05. Oct 2022
The Helsingborg-based greentech company GAIA BioMaterials AB (GAIA) has a world first ready just in time for the opening of Scanpack (October 4th), the largest packaging exhibition in northern Europe. After a long and challenging development process GAIA has finally cracked the code for a thermoformable version of their biomaterial Biodolomer®, that not only can withstand microwave heat, but also has the potential for passing the home composting requirements. The solution is to be found in a combination of the proprietary recipe, as well as the new, unique production equipment, which the company installed in its factory in Helsingborg during last year.
“What we present at Scanpack is the result of combining solid knowledge in material development and packaging technology, with the latest technology in material production”, says GAIA's CEO and co-founder, Peter Stenström.
“Ever since we founded the company, we have nurtured a vision of a microwave-safe material that can also be disposed of in a home compost. Step by step we have approached the goal by adjusting the material and the production process.”
During its development, several prototypes have been introduced, such as the fiber variant of Biodolomer that was presented at Scanpack in 2018, but the big breakthrough came in 2020, when the first PLA-free version of Biodolomer for thermoforming saw the light of day. The material exhibited many of the properties of the current material that will be presented at this year’s Scanpack but lacked the heat resistance necessary for use with hot food and beverages.
“We were quite clear about what adjustments needed to be made already at that stage, but lacked the necessary machinery”, says Konrad Rosén, R&D Manager at GAIA.
“In parallel with the development of the material, we had also begun work on developing a new Compounder, which we hoped would offer us previously unimagined opportunities to develop new material properties. There are always risks involved when designing a new machine, but Åke Rosén, the company's co-founder and creator of Biodolomer®, had a clear idea of what he wanted.
With the new machine in place, GAIA has worked tirelessly to optimize the recipe, aiming to produce a material that solves the Gordian knot in terms of the trade-off between heat resistance and compostability. The result can be viewed at Scanpack, in Gothenburg Sweden, from October 4th, and until the end of the exhibition on October 7th.