PVC: a “Swiss army knife” polymer at the service of packaging
Once in second place, PVC is now ranked third in volume, behind polyethylene and polypropylene. The packaging sector, which takes up 10 to 15% of Arkema’s PVC production, could pass for a “minor” outlet… if this did not represent some 6 million metric tons for Western Europe alone! PVC therefore concerns packaging especially, even though in recent times it may have slipped in the ratings, a poor acknowledgment of its impressive versatility.
creating a stretch film, just a few microns thick that protects your food, or the blister pack displaying the doll your daughter will find under the tree, or even the honeycombed trays hugging the chocolates and candies you will be serving your guests. And imagine that the same material is used to manufacture the profiles that give your windows a perfect seal. This material with such wide-ranging applications is PVC.
PVC never ceases to reinvent itself through new shapes and forms, and packaging is one of its favored areas of expression. Mechanical strength, thermal stability, air-tightness, and resistance to corrosion - its many properties open up a truly extensive range of applications. And although other polymers, more noble but also more expensive, may prove more effective in a given application, PVC can join in without any problem in multilayer structures.
SOMETIMES HUMDRUM BUT ALWAYS USEFUL
PVC’s most visible and most spectacular application is the shrinkwrap film. Without it, forget about “buy one get one free” special offers, or desserts in containers shaped like cartoon characters; without it, forget about bottles of water decorated exclusively for the holiday season. PVC has now become a vital ally in the marketing of brands, as just a few grams of this inexpensive material can help speed up the rotation of new products, without touching the content, through special and specific packaging. So, humdrum, PVC? Not in the least. It is PVC that is the trusted material for medicine bottles and blood bags for blood transfusion. Now, can you think of a more precious content?