Thin wall packing performance boost as Borealis upgrades plant

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

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Converters of thin-walled packaging will be able to increase line speeds as well as cut back on material and energy consumption thanks to improvements at its Austrian plastics plant, said Borealis

The company, which manufactures polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), said the start up of an additional gas phase reactor at the Schwechat facility will increase its ability to produce superior high flow materials for various industries, including the food packaging sector.

Tailor made

The €35m investment in the plant, which has a 300,000 t/a production capacity, will ensure outputs are fully bimodal, said a Borealis statement. This permits the firm to precisely tailor product characteristics to achieve specific performance and processing benefits, it added.

A company spokesman told “Converters of thin wall packaging will be able to improve their manufacturing cost-efficiency. The benefits for thin wall packaging are to achieve grades with superior performance than previously thanks to perfect control of our polymer design.”

As well as allowing line speeds to be increased, the superior high flow materials will enable a reduction in both material and energy usage without compromising on such performance features as crack resistance, transparency and sealability, he said.

“High melt flow materials promote reduction of cycle time, leading to a reduction in energy. This allows wall thickness to be lowered which means there is less material used per finished part.”

Demand increase

The company said it had made the move in response to a jump in demand from key segments of the PP market. This signals an apparent upturn in at least one segment of the polymers market. In March, Borealis reported a €122m Q4 loss on the back of a global decline in demand for polymer - as prices spiked in the summer of 2008 followed by the global economic downturn.

Lorenzo Delorenzi, executive vice president of polyolefins, said: “The decision to build a further gas phase reactor for Schwechat was based mainly on the growing demand we were experiencing from key segments of the PP market. As a result of this investment we have improved our ability to customise product performance and add the extra value our customers require for their finished products.”

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