When M. Holland’s film and flexible packaging team goes to work every day, they’re looking to do more than just sell resin.
Their goal is to make customers more competitive. Depending on the customer, this might entail developing new products or applications, or cutting costs by changing formula construction or raw materials. It might mean adjusting extrusion line conditions to achieve maximum output rates, or it might be down-gauging the product while retaining strength properties. Or it could entail altering a company’s product mix to minimize inventory and maximize bulk buying efficiencies.
“Basically, our goal is to help customers build a better mousetrap,” says J. Rudy Bourgeois, M. Holland vice president, film development.
After more than 20 years with M. Holland and 40 years in the industry, Bourgeois has amassed the knowledge and expertise that turn customer visions into reality.
He asks customers, “If you were to take your products to the next level, what would it look like?”
Then he shows them how to get there.
While every customer operates with the intent of attaining maximum quality and minimum costs, Bourgeois and his film development specialists are in a good position to bring outside perspectives and practiced recommendations to the table. With proficiencies that range from polymer chemistry and physics to extrusion technology and product design, the M. Holland team prides itself in bringing new ideas and different approaches to challenges.
“Many times we are able to review products, look at constructions, then make specific recommendations for customers,” Bourgeois says. “We may use the same materials in different combinations, or we may recommend different materials. We work with each customer individually to achieve their particular goals.”
Alternate Resin Exponentially Increases Output
One flexible packaging manufacturer found itself limited in extrusion output by backpressure and amperage. The equipment was functioning at maximum capacity and the company sought solutions to increase production. By changing the product composition — by introducing an alternative resin — the manufacturing line could accomplish substantially greater output. While such an adjustment may require higher costs in materials, the increased output would more than offset the greater expenditures, and the end result is more money in the customer’s pocket.
Gels the Result of Dirty Extrusion Lines, Not Resin
M. Holland showed one customer in the packaging industry that gels in its film were caused by a dirty extrusion line. After purging the line, the output was flawless.
Regulate Operating Temperatures
M. Holland helped one film manufacturer achieve target output rates after a closer examination of the extrusion line revealed the processing window had a very narrow optimum temperature range. This particular blown film extruder operated at maximum output as long as it remained within this narrow temperature window.
New Blown Polypropylene Exceeds Customer Expectations
M. Holland worked with a manufacturer of transparent packaging film to introduce a resin technology that enabled the invention of a new high-clarity blown polypropylene film. A custom blend of materials resulted in the development of a film that is lighter gauge with better haze, clarity and gloss, so the end product looks more expensive, is more tamper resistant, and offers equal if not better performance characteristics than cast PP film. The product has brought about higher profit margins for the customer, along with increased businesses because the competition hasn’t been able to match the performance and cost of this product.
Polyethylene Training for HMW Resins
In addition to his training presentations on LDPE, LLDPE and mLLDPE, Bourgeois developed a polyethylene training program to help companies transition from low density, smooth bore extrusion to High Molecular Weight (HMW) HDPE resins on grooved extruders. The training covers how to optimally process PE resins, which require a different extrusion technology and follow different bubble geometry. He shows trainees how, if molecules are oriented in the same direction as the material exits the die, the resulting film lacks strength and is easily torn. By taking the aligned molecules and bi-axially orienting them, the finished product has greater tensile strength and toughness. The training also provides a common lexicon so all team members can communicate using consistent terminology.
While no two customer challenges are alike, Bourgeois does see one common denominator in his technical and product troubleshooting for customers around the world.
“The majority of our problem-solving for customers is process related, not resin related,” Bourgeois noted. “Most of the problems presented to us can be effectively resolved by making adjustments to the extrusion process.”
If that means taking the red-eye to be on a customer’s floor first thing in the morning, Bourgeois is up to the challenge. He thrives on meeting with customers around the country and values the opportunity to help customers achieve their goals.
M. Holland Company’s film resin portfolio includes Honeywell 6 and 6/6,6 nylons and product categories including LDPE, EVA, EMA, EBA, LLDPE, LLDPEm (elastomers and plastomers), HDPE, HMW HDPE, PP metallocene, PP, COP, RCP, SBC, Tie layer resins, and other specialty resins specifically designed for flexible packaging applications.
If you enjoyed this Plastic Resin article, please check out some related previous posts
The Impact of ‘The Plastic Age’
Bisphenol-A and SVHC
Plastic Resins: A Subtle but Fundamental Part of Modern Living
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Resins
Polystyrene and Proposition 65: Much Ado About… Something?!?
Print Advertising in the Plastic Resin Distribution Industry
Common Regulatory Questions You Should Ask
Do Regulatory Documents Have a Freshness Date?
Information Technology: 2016 Trends and the Impact on the Plastics Industry
Black Specks in Plastic Parts and the Common Cures