ES-Plastic GmbH & Co. KG, a highly regarded European producer of thermoformed trays used in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) of fresh meat, is using SABIC PP (polypropylene) materials to help minimize weight while increasing performance.
The latest product from Germany-based ES-Plastic, the Evolution tray, weighs 10 g, compared to 12,6 g for the version it replaces. The company achieved the reduction by using SABIC PP grades, while fine-tuning its sheet extrusion and thermoforming processes.
SABIC has a wide portfolio of polypropylenes, with SABIC PP 526K and SABIC PP 527K being its most prominent homopolymer grades for thermoforming. By using SABIC grades, ES-Plastic has increased the value of its products and created environmental advantages.
Georg Holler, Product Engineering Manager at ES-Plastic, says: “Even though the sheet used to make the trays is notably thinner than for previous versions, the new trays are just as stable and are easier to handle. The trays also have improved low temperature impact properties and optimal barrier to gas and water vapour.”
Holler adds: “We have been working on weight reduction in our trays for many years. Our latest product is called “Evolution”, but we think that what we have achieved is actually revolutionary. Typical trays less than ten years ago weighed twice as much as this one. We are making an important contribution to resource reduction. SABIC’s innovative grades has given ES-Plastic the tools to achieve this goal.”
Around 2 kg of CO2 are released during the production of 1 kg of PP, so this weight reduction of 20% has important implications for the processor’s carbon footprint. If all PP produced by SABIC for thermoforming yielded similar savings, this would be the equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of 8.160 average European cars. And if SABIC PP were used for all European PP thermoforming applications, the number of cars would be closer to 100.000.
In addition, for every one million trays, ES-Plastic’s customers are saving over €3.300 in “Green Dot” charges levied by Duales System Deutschland (DSD) GmbH German recycling group, and it is also helping reduce the environmental impact of the trays along the production chain.
Tjerk Lenstra, SABIC Senior Technical Marketing Engineer, and responsible for applications in thermoforming thin wall packaging and blow moulding, comments: “SABIC takes a holistic as well as technical approach to end product developments. The packaging industry is increasingly in the spotlight over materials conservation and environmental care. SABIC can play an important role in making sure the industry meets its obligations in this regard. The ES-Plastic trays are an excellent example of how we can achieve this in practice.”