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Recently a customer asked, “Can you make fitments from sustainable materials?” Our answer based on our research, is yes we can. We have been testing two different 100% recycled materials for moldability and inserting compatibility, an industrial grade and the other EcoPrime resin from Envision Plastics. Envision Plastics has been extremely supportive in this research. We have been processing and testing the EcoPrime material actually for a few years. Eco Prime earned a Non-Objection letter from the FDA making this material favorable for food packaging. We’ve been making fitments and testing them at different levels of EcoPrime to virgin resin along with testing 100% EcoPrime. The results have been very positive. Some enhancements to both the molding process and seal bars have allowed the Eco Prime to rival some of the 100% virgin petroleum based materials.
Testing has been done over a few years and with different lots of material. One concern was the variability of the EcoPrime material from lot to lot due to the feed sources. Over the years of research and again with the support of Envision Plastics, we have tested random lots with great results, along with mixing lots to add even more variables to prove out the processing and testing.
Testing is on-going and we are currently molding a closure with a TE band, while also working with a major film company. Our plan is to insert the fitment into an all PE pouch and using a closure and fitment made with the Envision material. This should allow the complete package to be recycled since all components are made from PE.
As a side note we are currently doing testing with a plant based material as well. Plans to blend the plant based material and the EcoPrime material to make a truly sustainable material is the goal. Molding the closure, the fitment and a pouch made of all the same material, makes a package that can be recycled without sorting the closure and pouch, adding it right back into the recycling circle. Sustainable, recyclable and tested is a win for all levels of the product.
Making fitments / weld spouts from different materials is just part of the ongoing research at HQC. Making a weld spout is the easy part, making the right weld spout for the application, the film and the product in the pouch is a little harder. The real challenge is testing the fitment. How will the fitment work when inserted? What are the limitations? What happens to the fitment during the insertion process? What is the difference between the standard fitment and these new fitment materials? Does the insertion process need to change? These are all good questions, which also require fitment insertion knowledge.
It’s not just about making fitments, it’s about testing for consistency and performance. Through research, HQC has found process changes that enhance seal strength and decrease cycle time. Another big advantage is seal bar design. Some designs have increased the fitment seal. In one instance, seal strength went from 4 to 10 psi to over 25 psi and now approaching burst strengths of 30 psi, all using a standard everyday film structure, but changing the seal bar design. It is understanding film conversion, fitment materials and fitment insertion processes that makes a reliable end product.
If you are interested in learning more you are always welcome to come and visit or contact us at 630-820-5550.