There are several new reports being published on the plastics packaging markets. The Packaging Community has carried out a survey to find out the latest consumer views. Jon Nash of Applied Market Information (AMI) is carrying out an extensive study on the markets for thin-wall packaging: plastic tubs, cups and trays for applications varying from yogurt and ice cream, soup and ready meals, fresh produce and meat, to cake and pastries. This work will be reported at the 4th AMI international conference on Thin Wall Packaging, which takes place 19-21 October 2009 at the Maritim Hotel in Cologne , Germany .
The packaging industry helps to feed the world quite literally, by preserving and protecting foodstuffs in transit and preventing spoilage. However, it also uses up resources in production and transport, so the current aim of industry is to look at the whole packaging life cycle and processing technology to minimise the effects on the environment. BASF and Total Petrochemicals are producers of polystyrene for packaging and involved in a group that is promoting recycling and responsible use of materials. Packaging recycling is a key focus of DKR mbH in Germany. Among the new developments, RPC Barrier Containers has a barrier polypropylene tray with an oxygen scavenger for retort applications and there is a new type of fish packaging from Faerchplast in Denmark . Novamont has studied extrusion coating and lamination to get the right properties from its biodegradable materials for compostable packaging applications. There is increasing competition between the main production methods of thermoforming and injection moulding: there are advances in both. Kraft Foods has looked at the technology of thin wall polypropylene cup production using thermoforming, and Norner Innovation has examined the barrier properties achievable by injection moulding. There are energy and efficiency savings to be made, with companies such as Netstal-Maschinen working on eco-friendly in mould labelling machinery. Kiefel has worked to get easy start-up of new products on its thermoforming equipment.
Researchers are developing plastics for thinner packaging (for example Dow Europe and SABIC in polyolefins), testing aspects such as processability, impact strength, consumer appeal and food contact safety. Milliken has additives to improve polypropylene properties. Superfos has a new thinner plastics tub. Illig Maschinenbau has assisted Anson Packaging in down-weighting its thermoformed products. Thin Wall Packaging 2009 offers a meeting point for the industry to debate business trends and improvements in packaging technology. It provides a unique opportunity to network with the wide range of professionals involved with the plastics packaging.