With the rise of the global plastic ban, pulp molding has been recognized as the most environmentally friendly alternative to plastic packaging in the world. Pulp molding is a processing method for manufacturing a pulp molded product by using a plant fiber and water and an auxiliary agent to form a pulp molded product through a specific mold under a certain pressure and then dried and shaped. Therefore, the entire production process will not produce any pollutants, which belongs to the process of physical form changes. Pulp molded products are also environmentally friendly and recyclable. After being discarded, they can naturally degrade in a short time. It is a typical green packaging product.
According to Goldstein Research, the global green packaging market in 2016 was worth $139.09 billion. It is expected to reach $230.19 billion by 2024 and grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.50% during the forecast period. Although in daily life, most of us only know that molded fibers are associated with electronic packaging and egg trays, it has become a sustainable resource for a variety of major and secondary applications across industries. As molding technology continues to evolve, applications become more complex.
Before studying various applications, we first need to have a general understanding of the type of molded pulp.
Molded pulp type
Molded pulp can be classified into the following four types depending on the manufacturing process, the type of raw materials used, and the use.
1, Thick-Walled Pulp
Thick-walled pulp is the thickest molded pulp used for manufacturing packaging products for shipping and transportation. It is primarily composed of scrap and kraft paper and cardboard. The products usually have an unfinished surface on one side, with a moderately finished one on the other. The thick and rustic profile makes it the ideal application for making edge protectors for heavy equipment.
2, Transfer Molded Pulp
Transfer molded pulp is slightly thinner compared to the thick-walled variety. As the pulp is transferred from one mold to another during the manufacturing process, it is called transfer molded pulp. As a result, both sides are finished properly, which renders them a polished look and texture. It is perhaps the most popular type of molded pulp out there. The most common applications include egg trays, fruit and vegetable trays, slipper pans, wine shippers, and end caps.
3, Thermoformed Fiber Pulp
The manufacturing process of the thermoformed fiber involves the use of a heated mold, that is, directly heating and drying the product in the mold, and controlling the drying process conditions during drying to ensure the density, stiffness and strength of the product after drying, and overall ensuring the quality of the product. Because of the ultra-high appearance of the articles after thermoforming, they are commonly used to make delicate molded tableware such as dishes, plates, cups and soup bowls.
4, Processed Pulp
As the name suggests, processed pulp undergoes secondary processing such as coating, printing, hot pressing, trimming, and an addition of special slurry additives. As the finished products possess similar properties to expanded polystyrene, processed pulp makes an excellent cushioning material.
Pulp molding application
Through the understanding of the classification of molded pulp, we have a preliminary understanding of the division of molded pulp, the following is an in-depth study of the specific application of molded pulp in life.
1, Containers generally refer to fast cutlery, derived from the manufacturing process of thermoformed fibers.
At present, it is mainly used in lunch boxes, instant noodle bowls, snack trays, dishes, etc. These containers not only have a smooth surface and exquisite appearance, but also have the characteristics of heat insulation, water and oil proof, pressure resistance, biodegradation and recycling.
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2, Disk class
Bottle trays, pulp molded bottle holders do not need to be disassembled, can save packing time, and the overall bottle holder can reduce the breakage rate, which is mainly used for positioning buffers of various beverage bottles, wine bottles, cans, etc. Its nested design also helps save space and significantly reduces transportation costs.
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Egg tray, pulp molded egg tray with loose material and unique egg-shaped curved structure, so it has better cushioning, breathability and freshness preservation. It is mostly used for large-scale transportation and packaging of poultry and eggs, and is matched with corrugated boxes. use.
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Fruit trays, pulp molded fruit trays can be molded into trays of fruit curved structures for use as liners. It has the maximum shock absorption effect and prevents moisture penetration and has certain shock absorption performance. It can avoid the damage between the fruits. It can also radiate the heat of the fruit, absorb the evaporated water, inhibit the ethylene concentration, and prevent the fruit from decaying. To extend the shelf life of the fruit. It can be used for packaging of pears, apples, citrus, pineapples, peaches, apricots, tomatoes, etc.
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In addition, the agricultural tray also plays a significant role in the preservation of the agricultural products and the survival rate of the seedlings.
3, shield class
Pulp molded products can be used as nurseries for crops, coverings for flowers and seedlings, squares for silkworms, and packaging for food, vegetables, and fresh meat. If flowers and crops are planted in a nutrient bowl made by pulp molding, they can be transplanted after survival, and the nutrient powder can be naturally degraded.
4，Industrial cushion packaging
Pulp molding has excellent industrial product forming capabilities. Many home appliances, electromechanical products, electronic products, etc. conformal contour and "pillar, elasticity, cushioning" design can effectively protect these products. Mainly used for positioning buffer packaging of precision instruments, glass products, electronic and electrical products, handicrafts, etc.
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