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  • 2016 European Barrier Films in Flexible Packaging

    Product Leadership Award

    2016

    Akulon XS

  • BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH

    © Frost & Sullivan 2016 2 “We Accelerate Growth”

    Contents

    Background and Company Performance ........................................................................ 3

    Industry Challenges .............................................................................................. 3

    Product Family Attributes and Business Impact ........................................................ 3

    Conclusion........................................................................................................... 7

    Understanding Product Leadership .......................................................................... 8

    Key Benchmarking Criteria .................................................................................... 9

    Best Practice Award Analysis for DSM ........................................................................... 9

    Decision Support Scorecard ................................................................................... 9

    Product Family Attributes .................................................................................... 10

    Business Impact ................................................................................................. 10

    Decision Support Matrix ...................................................................................... 11

    The Intersection between 360-Degree Research and Best Practices Awards ..................... 12

    Research Methodology ........................................................................................ 12

    Best Practices Recognition: 10 Steps to Researching, Identifying, and Recognizing Best Practices ................................................................................................................. 13

    About Frost & Sullivan .............................................................................................. 14

  • BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH

    © Frost & Sullivan 2016 3 “We Accelerate Growth”

    Background and Company Performance Industry Challenges

    Companies specialized in developing plastic films with adequate barrier properties for

    protecting, preserving, and extending the shelf life of packed goods witness the highest

    rate of product adoption in the European food packaging industry. On one hand, plastic

    substrates deliver significantly high flexibility to brands, especially manufacturers of

    packaged food substances, in terms of printability, branding, sustaining, and preserving

    the manufactured product. On the other hand, the lack of a sufficient barrier in the plastic

    film is the key factor leading to the permeation of flavor, aroma, water vapor, moisture, or

    any other gaseous substance. The existing participants in the European polyamide barrier

    film market opine that polyamide 6 (PA6) is the ideal component for manufacturing

    packages with the best combination of barrier properties as well as mechanical strength.

    However, the high crystallization speed of this polymer is a challenge that barrier film

    processors need to overcome. Traditionally, companies handle this challenge by either

    reducing the processing speed, which affects productivity, or by combining PA6 with

    unstructured polyamides or polyamide copolymers. In both cases, however, the

    production cost increases because customers have to compromise on their productivity

    efficiency or spend more in the process of blending PA6 with additional polyamides or

    polyamide copolymers.

    Companies operating in this market need to develop a technologically advanced version of

    new polyamide that features a slower crystallization rate than the conventional PA6, but

    the similar material property of PA6. With this feature, the advanced product version

    would be able to match the crystallization speed of different material layers. The

    developed bubbles would be more stable than before, and the processors would be more

    flexible when processing barrier films. In addition, the produced barrier film would need to

    be more stretchable than the existing offerings, which would require the application of less

    force to achieve the desired blow-up ratio (BUR) level, providing companies with a

    competitive edge over their peers in the European market, backed by their ability to

    position their product lines strategically to meet customers’ needs.

    Product Family Attributes and Business Impact

    Product Value

    As a specialist supplier of polyamides, thermoplastic copolymers, and polyesters to the

    European flexible packaging market, DSM has created a product portfolio that is highly

    compatible for food, pharmaceutical, and industrial packaging. This product line comprises

    the company’s proprietary products, Akulon® (PA6, PA66, XS resins used extensively for

    film extrusion purposes in food,medical and industrial product packaging). Barrier film

    developers use DSM’s Akulon in cost-effective packaging applications (e.g., retort

  • BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH

    © Frost & Sullivan 2016 4 “We Accelerate Growth”

    packaging for ready-to-eat products and packaging for fresh food). Poor shelf life caused

    by environmental factors such as temperature, moisture, and air pressure as well as low-

    quality food packaging is the primary reason behind the wastage of packed substances. To

    avoid this situation, brands are compelled to invest in improving the existing food

    preservation methods, translating into reduced return on investment (ROI) for film

    manufacturing companies. To help customers overcome the aforementioned challenges

    and add value to flexible packaging, DSM has introduced its exclusive Akulon 6, 66, and

    XS (introduced in 2014) product variants.

    Features and Functionality

    Fresh food and retort convenient products require high barrier properties against

    moisture, oxygen and temperature. Moreover ready to eat products and food products

    that are packed in microwaveable packaging, require high resistance towards temperature

    and moisture. It is pretty vivid from DSM’s Akulon product range that the company

    understood this need thoroughly. For instance, Akulon 6 offers high-range processing

    (high temperature resistance & high viscosity extrusion grade), superior mechanical

    attributes, viscosity, low gel count, and ability to preserve moisture. With customer focus

    on retaining shelf life of the product and a single film catering to multiple types of

    products, DSM’s products are well suited for both fresh and processed food and prevent

    them from discoloration and spoilage, thereby enabling a prolonged shelf life.

    In addition, Akulon 6 offers better features with respect to higher temperature resistance

    and mechanical strength as compared to polyamide copolymers such as PA6/66. Because

    of these attributes, the former is growing in applications such as retort convenient

    packages that can survive high temperatures and mechanical pressures. However, the

    processing challenge of PA6 in blown film is hindering film converters to capture the value

    in this growing demand markt segment.

    In comparison, Akulon XS is a revolutionary product due to its special chemical and

    morphological structure and has combined the film property advantage of PA6 and the film

    processing advantage of PA6/66 copolymers.. By using Akulon XS, barrier film

    manufacturers have been able to design multi- and mono-layered film structures that are

    co-extruded. No other traditional PA6 resin can offer customers a viable solution that

    addresses the slow productivity issues caused either by the drop in processing speed or

    expensive production process. Barrier films produced from Akulon XS also proved to be

    more robust and provided better stretchable properties than traditional polyamides in the

    market without compromising on the aesthetics.

    In the past year, DSM has delivered products by addressing the contemporary needs of its

    customers and is focused on doubling the shelf life of food through innovative packaging

    solutions in the future.

  • BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH

    © Frost & Sullivan 2016 5 “We Accelerate Growth”

    Reliability and Quality

    Driven by its commitment to offer technologically advanced polyamides to barrier film

    producers in the Global market, DSM strongly relies on its extensive research and

    development (R&D) capabilities to develop sustainable products. DSM’s leadership position

    can be best understood through its success in the constant development of proprietary

    technology platforms that equip its scientists with the unique ability to understand the

    crystallization kinetics of polyamides. Slow crystallization enabled by Akulon XS

    establishes the company’s expertise in producing both mono- and multi-layered co-

    extruded barrier film structures that were earlier impossible to achieve without either

    slowing down the normal processing speed or mixing PA6 with expensive polyamides or

    copolymer

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