Rigid Plastics Packaging - Materials, Processes and Applications

  • ID: 224976
  • Book
  • 128 Pages
  • Smithers Information Ltd
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Rigid plastics packaging consumes around 6 million tonnes of plastic per year in Western Europe alone. This figure is even higher in the US with a value in excess of US$6.5 billion. It includes bottles, jars, tubs, buckets, pails and larger items such as pallets and drums.

Many polymer types are used in plastics packaging from the primary polymers such as low density polyethylene, high density polyethylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride and polypropylene, with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) now also taking a major role, to high barrier polymers. The latter are used in much smaller quantities, but provide vital protection in packaging, either for the polymer or for the packaging contents. Barrier polymers include polyamide, ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer and thermoplastic epoxies. These are applied as additional layers in multilayer constructions using a variety of processes. Silicon oxide and carbon have also been used as barrier coatings, and can be applied in different ways. Fluorination of HDPE is used to improve the solvent barrier properties of this polymer.

Packaging containers can be manufactured using the spectrum of processes available to the plastics industry: extrusion and co-extrusion; thermoforming; injection moulding and multimaterial injection moulding, with in-mould labelling: injection blow moulding; and injection-stretch blow moulding. These processing methods are described briefly in the review with an overview of each type accompanied by a discussion of forthcoming developments.

Many requirements are placed on packaging materials. They must withstand handling and abuse. They must also protect their contents and not affect them. For example, some food containers must withstand freezer to oven use and not alter the taste or chemical content of the food. Special grades of PET have been developed for such applications. Different materials and material combinations are used to obtain the ideal packaging product. The properties of the different polymers and polymer grades related to packaging applications are discussed here.

One of the key challenges this century has been to find an adequate way of packaging beer in plastic. Issues include the need to limit gas diffusion and to design a product that is acceptable to beer drinkers. Carbonated drinks have also proven difficult to package in plastic. PET bottles can be formed which address many of the issues, but further developments are still required.

This report is very clearly written and will be accessible to both users of packaging and packaging manufacturers. It starts with a simple overview of each topic and progresses to the latest developments.

The review is accompanied by over 400 summaries of papers from the Rapra Polymer Library on developments in polymers, processes and applications for rigid packaging. Many papers are referenced in the report. There is also a comprehensive index to the literature section.
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1 Introduction

2 Container Moulding Processes
2.1 Extrusion
2.2 Sheet Extrusion/Thermoforming
2.3 Injection Moulding
2.4 Extrusion-Blow Moulding (EBM)
2.5 Injection Blow Moulding
2.6 Injection-Stretch Blow Moulding

3 The Main Polymers Used in Rigid Packaging Applications
3.1 Polyethylene
3.2 Polypropylene (PP)
3.3 Polyesters
3.4 Styrenic Polymers
3.5 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
3.6 Polyacrylonitrile (PAN)
3.7 Identification of Polymers for Recycling

4 High Barrier Polymers for Multilayer Containers
4.1 Polyamide Barrier Polymers
4.2 Ethylene-Vinyl Alcohol Copolymer (EVOH)
4.3 Thermoplastic Epoxies
4.4 Further Development of Barrier Polymers

5. Other Barrier Enhancement Processes
5.1 Organic Coatings
5.2 Inorganic Vapour Deposited Coatings
5.3 Fluorination of HDPE for Solvent Barrier

6. Rigid Plastics in Secondary Packaging

7 Rigid Plastics Packaging for Non-Food Applications

8 Rigid Plastics Packaging for Foods
8.1 Fresh and Near-Fresh Foods
8.2 Frozen Foods
8.3 Shelf-Stable Foods
8.4 Processed Foods

9 Rigid Plastics Packaging for Beverages
9.1 Carbonated Soft Drinks Bottles
9.2 Beer Bottles
9.3 Still or Non-Carbonated Beverages

10 Food and Beverage Packaging Developments
10.1 Integration of Blowing and Filling Operations
10.2 Aseptic Processing versus Hot-Fill
10.3 Alternative Processing Techniques

11 Future Trends
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