Trials with the Sidel machine, which the company claims offers enhanced clarity and increased production outputs for food and beverage packaging, has resulted in the production of "crystal clear" bottle walls at production speeds of 1,600 bph/m.
"By adding Sidel technology to our research facilities at Milliken, we are not only able to continue our research into advancements for cPP, but we can also demonstrate to the supply chain the technology that is now available in terms of speed and quality," said Raj Batlaw, director of global business development for Milliken.
"Additionally, we can offer our customers a neutral environment in which they can run trials, while benefiting from Milliken's expertise in plastic additive technology."
According to Batlaw, Milliken welcomes the opportunity across the entire supply chain, from resin producers to converters to specifiers, to test bottle shapes, neck sizes and resin formulations on the news machine. Any Sidel customer can take advantage of Milliken's domestic research lab.
"Because of extensive training on Sidel technology, our R&D operators at Milliken offer a broad expertise that can be extended to assist our customers in Europe, Asia and Latin America," Batlaw said. "This investment in technology and training is all part of our commitment to continuous advancements in cPP."
The purchase of the machine comes on the heels of a joint research project in which Sidel and Milliken developed a methodology for increasing production speeds for polypropylene (PP) containers, making PP more cost competitive with PET for several bottle applications including hot fill applications.
PP has historically not had good barrier properties to oxygen or to CO2, which is why neither the carbonated beverages market, nor the market for food highly sensitive to oxygen, has been targeted in the past. However, Milliken claims that its high temperature resistance allows for hot fill packaging, which opens up a wide range of possibilities for the food, beverage and dairy industries.
The firm argues that even for cold fill packaging, PP offers a competitive advantage compared to the alternatives available in the market. This is because its moisture and aroma barrier properties are excellent, making it highly recommended for packaging spices, powdered food, instant coffee, cereals or capsules.