TC Transcontinental Packaging is opening a new packaging research and development center in Menasha, Wis.
The facility is called the Art, Science and Technology Research and Applications Center — or ASTRA Center — measures 12,200 square feet and is home base for more than 20 engineers, the company said.
"The ASTRA Center is at the core of our operations to drive growth and innovation and be the sustainability partner to our customers," said Alex Hayden, senior vice president of research and development, innovation and sustainability at TC Transcontinental, in a statement.
"The many tests, instruments, and technology available to us provide enhanced product development knowledge through the entire process of flexible plastic packaging design, allowing the development of innovative films for sustainability, e-commerce, and more," he said.
The new location includes labs to address different aspects of packaging design.
The Analytical and Testing Services Lab handles physical testing to simulate packaging use throughout the life cycle.
The Applications and Packaging Development Lab has a nine-layer blown extrusion line "designed experiments and optimization of film formulations," the company said. This setting also has a form-fill-seal machine for customer packaging prototypes.
TC Transcontinental says the Advanced Compost Lab is a first for a packaging manufacturer and is designed to speed the development of new packaging, improve the turnaround time and lower the cost for certifying compostable packaging.
The Recycling Technology Lab, expected to be fully operational in 2022, is described as an in-house recyclability assessment lab for packaging produced by the company. Equipment will include an extruder and a recycled plastic pelletizer.
"In addition, the ASTRA Center is key to TC Transcontinental Packaging's sustainability agenda to deliver on its 2025 commitment to have 100 percent of its packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable, and achieve a 10 percent use of PCR on average by weight across its plastic portfolio," the company said.
TC Transcontinental was No. 32 in the most recent Plastics News ranking of film and sheet makers in North America with an estimated $235 million in annual sales.