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MuCell touted for packages with in-mold labels

By: Bill Bregar

March 26, 2014

Trexel Inc. has announced the MuCell 3D in-mold labeling process for packaging, which gives the look of an embossed label without any need for additional tooling costs. Instead, the “embossed” look comes for the use of three-dimensional labels.

An application using this process, a Paccor/Unilever polypropylene margarine tub with a 3D IML, won the DuPont Packaging Silver Award in 2013, and an Emerging Technology Award in the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.’s International Design Competition at NPE 2012.

The process combines MuCell with IML to offer a unique visual appearance and a soft-touch, to differentiate the product without changing the shape of the container, or the printing.

MuCell controls the introduction of nitrogen gas into the polymer. Where there is adhesion between the label and the polymer, the nitrogen migrates through both structures. Where there is no adhesion —for example, lettering on the margarine tub — the nitrogen accumulates between the polymer substrate and the label.

MuCell also allowed a 6 percent material reduction, 40-percent clamp tonnage reduction and a 15 percent reduction in cavity pressure, according to Trexel of Wilmington, Mass.

In other news, Steve Braig, Trexel’s president and CEO, participated in the White House Briefing on Trade and Exports on Feb. 20. Braig serves on the U.S. Manufacturing Council at the Department of Commerce. Trexel is a major exporter, as 68 percent of its 2013 sales was generated overseas, mainly from Germany, China and Japan.

During the 4-hour meeting Ambassador Michael Froman, the U.S trade representative, presented an overview of President Obama’s trade agenda. Other senior government officials led a discussion.

“There was much discussion in the meeting about current trade negotiations with the Trans Pacific partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership,” Braig said. Administration officials stressed the need for Congress to pass the Trade Promotion Agreement, which provides the administration with negotiation authority, limiting the role of Congress to only approve or reject the trade agreement, without amendments or modifications, he said.

“I stressed that while these new trade agreements and partnerships are welcomed by U.S. industry, equal emphasis must be placed in enforcing existing trade agreements,” Braig said. “For example, some countries, like China, do not always adhere to intellectual property rights as stipulated in bi-lateral agreements or by the World Trade Organization. U.S. manufacturers need better enforcement of predatory pricing practices, by having state-owned enterprises selling subsidized products global.”

Braig said he also addressed the issue of European government subsidization in the aerospace and defense sectors.

Tel. 781-932-0202, email sbraig@trexel.com.