To gain an insight into how adhesive technology has developed and how this has enabled converters and their brand owners to innovate with their packaging solutions, Converting Today spoke with Nick Smith, MD of Parkside Flexibles, and began by asking if there are any adhesive technologies that are particularly important for converters at the moment?
"Current packaging trends are highlighting a need for re-closable features to be integrated into existing packaging formats with demand for this type of functionality growing. Consumers and brand owners alike are looking for solutions to address these trends, such as sustainability, portion control, and frustration free openings."
How important to brand owners and their converter partners is it to choose the right adhesive for their packaging application?
"Absolutely critical. The adhesive cannot not affect the packing line in terms of speed of sealing nor be inconsistent in its sealing performance. Leaking packs are expensive for the entire supply chain and with the current media focus on product contamination and hygiene; the adhesive becomes an important consideration in pack design. In particular, adhesives used to manufacture re-closable packs must easily peel and reseal but also have the initial lock seal performance of standard non-re-closable solutions."
Is bio-degradability now a vital component of the adhesive component of today’s packaging?
"Sustainability considerations are certainly driving innovation. In the U.K we see a significant focus on the recyclability and compostability of packaging. Adhesive systems must be compatible with these processes. We are also seeing bio-degradability and compostability credentials becoming more important to consumers.
"Parkside are the first flexible packaging company to produce a compostable triplex laminate structure which has been awarded the Vincotte accreditation for home compostability. This was an industry first and groundbreaking for Parkside, this would not have been possible without a suitable adhesive which met the requirements of the rigorous testing procedure and offered the functionability of a barrier laminate.
"As a company, we’re continuing to evolve our compostable products to include other secondary packaging solutions in the Parkside portfolio such as Rockpockets, which would be compostable at the end of the service life. These successes mean that environmentally aware brand owners, packers and retailers finally have the choice of flexible packs that can be disposed of by consumers, avoiding landfill and without any detrimental effect on the environment.
How are brand owners and converters balancing the need to have a robust seal, yet allow easy opening and closing for consumers?
"There are certainly challenges with easy open and re-closable solutions. Prior to any launch Parkside ensure all products undergo a demanding testing procedure to ensure packs are fit for purpose and fulfil the expectations of both the brand owner and the consumer. Parkside work closely with the brand owner to ensure the correct material / adhesive combinations are used to achieve the required shelf life. Products undergo rigorous transit testing after line trials to ensure the packs retain the robust seal required.
"Another consideration for re-closable packs is tamper evidence. How does the retailer ensure the pack contents haven’t been tampered with prior to purchase if the pack re-closes? Again Parkside have worked hard to combine technologies and clever functional print solutions to develop a tamper evident solution that gives both the retailer and consumer the confidence they can have both convenience and safety."
What does the future of packaging adhesives look like from your perspective?
"Feedback from packaging manufacturers and brand owners alike suggests that there will be further take-up of reseal technologies in the future. With our laser scribing technology, we can reduce the pack manufacturers’ costs, increase line speeds and ultimately reduce the carbon footprint of packs. Our designs also give shoppers better flexibility for when and how much they eat, reducing food waste through improved storage and portion control. Although reseal technology is something that consumers like to have, the signs are that it could become the must-have for the future."