What does VOID Technologies do?
VOID is a materials science company focused on accelerating the world’s transition to more sustainable plastics and flexible packaging. VOID’s patented VO+ cavitation technology was first conceived as part of a research initiative at Kimberly-Clark, and VOID was soon after launched as an independent company in 2015.
VO+ masterbatch products are produced at VOID’s research and manufacturing facility in Wisconsin, USA and are then shipped to its US customers and international customers. VOID also offers R&D and manufacturing services. These services include pilot-scale blown film to inline MDO, materials testing and pilot- and commercial-scale twin screw compounding. More information can be found on VOID’s VO+ products here, and on R&D services here.
What is VO+ technology?
VO+ is an extensively patented cavitation technology that engineers nano- and micro-voided air pockets into plastics to create lighter, stronger, more resource-efficient, and easier to recycle products. It is effective in both fossil fuel- and bio-based plastics and in a range of product forms including film, sheet, fibre, and filament. For more information see our VO+ Technology page.
What VO+ products do you offer?
We currently offer a VO+ masterbatch product for use in LLDPE- and MDPE-based blown and cast film applications. TDS and SDS information are available to customers upon request.
In addition to our primary commercial product, we are in the process of developing several other formulations for use in other types of polymers, including polypropylene, polyester and polylactic acid.
What products can be made using VO+ technology?
The technology, and its patents, are based on a platform set of principles for creating voided structure across a broad range of plastics, product forms, and applications. For example, the technology has been demonstrated in polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester terephthalate, and polylactic acid. Formats including film, sheet, fiber, and filament have been demonstrated in these polymers. Within this broad range of possibilities, VOID is currently focussed on developing cavitated polyethylene films for use in a range of markets including packaging, industrials, and agriculture. Learn more on our PE Film & Packaging page.
Why use VO+ technology?
VO+ directly addresses the key challenge in plastic products – combining sustainability, product performance, and affordability. Typically, these three dimensions require trade-offs, for example improved performance often results in higher cost, or enhanced sustainability at the expense of performance. In contrast, by engineering nano-voided structures into plastic products VO+ is uniquely advantaged, creating high performance products that are more resource and cost efficient. In film applications VO+ is compatible with conventional manufacturing equipment, and offers manufacturers substantially increased yield from their raw materials, creating products with differentiated mechanical properties and considerably lower environmental footprints. From an environmental perspective, the primary benefit of VO+ is reduction in plastic consumption. “Reduction” is the most impactful action in the context of sustainability, sitting at the top of the “Waste Hierarchy” and as the first step in the “Three R’s” of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. In addition, VO+ materials have natural opacity, without the need for pigments that contaminate the recycling process. As a result, white VO+ films become translucent during the recycling process and as a result can be mixed with transparent/translucent films without negatively impacting optical properties of the recyclate. As such, VO+ plays an important role in the transition to a more circular economy.
Aren’t plastics an unsustainable material?
Plastics play a vital role in the modern world. They offer unrivaled performance for many applications, and have enabled countless important advances for society in fields including food, agriculture, medicine, electronics, and transport. We believe that plastics play an important role in our society, and the advantages they provide, should be fairly recognized. Included in this are the sustainability benefits they offer in many applications. Plastics are a low density class of materials, much lower than metals, ceramics, and glasses. As such, the energy required to produce and process plastics is a small fraction of that required for other types of materials, and once products are produced with plastics, the energy required to transport, use and process them at the end of their useful life is also much less. The result is that plastics have a much lower environmental footprint in many respects, including water use, air pollution, and importantly carbon footprint. When assessed holistically, plastics are often the most sustainable choice for many applications.
Why not use alternatives to plastic?
We believe that it is important to consider the available materials for any end-use application and to think critically about materials selection. For a broad range of applications, and particularly in packaging and agricultural uses, it has been clearly demonstrated that plastics offer superiority in terms of performance characteristics, environmental footprint, and cost compared to the alternatives. Due to their low density, plastics have low energy requirements for production, transport, use, and recycling. Relevant life cycle analyses have been published in the literature, for example Food Waste, Cucumber Packaging, PET bottles and Carrier Bags.
What about the impact of plastic waste?
As a society, we need to improve the way we manage plastic waste. Plastic pollution in the natural environment is of major concern. However, the benefits of plastics, and their necessity in many crucial applications, lead us to the conclusion that the focus should be on improving the collection and recycling of plastics, and advancing materials innovation in the plastics industry, rather than replacing plastics with less sustainable materials. For example, plastic collection and recycling infrastructure must be improved to increase the overall proportion of waste that is recycled. Moreover, the exploration and development of new biodegradable plastics are important for a more sustainable future.
Is VO+ technology patented?
Yes, the technology is protected by more than 350 patent filings covering its use in many global territories including the USA and Europe. The patent estate covers use of the technology in several different polymer types, including polyolefins and polyesters, and in a range of product applications and formats, such as film, sheet, fiber, and filament. Multiple patents have been granted to date, and the company continues to actively file new patents based on technology developments.
Are VOID Technologies’ VO+ products safe?
VOID’s VO+ polyethylene masterbatch is a non-hazardous material according to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) and European Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) regulation. The masterbatch is comprised of a mixture of polymers, each of which complies with U.S, Food and Drug Administration food contact requirements across a broad range of food types over a typical range of conditions. The product is also compliant with the European Commission requirements for food contact including the specified overall migration limits when used at recommended concentrations. According to testing carried out by a certified, independent materials testing company, the product is also California Proposition 65 compliant. It is important to note that as a masterbatch supplier, VOID cannot be held responsible for the regulatory compliance of finished articles or compounds containing its products that have undergone additional processing or combined with other ingredients.
Where is VOID Technologies located?
VOID’s R&D labs and a compound manufacturing facility is based in Neenah, Wisconsin (USA). We also have commercial teams in Canada, France, and the UK. More information is on our Contact Us page.
Are you recruiting new employees?
We are always looking for talented people with a passion for material innovation and sustainability. Open roles are listed on our Careers page.