• Weir Minerals, Henkel develop industry-first adhesive for rubber lining applications

    Weir Minerals, Henkel develop industry-first adhesive for rubber lining applications


    Weir Minerals, manufacturer of Linatex®, the world’s leading brand of premium natural rubber, has partnered with world’s number one adhesive producer Henkel and its team of LOCTITE® adhesive, sealant and coating specialists, to develop a mining industry-first solvent-free adhesive for rubber lining applications with zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

    VOCs are carbon-based, organic chemicals that are often used in adhesives, paints and coatings. They are subject to strict regulations, with some governments aiming to limit worker exposure while others target large-scale emissions, such as the People’s Republic of China’s recent ban on the production and use of high VOC-containing solvent-based coatings and adhesives in order to improve air quality. Mining companies also target VOC emissions as part of their sustainability strategies.

    Always striving to develop new solutions that meet the needs of their mining customers, in collaboration with Henkel, Weir Minerals developed the LINATEX® LOCTITE® - LINA 88™ cold-bonding rubber adhesive range as a response to the growing need for safer and more sustainable products. Complementing the industry-leading Linatex® rubber products, this breakthrough in adhesive technology reflects Weir’s core values of safety, sustainability and performance.

    With new LINATEX® LOCTITE® - LINA 88™ products, cutting down the VOC emissions does not mean having to compromise on performance. The custom-formulated LINATEX® LOCTITE® - LINA 88™ rubber adhesive range sets a new industry benchmark for bond strength by exceeding the current British Standard by up to four times and is significantly stronger than other products presently used in mining.

    “We've had many customers across the globe approach us to make sure that the products they use on site are safe for their employees working in confined spaces,” explains Mark Doyle, Global Product Manager – Linatex® Rubber and Hose. “At Weir Minerals we take safety very seriously and looked at several possible solutions. Our team worked closely with the LOCTITE experts and developed an adhesive that is stronger than any other product in the market today with the double benefit of being solvent-free with zero VOCs. Coincidentally, many mine sites and even regional governments are now starting to mandate that only adhesives with zero VOCs be used on site – we are thrilled to say that we have a product that meets this challenge.” 

    Safety and sustainability focus was the main driver of the project, points out Ricardo Garib, Weir Minerals Division President: “Working with Henkel to develop an adhesive that not only outperforms what is currently in the market, but also delivers environmental and safety benefits is a fantastic result for mine operators and their employees. Weir Minerals promotes a safe environment for everyone; we consider it a priority for our customers and our own people in our service centres where we line minerals processing equipment with Linatex rubber. With sustainability a key issue within our industry, we are proud to be at the forefront with innovative new products”.

    “We are so pleased that our partnership with Weir Minerals has helped bring this new innovation to market,” states Mark Dorn, Senior Vice President Craftsmen, Construction & Professional, and President Henkel Asia Pacific. “It’s always exciting to pioneer new solutions for our customers that are able to deliver on both innovation and sustainability. Being able to positively impact environmental and occupational safety for those in the mining industry is definitely a rewarding accomplishment for the team.”

    Eric Saunders, Vice-President, Global Head of Marketing and Strategy - Adhesive Technologies, is also extremely proud to share this significant milestone with Weir Minerals: “Delivering this breakthrough innovation to the market is representative of the mission that the LOCTITE business has delivered on for nearly 70 years. It’s about leveraging our expertise, our passion for innovation and our focus on solving the most difficult challenges to create new value for customers. Having the opportunity to bring this to life in collaboration with another industry leader like Weir Minerals has been extremely satisfying and is a true model for future success in the area of innovation.”    

    The new LINATEX® LOCTITE® - LINA 88™ adhesive range has undergone extensive trials in the APAC region, exceeding customer expectations. Weir Minerals will be specifying the new solvent-free and zero VOCs products for all their Linatex® applications around the world.

    The entire range is non-flammable and is therefore safer to use, easy to transport and does not require any special handling or storage facilities. It can also be sprayed over the top of rubber lining to provide solid UV protection.

    When combining the enhanced strength of the new LINATEX® LOCTITE® - LINA 88™ adhesive range with the long wear life of Linatex® premium rubber, the result is a highly sought-after sustainable solution for miners looking for long-lasting protection for their equipment.

    The LINATEX® LOCTITE® - LINA 88™ solvent-free adhesive range is available globally.



    Tekni-Plex has named Chris Qualters as CEO of the company’s Healthcare division.

    Qualters joined Tekni-Plex in November as president of Tekni-Plex Medical, responsible for all aspects of the company’s global medical device business. He was tasked with designing and implementing a comprehensive business strategy to bolster Tekni’s position as a key solutions partner to Medical Device organizations.

  • European tube market stable even in pandemic times

    European tube market stable even in pandemic times

    Despite the ongoing pandemic, the european tube manufacturers association (etma) reports stable deliveries in the first half of 2021. The total deliveries of aluminum, plastic and laminate tubes even increased slightly by 0.5 percent to a level of around 6 billion units.

    While deliveries to the pharmaceutical industry fell by 11 percent, deliveries to the dental care market increased by 4 percent, to the cosmetics market by 2 percent and to the markets for food and household products by as much as 10 percent and 13 percent respectively.

  • Aptar’s high-performance Neo™ closure featured on HiPP’s new infant formula packaging launches in selected Asian markets

    Aptar’s high-performance Neo™ closure featured on HiPP’s new infant formula packaging launches in selected Asian markets


    HiPP, the largest processor of organic-biological raw materials worldwide, and one of the leaders in the global infant food market, utilized Aptar’s breakthrough thinking to re-design their infant formula packaging for specific Asian markets, including China and Hong Kong. Aptar leveraged its expertise and history of innovation in the development of a customized version of their Neo™ closure, to maximize parents’ experience when selecting and using HiPP infant formula.

    Enhanced Consumer Experience

    This new closure solution includes a tamper-evidence band to assure parents that the package has not been opened prior to purchase. The wide finger-recess, the lid diameter of 127mm, and an easily accessible scoop allow parents the convenience and safety of one-handed dispensing. The Neo closure features an audible “click” to reassure parents the package is fully closed after use while also reducing the risk of contamination.

    Safety is the number one priority for any caregiver purchasing and preparing infant formula. Similar to all other Aptar infant nutrition closures, HiPP’s customized Neo closure is manufactured in a High-Care area, free of contamination to provide maximum product hygiene and safety.

    Superior Production and Technology

    The flexband design offers a low-application force on the production line that is ideal for mechanical or manual application and helps center the closure onto the can, whether metal or composite. The flexband helps protect the formula from insects and other possible contaminants. Aptar’s best-in-class technologies are validated by several independent laboratories. HiPP’s customized version of Neo allows for maximum stackability, helping save space in transport and in commercial and home storage. In addition, this solution is slightly taller than the standard Neo version to accommodate a wider range of measuring scoop sizes.

  • Bioplastic made of nanocellulose and mango to improve food preservation

    Bioplastic made of nanocellulose and mango to improve food preservation


    This packaging is intended to maintain the properties of food for a longer period without the need to add chemical additives, as the packaging itself acts as an active barrier that favours preservation. This is because this biodegradable film contains antimicrobial and antioxidant compounds from mango leaf extract that have been tested in vitro, while at the same time offering a more powerful ultraviolet light filter that delays food spoilage.

    In order to reach these conclusions, the researchers compared two different techniques for obtaining the packaging. The conventional one consists of dissolving the components in a solvent, which is later removed. The other alternative procedure does not require the use of chemical solvents, but uses supercritical CO2 to functionalize the polymer, which provides the bioplastic with more effective physico-chemical and bioactive properties than those obtained by conventional treatment. The novelty of this study lies in the fact that it validates the latter method of obtaining this film which prolongs food preservation and, at the same time, acts as a barrier against food pathogens.
    This bioactive packaging, that is, with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties from mango leaf extract, increases the protective barrier against ultraviolet light. “Thanks to it, food wrapped in this film could be preserved longer without the addition of preservatives. The film itself replaces the chemical additive, since the active substance exerts its effect via the packaging without the need to add anything to the food,” Cristina Cejudo, researcher at the University of Cadiz and co-author of the study, pointed out to Fundación Descubre.

    To develop this bioplastic, the experts used mango leaf extracts from pruning remains from the cultivation of this fruit at the experimental farm of the Institute of Subtropical and Mediterranean Horticulture ‘La Mayora’ in Malaga (Spain). The nanofibrillated cellulose that forms the polymer comes from the chemical and enzymatic treatment of a paper industry waste product.

    Conventional solvent casting vs supercritical solvent impregnation

    With these materials, the research team has used two different procedures to compare their physical properties and bioactive function, as explained in their study published in the journal Food Hydrocolloids ("Biobased films of nanocellulose and mango leaf extract for active food packaging: Supercritical impregnation versus solvent casting").
    On the one hand, researchers used the conventional casting method, which consists of adding the active compound before polymerising the plastic, that is, before binding its compounds. The process therefore consists of dissolving the mango leaf extract and the nanocellulose and subsequently polymerising and drying the solvents at a temperature of 45 °C.
    For the treatment based on the supercritical impregnation technology, they used an extract previously obtained by the same technique. “By doing so, a better dissolution of the extract is achieved during the impregnation of the polymer, since the mango extract penetrates into the composition of the nanocellulose at the surface level, which favours the migration of the active compounds, thereby taking less time to exert its preservative action,” explains researcher Cejudo.

    An additional advantage of the supercritical technique is that the pathogen inhibition is higher due to the selection of the most bioactive compounds in mango extract for supercritical impregnation. This gives the plastic a higher concentration of these compounds than the conventional technique. “As a result, the active properties of the mango remain intact after impregnation, which increases the film’s ability to protect food,” says Cejudo.
    With these results, the research team has verified the effectiveness of the supercritical impregnation technique to obtain this new bioactive packaging. “This treatment is effective and valid because it helps to preserve food with a more perishable shelf life and also offers the advantage that it can be applied without the use of solvents or artificial chemical compounds,” says the expert.
    Whereas with the conventional method the container is orange-coloured due to a stronger interaction of the mango with the polymer, with the supercritical impregnation it acquires a greenish colour, similar to that of the original mixture, because the deposition is more superficial, which also favours a faster performance of the compounds during packaging.
    In vitro tests on food pathogens

    At the same time and in order to test the efficacy of the new packaging obtained by supercritical impregnation, the research team evaluated in vitro the antimicrobial performance against two food pathogens: Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.

    With this test, they found that the mango polyphenols present in the bioactive film prevent the spread of both microorganisms due to their antimicrobial properties. “This result shows that the new bioplastic can be used as packaging to inhibit the spread of pathogens and prevent food spoilage,” points out Cejudo.
    Besides, the presence of the extract in the film increases the UV-barrier, which reduce the amount of incident light that also causes food spoilage, especially on foods containing oxidable compounds such as lipids.
    This study is in addition to a similar one they carried out a year ago to design another novel form of packaging using a food plastic to which they added beetroot extract, rich in antioxidant compounds. After carrying out a preliminary test, they achieved a product that aims to improve the characteristics of the containers currently used to give longer shelf life to the food without it losing its properties.

    The next step for this research team will be to study how this bioactive packaging responds to preserving especific foods and to analyse its performance at pilot scale.

  • Packaging Molder Adopts Wireless Machine Monitoring

    Packaging Molder Adopts Wireless Machine Monitoring


    A Dutch custom injection and blow molder has outfitted 40 extrusion blow molding machines with a wireless system for monitoring operating status and plans to extend the system to 30 more injection-blow and injection molding machines. Flestic in Dronten, the Netherlands, is now using the SmartMonitor system from Werma Signaltechnik in Germany (Werma USA Inc., Norcross, Ga., werma.com), which is described as a simple, cost-effective and retrofittable alternative to more complex monitoring systems. It’s designed to be ready to use “out of the box” and to quickly help manufacturers increase productivity and minimize downtime.

    Flestic employs more than 80 people in a more than 75,350 ft2 production area devoted to producing bottles, tubs and closures for food, cosmetics, household and personal-care packaging, as well as some automotive applications. Says Bas van Nes, a safety engineer who has worked at Flestic for over 25 years, “Until now, we could only roughly measure productivity on the basis of the figures we determined ourselves. That was simply not enough for us. We wanted accurate, reliable metrics and also to see when a machine started and stopped, or what the reason was for that stoppage. This has been a gray area for us, but one we were eager to shed light on.”

    The Werma SmartMonitor system, which has over 4000 installations worldwide on injection molding, metalworking and a wide variety of other machinery, consists of two main components. One is a three-colored signal light atop the machine, which signals red for a machine stoppage, yellow for temperature out of range (used by other molders to indicate an open safety gate), and green for normal operation. The second main component is the wireless monitoring system. Using what’s said to be a “robust and proven radio network” (868 MHz), a signal tower on each machine transmits data to a receiver that saves all data in a Microsoft SQL database. The system reportedly can be installed on any type, age or make of machine. It can report frequency and causes of downtime as well as production data.

    Since installing the system, says van Ness, “We can see every start and stop of the machines—both on the screen and on the machine itself. It’s visually clear which machines are running. We can see immediately where there are malfunctions or a breakdown and can therefore react immediately.” He says the company plans to install a signal light in the employee canteen as well. “This should immediately inform our employees of a machine stoppage, even during breaks.”

    Van Ness adds that Flestic moves its machines around occasionally, and thanks to the wireless SmartMonitor, he doesn’t have to worry about communications cabling to make such changes. Also, he notes, “We can network virtually every machine in our company with the system, such as chillers, compressors, and so on—I see a lot of possibilities.”

  • At INTERPHEX NYC, Stevanato Group to Demo Robotic Inspection Unit, Present Modular Assembly Solutions and Recent After-sales Expansion

    At INTERPHEX NYC, Stevanato Group to Demo Robotic Inspection Unit, Present Modular Assembly Solutions and Recent After-sales Expansion


    Company’s solutions offer streamlined management of complex projects, enabling pharmaceutical companies to rely on a single partner from visual inspection to palletizing. At the show, Stevanato Group also will focus on its recently enhanced after-sales services for the US market.

  • Covid accelerates use of digital print in packaging to $21.1 billion in 2021,  new Smithers data finds

    Covid accelerates use of digital print in packaging to $21.1 billion in 2021, new Smithers data finds

    LEATHERHEAD, Surrey, UK and AKRON, Ohio, USA – September 8, 2021 – Through 2020 and into 2021 inkjet and electrophotography printing has secured new markets in labels and packaging. Data from the new Smithers report – The Future of Digital Print for Packaging to 2026 shows total value for this will reach $21.1 billion in 2021

  • Stevanato Group adds Microsoft mixed reality solutions to pharma packaging operations

    Stevanato Group adds Microsoft mixed reality solutions to pharma packaging operations


    Stevanato Group strengthens its collaboration with Microsoft Italy in support of its growth program through the use of new technologies to meet the challenges the pharmaceutical industry is currently experiencing as a result of the pandemic. The Group, which has over 4,200 employees and 14 production facilities in 9 countries, is playing a key role in the production of plastic components for diagnostic tests and glass primary packaging for drugs. It provides packaging and syringes for the major international anti-COVID-19 vaccine programs being developed, as well as pharmaceutical inspection equipmentCloud Computing is, thus, strategic for business continuity during this delicate phase in which Stevanato Group has never ceased production, with the goal of providing support to the pharmaceutical industry.

    Stevanato Group’s constant growth is sustained by an extensive digital transformation plan which also includes the development of a series of applications which, leveraging Microsoft Mixed Reality technologies, are designed to respond to the current needs of the pharmaceutical sector. For example, a Virtual Audit plan was launched, thanks to which the Stevanato Group quality teams wear the Microsoft HoloLens2 holographic headset with integrated Dynamics Remote Assist. This allows them to move throughout the installation to show customers in remote connection all processes, including production phases and lab testing. This also makes it possible to perform a remote quality system audit to ascertain that the installation complies with required standards and customer needs without requiring an interruption in the pharmaceutical supply chain, which is even more strategic during the pandemic. In addition, the HoloLens headset also makes it possible to perform the Virtual FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) — the final pre-delivery inspection that assures the remotely connected customer that the equipment is functioning properly. While wearing the headset, a technician can demonstrate machine components, start it up and share documentation. Remote acceptance of equipment for the inspection of drugs and vaccines being developed makes it possible to accelerate delivery to pharmaceutical companies, a factor that is critical in this period when the company has to manage large volumes on a short time frame. 

    The new frontier of Stevanato Group digital transformation process also includes the development of Artificial Intelligence to improve the performance of inspection systems and detection of defective glass containers filled with a range of drugs. In fact, a project designed to make inspection equipment supplied by the Group even more intelligent was launched in recent months, and it will be completed by 2021. Artificial Intelligence will be an additional ally of Stevanato Group in guaranteeing maximum quality to the pharmaceutical industry, by reducing potential errors and quickly detecting defective products along the production line. The integrity of these containers is essential and, thanks to Microsoft AI integrated into Stevanato Group inspection equipment, pharmaceutical companies will be able to make use of reliable algorithms to identify any defects even more easily and guarantee the highest standards of drug and vaccine conformity. False positives can be reduced by 10-fold, also decreasing container production waste, and detection rate can be improved by 5%.

    These projects are part of the broader Digital Transformation plan of Stevanato Group, which is aimed to the completion of the New Digital Ecosystem by 2022. Within this context, the Group has worked side-by-side with Microsoft, focusing on a 360° Cloud approach. Over the last two years, Microsoft 365 cloud platform for productivity and security was adopted, utilizing Teams for collaboration, the New Digital Architecture on Microsoft Azure cloud was extended with advantages in terms of scalability and computing capacity, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud platform was implemented to provide a unified picture of customers and sales processes across all business lines. An integral part of the new digital ecosystem will also be the Data Strategy focused on Azure Synapse platform, the analysis service that combines data warehousing features with Big Data analysis, making it possible to carry out queries on a large scale, while providing analysis with unparalleled rapidity — up to 14 times faster — and detailed information for Business Intelligence and Machine Learning. All this with the guarantee of maximum security and privacy, which is a strategic factor when working with the pharmaceutical companies involved in drug patents and research projects, such as those for the new anti-COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Leybold sponsors Dutch university team at “Solar Challenge Morocco” desert rally

    Leybold sponsors Dutch university team at “Solar Challenge Morocco” desert rally

    UK, September 2021 – After the Australian "Bridgestone World Solar Challenge" was canceled, an adequate alternative route to the flat outback was quickly found with the "Solar Challenge Morocco". Despite the changed route through the desert and along the Atlas Mountains, the dutch racing team of Solar Team Twente is still optimistic that they will be able to win the World Championship for Solar Cars – also thanks to the sponsorship of Leybold.

    Promoting efficient use of renewable energies

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