A chance chat with his local suburban news agent has led to a packaging company executive developing a linear low density polyethylene film that will not foul news agents' wrapping machines.
In Australia, home-delivered newspapers are rolled up and wrapped in a blown LLDPE film that contains the adhesive polyisobutene (PIB). The adhesive allows the film to stick to itself, protecting the newspaper on rainy days.
Mark Hackett, New South Wales manager for packaging company Strap & Wrap Industrial Packaging Systems Pty. Ltd., said his local news agent had complained to him about the film wrap currently used by most newsagents.
The use of PIB means the wrap frequently fouls the A$15,000 (US$13,000) wrapping machine, leading to downtime for cleaning the steel rollers, which can delay the early-morning delivery run.
Hackett's company is the Australian distributor for film made by Johor, Malaysia-based Scientex Bhd. Scientex has a polymer business unit manufacturing PVC, polypropylene and PE foams, and thermoplastic olefin/PP foam sheets for automotive instrument panels, door trims and headlining for car manufacturers in the Asia-Pacific region.
Its polymer unit also manufactures an LLDPE cast film, which Hackett thought could be suitable for the newspaper wrap because it would not require PIB to make it stick.
“Cling is inherent in the product,” Hackett said.
He spoke to Scientex engineers, who refined the film to suit news agents' requirements. Hackett would not disclose what modifications were made to the film to make it sticky on one side only.
Brisbane-based Strap & Wrap tested the product with five news agents, and their unanimous verdict was that the film could reduce time taken to wrap papers by 18-20 percent.
“They had no misfeeds and less cleaning,” Hackett said. “A secondary benefit was that the papers were easier for customers to unwrap.”
With almost 6,000 news agents in Australia, of which 3,500 have home-delivery territories, Hackett said he is confident the cast film could gain 100 percent of a business he estimates could be worth up to $A3 million (US$2.6 million) a year to Strap & Wrap.
Hackett said he believes that Australia and New Zealand are the only nations where news agents roll and wrap papers, rather than sealing them flat in plastic bags.
Tel. 61-7-3268-5877 or 1300-308-291, fax 61-7-3268-5968.