Czech refinery and petrochemical raw materials producer Unipetrol RPA says it has developed a new type of resin that significantly boosts the processing performance of thermoformed rigid packaging.

The resin, called Mosten FT005, also contributes to the aesthetics of the packaging, which is most frequently used for beverage cups, yogurt pots and trays. The product is a bimodal polypropylene homopolymer (hPP) resin, which incorporates the HPN-600ei nucleating innovation with an antistatic agent. The innovation results in a more transparent and a more glossy surface to the products, improving their appeal. In addition, the resin's processing properties make it easier for converters to produce parts.

The company says that Mosten FT005 is the result of team work by Unipetrol, its R&D center Polymer Institute Brno (PIB) and U.S.-headquartered chemicals and performance materials producer Milliken. PIB contributed to the process by developing the first laboratory samples and carrying out an investigation of the resin's processing and mechanical characteristics. In turn, Milliken took part by providing its HPN-600ei technology for improving the transparency in polypropylene products by boosting the crystallization process. Milliken also participated in the resin evaluation in the early stages of the production, the statement explains.

The antistatic agent that has been incorporated into the resin facilitates the demolding of the completed parts. The resin results in improved dimensional stability and lower tendency to product warpage, making them easy to handle, the company claims.

Mosten FT005 was trialed by Austria-based converter Greiner Packaging, which also operates in the Czech Republic. The company tested Mosten FT005 for the production of yogurt pots, with results considered a success. The technology has led to a significant improvement in transparency of the products, compared to competitive materials.

Stanislav Jansky, PP Product Manager, Unipetrol RPA, says participation of Greiner Packaging was important at an early stage of the product development process, to make sure that results matched the initial expectations and to convert the plans into actual production on thermoforming lines. Unipetrol is presenting the resin innovation to all its thermoforming customers and providing them with the opportunity to bring optical properties of rigid packaging applications to a whole new level, he adds.