New material promises faster flow wrapping, easy opening

By Daphne Allen in Flexible Packaging on September 20, 2017

If you can seal your packages faster, chances are you can increase your throughput, a goal of many pharmaceutical and medical product manufacturers today.

For flow-wrapping lines, however, the quick-sealing materials have traditionally used sealants with high-elongation properties that interfere with the desired tear open properties, explains Dwane Hahn, vice president of sales and marketing for Rollprint Packaging Products Inc. "This characteristic often manifests itself with the sealant stretching, not tearing in unison with the polyester and aluminum foil layers," he says. This is a concern, he adds, because many flow-wrapped products are meant for patients who have dexterity limitations.

For the last few years, Rollprint has been working on a flow-wrapping alternative that could offer both quick sealing and easy opening. At Pack Expo Las Vegas, Rollprint will be unveiling that alternative: Autobahn, a composite that offers “robust sealability,” yet requires minimum effort to tear open, the company reports. The material features a “new coextrusion-coated sealant layer,” Hahn tells PMP News. “We’ve matched foil and polyester with the sealant for an easy-open, quick-seal product. We’ve worked hard to understand how to put the layers together so we can deliver both.” Hermeticity isn’t sacrificed either, he adds.

“We’ve actually had this in the works for about two years,” Hahn continues. “We’ve learned a lot about running materials fast. We’ve also developed a meaningful understanding of how layers in a composite can work together—or against each other, if you do it wrong.”

Autobahn was developed for a range of flow-wrapping applications such as blow-fill-seal vials, diagnostics devices, IV over wrap, and surgical devices. “For blow-fill-seal vial lines, it is all about how fast you can seal the foil,” Hahn explains. “If you can move from 300 cycles (packages) a minute to 400, that is a high throughput achievement and you can justify new highly automated lines.” Rollprint’s objective for this product in 2018 is “to partner with clients that thrive on technology and are willing to push the perceived boundaries of speed limitations with the goal of hitting the marker of 400 packages per minute,” the company shared in a news release.

Rollprint also shared the following feedback from a product line manager at a major pharmaceutical company packaging blow-fill-seal liquid vials: “You turn the flow wrapper on and this Autobahn material just works. We chose Rollprint because we have multiple product changes per day; starts and stops are part of our business model. A must-have for us in the selection process was a material that allows incredible forgiveness without sacrificing the flow wrappers’ maximum speed capability.”

Hahn adds that Autobahn tears open easily without the use of traditional laser or mechanical scoring, which can reduce operating costs.

Autobahn is available in aluminum foil and ClearFoil barrier options. “For UV sensitivity, foil is typically a better choice,” Hahn says. But “ClearFoil can be customized with a UV additive.”

For more details, visit Rollprint at Pack Expo Las Vegas Booth S-6129.

 

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