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Sustainability and safety are prime considerations for packaging adhesives manufacturers in today’s world, says Henkel. The market leading company has responded to these demands with a new low migration product range, which it says is also highly economical to use

The overall trend in the packaging adhesives industry “is always on the move,“ observes Marcel Hübenthal, segment manager, paper converting Europe for market leader Henkel. “Due to the fact that packaging itself is one of the key differentiators for brand owners, the overall expectations and challenges combined with the manufacturing processes for packaging bring new challenges every day,” he says.

“The market consolidation that has taken place throughout the adhesives industry over the past 10 years is certainly supporting this on one hand,” he continues, “but on the other hand the competition is getting smarter every day as well. The trend towards more sustainable and more environmentally friendly solutions is also increasingly prevalent in the adhesives industry.“

Henkel is the market’s leading supplier of adhesives for the manufacture of packaging. “Due to the increasing population of our planet, the consumption of packaging is also growing rapidly,” says Hübenthal. “This is one of many reasons why we put most of our attention on sustainability and safety. An example of that is that Henkel is the first in the industry to offer a full range of adhesives which offer low migration performance.

“Even if this, from a legal point of view, is not yet obligatory as for printing inks and varnishes, we believe that packaging with low migration perfomance will only be achievable if the right adhesive is being used. On top of that, we were the first manufacturer to perform full Life Cycle Analysis on adhesives for the packaging industry,“ he emphasises.

“This has also confirmed that our products and technologies are contributing not only to an improvement in terms of food safety, but also in a significant reduction of carbon.” (For more information visit:

Dispersion adhesives play an important role in the manufacture of packages made of paper and board. Glued folding boxes, bags or sacks are used in the food industry mainly for dry foods with a long shelf life. Until recently, there has been a potential risk that substances could migrate from an adhesive into the interior of the package.

Low migration products

To ensure the maximum possible safety, Henkel has now added a complete low migration product line to its Adhesin range of proven water-based adhesives. Dedicated product variants are available for different application systems, such as rollers and nozzles. A further benefit is that the Adhesin Low Migration products are also said to be highly economical to use.

In the Adhesin Low Migration series, Henkel says it has eliminated plasticisers completely. The use of other substances with a potential migration risk has also been minimised.

However, detectable traces of such substances in food are not just due to possible migration directly out of the adhesive in a package, but also to indirect migration via the paper recycling route.

The dispersion adhesives incorporating plasticisers that are contained in waste packaging enter the paper recycling loop where they can accumulate in the paper fibres. The paper mills have no way of extracting the plasticisers. Since the share of recycled fibres used in paper and board production is constantly rising, the share of entrained plasticisers is also growing.

Henkel says its Adhesin Low Migration series offers the greatest possible safety for both packaging manufacturers and consumer goods producers.

“The packaging industry frequently overlooks the risk of migration from adhesives,” observes Oliver Klewe, Henkel marketing manager paper converting Europe. “A really low migration package, however, demands the right combination of paper, printing inks and adhesives. Since the adhesives in the Adhesin Low Migration series contain no plasticisers whatsoever, it is now possible to completely avoid the contamination of foods by adhesives.“

The new products comply with Recommendation XIV of BfR, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, which applies to plastics dispersions intended for contact with food and aims to reduce the contamination of recycled papers with entrained plasticisers.

Technically, according to Henkel, the plasticiser-free adhesives it has developed “meet all the usual industrial requirements for bonding folding boxes, corrugated board boxes, bags and sacks, and other paper packages, including large area lamination”.

Low migration perfomance will only be achievable if the right adhesive is used Henkel

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