resin producer to offer an all-round packaging solution. These include:
Glass-like transparency. For thermoforming and sheet packaging, NX™ UltraClear PP rivals the glass-like clarity of commonly used resins such as A-PET and polystyrene, while also offering a glossier appearance than that normally associated with standard, nucleated polypropylene.
Lighter weight. NX™ UltraClear PP has a significantly lower density than other plastic material options, reducing the weight of a thermoformed part.
Stiffness & impact strength. For NX™ UltraClear PP to achieve the same stiffness as A-PET, the PP sheet typically is 15–20% thicker compared to the virgin A-PET sheet. But opting for a ribbed or improved design often can obviate the need for those thicker walls. NX™ UltraClear PP’s lower density yields products that weigh much less than corresponding PET applications yet with equal stiffness.
Sealing effectiveness. Polypropylene is known to be very robust and easy to seal. Standard PP sealant films still seal well even when residue is left on tray edges and exteriors during filling. A mono-material PP tray & PP film solution offers the advantage of a 100% recyclable system that does not require the use of an adhesive.
Hot filling, retort & microwavability. NX™ UltraClear PP is a great choice for any thermoformed cup or tray application where higher temperatures are concerned. Its excellent heat resistance and good cold-temperature performance combine to make it suitable for hot fill and microwaveable applications, while also enabling the “fridge to microwave” concept.
Recycling & sustainability. Polypropylene offers a compelling circular-economy story in that a strong market exists for recycled PP in a variety of end products. As a material, PP consumes the least amount of energy during production and produces the fewest carbon dioxide emissions. Its lower density means that adopting the resin also reduces the absolute amount of waste. Thermoformed NX™ UltraClear PP applications also are straightforward to recycle because their mono-material concept.
Injection molders use NX™ UltraClear PP because it can help them to boost productivity and enhance sustainability. The material allows molders to reduce processing temperatures from 235°C to 190°C, resulting in lower energy use, reduced CO2 emissions and up to 10% faster cycle times.
NX™ UltraClear PP allows brand owners to develop lightweight bottles with integrated handles and complex, eye-catching designs. These extrusion blow molded (EBM) bottles are also easier and faster to empty than other options. Polypropylene made using Milliken’s Millad® NX™ 8000E additive offers the lowest density and lower weight compared to glass and all alternative EBM plastics.
For example, clear handleware bottles made using NX™ UltraClear PP have a density of 0.9 g/cc compared to PET’s 1.35 g/cc, yet deliver the same clarity level. At Interpack, visitors can experience first-hand the easy-empty feature of such bottles, which reduces product waste.
Brand owners are responding to consumer demands by using more natural ingredients in everything from food and vitamins, to home- and personal-care products. But exposure to UV light can degrade such ingredients, and negatively impact the consistency of such packages’ contents — be it in appearance, fragrance, color, flavor or nutrient value.
ClearShield® offers an alternative, simpler way to provide UV protection. By incorporating the UV absorber into the PET packaging itself, this technology allows brand owners to remove the often high loadings of UV additives that until now have been included in the formulations of the packaged contents themselves. This can reduce cost by simplifying the formulation process and reducing the amount of UV additive needed. ClearShield®-modified PET enables the use of more environmentally friendly contents, and serves to extend the shelf life of packaged materials, which in turn helps to reduce waste and protect brand image.