Estimate Container Impact Resistance Prior to the Thermoforming Step

Request Number REQ1365895
Due Date February 20, 2018
Author Seh-Rin Sung
Request for Proposal Details
RFP Title
Estimate Container Impact Resistance Prior to the Thermoforming Step
RFP Description

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

  • Evaluation of proposed discriminatory variables and its correlation with impact resistance
  • Development of a set of optimal values for the variables within the process conditions at the client
  • Evaluation of the robustness of the approach and effectiveness for industrial implementation


Phase 2 – Commercial development

  • Integration into the quality control system of the sheet production lines



Key Success Criteria

The successful proposal will:

  • Identify critical variables measured on the PET sheet preferably during extrusion
  • Give a fast response allowing the timely adaptation of the critical parameters
  • Be capable of scale-up for industrial use
    • Be robust and cost effective
    • Be simple to implement



Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Uni or multivariate measuring systems
  • FTIR based control system
  • Methods correlating optical properties with mechanical performance
  • Thermal analysis of freshly produced sheets

Any other uni or multivariate measuring system in sheets that correlate with impact resistance in final container 




Approaches not of interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

  • Supply of virgin or recycled PET




Preferred Collaboration types
  • Joint Development
  • Contract Research
  • Technology Licensing
  • Technology Acquisition
  • Consulting
Items to be submitted


Your response should address the following:

  • Non-confidential overview of proposed technology
  • Convincing evidence that the technology is a potential viable solution (e.g., test data…)
  • Technical maturity of the approach (concept, prototype, ready to commercialize, commercialized)
  • Team description and related experience


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


Area of Interest
Request Priority
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