Plastics Technology

SEP 2018

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time, according to Cohn, a national brand was testing film made completely of the renewable PE for towel and tissue film. Accredo believes it's the first film extruder to run this material. Accredo officials were reluc- tant to disclose the size of the company—either in terms of sales, volume of resin consumed, or precise number of processing lines. It did acknowledge that the expan- sion will enable the company to boost annual production of flexible film from 1.5 billion ft to 2 billion ft. "We're not small, and while we may sometimes compete against billion-dollar businesses, we don't consider ourselves large by any stretch of the imagination," Varn says. "However, we have tools at our disposal—including a million-dollar-plus lab—that companies of our size wouldn't normally have. Since we're family owned, we react quickly. We can walk down the hall and talk to the owner and get an answer after a meeting. Decisions are made quickly. Our owners are quick to say yes or no, and if it's yes, we're ordering the equipment tomorrow." States David Bertelsman, Accredo's director of R&D & Technology, "Being fast and nimble is critical to us. As a custom flexible packaging manufacturer, it's vital that we understand the packaging needs of our customers and respond to those needs quickly. Our mission is to develop films that add value to customers. The tools in our lab allow us to analyze competi- tive structures so that we understand their charac- teristics and how they are performing." He adds, "We can analyze film through microscopy, barrier analysis, and field char- acterization. We have DSC and FTIR capabili- ties. The tools support both our own quality control and production as well as R&D. And we have results in hours, as opposed to the weeks it would take if we were to send film samples to outside labs." Adds Varn, "Sometimes customers come to us for a product having similar characteristics to what they are already using. We can certainly come up with that 'me too' product, but over time had leveled out. The idea was to get into producing high-valued products." The affiliation of API and Accredo gave the latter a degree of buying power that start-ups don't normally enjoy. States Varn, "We don't buy the same materials as API but purchase from the same resin suppliers. That gave us some purchasing power. Instead of being an unknown entity, we came in with purchasing leverage not only for resin but for equipment too." The company's North American produc- tion facility has multiple blown-film extru- sion lines from Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp., Lincoln, R.I. (whcorp.com), with tech- nology to produce three-, five-, and nine- layer structures. In short order, Accredo will commission a new W&H blown film line that will be equipped with machine-direction orientation tech- nology. This technology will enable Accredo to produce lightweight, "breathable" films down to 11g/m 2 for applications that include diapers and feminine-hygiene products, as well as medical drapes and gowns. In the last year, Accredo North America also added two new 10-color W&H Flexographic printing presses, with another W&H press sched- uled to arrive by early first-quarter 2019. In addition, it recently installed a three-layer tandem laminator with registered over- varnish capability. Much of Accredo's product offerings consist of barrier films for gas-flushing and vacuum-packaging applications that can be utilized on both vertical and horizontal form-fill-seal machines. The firm also produces roll stock and stand-up pouches that can be furnished on a turnkey basis with sliders, zippers, spouts, and a hook & loop reclosure. Accredo's product lines also include towel and tissue overwrap, collation shrink film, wicketed bags, and biobased films. Films are produced in thicknesses from less than 1 mil up to 10 mil. The firm processes PEs of various types, along with renewable PE, PP, nylon, EVOH. "We run Braskem's 'green PE' based on sugarcane feedstock," notes Malcolm Cohn, Accredo's director of sustainability. "We're seeing a lot of growth for these films in sealant webs and for towel and tissue overwrap." At press Complete integration and sustainability help drive innovations at Accredo, says company chairman/CEO Hank Nguyen (r) and EVP Rex Varn. Working collaboratively with Dow, Accredo produced a "game changing" all-PE, stand- up pouch that has barrier properties and is recyclable. A big part of Accredo's business is collation film for shrink bundling water and other products. @plastechmag 51 Plastics Technology On-Site Accredo Packaging

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