SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Harold Bevis, President and CEO of Pliant Corporation, announced today that Pliant has been awarded several significant R&D contracts from the US government to conduct leading edge research on food packaging. Bevis said, "Pliant is pleased to have been selected by the US government to conduct its important R&D programs with regards to food packaging. Major R&D areas are: -- High Barrier Foil Replacement Film Packaging Solutions -- Tamper Evident and Traceable Films and Packaging -- Preservation of Food Taste and Freshness The government is committed to providing safe, healthy, great-tasting food for the armed services. The government is also committed to very long shelf lives and lowest total cost solutions for its food packaging. Pliant is pleased to be the packaging company selected to conduct this important research with them. And there are many, many avenues for commercial food packaging applications. So, this should be a significant benefit for both the government and for Pliant's commercial food packaging business." Greg Gard, Senior Vice President of Innovation & Technology for Pliant Corporation, expounded on the main thrusts of the R&D programs. "Pliant is one of the primary players in food packaging. We have a vibrant and on-going set of development activities to advance our capabilities on a continuous basis. These contracts supplement our commitment and play right into our strengths as a leader in food packaging solutions." Gard emphasized the significance of each primary research area: High Barrier Foil Replacement Film Packaging Solutions - foil is a very good solution for certain food packaging solutions but it has certain undesirable characteristics in extreme conditions. Our goal is to mimic the barrier characteristics and food packaging characteristics of foil with special performance films and constructions. This type of research involves the use of nano-composite materials and specific polymer constructions imbedded in the films. It also involves the use of microlaying techniques which can produce multilayer films comprised to 50 or more layers. Today's commercial edge for multi-layer films is around 7 or 9 layers. This takes us to an order of magnitude past that level. The chemistry is extremely sophisticated and so are the manufacturing and testing processes. We are researching breakthroughs on multiple fronts. Tamper Evident and Traceable Films and Packaging - the government desires very long shelf lives for its food portions. We are developing new materials and manufacturing techniques to give 3+ years of shelf life at affordable costs. Additionally, the government wishes food rations to be tamper-evident and safe in the new age of bioterrorism. This type of research involves very sophisticated material science and extremely precise manufacturing processes. We are studying multiple ways of accomplishing these objectives through the use of sensors and indicators. Preservation of Food Taste and Freshness - while food & beverages can be packaged to be safe and edible for a long period of time, the packaged product sometimes loses its taste appeal. We are researching sophisticated releasers, inhibiters, stabilizers and enhancers embedded in the film structures to counteract these affects. Food and beverages should be just as tasty at the end of their shelf life as at the beginning. This type of research involves quite a few variables including antioxidants, flavor-enhancers, desiccants and sustained-release formats. "Pliant has over $500 million of sales into the food industry. We are already one of the major drivers of innovation. We have one of the broadest product portfolios in the industry and conduct a very large, continual in- house R&D program. Across the company, we conduct over 7,000 new samples and new trials per year. To support these activities, we have 2 large R&D centers and pilot plants and a sophisticated corporate lab. We have had excellent success carrying over our technology breakthroughs into commercial success. We are expanding our development efforts and our production capacity in all of these areas. We look forward to accomplishing the objectives of these R&D programs," said Bevis. Pliant Corporation is a leading producer of value-added films and flexible packaging products for food, beverage, personal care, medical, material handling and bulk shipping. The Company operates 24 manufacturing facilities around the world and employs approximately 3,100 people. For more information, please contact Greg Gard, Pliant's Senior Vice President of Innovation & Technology, at (715) 720-3139 or visit http://www.pliantcorp.com . This press release may contain forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, the Company's ability to fulfill its obligations under the agreements and meet milestones thereunder, successful completion of product research and development, the success of product tests and commercialization risks. Further information regarding these and other risks is described from time to time in the Company's filings with the SEC.
SOURCE Pliant Corporation