08/21/2009, Düsseldorf / Germany

 

Liofol EcoPower from Henkel

 

Efficient cleaning of laminating machines

In the packaging industry, significant resources are often allocated to the job of cleaning adhesive residues from laminating machines. Indeed, manufacturers of flexible packaging invariably find themselves using large quantities of solvent-containing cleaning agents of the type subject to special labeling requirements. However, Henkel is able to offer a significantly more resource-efficient, environmentally sound and, in health terms, compelling alternative in the form of its specialty cleaner Liofol EcoPower.

Cleaning agents subject to special labeling requirements are widely used in the packaging sector. When it comes to cleaning laminating machines, solvent-containing industrial cleaners are often seen as the only practical means of removing adhesive residues from the applicator rolls at the end of a run. The most common substances used are ethyl acetate (EAC) and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), with N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP) also featuring large in Southern Europe. Despite their good cleaning properties, these cleaners bring with them a number of disadvantages: their usage is impeded by their pungent odor, and because of their potentially deleterious effect on health, they are subject to special labeling requirements imposed by EU directive, which means they can only be employed provided that the user is adequately protected. Moreover, NMP in particular is suspected of being a carcinogen. 

A further handicap of the substances mentioned lies in the high volumes that are consumed in the cleaning process. In order to save time, operatives tend in many cases to commence the cleaning process before the applicator rolls have cooled. As a result, large volumes of fluid are required in order to compensate for the evaporation losses that arise. With this approach, a great deal of physical effort is also applied to the laminating machine’s functional surfaces in order to remove the baked-on adhesive residues, and damage to the applicator system can arise if operatives are inexperienced or fail to apply the required level of care.  So from both the economic and the ecological standpoint, the use of these solvent-based cleaners can be regarded as somewhat out of step with the times.

Specifically for the upkeep of laminating machines that work with polyurethane adhesives, Henkel has therefore developed Liofol EcoPower. This specialty cleaner, with no encumbering labeling requirements, is free of aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbons, contains no toxic substances and represents no hazard to the health of its users. In just three steps, Liofol EcoPower is able to match the cleaning result of conventional methods, but without any adverse effect on the operative, the equipment or the environment. Unlike in the case of prior-art cleaners, the product is intended for direct application to the heated roller – and with no evaporation losses arising, consumption is kept low. After just a short dwell time, the applicator rolls merely need to be wiped to free them of the nuisance residues – leaving their functional surfaces intact and undamaged. Depending on requirements, a brief additional wipe with EAC may help to complete the effect.

Henkel AG & Co. KGaA