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Firms partner on hygiene packaging film

By: Frank Esposito

October 30, 2013

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — ExxonMobil Chemical Co. has partnered with Hosokawa Alpine AG to create a five-layer hygiene compression packaging film.

Hosokawa Alpine was running the film on its machinery at K 2013. Four of the film's layers consist of ExxonMobil's Exceed-brand and Enable-brand metallocene polyethylene resins. The fifth layer — located in the middle of the film — was a blend of Enable and an ExxonMobil low density PE grade. Typical applications for the film include diapers as well as products for adult incontinence and feminine care applications.

ExxonMobil and Hosokawa Alpine "worked together all through the design" of the film, ExxonMobil researcher Dirk Permentier said in an Oct. 18 interview at K 2013. Permentier — who serves as the firm's polyolefins technology customer development manager — added that metallocene resins were used in the film to add stiffness, impact resistance and downgauging possibilities.

"The aim was to develop better structures," he said.

Hosokawa Alpine tailored its film extrusion equipment to make the film, according to operations director Holger Niemeier.

"The specialty of the line is in the die head," he said. "It was specifically designed for these resins."

Diapers and other products using the film "need a good balance of processing and mechanical properties," ExxonMobil's Permentier added. Many films in that end market are three-layer films, but Niemeier said there's "a growing demand" for five-layer films there.

That product category is growing worldwide as a result of both growing populations in developing regions and aging populations in more mature parts of the world.

The new five-layer film was in development during K 2010 and was comprehensively tested at Hosokawa Alpine's test center in Augsburg, Germany, before being fully commercialized last year.

Houston-based ExxonMobil Chemical ranks as one of the world's largest makers of PE. The firm is a unit of global oil and gas giant ExxonMobil Corp. of Irving, Texas. Hosokawa Alpine is based in Augsburg and is an industry leader in blown film technology.