Sun Chemical introduces PETG Shrink Sleeves and expands portfolio of plastic and security cards

Sun Chemical has launched its SunLam De-seaming Adhesive for shrink-labeled containers. The new de-seamable adhesive helps recyclers improve recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) yield without process changes. Developed in partnership with Eastman Chemical, both companies extensively tested SunLam on labels made with Eastman Embrace LV co-polyester. It eventually received a “Responsible Innovation Acknowledgment” by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) after passing stringent testing outlined by the organization. By changing from a traditional solvent to SunLam De-seaming Adhesive, shrink labels de-seam and release during the whole bottle wash step of the wet recycling process, without sacrificing label performance. The label removal occurs prior to colour, infrared and manual sorting, thus preventing shrink-labeled PET bottles being removed from the rPET stream due to mis-identification.

The efficacy of SunLam De-seaming Adhesive was tested on bottles with shrink sleeves made from Eastman Embrace LV co-polyester. The tests utilized whole bottle wash equipment at commercial recycling facilities and yielded results of greater than 95% label removal, with results typically exceeding 99%. “When the challenge of removing shrink labels during PET recycling was brought to the industry’s attention by the APR and the National Association for PET Container Resources in 2012, Eastman stepped up to the challenge and organized a consortium to collaborate on ways to solve this issue,” said Ronnie Little, Market Development Manager at Eastman. “PET bottle bales typically contain 5% shrink-labeled PET bottles. Many of those labels do not come off in the PET recycling process, reducing rPET yield. We’re pleased to have partnered with Sun Chemical in this process to develop a technology that satisfies the consumers’ desire to recycle, a brand’s goal to be both responsible and recognizable, and the APR’s mission to eliminate barriers to successful commercial recycling.”

Russell Schwartz.
Russell Schwartz.

“Consumers and brand owners alike expect PET bottles to be recycled, but unfortunately, far too many end up in landfills because the label wouldn’t come off,” said Russell Schwartz, Chief Technology Officer at Sun Chemical. “At Sun Chemical, we consider it our responsibility to address issues in the industries in which we participate, and to provide leadership in resolving problems our partners and customers face. On learning of these concerns, we initiated a major project to solve this industry-wide challenge. We’re pleased to introduce the environmentally friendly SunLam De-seaming Adhesive as part of our contribution to the circular economy.”

Sun Chemical has also acquired C.T.LAY to expand its portfolio of plastic and security cards. Based in Modena, Italy, C.T.LAY is a global leader in pre-laid overlays, pre-patched holograms, and, through its joint-venture branch 4PLATE, experienced in lamination plates and sophisticated lamination plates with security elements and plasma coatings. “The strategic acquisition of C.T.LAY will enable Sun Chemical to better serve its customers around the world,” said Mehran Yazdani, President of Sun Chemical Advanced Materials. “The broad range of technologies and services provided by C.T.LAY and 4PLATE will further strengthen Sun Chemical’s portfolio of magnetic tapes, screen and security inks, and electronic materials for plastic and security ID cards.” C.T.LAY provides its industry-leading technologies to more than 70 countries worldwide. Over 500 million cards are produced annually with its stripe overlays – as well as millions of governmental documents with its patch sheets. The company has also earned various industry certifications – including CWA 15374:2008, ISO 14298:2013 and ISO 9001:2015.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.