Program Manager: Jos Cenens, Ph.D.
Opportunity: Licensing, product acquisition, contract research, proof of concept leading to scale-up manufacturing, joint development, supplier agreement, consulting
Timeline: Phase 1: Proof of Concept - 6 Months Phase 2: Commercial use by end of 2018
Financials: All financials details are to be negotiated
Solution Provider Help Desk: Email: PHD@ninesigma.com
NineSigma, representing a European food company, invites proposals for a method that can predict the impact resistance of thermoformed PET based food containers. The method is expected to work in real-time during the co-extrusion step where the multilayer sheets are produced or on finished sheets that are ready for the thermoforming step.
Packaging containers suitable for food are usually made from a sheet consisting of several layers of different materials. Such a multilayer structure where each layer has a different set of properties not only protects the food physically but also against moisture loss, contact with oxygen or microbial growth. Yet, containers made from different materials (e.g. PE layers coextruded with PP or EVOH) cannot easily be recycled because this results in a recycled resin with little value for the industry.
PET is an interesting packaging material for perishable food products as it can provide all needed protection for food without the need for other plastics. PET based containers can hence be recycled in a useful resin and reduce the consumption of virgin plastic and limit waste generation.
NineSigma’s client is developing PET only food containers. The target is to develop three layer PET sheets that contain up to 90% of recycled PET (see the Figure for the target structure). The development has given a range of prototype sheets. Most target properties are achieved except for the impact resistance of the thermoformed containers. In this test a 2kg steel ball is dropped on the container from a height of 40cm. Over 50% of the first prototypes failed in this test. Changing the prototype design and using additives to enhance the properties helped, but they still see failures (between 15 and 30%). Up to now it has not been possible to determine a relationship between the rheological and mechanical properties of the extruded sheets and the impact resistance of the containers.
NineSigma’s client has issued this request to find out if there are variables that can be measured during sheet co-extrusion or on the finished sheet; variables that can be correlated with the mechanical strength and impact resistance of the thermoformed containers.
Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan
Phase 1 – Proof of concept
Phase 2 – Commercial development
The successful proposal will:
Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:
Any other uni or multivariate measuring system in sheets that correlate with impact resistance in final container
The following approaches are not of interest:
Your response should address the following:
Appropriate responses to this Request
Responses from companies (small to large), researchers, consultants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome. For example:
You represent a company that has expertise with producing PET parts and has a fast multivariate measuring set-up in use during extrusion
You represent a university research department that has a bench-scale demonstration of a sensitive sensor system that might be useful for this request