One potential replacement for discontinued Barex resin is already here — and another is on the way.
Ineos Group in October 2014 announced it would end production of Barex polyacrylonitrile (PAN) resin at its only global plant in Lima, Ohio. Several producers have rushed to fill the void left by Barex, which was known as a high-performance material in pharmaceutical and food packaging films.
“We're pleased to announce that our industry-leading [cyclic olefin copolymer] is filling the needs of many health-care suppliers who seek a replacement for Barex materials,” Topas Advanced Polymers President Timothy Kneale said in a Nov. 18 news release. Topas is based in Frankfurt, Germany, and operates a North American sales office in Florence, Ky.
“PAN and COC come from the opposite ends of the polymer spectrum but they offer similar properties when it comes to barrier/permeation performance and strong chemical resistance,” Kneale added.
Topas officials added that their firm has been working closely with top packaging suppliers and “has specified COC in a wide range of pharmaceutical packages such as medicinal pouches and patches.” The pharmaceutical packaging industry is already familiar with COC through its use in semi-rigid and container applications, Kneale said.
According to company officials, Topas COC is a key component in a broad range of global Barex replacement products from leading health care packaging companies such as Bemis Healthcare Packaging of Oshkosh, Wis.; Rollprint Packaging Products of Addison, Ill.; and the Tekni-Films division of Tekni-Plex Inc. of Wayne, Pa.
Topas operates a plant with almost 70 million pounds of annual capacity in Oberhausen, Germany. The firm was established in 2006 and is a joint venture between Japanese firms Daicel Chemical Industries Ltd. and Polyplastics Co. Ltd.