Enhancing Plastics with Clarity

September 26, 2019 by Zach Adams

At K 2019 Milliken shows that it is enhancing plastics with clarity using a transformative additive that enables converters to offer UltraClear polypropylene (PP), mono-material solutions that are cost-effective and easier to recycle.

Milliken’s state of the art Millad® NX™ 8000 clarifying additive is used to produce the fully transparent material, known as NX™ UltraClear™ PP, which yields durable end products with superb, glass-like clarity making PP a viable alternative to resins such as PET and polystyrene in a wide range of applications.

It’s no wonder, then, that brands, converters and product designers are increasingly turning to Millad NX 8000-modified polypropylene to produce crystal clear PP products with all their associated benefits, and that the additive is a key component in nearly 80% of the world’s clear PP today.

Recently it became the only PP clarifying agent to receive Critical Guidance Recognition from the US Association of Plastic Recyclers, validating that the additive is compatible with plastic packaging recycling.

Our promise is to help a diverse range of converters to make highly sustainable PP products with superior clarity that are significantly lighter, less expensive, highly recyclable and more environmentally responsible.

Clarity for brilliant and more sustainable products

PP clarified with Millad NX 8000 can be used in injection molded, blow molded and thermoformed products.

Resins containing Millad NX 8000 offer new opportunities to enhance the sustainability and productivity of injection molding processes. Firstly, Millad NX 8000 not only transforms lightweight polypropylene into a crystal-clear alternative to glass, but boosts PP sustainability by enabling converters to process the material at a lower temperature - up to 40°C lower than traditional clarifiers. These cooler temperatures reduce energy demands and associated CO2 emissions, enabling more sustainable packaging solutions. It also offers excellent solubility in PP with a high melt flow rate (MFR), meeting the growing demand for high MFR grades to support faster production.

Many bottles and containers today rely on multilayer constructions using a variety of materials to deliver the end result required. Such packaging may yield the necessary performance but can be bad for the environment – in effect, multi-material packaging can often make a product more difficult to recycle. With NX UltraClear PP, in many applications, polypropylene can be used not only in the bottles but also in the caps and labels, offering a viable, recycling-friendly, mono-material solution that doesn’t require adhesives or glues.

Likewise, Millad NX 8000 is a clear winner in thermoformed applications such as cups, trays, clamshells and containers. NX UltraClear PP is lightweight, recyclable, chemical-resistant and impact-resistant. Compared to PET in food trays, mono-material PP sealed trays are fully recyclable. NX UltraClear PP also offers significant weight savings and the ability to produce more trays per kilo of material.

And, Millad NX 8000E is tailored for extrusion blow molding (EBM), making transparency in EBM no longer limited to PVC or PET. The clarifying agent is specifically designed to deliver dramatically improved optical properties with standard polypropylene EBM resins, eliminating the ‘milky’ appearance normally associated with PP in blow molding, so that polypropylene can be used as an economical, convenient and recyclable replacement for other materials.

Making our Responsibility go Further

Unprecedented global demand for Millad NX 8000 has prompted us to bring forward by two years the construction of the largest clarifier plant in our history in the United States, boosting production capacity by 50% by 2020.

By using Millad NX 8000, and NX UltraClear PP resin, brand owners can produce more-recyclable, mono-material products. Additionally, displaying a UL Environmental Claim Validation (ECV) label on their products illustrates their commitment to sustainability.

Brand owners and packaging producers are clearly seeing how Millad NX 8000 can contribute to improved environmental and manufacturing results. It is one of the most successful products in the history of plastic additives, and arguably the most important in the past 30 years.

An eye on the plastics end of life challenge

As a member of the plastics industry’s long-standing “Responsible Care” initiative, we are constantly working to advance the sustainability of our entire product portfolio and to continually push boundaries to increase responsible manufacturing in a variety of ways.

Millad NX 8000 is a state-of-the-art clarifier that supports our customers’ sustainability efforts. Its environmental advantages are helping to drive strong global demand. We are committed to advancing and scaling new technologies that minimize waste, make recycling and recovering plastics easier and create value from post-use plastics and we invite others in the plastics value chain to join us in stepping up to the plastics end of life challenge.

On display at K 2019 are our additives, colorants and other products that help to take our industry closer to a circular economy. Visit our booth (Hall 6/A27) to find out more about these and Millad NX 8000 that has taken the market by storm, helping to create plastic packaging with crystal clear clarity whilst driving sustainability.