Sukano - Make the leap to bioplastics

PLA has sometimes struggled to blend function with aesthetics. Sukano explains how its state-of-the-art masterbatches enable it to strike the right balance.

Even though a bioplastic alternative exists for almost every conventional plastic, introducing polylactic acid (PLA) can be a challenge for converters and brand- owners. A balance must always be struck between cost-in-use and final product performance and aesthetics.

However, new opportunities must be seized to enter new markets and develop new applications.

Sensitive issue

"Based on its skills and experience in adapting biopolymers, Sukano can help the main players of the bioplastics value-chain. For example, by enabling food manufacturers to use PLA to pack light-sensitive food, or help converters optimise production yields and reduce cycle times, even with reduced part weights, or with our masterbatches for thin-wall injection moulded parts," comments head of marketing Alessandra Funcia.

Sukano's state-of-the-art impact modifier masterbatches for PLA address the ever-increasing demands for better performance and aesthetics. Since nearly everyone processing PLA needs impact modifiers, they are a must-have ingredient in final products, so it's time to address the age-old issue of cost versus performance and aesthetics.

Maintain integrity

The company offers a clear impact modifier masterbatch for use with PLA bioplastics with several important characteristics. These include low-haze values to ensure transparency levels below 5% (and often less than 2-3%); substantial increases in impact strength; and excellent base resin clarity. All this can be achieved without compromising the short cycle times and parts integrity required by the film and thermoforming industries.

Clearly better

This improved performance ensures no breakage or die-cut issues in thermoformed parts, while the throughput and process window remains equivalent to conventional, oil-based polymers.

By increasing the toughness and reducing the brittleness of PLA, Sukano's impact modifier masterbatch expands the value of this key resin to an even wider range of potential applications beyond packaging, such as durable goods, or any final article for which clarity and performance are essential.

Tried and tested

To validate these performance claims Sukano has recently invested in dart impact test equipment, which is now in use at its research and development centre in Switzerland. This was a critical investment step:

"Defining and quantifying the exact toughness required in the material depends on the various applications and its expected use," states Daniel Ganz, Sukano's R&D specialist on Bioplastics applications.

"This testing equipment can reproduce the conditions the end article is predicted to experience in commercial applications, enabling a head-start performance evaluation of Sukano's product grades."

Material of the future

The future of plastics has arrived, and it goes far beyond impact modifier masterbatches to encompass nucleating agents, slip/antiblocks, antistatics and much more, while still being colourful. It's time to overturn tradition and think bioplastics. Don't get left behind - Sukano bioplastics PLA-based masterbatches can help you transition.

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