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DuPont: Asia's food packaging market at a major transition point

By: Nina Ying Sun

April 21, 2014

SHANGHAI - DuPont Co. touted its packaging innovations and applications, and updated the firm's commercial status at a media event two days before the Chinaplas trade show opens.

The company highlighted a new amorphous PET sealant resin, called Appeel, which is used for production of nylon-based lidding films and combines high barrier effect with good printability. The resin seals directly to trays, eliminating the need for APET/low density polyethylene tray laminates. The mono-APET tray enables cost savings on both materials and production, said Asia Pacific Packaging Segment leader Ju-iL Cha.

DuPont has achieved deep market penetration in casings and embraced fast growth in shrink bags, Cha said. Lidding films are just taking off, and laminate replacement is under development, he added.

DuPont now also makes a special grade of Surlyn-brand ionomer packaging polymer, which allows the production of thermoformable barrier films that not only can be 20 percent thinner than conventional seven-layer polyamide/polyethylene films, but also have improved optical properties, higher puncture resistance, excellent abrasion resistance, and improved sealing properties.

On the bioplastics side, the company is using Braskem's sugar cane-based PE to development new grades of Bytel and Fusabond resins. These bio-based tie-resins and polymer modifiers can help increase the percentage of recyclable content of multiplayer packaging films films and applications such as wood plastic composites, starch/PE compounds and glass-fiber/PE compounds.

In an interview with Plastics News after his speech, Cha said the company collaborates with leading Western extrusion machinery suppliers such as Brückner, as well as Chinese suppliers such as Guangdong Jinming Machinery Corp.

Roger Kant, the Australia-based Asia Pacific marketing director for DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers, said the packaging market in Asia is at a major transition point. Better performance packaging will improve both food safety and quality for the billions of consumers in the region. He said, for example, that 80 percent of the meat sold in Australia is in case-ready packaging.

“That's the way of future in Asia,” according to Kant.

DuPont works with Asian meat producers such as China's Shuanghui Group as well as supermarkets to meet the latest consumer needs.

Kant also commented that ultra-thin oriented structure is an important new technology that is just entering the market. DuPont is in close collaboration with equipment suppliers and brand owners that are leading the way, he added.

“It's a very much embryonic technology,” he said, “but I think over the next years it will become particularly important for the packaging industry.

“The first lines for this type of technology are being installed in China as we speak.”