Biopolymers supplier NatureWorks and packaging manufacturer IMA Coffee’s joint partnership has entered the first significant trial phase on the development of K-Cup compatible compostable coffee pods.
Compatibility testing on capsules, filter, and top lid films are being performed at IMA Coffee Lab with the aim to identify and achieve optimum material sealing parameters and limits, as well as a suitable set up of IMA packaging machineries to handle the pods successfully.
“Through the research and testing of alternative processes and materials, together with customers, material suppliers and partners, we foster plastic-free and sustainable, compostable packaging solutions,” says IMA Coffee Sales Manager and IMA Coffee Petroncini CEO Nicola Panzani.
Tests are carried out under the supervision of IMA’s research and development team and in close and constant co-operation with NatureWorks specialists.
“With the promising results we’ve seen so far, we have already begun the next phase of development by partnering with converters in North America to bring these new compostable pod designs to commercial scale,” says NatureWorks Global Industry Manager Flavio Di Marcotullio.
IMA says the sophisticated microleakage detection testing performed at its Coffee Lab has given more than encouraging and optimistic results, allowing a significant step forward in the process that will continue to the following coffee extraction testing phase.
At NatureWorks, the development of new single-stage thermoforming processes and capsule designs allows it to produce precise capsules that meet IMA’s packaging machine specifications for filling and sealing.
NatureWorks has also constructed a custom Data Acquisition System for K-Cup compatible pods that is being used to understand and benchmark how differing capsule designs perform under various brewing conditions.
By bringing together NatureWorks’ materials and applications knowledge with IMA’s machinery expertise, IMA says the partnership aims to deliver a turn-key compostable coffee pod solution to the entire coffee industry in the most sustainable way possible.
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