Cavan based Xtrupak – ongoing development of biodegradable range
Co Cavan-based Xtrupak has been manufacturing and distributing extruded thermoplastic for the print, packaging and display markets since 2012. Commercial and marketing director, JOHN REILLY talks about building their form fill seal (FFS) packaging business in Ireland and their plans to further develop the sustainability of their products in 2021.
Xtrupak are PET experts, which means they are highly experienced in extrusion manufacturing. Reilly
believes that this is what separates them from other manufacturers in the market.“We’re constantly upskilling our staff and investing in the latest technology,” he says.“This allows us to offer the best service possible, while also fulfilling our safety, social and environmental responsibilities.” Environmental responsibility is a vital aspect of their business model. “All of our inputs are 100% recyclable and the materials that we use in production are fully traceable, from supplier to production to
end product,” he says.
So what does he regard as the key benefits of extruded thermoplastic as a material for food
packaging and for retail signage and POS materials? “The key thing is the recyclability of PET in general,” he says. “As an extrusion APET and rPET film manufacturer, our circular business model helps to embed sustainability in every aspect of Xtrupak.
“We drive positive change throughout Xtrupak, from sustainable sourcing of raw materials to minimising our operational impact and lowering the environmental footprint of our customers. Our rPET flakes are generated from recycled APET bottles, which we import from Europe, and we then recycle it through our processes and that creates our Xtruform sheet roll. Typically, the customer will specify
how much recycled content must go into the sheet. Our rPET film is 100% recycled and
Food packaging applications
Food packaging applications Xtrupak’s Xtruform product has properties that make it ideal for food packaging applications.
“Xtruform is dimensionally stable, high impact, high rigidity and has excellent mechanical
properties,” says Reilly. “The UV stable polyester film offers the best in thermoforming quality and
maintains high transparency and light transmission properties before and after machining. Our Xtruform product offers a range of innovative packaging solutions, from fresh food to medium shelf life, right through to extended shelf-life products. Our XtruForm films are widely used in the packaging of meat, fruit, ready meals, salads, fresh sandwiches and freshly baked products, and they are also used in some healthcare products, such as containers for toothbrushes. Xtruform, which can have APET virgin material or an rPET sheet roll stock, goes into thermoforming and it is used for Form Fill Seal (FFS) packaging. We are finding that more and more companies are requesting Xtruform with the rPET sheet roll stock, as it is recyclable.
We envisage a number of new packaging opportunities for this product.”
Xtrupak supplies its Xtruform product to the bigger thermoforming companies in the UK, food companies that supply the likes of Asda, Tesco, and Marks and Spencer. In Ireland, they supply medium-sized sheet roll stock into factories that have an inhouse machine that moulds their material into packaging, so it is formed, filled and then sealed. “They would infill our product with their hams, cheeses, fish, or whatever they are
producing in-house,” he says. “We have invested in machinery to target the Irish FFS packaging market, so we can supply the Xtruform FFS brand directly into Irish retailers and food companies from 2021 onwards.”
There will also be ongoing development to create a biodegradable range, as 80% of the applications
of the Xtruform sheet roll are in retail and food.
“We are an Enterprise Ireland company, so anyR&D can be undertaken through Enterprise
Ireland programmes and that is what we will be gearing up to do next year.”
Retail POS and display
XtruClear is a range of thermoplastic, amorphous, polyester sheets. According to Reilly, thanks to XtruClear’s flexible fabrication properties, it can be used to produce products with complex shapes and demands.
“Xtrupak is also cost-effective, has excellent transparency, high impact resistance, chemical resistance and
prints to an immaculate standard, making it a fantastic option in many situations,” he says.
The product is suitable for shopping trolley bays and smoke shelters, point of sale display shelving, fridge and freezer lines and dividers, vending machine covers, box type and transparent packaging applications, convenience packaging and printed signage. Over the past 10 months, the material has been used extensively in the protective screens that have been installed at till points in supermarkets and convenience stores
around the country.
Xtrupak has worked hard over the past two years to ensure that its business is Brexit-ready. “The key was staying close to our customers – the thermoforming companies in the UK – and ensuring that their import declaration system and our export declarations systems are linked,” says Reilly. “That has been completed, so we don’t feel that our export ambitions will be massively affected by Brexit. We benefitted from the Brexit
webinars and events that were set up by Enterprise Ireland for SMEs like ourselves to
ensure we were Brexit-ready.”