A food-contact safe emulsion developed by a joint US and German company keeps oil, grease and water from penetrating paperboard packages and helps maintain product freshness.
Air Products Polymer says its Airflex EF9100 emulsion, when used as a coating on food packages for a barrier coating for grease-resistant paper.
Consumer surveys indicate that buyers will shy away from damaged packaging, fearing that the food product's safety may have been compromised.
Barrier coatings form layers or finishes on a surface to prevent penetration of liquids or gases from one side of the surface to the other.
A barrier coating can either serve to protect or shieldthe encased material from substances or it can prevent components of the encased product from migrating through and altering the graphics printed on the outside of the packaging.
Airflex EF9100 films are both water and smell resistant, the company claims. It keeps water from intruding, grease from getting through printed packaging, or oil from creating stains.
"This is important when you are talking about packaging for a wide range of products that are handled daily by consumers," stated Marna Schmidt, market development manager for AirProducts Polymers.
The emulsion features include the prevention of wetting and wicking of oils, and the ability to be applied on a paper machine and to ordinary paper with no extra refining required.
It can be formulated and applied by most common coating application methods, Schmidt stated. The film is breathable and allows moisture vapor to escape from the package. The emulsion is alsoresistant to solvents such as turpentine and various alcohols used in the printing process.
Airflex EF9100 is an environmentally-friendly technology with low VOC content and low formaldehyde levels. The film is also repulpable, meaning that the cellulose fibers can be recycled and reused.
The repulpability makes the emulsion an attractive alternative to wax and polyethylene in applications like frozen food packaging, aseptic packaging and produce containers. Was and polyethylenefilms commonly used for such products are not repulpable.
Air Products Polymers is a limited partnership formed by US-based Air Products and Chemicals, and Wacker-Chemie of Munich, Germany. Wacker produces vinyl acetate-ethylene copolymer at plants in theUS, Europe and Asia.
Air Products provides atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials and chemical intermediates to a variety of industries. The company has annual revenues of $7.4 billion.