Dow and Menshen bring sustainable design to spouted pouches

Enabling production of mono-material spouted pouches

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Spouted pouches made of mono-material films by Dow and Menshen.
Spouted pouches made of mono-material films by Dow and Menshen.

Dow and Menshen, manufacturers of caps, closures and single-serve capsules, announced reverse spout sealing technology that enables the production of spouted pouches made of mono-material films. This technology allows converters to address the recycling criteria for flexible packaging and can help brands meet their sustainable packaging goals.

“We basically reversed the idea of where and when the heat needs to be applied during the spout sealing process,” explained Peter Sandkuehler, global application technology leader at Dow’s Packaging and Specialty Plastics business. “By transferring the heat from the pre-melted spout base directly to the sealant layer of the film, we’ve solved two challenges at the same time – how to easily seal spouts to mono-material films, and how to prevent the hard spout ribs from cutting into the film,” he added.

The new process easily seals spouts in more heat-sensitive, mono-material structures made from all polypropylene or all polyethylene packaging layers. Rather than traditionally applying the heat from outside the pouch forming film to melt the seal layer and the spout, the latter is pre-melted at its base before insertion into the pouch and sealing.

“The beauty of the process is its simplicity,” said Sarah De La Mare, business development officer at Menshen. “It is actually more logical to apply the heat from the inside rather than from the outside, whether you use mono-materials or not. We are currently working with several machine manufacturers to ensure that this technology can be integrated into new and existing spouted pouches making lines.”

Reversing the traditional sealing process reduces the excess heat needed to be applied from the outside of the film to seal the inner, lower density film layers to a high-density spout base. At the same time, the packaging structure is less dependent on a film’s thermal resistance and film cut-in is avoided, resulting in good quality spout sealing and a pouch.

“At Dow, we have been working on expanding our portfolio of polyethylene-based mono-material solutions for several years. When looking at spouted pouch applications, we knew that changing this would not be an easy task and would require out-of-the-box thinking,” said Jaroslaw Jelinek, marketing manager for EMEA, Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “What Dow and Menshen bring to the market today is a transformative technology that contributes to the plastic circularity goals that Dow and the entire industry have committed to,” Jelinek says. The reverse spout sealing technology is the result of a three-year joint development between Dow and Menshen who are working with a number of partners on technology integration and assist brand owners and converters to put the new sealing approach into practice. Both companies are working with leading manufacturers of pouch-packaging machines worldwide in order to commercialize the technology.

The reverse spout sealing technology was successfully tested at Dow’s Pack Studios in Horgen, Switzerland, with Menshen spouts sealed in mono or laminate film structures containing Dow solutions such as DOWLEXTM 2750ST, ELITETM 5960G in outer layers coated with OPULUXTM HGT and AFFINITYTM sealants. The technology is suitable for most pouch sizes and for a wide range of applications – from baby food, condiments and detergents, to personal care applications such as shampoos, shower gels or body lotions. For packaging applications that cannot compromise on content preservation, Dow combines this technology with barrier solutions in structures that are designed for recyclability.

Dow and Menshen at K 2019

Dow will be attending K 2019, the conference for the plastics and rubber industry, from 16 to 23 October 2019 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The event will gather the most influential and creative suppliers of machinery, parts and products under one roof. It will allow visitors to ask challenging questions, forge new relationships and start collaborations that will help transform businesses and society.