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Injection-molding meets special needs

A newly available injection grade of Barex® modified acrylonitrile resin from BP Chemicals (Cleveland, OH) allowed Cheil Foods of Seoul, South Korea, to introduce its bonka bean and chili pastes in clear, glass-like, unbreakable containers providing a one-year shelf life.

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The products rolled out in Korea in January. "Commonly, Korean bean pastes are packed in thermoforms that use PP/EVOH [polypropylene/ethylene vinyl alcohol] coextrusions," says Mr. Hwan Seok Kim, manager of processed food planning at Cheil. Such containers typically provide a 6-month shelf life for this kind of product. But Cheil needed more durable packaging because its "World's Best" pastes contain only natural ingredients. Without high gas barrier properties in the container, these ingredients wouldn't last. Also, the firm wanted to be able to apply a hinged, injection-molded PP cap to the rim of the container so that after the heat-seal foil membrane was removed, consumers could easily open and reclose the container. The molding tolerances inherent in injection molding com-pared to thermoforming, combined with heavier sidewalls not practical in thermoforming, make possible the reclosable lid. The heavy sidewalls also beef up gas barrier properties. The Cheil containers aren't light. The 500-g paste is packed into a container weighing 40 g, the 1- kg container weighs 60 g. The PP/EVOH or monolayer Barex thermoforms in which competitive products are often found weigh about 75% less. DongJin Plastics (Seoul, South Korea) molds the containers and the lids. Not clear at press time was how the fermented products are filled, though a BP spokesman says they're not hot-filled or retorted.

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