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Co-injection technologies coming to a shelf near you

Articles

Milacron Holdings Corp. serving the plastics processing industry, has just reached another significant milestone with its breakthrough Klear Can®™ technology. Milacron confirmed the sale of the first Milacron Klear Can production system. After extremely successful qualitative testing with consumers in Asia conducted by Nielsen Market Research, the customer plans for the Klear Can to be in-market, on retail shelves and available for consumer purchase no later than Q1 2017. Another Milacron Co-injection technology seeing traction, the systems with Kortec embedded technology are now being used in the production of 100% recyclable single use coffee pods. The single use coffee pod market has grown rapidly over the past decade and Milacron’s technologies ensure that the newly designed pods are able to enter the recycling stream rather than the landfill.

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Klear Can
Milacron’s revolutionary Klear Can is the first-to-market clear plastic can. It is immediately available to leading-edge food companies dedicated to being at the forefront of groundbreaking innovation and to delivering new value-added product experiences to consumers. The Klear Can allows brand owners the opportunity to provide consumers a window into their high quality ingredients.

Milacron Co-injection developed the Klear Can, which is a disruptive technology in food packaging. The Klear Can is an ideal alternative to antiquated metal cans for fruits, vegetables, soups, meats, and other products. In fact, the Klear Can is the first truly transformational innovation in the canned food preservation industry’s nearly 200-year history. Now for the first time ever, the Klear Can’s unique crystal clear transparency allows brands to demonstrate the true quality of their products to consumers – starting at the critical moment in store where most consumers make their purchase decisions.

These design advantages have led to the first major commercial sale of the production system for a large brand owner focusing on tropical fruits. The production system will be making product for shelves by Q1 2017.

Milacron President and Chief Operating Officer, Ron Krisanda stated, “After years of development and strong, positive consumer results, we’re excited to launch the Milacron Klear Can in key global markets. We are also thrilled about the prospect of transforming the metal can industry.” Krisanda added, “The Klear Can is fully recyclable. After consumer use only a small amount of metal remains on the can’s upper rim, the residual ring on the flange will separate during the grinding phase.”

The Milacron Klear Can is similar to many PP plastic containers with double seam EZO can ends found in stores today. Although it behaves like a can, it is recyclable. The base is plastic and the rim is a very low percentage of the package; so low, it is microwavable. The product is over 98% plastic after the can is opened. The PP Klear Can qualifies as a ‘5’ for recyclability.

Based on barrier layer percentage, the Klear Can provides more than 2-years shelf life, and is also cost competitive to metal cans. The Klear Can uses the same filling, seaming and retorting machinery as metal cans, so minimal downstream investment is required. In addition, the Klear Can allows manufacturers the flexibility to mold cans at the filling site (i.e., via ‘through-the-wall’ supply operations), which offers operational efficiencies.

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The Milacron Klear Can is a patented co-injection molded, polypropylene EVOH plastic can, which can be cooked and seamed meeting all industry standards. The Klear Can is BPA-free for safe food contact. It is designed to withstand standard retort pressures and temperatures (up to 130° C), and to work with existing standard metal can manufacturing processes. Klear Can uses a single standard metal can end, and uses the industry standard can end double-seam process. Rigorous testing has verified that the Klear Can seal integrity is approved and proven safe and reliable. In addition, while Klear Can is lightweight, it is stackable and dent-resistant through all aspects of the manufacturing and transportation process. Milacron has gained a tremendous amount of in-house technical knowledge during the development of Klear Can, which allows us to support our customers and the industry in the adoption of this ground-breaking technology. Klear Can is a natural extension of Milacron’s industry-leading co-injection molding expertise.

100% Recyclable Single Use Coffee Pods
Milacron’s patented co-injection systems with embedded Kortec technology have elevated Milacron to be the leading producer of 100% recyclable, single use coffee pods. Steve Morris, Milacron Vice President and General Manager Milacron Systems, elaborated, “Recyclability is driving major design changes within the coffee pod market, and will continue to create new capital equipment demand to support this growing consumer product. Today, cups molded on a Milacron platform qualify for a ‘5’ for recyclability. A key benefit of an injection-molded cup is the ability to mold features into the cup that replace the addition of costly components such as filters. This benefit also eliminates a second molding process, scrap, assembly costs and part weight.”

Currently, most single use pods are thermoformed polystyrene and not recyclable. Manufacturers are eager to move to recyclable injection molded PP cups over the next 3 years. Globally there are billions of single serve cups on the market.

Injection molded cups also have better mechanics allowing them to use more shapes, provide wall and barrier consistency and produce better clarity in clear parts. These cups also have a flange seal off area and no barrier breakthrough.

Milacron is the world’s largest supplier of turnkey co-injection systems to the plastics and packaging industries all with embedded Kortec Technology. Milacron’s manufacturing and service footprint combined with Kortec Technology creates multi-layer packaging technology that is backed by over 20 years of experience and has a dedicated development team to continually advance the technology. Milacron Co-injection meets the plastics industry’s need for high barrier applications in food packaging, closures, medial and many other applications. Milacron’s Systems Team now offers both monolayer and multi-layer PET systems; full turn-key systems, including tooling are available.

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