AIMCAL Fall Technical Conference a Huge Success


This year's conference was held in warm and sunny Naples, Florida. Co-held with SPE FlexPackCon, the conference drew 417 attendees from the USA and 18 foreign countries.  In total, there were 76 people from outside the USA, or about 1 in 5.  This aspect of the conference is excellent in that one has the ability to collaborate with people that you would otherwise never have the opportunity to meet. 

Many aspects of web handling, metallizing, film manufacturing, raw materials, extrusion, laminating and packaging were covered in more than 80 presentations.  I gave two papers at the conference, the first entitled "Laminating to Digitally Printed Substrates" and the second "A Review of Adhesive and Extrusion Laminating".  The full agenda can be seen at:

AIMCAL of course does it right by having a unique blend of technical content, networking, and (just a little) time off for sightseeing and relaxing.

Corey Reardon of AWA Alexander Watson Associates (The Netherlands) opened the extrusion coating session with an overview of the extrusion coating market worldwide.  Not enough time was available to hear everything Corey has to say, but his survey are available for purchase at:

I spoke next on the comparing adhesive laminating to extrusion coating.  Extrusion coating and laminating is relatively new to AIMCAL, and the committee that this was an appropriate topic to present.  The short story here is that adhesive laminating is much more efficient for short runs than extrusion laminating, and extrusion laminating can offer superior performance in terms of strength, heat sealability, and is more efficient at longer runs than adhesive laminating.

Frank Orsini, Extrusion Coating VP at Davis-Standard, gave an extrusion coating equipment overview basically from soup to nuts, giving an excellent overview of the equipment used in this technology.  Though it was an overview, Frank gave a lot of detail for the average engineer to bring home and use.

Christine Ronaghan, Group Technical Director at Cloeren, Inc., presented a very practical and well-rounded paper on coextrusion feedblock and die technology for extrusion coating and laminating, including various coextrusion technologies available as well as modern "bead-reduction" die technology in use today.

Christopher Walker of ExxonMobil gave a paper entitled "New sealant solutions for food packaging structures", highlighting ExxonMobil's ExceedTM 0019XC metallocene PE (mPE) for extrusion coating, as well as their new VistamaxxTM 3588FL performance polymer for BOPP.  These materials offer an excellent  strength and heat seal properties, which can translate into improved heat seal & hot tack (read - less leakers), and improved quality.

Lastly, Bruce Foster of PolyKnows LLC presented a paper entitled "Factors Impacting Adhesion on Extrusion Coating", focusing on "biopolymers".  This was a fundamental paper, serving as a good primer on adhesion for both new and experienced engineers.  Bruce reviewed the process conditions required to achieve good adhesion, namely extrudate type, temperature and thickness; nip pressure and impression; and substrate morphology.

On the SPE FlexPackCon side, several sessions were presented covering sustainability, food safety, processing and equipment, materials, and package performance.

All in all it was an excellent conference with more than one person can possibly hear in 3+ full days.  In addition, tabletop displays by several companies offered the attendee an opportunity to see and discuss current technology with many vendors.  For a complete list, see:

AIMCAL Europe is next June in Dresden, Germany, and the next US conference is in Memphis in October.  See you there.

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