K 2013: Calcium carbonate as a product, process, sustainability enhancer
By Karen Laird | August 20, 2013
Packaging will take center stage this year at the K Show booth of Omya, the Switzerland-based global calcium carbonate specialist (booth D75, Hall 6). The company is presenting its full portfolio for the polymer industry, among which the latest additions to the calcium carbonate Omyacarb and Omyafilm ranges, which are specifically targeted at the packaging sector and will be exhibited in a variety of new applications, including film extrusion, caps and closures, sheet extrusion and extrusion coating.
Calcium carbonate is used to enhance mechanical properties and improve productivity in a wide variety of applications, from thin films to thicker sheets. The material can boost the output of processing lines while achieving improved impact strength and higher stiffness. The Omyafilm range, specifically developed for the film industry, yields benefits for both the production process and the end product. Calcium carbonate is also used to produce microporous breathable film types. In this instance, the mineral serves as an active ingredient: during production, when the film is stretched, microvoids are formed between the polymer and the calcium carbonate, resulting in a network of micropores that produce breathability.
In the packaging sector, Omyacarb is used to enhance blowmolding processes.
Omya is touting its calcium carbonate as an environmentally friendly product that reduces the overall negative impact of plastic applications. Although the company has conducted its own Life Cycle Analysis programs since the 1980s, sustainability has become an increasingly important value for the company and its stakeholders over the past five years. Adding calcium carbonate to plastic products improves the environmental footprint, and, says Omya “ has led to a strong development in environmentally friendly applications”.
The group is also showcasing its direct addition technology for PVC extrusion applications. Direct addition of calcium carbonate at the extruder feed throat results in a higher calcium carbonate content, higher operational flexibility and a more stable process compared to standard dry blend mixing.
Various products in the Hydrocarb range for vinyl extrusion for the building and construction industries will also be on show. According to Omya, these products allow processors to increase calcium carbonate usage without compromising on mechanical properties or final product performance.