Radio frequency applications group Stanelco is to acquire water soluble packaging specialist Aquasol for £3.1M.

With over 18 years’ experience in water soluble packaging technology and 44 international patents, Aquasol has dedicated development facilities near Chelmsford, UK. The company currently has a turnover of around £400,000, a significant and growing portion of which is in the form of royalties.

Ian Balchin, chief executive of Stanelco, comments: “We believe our combined technologies and customer relationships will offer an exciting opportunity for customers to become more eco-friendly whilst at the same time significantly improving operating margins. We are making good progress under our existing agreement and will report more on this in due course.”

Aquasol managing director Bruce Drew adds: “In the relatively short time that we have been working with Stanelco we have realised that together we can effect a revolution in our sector of the packaging world. There is a good fit between our technologies and everything is now in place for rapid progress to be made.”

A starch based soluble film claimed to perform as well as cast or blown PVOH film at a considerably lower cost has been developed in co-operation between Stanelco, Aquasol and Adept Polymers.

The new Starpol film is available in cold and hot water grades in thicknesses of 20–120 micron. It is said to be readily weldable using heat sealing or Stanelco’s patented radio frequency technology, and to thermoform well with less shrink-back than conventional PVOH films. According to Stanelco, it is suitable for packaging many liquid, gel and powder products in existing markets, with cost reduction possibilities making it an essential ingredient to the soluble film market. “Starpol releases product faster than existing films and initial indications are that the film gives greater resistance to chlorine bearing products,” the company states.

The new film’s environmental characteristics are also highlighted: with high levels of starch, its biodegradability is said be significantly faster than conventional PVOH film. The film is also said to have a nicer ‘touch’ than conventional PVOH, which can become tacky, particularly at high humidity levels. Printability is also good, and oxygen and perfume barrier properties are excellent, it is claimed.


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