Stanelco to expand tests of its Greenseal technology

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Radio frequency Packaging

UK-based Stanelco will begin testing the use of its radio frequency
technology heat sealing method with a food packaging company within
the next two months, according to a company spokesperson.

Stanelco's Greenseal radio frequency technology replaces the need for a polyethylene sealing layer within the laminate, thus making the pack recyclable, the company claims.

Greenseal sealing is cheaper, better for the environment and helps ensure that perishable foods are safer for the consumer, the company claims.

The company also announced this month it has extended its agreement with the ASDA supermarket chain for another 12 months. The original agreement, announced in March 2005, offered the Greenseal technology to ASDA suppliers on an exclusive basis.

The new agreement waives an exclusivity arrangement with ASDA. This will allow Stanelco to offer the Greenseal technology to ASDA's suppliers who also provide products to other retailers.

"It widens the market for Greenseal,"​ the Stanelco spokesperson told FoodProductionDaily.com.

He said the company will roll out tests of the Greenseal technology with a food packaging company within the next two months. The tests had been delayed while the company continued its development of the technology.

Stanelco uses its Greenseal radio frequency welding to seal food trays. Radio frequency sealing develops fusion temperature within the plastic material using alternating high frequency electromagnetic energy.

When used with the modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) method, Greenseal can cut down on the number of leaky packages, the company told FoodProductionDaily.com last year.

The MAP method works by replacing the air with a mixture of inert gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The package is then heat sealed. The low-oxygen mix extends the shelf-life of the meat, vegetables and other perishable foods by up to 15 days from the normal five days.

However, typical MAP heat-seal processing results in about two per cent of the packaged food not being sealed properly, resulting in wasted food, or worse, food that may have gone bad before its stated shelf-life. Stanelco's radio frequency technology cuts the leaky package problem down to less than one per cent of those processed using MAP, the company claimed.

Current heat-sealing methods for plastic tray packaging uses a polyethylene laminate as a glue to make the seal, typically at between 150-160 Celsius. Stanelco's Greenseal method does away with the laminate and welds the two sides of the package together at 50 Celsius using radio frequencies.

The method results in a 20 per cent reduction in the cost of packaging material and a 75 per cent reduction in the cost of energy used in the process, the company has claimed.

Since there is no glue used in the process, the mono plastic package can now be easily recycled, he said. The Greenseal method can also be used on tinfoil packaging but needs a polyethylene laminate to make the seal.

Under its previous agreement with ASDA, Stanelco planned to retrofit about 100 heat-sealing machines used by the chain's suppliers of meat, vegetables and other perishables.

Stanelco will charge retailers about $55,000 (€55,000) per machine a year for use of the technology. There are about 50,000 sealing machines in the UK, North America and Europe currently using the MAP method.

Stanelco, a listed UK company, is headquartered in Southampton, England. It was founded in 1953 and became a manufacturer of optical fibre technology, induction heating and dielectric welding equipment. The company has since exited the business and last year began developing its radio frequency technology for use in the packaging market.

The company has also developed a biodegradable air cushion packaging product called FrogPack, designed for retailers who ship fragile goods.

Stanelco has also branched out. Its sister companies, Adept Polymers, manufactures water-soluble and biocompostable plastics. Another sister company, Aquasol, concentrates on developing new packaging concepts.

In a joint venture with SPhere, a major French packaging manufacturer, Stanelco unit Biotec has developed a range of biocompostable plastic polymers called Starpol. The plastic is based on plants.

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