University of Twente Student Theses


Substitution of polymer interior packaging with the use of biodegradable materials

Dijk, M. van (2021) Substitution of polymer interior packaging with the use of biodegradable materials.

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Abstract:The use of plastic in packaging has brought a number of problems into our world and although many people have been working on solutions, the situation calls for more action. The subject of this thesis was the redesign of an interior packaging with the focus of replacing the plastic material. Due to sustainability problems with plastic use, an alternative material was subject of research. The combination of the new material and altered design should lead to a viable packaging. The viability depends on the packaging’s ability to protect the contents while also carefully presenting the products. In order to find a new material for the interior packaging, a material selection process was needed that compares multiple attributes. Also, the relations between material properties were needed in order to score them accordingly. A method that proved feasible was the House of Quality method. With this method, materials can be ranked based on their measurable properties and how they affect the requirements for the interior packaging. As a result of the selection process, paper and board could be contestants for replacing plastics for the interior packaging. Bioplastics may also be a second option. A case study was executed at Van de Steeg, a printing and packaging company. A specific product-packaging combination was to be designed with computer aided design and rapid prototyping. The case study started from a die-cutting and folding-gluing production process and a large set of packaging materials, which are fiber-based including paper and board. The approach for this part consisted of the following design phases: analysis, idea, concept and detailing. During the design phases, multiple concepts were generated. These concepts were then evaluated on aspects including production, assembly, protection and aesthetics. The concept that scored the highest received more iterations to improve the design in the detailing phase. In the later stages of the packaging design, a number of tests were conducted to assess the protective performance of the packaging. The assessment of the interior packaging consisted of impact and vibration testing. These tests have been performed with multiple materials and designs. The results showed that thinner materials could not compete with plastics, while the higher grammage materials performed sufficient in these tests. In conclusion, a viable packaging was designed and tested based on a biodegradable alternative. Although this alternative is currently less protective and more costly than plastic packaging, it will help with countering the plastic waste problem. It is recommended to carefully select the material thickness for paper and board per product. A flowchart that helps the designer with the material selection supports optimizing the interior packaging. Digital testing may also support the optimization of the interior packaging. Experimenting with bioplastics is also recommended, since the experimental study did not include them. Finally, extra actions could be taken to further stimulate the use of paper and board and bioplastics by putting more effort into processes that increase the sustainability.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:50 technical science in general, 51 materials science
Programme:Industrial Engineering and Management MSc (60029)
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