MDO (machine direction orientation) technology brings sustainable development to plastic film manufacturing. It involves heating, stretching and cooling plastic film to make it thinner, stronger and stiffer. These properties bring benefits such as a significant reduction in the amount of plastic used in packaging.
“For example, if multipack film was previously 120 μm thick, MDO technology can reduce this by as much as fifty percent. Sustainable development aims are clearly realised when the kilos of plastic used in packaging are cut by half. At the same time, major cost benefits are achieved throughout the production chain,” says Patrik Högkvist, Business Development Manager at Rani Plast.
Lightness, strength and good sealing properties
Rani Plast uses MDO technology to manufacture RaniMultiPack MDO film for use in sectors such as the insulation industry. One customer is GLAVA®, Norway’s leading player in the construction industry, known as an industry forerunner in sustainable development. Wool insulation is made under the Glava Insulation brand and bundled and packaged onto pallets using RaniMultiPack MDO film. The film keeps the bales together and the wool insulation compressed.
GLAVA® is delighted with MDO film, which has a range of practical benefits in addition to being environmentally friendly.
“The film has outstanding welding properties, as well as unrivalled strength for such a light product. Due to its thinness, more of the film fits onto a single roll, it reduces the number of roll-changes for the operators at the packaging machine,” says Oddvar Aftret, Production Manager at GLAVA®.
Use of MDO film is part of GLAVA®’s environmentally responsible approach
GLAVA® appreciates the fact that less plastic is used to make RaniMultiPack MDO membranes. Lighter plastic means lower transport emissions, for example. It also means that the company consumes less plastic and end customers have less of it to recycle.
“We strive to reduce the environmental footprint of our production activities every day. In production, we reduce the consumption of energy and raw materials, and recycle production materials. Using RaniMultiPack MDO films is therefore a perfect fit with our company’s environmental values,” says Aftret.
Qubiqa developed Flexweld technology for the sealing of MDO films
Optimal introduction of a new type of packaging film requires close cooperation between the makers of the film, product and packaging equipment. The Danish Qubiqa is a global brand that mainly develops packaging machines and lines for the insulation industry. As soon as MDO films entered the market, the company saw that they would benefit its customers in a number of ways.
“So we decided to invest in developing our machinery for just this kind of film. This resulted in the Flexweld sealing device and MultiPack packaging technology, which were adapted for GLAVA®’s processes and products,” says Anders Andersen, Sales Director at Qubiqa.
Qubiqa’s product development work was the key to using RaniMultiPack MDO film in GLAVA®’s processes.
“We are very proud of the solution we have developed at Qubiqa. It enables the efficient use of packaging film that saves on plastic,” a delighted Andersen points out.
The Flexweld sealing equipment enables tight and durable sealing of the upper and lower sides of MDO film, creating a seam that holds when heated and cooled. A conventional sealer would add tension and cause the MDO film to break.
Best solutions derive from close cooperation
Rani Plast, GLAVA® and Qubiqa are leading players in their sectors. When the deep expertise of such partners is brought together, everyone benefits from the resulting innovation. Their novel packaging solution may reduce costs and provide the partners with business opportunities, but the key social benefits are sustainable development and environmental friendliness.
Patrik Högkvist of Rani Plast hopes that MDO technology can be mainstreamed in the production of more films.
“MDO versions of other products, such as RaniFFS film used for sacks, are available. This technology could also emerge as an alternative among monolaminates,” he envisions.