Plastics News reporter Angie DeRosa reported on these items from Pack Expo 2006, held Oct. 28 to Nov. 2 in Chicago.
Ball's Colo. R&D site absorbs Alcan assets
Ball Corp. of Broomfield, Colo., has moved assets acquired from Alcan Packaging into a 12,000-square-foot annex in Broomfield dedicated to research and development for the barrier polypropylene business.
``We have completed our integration,'' said Mike Vaughn, Ball Corp.'s vice president of packaging innovation.
The annex in Broomfield began operating Nov. 1, Ball officials said in an Oct. 30 interview at Pack Expo in Chicago.
In total, the company employs about 100 working on R&D across its segments, including PET.
During the show, Ball introduced its Fusion-Tek microwavable can, marrying plastic components with steel for portable single-serve packages for products like stews.
The can has steel walls with a plastic end joined to the bottom, and a plastic overcap. That plastic end allows microwave energy to pass through the product inside the can, heating it quickly and evenly, Vaughn said. The package heats from the inside out so the walls stay cooler than walls of plastic microwavable bowls.
``It's fully recyclable,'' Vaughn said. ``We'll be in commercial production by the end of the year.''
Pliant aims research at flexible packaging
Pliant Corp. has opened a 10,000-square-foot research and development facility in Chippewa Falls, Wis., focused on flexible packaging.
The center houses more than $4 million worth of new pilot extrusion and packaging technology equipment, Pliant President Harold Bevis said during the firm's Nov. 14 conference call, when it announced third-quarter results.
Pliant, based in Schaumburg, Ill., launched its Stratum NS film at Pack Expo. The film uses nylon-skin layers in a multilayer blown film structure. The film is intended for form-fill-seal packaging requiring medium- or high-barrier properties and protection for high-abuse and bulk products, according to Pliant.
Placon Corp. invests in medical market
CHICAGO - Thermoformer Placon Corp. of Madison, Wis., is installing a new thermoforming machine and a Class 100,000 clean room for its medical products division, the company announced during Pack Expo.
The clean room is being constructed right now, said Laura Stewart, marketing director. It will be completed by February.
The new thermoforming machine will allow Placon to make precise parts with highly accurate tolerances and material distribution for its medical market.
The company introduced several new products during the show, including its HomeFresh Rotisserie Chicken Container, which is a two-piece patent-pending design with a clear, anti-fog polypropylene lid. Its lid makes the rotisserie chicken leak-resistant in a store's display case and for consumers as they carry it home, according to company officials.
Placon also introduced a 28-ounce polypropylene pineapple deli container with a cut fruit base and straighter side walls to hold whole cored pineapple.