Strictly speaking, Nanotechnology is technology that is conducted at Nanoscale. That basically means technology in very small particles! It involves the ability to see and control what individual atoms and molecules do.
Nanotechnology is all around us. It is used in polymer composites, for surface treatment of fabrics to resist staining or bacterial growth, to develop thin films for eye glasses, for computer or camera displays and in windows. There is a very interesting article on the use of nanotechnology at http://www.nano.gov/you/nanotechnology-benefits
All very sophisticated and clever stuff. Whilst molecules and atoms can’t of course be seen by the naked eye, in more recent years, new technology has become available for us to see and understand how atoms and molecules work together. This is particularly with a view to using these exciting developments to increase and improve the performance of products.
The use of nanotechnology specifically within packaging can significantly improve the performance of the packaging that’s involved. For example, our area of expertise is in the provision of pallet-wrapping film. Pallet-Wrap has traditionally been made using five layers of polymer. Those layers make up the film and give the film its characteristics. So, a 5 layer pallet wrap film in its “crude” form will have a core layer that provides the performance of the film, its stretchability, puncture resistance and clarity etc. The two outside layers will be slip on one side of the roll which stops two pallets from sticking together and the other will be cling which means the film sticks to itself. Then the inside layer will be cling that ensures that the film does stick to itself so it doesn’t fall off the pallet. The inside two layers are barrier layers to prevent the cling from migrating through the film.
As the packaging world has begun to embrace nanotechnology, we are now working with films that have 20 to 35 layers which allows us to have more control of the molecules and to increase the effectiveness of their performance.
This can deliver significant benefits in stretchability, puncture resistance and, crucially, increase the holding force. As a consequence, we’re able to get thinner films to perform in the same manner as thicker traditional films.
Nano Technology therefore allows us to deliver higher performance products and all manner of benefits including:
- Reduced packaging costs
- Greater efficiency and throughput in the packing process
- Greater transit security
- Less damage in the transportation process
- Environmental benefits compared to current “non-nano” films
- With improved holding force customers can now enjoy a reduction in packaging weight and increase their production throughput as a result of faster packaging speeds.
Whilst nanotechnology itself isn’t a phenomenon solely connected with packaging, the packaging world is beginning to wake up to the benefits in performance. It allows us to be able to develop higher performance products.
Blog by Robert McEwan, to contact Robert to discuss any of this blog, please email him firstname.lastname@example.org