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A flexible approach to packaging 

The move to more attractive, lightweight, flexible packaging brings with it fantastic advantages for people, brands and, potentially, the planet – not least convenience and ease of use. Meanwhile, the latest developments in luxury packaging are opening up entirely new worlds for brands to explore when engaging their customers. 

However, these innovations present major challenges for the coatings and packaging industry. Non-migration of materials in food is one. Adhesion and cohesion in multi-layer laminate systems is another. Creating a genuinely original sensory brand experience is another. And achieving all this responsibly and sustainably – without adding matting agents and toxic compounds – is perhaps the biggest challenge of all. 

At DSM, our packaging coating innovations are solving these challenges for the industry – via a range of resin technologies, including waterborne, UV cure, powder and solventborne. And all while delivering an outstanding look, feel (and touch). 

Liquid food packaging in China

“Because of the stricter VOC emission control here in China, the coatings and ink industries are increasingly looking to switch from solventborne to waterborne systems whenever it’s viable. In the case of a particular cardboard-based application, we were invited to create a resin to solve this challenge – which, of course, meant not compromising on productivity (printing speed), print quality (ink reversibility and printability), or cost (not higher than existing solventborne systems)."

"We used multi-disciplinary teams and applied scientific knowledge and models to solve a complex problem in just 12 months. By contrast, according to some key customers in this niche segment, other players had spent more than three years on a similar project without much progress.

We are now exploring this new product in another application for beverage aseptic packaging. Our initial test results have been positive. We’re now embarking on a line trial and, hopefully, a wider marketing trial in China. I guess it proves that, when it comes to developing resins for packaging solutions, it pays to be flexible.”  

Chin Chee-Kong, DSM China

Solving a ‘sticky’ challenge

Multi-layer flexible food packaging is here to stay – and it’s easy to see why. It protects the contents and makes it easier for both consumers and brands to transport and store. The question is, how can the coating industry take the complex production behind flexible packaging to a new level? In short, how do we solve the sticky problem of adhesion between these multiple layers?  

One answer could be taking innovation from one part of DSM’s business and applying it to another – what we call the ‘X factor’. For example, Niaga® is a new way of thinking about how we make, deconstruct, and re-make products. At first, it was used to create 100% recyclable carpet technology – now it’s moving into new flooring applications. And our technical team at DSM Coating Resins hopes it could open the door to new flexible packaging applications one day.  

The glue that holds the whole concept together, quite literally, comes in the form of an engineered adhesive from DSM, which is applied using custom-built lamination technology. It ‘sandwiches’ the fiber top of the carpet and the backing together, replacing latex, which is heavy and requires considerable energy to cross-link.

Ultimately, Niaga® enables a new way of making, deconstructing, and then re-making products – by using pure materials with no additives that are 100% recyclable. Could this be a new chapter for the food packaging industry?  Watch this space. 

Learn more about Niaga®

A heritage in food safety

When it comes to food contact packaging applications, we have a very special motivation to get it right first time, as around 50% of all food packaging you see on supermarket shelves contains our resins. Clearly, we can’t afford to get it wrong.

Fortunately, at DSM, our knowledge of food safety and packaging stretches beyond our resin technology toolbox and expertise. For example, our food division works closely with leading food brands every day – on food preservation solutions that extend the shelf life of products and prevent contamination, and on groundbreaking packaging solutions like PackAge™, a perm-selective coating for ripening cheese. Best of all, our experts are just a phone call or email away.

DSM in food safety


Other markets

  • Building & Construction

    Interior and exterior decorative, flooring, joinery and façade, and concrete constructions.

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  • Furniture

    Industrially produced wood, and metal furniture for indoor and outdoor applications.

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  • Industrial General

    ACE, lawn and garden, heavy construction, equipment and machine parts, metal fabrication and exercise equipment.

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  • Vehicle

    Automotive applications, including coatings for new cars and parts, and vehicle refinishing.

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  • Consumer Goods

    White goods (refrigerator, washing machines), electronics, and electrical appliances (hairdryers).

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  • Telecom

    DSM is the world's leader for optical fiber coatings — a critical component of today's high-speed fiber networks.

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Could we help you solve your coating challenge?

No matter what the application, substrate or technology, there’s a good chance our team can help you.

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