Palsgaard's Einar Series Of EPS Coating Additives Is Bio Based And Food Grade

Enhancing EPS with plant-based Einar® coatings

Since its invention in 1949, expanded polystyrene (EPS) has been used to produce a myriad of virtually weightless, cost-efficient, chemically stable and sterile end products, from insulating transportation boxes to resilient helmet liners.

Also called ‘airpop’ because it mainly consists of air, typical EPS has a polystyrene content of only two percent, which minimises its resource depletion potential compared to most other plastic packaging solutions. It requires a third less water in production than laminated cardboard and is up to eight times lighter. Plus, it can be 100 percent recycled, and the EPS industry is actively working to become more circular.

Palsgaard offers a complete range of plant-based food-grade glycerol monostearate (GMS) and glycerol tristearate (GTS) EPS coating additives as well as convenient all-in-one coating additive blends. Customers seeking to reduce their overall carbon footprint will also appreciate that we produce all of our biobased additives in fully carbon-neutral facilities.

Natural benefits...

Traditionally, a wide range of synthetic additives are being specified to lend EPS further required properties, such as improved flow, faster cooling times and anti-static performance. In recent years, however, increased concerns about the potentially harmful effects of fossil-based additives in plastic packaging have resulted in strict regulations aimed at reducing the additive content in food contact applications.

This is where our Einar® plant-based EPS coating solutions are changing the game. Thanks to their inherent food grade status from vegetable oils, these additives have a perfect fit in a wide range of lightweight EPS packaging products for sensitive items that require thermal insulation to stay cool or warm. Moreover, due to their high effectiveness in low concentrations, they are ideal replacements for amine and amide based anti-static and cooling time enhancers, while also eliminating any issues that may be caused by synthetic additives in EPS recycling.

...and a damaging misconception

Unfortunately, a popular misconception regarding European Directive 2019/904 on the Reduction of the Impact of Certain Plastic Products on the Environment has been damaging the image of EPS as an efficient packaging material. Although it is often misunderstood as a general EPS prohibition, Part B of the Directive is only referring to airpop packaging products for food or beverages meant for immediate consumption without further preparation.

The ban of those products is aimed at reducing the high volumes of uncontrolled plastic litter from take-away and ‘to-go’ packages. In contrast, this does not include the wide majority of other EPS non-food or food packaging. Consider for example transportation boxes for fresh fish and other perishable food. There is hardly another packaging material that can boast the same combination of favourable protection properties and sustainability.

 

Flexible and convenient

Enhancing these benefits, Palsgaard offers a complete range of plant-based food-grade glycerol monostearate (GMS) and glycerol tristearate (GTS) EPS coating additives as well as convenient all-in-one coating additive blends. Customers seeking to reduce their overall carbon footprint will also appreciate that we produce all of our biobased additives in fully carbon-neutral facilities.

Among the single-ingredient additives, Einar® 501 adds anti-static performance to prevent the agglomeration of EPS beads during pre-expansion, transportation, storage and moulding. It also minimises the attraction of dust and static energy to finished part surfaces. As a fine GMS powder, it allows manufacturers to create their own formulations with recommended loadings from 0.1 to 0.6 percent, depending on the bead size and specific processing conditions. Small beads require higher concentrations due to their larger surface area.

Einar® 511 is a GTS cooling time enhancer in very fine powder form for use at loadings from 0.1 to 0.4 percent. It facilitates the exchange of foaming agent and air in the moulding process, which reduces the need for cooling and helps EPS converters achieve faster moulding cycles.

As ready-to-use blends for optimized additive inventory and more efficient handling, Einar® 531 and 533 combine anti-static and cooling time enhancement in different ratios. Recommended concentrations are between 0.2 and 0.5 percent. For applications requiring very high lubricity, Einar® 543 and 544 are available as full EPS coating blends with varying content levels of zinc stearate.

All of our EPS coating solutions can also be used for closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam (XPS). The products are complemented by full technical support based on many years in the industry of fine-sprayed glyceride esters.

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About the author

Christina Normann Christensen is Product & Application Manager for polymer additives at Palsgaard. At the company’s Polymer Application Centre in Juelsminde, Denmark, she is responsible for planning, coordinating, managing and implementing the development of Einar® plant-based additives and customer projects for non-food applications. Normann Christensen has a Master of Science from Aarhus University in Chemical Engineering with specialisation in polymers and plastic engineering.

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www.palsgaard.com