Zhejiang Jujie New Material Co., Ltd., a leading integrated film convertor and bag maker based in China, wanted to reduce material use by downgauging the co-extruded polyethylene (PE) films used for its air column bags. Air column bags are widely used as protective packaging during e-commerce logistics and transportation.
‘Jujie is always looking for a competitive edge, so we wanted to improve film performance by offering air column products with the sustainability benefits of less plastic consumption, while delivering premium protective performance,’ explained Zhi Ping Qi, Chairman of Jujie Corp.
The ultimate goal of Jujie was to create an air bag solution that would build brand awareness, grow market share and create overseas business opportunities.
Jujie collaborated with ExxonMobil’s polyethylene business, which is recognised for driving packaging advances through value chain collaboration, to use performance materials that can offer the sustainability benefit of enabling the use of less plastic through downgauging while still maintaining performance.
The typical structure of an air column bag is PE/tie layer/PA/tie layer/PE co-extrusion. ExxonMobil provided Jujie with one of its new downgauged starting formulations that uses Exceed S 9243 and Exceed XP 6056 performance PE in the PE layer of the air column bags. Starting from the ExxonMobil-provided formulation, Jujie made custom modifications to arrive at a solution that works in its 5/7/9 layer blown lines, and then sealed and tubed the film into bags with its bag making line.
Data from trials conducted by Jujie demonstrated that a 45-micron film, downgauged by 10% compared to a market reference film, offered excellent burst resistance, comparable film stiffness and needle puncture performance, as well as strong cost and material savings potential.
‘When downgauging a film, it is often difficult to reduce the thickness of both the polyamide (PA) and PE layers without compromise of mechanical performance,’ said Zhi Ping Qi. ‘This is especially true for the PA layer, which is generally used to provide stiffness. But using Exceed™ S and Exceed™ XP in the PE layer makes it feasible to downgauge by 10% and deliver strong cost optimisation potential with comparable performance.’
The success of the trial led to the commercialisation of 45-micron air column bag by Jujie, which helps to establish its technology advantage compared to other market players with 50-60 micron products.
Using Exceed XP 6056 and Exceed S 9243 has allowed Jujie to create an air column product solution that can provide the sustainability benefit of using less material, while delivering premium protective performance compared to traditional cushion packaging made using expanded polystyrene (EPS) and expanded PE (EPE). The solution can also offer significant potential cost advantages versus alternatives as well as an excellent appearance.
‘Working with ExxonMobil has allowed Jujie to develop a solution, which has increased the company’s market share in recent years,’ said Zhi Ping Qi. ‘Jujie has become one of the leading air column suppliers with about 30% market share.’
In this test result, the solution comprising Exceed S performance PE delivered excellent burst resistance, comparable film stiffness and needle puncture performance vs. the market reference at 10% downgauging.
Downgauging of both the PA and PE layers offers the opportunity for material cost savings with comparable mechanical performance. See below for comparison of an ExxonMobil starting formulation with market reference.
|Downgauge solution: 45μm|
|PE layer formula||~50% performance PE-based market reference||Exceed S 9243
Exceed XP 6056