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Nova enters high-density biaxially oriented polyethylene market

The Calgary-based company has developed an HD-BOPE technology that will enable the replacement of BOPP or BOPET mixed material packaging films with all-polyethylene, recyclable multilayer film structures.


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June 30, 2020 by Canadian Plastics

In a move to expand recyclable packaging options, Calgary-based Nova Chemicals Corp. is entering the high-density biaxially oriented polyethylene (HD-BOPE) market by developing a new high-density resin technology that will enable the replacement of BOPP or BOPET mixed material packaging films with  all-polyethylene, recyclable multilayer film structures.

The company describes the new technology as being “ideal for use in food packaging, heavy duty sacks, e-commerce” and other demanding applications.

“The development of this technology marks a major advance in the pursuit of a plastics circular economy,” Nova said. “HD-BOPE can help enable film manufacturers to realize fully recyclable PE monomaterial structures without sacrificing stiffness and print clarity. Monomaterial film structures are critical to achieving brand owner commitments to make all plastic packaging 100 per cent recyclable, reusable or compostable.”

Biaxially oriented films are stretched in both the machine and transverse direction, resulting in films that have enhanced toughness, improved barrier performance, and good optics. Film structures that use the technology are commonly laminates; HD-BOPE resins are designed for use in the print web and can then be laminated to a sealant film made with lower density polyethylene. The finished film also has high stiffness which enables downgauging and improved processability in converting steps versus blown film alternatives, and low tear properties needed for easy-open packaging. Similar to films made from other biaxially-oriented technologies, Nova said, BOPE films demonstrate good thickness uniformity and film flatness for high yield rates.

Nova has been working with stretching line manufacturer Brückner Maschinenbau to accelerate the development and commercialization of the technology. “We believe this technology will open completely new possibilities to provide PE films for 100 per cent monomaterial packaging films as an answer to the recyclability challenges we’re facing,” said Sebastian Ruhland, senior sales manager, Brückner Maschinenbau.

“Brand owners and consumers are looking for easy-to-recycle packaging that prevents contamination and extends the shelf life of their products,” said Alan Schrob, consumer and industrial films group manager for Nova’s polyethylene business. “Our HD-BOPE technology provides an additional building block for converters to make recyclable multilayer films that perform as well as traditional mixed-material structures.”