Syntegon develops paper-based food packaging as part of sustainable packaging project
Syntegon is working on this project with the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging in Dresden, Colruyt Group, Strauss Group and the University of Reading.
EIT Food is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an agency of the European Union.
The aim of the project is to pack even sensitive products with high barrier properties in more durable materials. Syntegon uses a special paper, which is particularly stretchy and tear-proof thanks to long cellulose fibers, thus allowing the production of sealed trays and cups with a depth of up to 30 millimeters.
A recyclable barrier layer composed of 95% mono-materials ensures optimal protection of the product. The paper and the barrier layer, as well as the cover film can be easily separated, ensuring full use of its recyclability.
However, this sustainability advantage also poses challenges for packaging manufacturers. On the one hand, consumers must be able to separate all components for sorting waste. On the other hand, the paper and the film must not detach unintentionally from each other. To prevent this from happening, Syntegon’s TPU paper forming, filling and sealing machine forms the paper and the barrier layer in a common process by thermoforming and pressing. “With the paper trays from the PACK4SENSE project, we have further developed our previous paper packaging solutions such as shaped paper pads – structured paper trays for the packaging of cosmetics and confectionery”, explains Matthias Klauser, Head of project manager and sustainability expert at Syntegon. .
For PACK4SENSE trays and cups, the paper goes directly from the roll into the feeder – the barrier layer necessary for sealing is applied and joined to the paper without any further conversion steps. Alternatively, manufacturers can use a converter to connect the paper and mono-material protective layer without heating. A forming station presses the materials into shape before the trays are filled and sealed. In addition to using particularly stretchable and crease-resistant paper during the forming process, it is important to maintain the separability of the materials: a specially adapted geometry of the forming tools reduces the stress on the materials during the manufacturing process.