Advanced coatings are engineered covering applied to the surface of a substrate for functional purposes, such as for instance gas barrier, adsorption, adhesion, wettability, corrosion resistance, UV barrier.
Coatings are largely used in the packaging industry to improve the properties of the flexible film substrate and guarantee extended shelf life of the products with a focus on final packaging sustainability.
High barrier coatings act as hurdles to oxygen, moisture/water vapor, CO2 and volatile organics in order to prevent the penetration or loss of the specific gas.
A new generation of advanced packaging able to selectively interact and change the package’s internal atmosphere is obtained by introducing active functionalities into coating formulation.
Innovative sustainable and biodegradable water-based lacquers
Flexible packaging sector is experiencing a fast growth and the most modern and innovative coating materials are designed to overcome the drawbacks of existing coatings and to pay more attention to sustainability making packaging itself more performing and less environmental impactful.
SAES patented functional coatings are obtained from biodegradable water-based and solvent-free lacquers; barrier materials are developed and combined with special additives and crosslinkers to achieve high or ultra-high oxygen barriers and, in synergistic combination with Al metallization or AlOx deposition, to add high moisture barrier properties.
Innovative active and barrier functionalities can be obtained by integrating in the lacquer formulation other advanced material such as specialty zeolites and beads/capsules.
From formulation to thin coating
Chemical reactors equipped with temperature and internal atmosphere controllers can be used for lab-scale and pilot-scale production of lacquers and formulations.
Advanced coatings are applied by means of high-speed deposition techniques thanks to an innovative roll-to-roll pilot line designed for coating and lamination; this versatile tool is composed by:
- two coating stations suitable for different printing techniques such as gravure, flexo, and slot die
- consolidation processes through hot air dryers, IR-lamps, and UV-lamp
- dry and wet lamination facilities
Coating solutions can be processed on an extended variety of substrates such as plastic films (LDPE, MDO PE, BOPP, BOPET, PA) and bioplastic films (Mater-Bi, PLA) but are also suitable for application on paper-based packaging or modification of cellulose fibers.
Compared to other available technologies, the reduced thickness achievable with advanced functional coatings enable the elimination of multilayer films ensuring the recyclability or compostability of the final packaging product, and allows the packaging downgauging (high product-to-package ratios) while keeping high gas barrier properties.
Advanced solutions for sustainable packaging
SAES innovative functional coatings are designed to confer active and barrier functionalities to the final packaging solution, in order to exert not only the conventional protective function from the external environment, but also to guarantee the increase of the product shelf life, via specific interactions with the internal atmosphere.
The inherent strengths of the advanced coating technology is the possibility to tailor functional properties according to the application requirements and to easily process and conform them into a wide range of structures.
Advanced coatings can be designed to additionally provide exceptional thermal-mechanical attributes, suitable surface wettability/printability, enhanced adhesion and increased transparency leading to a brighter package.
The term “barrier” indicates the function of the film to seal contents from outside factors that would cause quality degradation and to preserve inside original conditions.
Gas barrier coatings would slow down or block the permeation through the film of gases like oxygen, water vapor, carbon dioxide and other gases that have a major impact on the quality of products.
Barrier films used in the food industry ensure aroma protection, longer shelf life and less food waste along the value chain.
Transparent multi-gas barrier solution is provided by the synergistic effects of water-based coating technology and AlOx deposition.
Unlike typical oxygen barrier coatings which fall under high humidity conditions, the innovative approach based on the integration in lacquers of crosslinkers and beads technology ensures greater stability of oxygen barrier coatings under high RH conditions (>80%) typical of wet applications.
Advanced active coatings are innovative solutions able to selectively interact and control the package’s internal atmosphere thus extending products shelf life and ingredients preservation without the need to use preservative additives.
Active components can be dissolved or dispersed in the lacquer formulation and include different type of chemical and physical gas scavenger able to absorb or block the target molecule; the high selectivity of active system guarantees excellent performance even in the presence of high humidity and other VOCs.
An oxygen scavenger is a material in which reactive compounds may combine with oxygen to reduce or completely remove oxygen in enclosed volume. The purpose of an oxygen scavenger is to limit the amount of oxygen available for deteriorative reactions that can lead to reduced functionality of many types of products: lipid oxidation, nutritional loss, changes in flavor and aroma, alteration of texture, and microbial spoilage. Antioxidant coating, able to inhibit the propagation of oxidizing reaction, is obtained by integration of natural antioxidant materials specifically selected and, if required, designed in capsules/core-shell structures to guarantee chemical and physical compatibility.
An active system comprising exchanged zeolites is provided as ethylene scavenger coating, suitable to improve the fruits and vegetables lifetime by controlling ethylene concentration within the package itself.