Commodore Plastics, Bloomfield, N.Y., is offering a new type of coextruded PS foam shrink label that insulates aluminum, glass, and PET beverage containers to keep liquids colder longer. The labeling system, called Labec, is produced by Commodore under a licensing agreement with foam giant Sekisui of Japan. Commodore produces the sheet on a 2.5/3.5-in. tandem extruder setup equipped with a 2-in. coextruder at an output rate of 160 lb/hr, states Brad Braddon, Commodore president. Process conditions are modified to yield a foamed sheet with a high level of closed cells needed to provide the required insulation properties, adds Gary Duncan, who is consulting with Commodore on the project and acting as a sales agent. The sheet is produced in thicknesses from 5 to 10 mils.
Aluminum cans figure to be a main target, since as conductors they tend to heat up quickly, remarks Duncan. Tests conducted by Commodore demonstrated that Labec labels keep beverages colder for an average of 15 to 20 min longer than cans alone, based on a beverage-temperature gain without the label of 20-30° F in 1 hr.
The foam labels can be printed, hot stamped, metalized, and embossed, among other decorating options, and can be easily added to existing filling lines, states Duncan.
Commodore is targeting initially smaller craft beer makers and contract labeling companies.
Foamed labels are commonly used on microwaveable food packaging. They were tried years ago on glass bottles mainly to prevent injury in the event of breakage, but the technology stalled as bottles started to transition from glass to plastic.