Floreon Masterbatches are Changing the Face of Bioplastics (May 2014)

Floreon Transforming Packaging Ltd is changing the way we see bioplastics in the form of an additive masterbatch for PLA. Floreon enhances the performance of PLA in many ways including increased toughness, higher performance, more durability and increased applications. Not only that, but it also reduces the processing temperatures required and potentially the load required on the extruder.

The team behind Floreon originally wanted to use PLA in their own packaging but found that the performance of standard PLA wasn’t quite high enough for their demanding applications. The environmental credentials of PLA were very attractive, but required greater performance, so they reached out to experts at the University of Sheffield who developed ‘Floreon’.

Floreon’s aim was to significantly enhance the performance of PLA whilst preserving the positive aspects of the material (renewable feedstock, various end of life options). After extensive research and development with experts at the University of Sheffield and an independently rated ‘outstanding’ Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), the team had developed a blend that could exceed the performance of other plastics like PET but retained a PLA content of (around 90%) and remained completely biodegradable and food contact safe.

Andrew Gill, Technical Director explains how Floreon is changing PLA as we know it:

“Floreon is a unique additive technology for PLA that gives real enhancements in performance whilst expanding the processing window. We're working with leading experts in the field of polymer processing to quantify just how much energy can be saved by adding Floreon to PLA and the initial figures have been very exciting. In one case, we lowered barrel temperatures from 210 °C to 195 °C and also reduced the screw drive motor current to less than half the amount for PLA alone. The material performance is also fantastic, with independent testing putting the toughness of Floreon somewhere between PET and polypropylene.”

Independent testing of Floreon by Smithers Rapra puts it somewhere between PET and polypropylene for impact resistance, whilst the high modulus or ‘rigidity’ is retained. With the enhancements, Floreon is a great option for many applications including 3D printing filament, food packaging, large water bottles and many more.

With patents pending across the globe, significant venture capital under an enterprise investment scheme and product testing and trials around the world, Floreon are now looking to develop partnerships with existing PLA users and companies who want to use PLA but require greater performance. Rather than simply selling an additive formulation, Floreon want to work with companies that share their environmental values to develop exciting and highly functional new products.

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