How Specialty Polymers Improve Design and Performance in Food Contact Applications
Today’s consumers are searching for well-made food contact products that offer appealing features and excellent performance at a reasonable price. Accordingly, manufacturers must find ways to limit unnecessary costs as they develop innovative products. Specialty polymers can help OEMs create components that improve cost-competitiveness and performance in food contact applications. Solvay’s portfolio of food-grade materials gives manufacturers unmatched flexibility in design and performance so they can develop products that meet the unique needs of their target consumers.
Improved Design Flexibility and Aesthetics
As OEMs work to create innovative food contact products, they often require design flexibility to address the evolving challenges in the food and beverage industry. Today’s food contact applications must combine impressive aesthetics with high performance to ensure visually appealing and long-term, reliable properties. Manufacturers can rely on Solvay’s range of polymers for aesthetic applications, including Ixef® PARA, Udel® PSU, Veradel® PESU and Radel® PPSU, for visually appealing components that translate to high-quality products.
In many food-grade products, transparency is not only an appealing design choice but also a necessary feature for improved performance. Solvay’s Udel® PSU, Veradel® PESU and Radel® PPSU enable transparency for an improved end-user experience in applications including transparent control windows, hoods and covers.
Outstanding Resistance Performance
While aesthetics and innovative designs are essential in consumer goods, food contact applications must be able to perform in the necessary environments and conditions. Materials for food-grade appliances must ensure water and steam resistance for safe and effective products. Solvay’s range of polymers with outstanding water and steam resistance aid manufacturers in developing components that can withstand the challenging conditions present in applications like coffee machines, rice cookers and other food contact applications.
In addition to water and steam resistance, food-grade materials must also be able to withstand high amounts of heat without limiting performance. Heat resistance is a requirement in nearly all food contact applications, from baby bottles to microwave trays, and Solvay’s range of polymers offers versatile heat resistance to meet the needs of each manufacturer. For example, Udel® PSU’s exhibits long term temperature resistance up to 170°C, while KetaSpire® PEEK’s can perform continuously at temperatures as high as 240°C. Solvay’s materials provide reliable heat resistance in temperatures and environments ranging from everyday consumer goods to the most extreme industry settings.
Additionally, food contact products must exhibit other properties that other consumer goods may not require. Flame retardancy is especially critical in the materials utilized in kitchen appliances, and Solvay’s range of inherently flame retardant polymers improves safety and reliability for manufacturers and consumers. Ryton® PPS, KetaSpire® PEEK, AvaSpire® PAEK, Veradel® PESU, Radel® PPSU and Solef® PVDF all offer flame retardant properties, as well as ideal wear resistance for enhanced component and product safety.
Excellent Strength and Durability
To complement engaging aesthetics and reliable resistance properties, food contact goods must also promote outstanding strength and durability for longer service lives. Stiffness and strength are essential qualities for food-grade materials, as the components that make up consumer appliances must exhibit adequate physical properties throughout use. Specifically, appliances and industrial applications for food contact plastics experience significant wear and tear throughout use and must be able to maintain strength and durability. Solvay offers a range of high-performance polymers for food-grade applications that promote improved mechanical performance, including Amodel® PPA, Ixef® PARA, Omnix® HPPA, Ryton® PPS, Radel® PPSU, KetaSpire® PEEK and AvaSpire® PAEK.
Solvay’s specialty polymers also enhance manufacturers’ sustainability efforts throughout processing and end-use. High-performance polymers are longer lasting and more durable than commodity plastics which can extend the service life of food contact applications. Additionally, many of Solvay’s specialty polymers are recyclable for more eco-friendly polymeric goods.