With the packaging industry preparing to meet EU recyclability targets, the demand for innovative and sustainable solutions is growing fast. In a recent co-creation project with SN Maschinenbau GmbH, a leading manufacturer of horizontal pouch-packaging machines, UPM Specialty Papers tested a range of heat-sealable barrier papers on SN Maschinenbau’s packaging machines. The goal was to create a recyclable, renewable, fibre-based pouch ideal for dry, frozen, and greasy foods. The sample will be displayed at Interpack 2023.

Best in class technology. Best in class solutions. 

As a world-leading manufacturer of packaging machinery, SN Maschinenbau seeks to deliver the best pouch packaging technology to its customers. In the light of current trends, this includes the capability to produce and process the recyclable and renewable packaging materials that customers are looking for. Working closely with partners, SN Maschinenbau is searching for new types of materials that, at best, can be seamlessly integrated into existing pouch packaging machinery. 

Yet conventional heat-sealed pouches usually consist of plastic, or paper with a separate plastic layer. For example, when a paper-plastic laminate is recycled, the fibres are collected but the plastic is often incinerated. That’s where the expertise of UPM Specialty Papers came into play, in the form of UPM Confidio heat-sealable barrier papers. 

– Compared to a paper-plastic laminate, UPM Confidio barrier paper offers a much higher level of fibre collection, helping customers achieve recyclability targets. According to certified recyclability tests, up to 99% of the paper can be recycled into raw material for new fibre-based products, explains Esa Saukkonen, Manager, Packaging Portfolio Development at UPM R&D.

A fibre-based alternative to laminated pouches 

– The big trend for the entire packaging industry, especially for the major brand owners, in the coming years is certainly the switch to packaging made from sustainable and recyclable materials. We see that our customers are increasingly using paper to make their pouch packaging sustainable and recyclable. Therefore, it is important for SN Maschinenbau that we can assure them of the processability of new sustainable packaging materials, without compromising on quality. In some cases, this means adapting existing machines to new materials. For this reason, we have collaborated with UPM Specialty Papers and tested the compatibility of their heat-sealable barrier paper on our machines, says Felix Eberhardi, Team Lead, Marketing at SN Maschinenbau GmbH. 

Since the barrier papers proved to be compatible with existing SN pouch-packaging machines, no new investments or technical changes are required. The resulting ‘ready to go’ fibre-based solution is ideal for dry, frozen, and greasy foods, as well as any end-use where heat sealing is required.