Anaheim, Calif. — Flexible medical packaging is turning to Topas Advanced Polymers cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) in the wake of the discontinuation of Barex.
Ramping up capacity has “not been a challenge for us,” said Topas President Timothy Kneale Feb. 9 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing West trade show in Anaheim. “We can handle it. But it's a hot topic for us.”
About half of Topas' global business comes from packaging, Kneale said, with the rest divided more or less evenly between electronics, optical and medical applications, though Barex replacement is increasing Topas health care market share, he said. Topas is based in Frankfurt, Germany, and operates a North American sales office in Florence, Ky.
Rollprint Packaging Products Inc. now is specifying Topas COC in extrusion coated and multilayer coextrusion applications that require strong chemical resistance, Kneale said. Bemis Healthcare Packaging is also using it in its proprietary CXB sealant. With most film producers “very comfortable and capable around processing polyethylene,” Kneale said, making the move to COC is easy as it processes a lot like and adheres directly to PE.
Ineos Group in October 2014 announced it would end production of Barex polyacrylonitrile (PAN) resin at its only global plant in Lima, Ohio but as of February 2016 the plant was still open. 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.