Siegwerk has established a new business unit dedicated to functional coatings for sustainable packaging innovations. With this extension of its organizational structure, the company underlines its increasing strategic focus towards functional coatings and boosts its position as an enabler of circular packaging solutions across all business units.

“In addition to our broad portfolio of renowned printing inks and varnishes, we have also been focusing on the development of functional coating technologies for various substrates, processes and performance requirements for a long time now,” said Dr. Nicolas Wiedmann, CEO at Siegwerk. 

In light of the sustainability trend, functional print coatings offer a high potential for the future of packaging. By providing specific functional properties that are crucial for the performance and durability of packaging, they play a key role in realizing packaging solutions for a circular economy. 

“Functional coatings can, for example, help to reduce packaging complexity or equip renewable materials like paper with functional properties so that they can be used for a wider range of packaging applications,” added Gilles Le Moigne, head of Siegwerk’s CE Coatings business unit. “That is why we are increasingly focusing on the development of innovative coating technologies that prioritize recyclability, allowing packaging to seamlessly re-enter the circular economy.” 

The newly established coating unit will serve as a cross-divisional hub of excellence for circular solutions, adding specialized functional coating technologies to Siegwerk’s conventional coating offering for the different packaging applications.

The company has appointed Gilles Le Moigne, an experienced packaging coating expert, as head of the CE Coatings business. Le Moigne will lead the formation and development of the new division from April 2024. “I am very much looking forward to this new challenge,”said Le Moigne. “Siegwerk is already well positioned in the field of coatings, and I am grateful being able to contribute my experiences to take its circular coatings business to the next level.” 

In addition to effective primer solutions, including those for delamination and deinking as well as decorative coatings for extraordinary optical or tactile effects, Siegwerk customers can also choose from a wide range of functional coatings. From barrier coatings against liquids, oil and grease, water vapor, oxygen, and UV light through heat-seal coatings to protection coatings e.g., for heat resistance, anti-scratch, anti-slip, or anti-static, Siegwerk’s portfolio of functional coatings already covers several water-based and solvent-based technologies for different applications, substrates, coating processes, and performances. All coatings are produced worldwide and are always tailored to individual customer requirements, including specific regional regulations and local market needs.

Siegwerk can already look back on several successful development projects with customers and industry partners that have resulted in advanced packaging solutions with improved performance and recyclability. Together with Henkel, Siegwerk for example created an innovative oxygen barrier coating that enables mono-material packaging solutions with better recyclability and better barrier properties. In another development project Siegwerk and Packiro jointly created a sustainable fiber-based packaging solution with high protective barrier properties and 100% recyclability. By developing the new UniNATURE Water-Oil Barrier Coating, Siegwerk also launched the first barrier solution with 100% natural content, enabling the recycling of single-use paper plates through the existing paper recovery cycle — to just name a few development examples. “To continue paving the way for an increasing circularity of packaging, we will expand our cooperation radius to the entire packaging ecosystem going forward,” said Le Moigne. “After all, packaging sustainability is a complex topic, making cross-industry collaboration inevitable for progress.”

Rethinking the design of packaging has never been more important. According to the European Commission, each European generates an average of nearly 180kg of packaging waste per year and without changing anything this will rise by further 19% until 2030, with an increase in plastic packaging waste even reaching 46%. That is why the Commission agreed on EU-wide rules on packaging to stop this trend. The European Green Deal aims to reduce packaging waste through both reuse and recycling, making sustainable packaging the norm. Therefore, it is urgent to rethink packaging and make it fit for all kinds of regulations and potentially upcoming bans of specific material combinations. “Here, functional coatings can help to enable the switch from multi- to mono-material packaging and extend the use of renewable packaging materials,” added Wiedmann. “As ink and coating expert for packaging, we are very familiar with packaging design and the latest regulations, including food safety, packaging sustainability and recycling, and know what it takes to create packaging structures for circularity that are conform with all relevant regulations.”

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