Clarifoil is a global leader in the manufacture of cellulose diacetate films. Philip Yorke talked to Philipp Moeller, the company’s international marketing manager, about its latest high performance print lamination and window films and its move into new markets.
Clarifoil is part of the US-based Celanese Corporation, which is a global technology leader in the production of speciality materials and chemical products that are utilised throughout most industries and consumer applications. The group employs approximately 7250 people worldwide and in 2010 had net sales of US$5.9 billion. With its specialist casting technology, Clarifoil produces an extensive range of biodegradable film products ranging from 14um to 500um in clear, matt and semi-matt finishes and in an infinite variety of colours. The company’s customers are printers, carton manufacturers, retailers, packaging buyers, publishers and designers. Key markets include high-end food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals where high quality and eco-friendliness are important to both the manufacturer and the end user.
Offering a clear advantage
Today the range of products being packaged and sold in Clarifoil cellulose acetate films is huge, from pasta to perfume and from shirts to chocolates. Clarifoil films offer crystal clear clarity, high gloss and unparalleled scratch resistance, all of which enhance value and consumer appeal. Moeller said, “Our cellulose diacetate films outperform competitive films and our advanced lamination films come in a wide variety of gauges and special effects, making them ideal for a wide range of applications, especially in the cosmetics, perfumery and healthcare sectors. When it comes to laminates, our films can be foil blocked, glued and printed without pre-treatment.
In addition, our UV absorbing film for food window packaging significantly increases a product’s shelf appeal because it is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye but protects the contents from the sun’s UV rays, thereby increasing shelf life and maintaining the freshness of the product. We are an innovation-led company and deliver packaging solutions that optimise our customers’ products and make them more competitive. We are looking for further applications for our unique biodegradable film packaging products and we are the only producer of cellulose diacetate films in the world. Our substantial R&D capability means that we can develop products to suit the precise needs of our converters in any part of the world.” Moeller added, “We are competing with companies that produce packaging using OPP, PET, nylon and PLA films; however they cannot offer the range of benefits that our cellulose diacetate films can. Clarifoil films are sustainable and are biodegradable and compostable to EN13432, ASTM D6400 and Vincotte OK compost home standards. Furthermore, our films also offer a versatile range of finishes that can be tactile, high gloss or deep matt, fluorescent, with satin or semitone finishes or even with special sparkle effects. In addition, they are fingerprint resistant and offer a high degree of scratch resistance as well as being available in every pantone colour or shade imaginable.”
It is well known that packaging manufacturers require a film which bends around corners without the problem of ‘stress-whitening’, yet retains the desired tension as the board expands and contracts in use, as well as minimising dust attraction. In addition, when the package contains moist foodstuffs for chill cabinet displays, the film should be breathable and allow moisture to escape without any ‘misting’ of the window. Clarifoil’s diacetate film embodies all these characteristics, giving it a clear advantage over competitive films.
Sustainable, unrivalled quality
Clarifoil’s high gloss, transparent foil is premium quality and produces a brilliant high gloss laminate finish, while the company’s matt film achieves a striking visual effect. For semi-matt surfaces it is possible to choose from satine and Semitone™ finishes all of which are scratch and scuff resistant. Clarifoil also offers the production of special effects such as pearlescent colours and other exotic finishes. The company continues to innovate and evolve its product offering to support and enhance the global print finishing industry.
Another unique feature of Clarifoil films is that they are suitable for Anaerobic Digestion (AD), which is becoming more relevant as a waste disposal route for food and packaging. AD is a similar technique to composting but the methane gas produced is recovered and used to provide energy. AD is a particularly attractive waste disposal option because it allows for the collection of food material as well as packaging to be utilised either as a source of energy or as a fertiliser. Moeller said, “With landfill tax currently standing at around £60 per tonne and set to rise by a further £8 per tonne until at least 2014, Anaerobic Digestion offers an alternative strategy for waste management as it will save money and also reduce landfill, which is a win/win solution.”
Clarifoil films are primarily produced from wood pulp sourced from Sustainable Forestry Initiative’ managed forests. Similarly, Clarifoil’s latest metallised lamination film is sustainably sourced and compostable to all relevant standards. As a result, it is now possible to create premium, high value packaging without impacting on the environment. Clarifoil’s Clarefect™ is immensely versatile, and can be printed, varnished and foil blocked without requiring surface treatment. This allows packaging to be produced more quickly and efficiently whilst saving several steps in the manufacturing process.