LiquiGlide – coming soon to a food package
One of Norway’s biggest food groups, Orkla, has signed a licensing agreement with LiquiGlide to use its slippery coating for mayonnaise products in the Nordics, Germany, Benelux and the Baltics.
The product launch is expected within the coming months with a further announcement in September.
Dave Smith, CEO, LiquiGlide, told FoodProductionDaily, Orkla has a specific product in mind for the launch, but it cannot announce the name at this time.
“The licensing agreement with Orkla is a great accomplishment,” he said. “This is our second major public customer announcement [after Elmer’s Products, a US adhesive’s group], and the first time we’re announcing a food packaging customer.
“It sends a message that major CPG companies see the value in our technology, and they trust in the safety of our coatings for their customers.
“We’re excited to see LiquiGlide-coated mayo packaging on store shelves, and we’re looking forward to working with Orkla on custom slippery coatings for other products.”
LiquiGlide is a permanently wet, slippery coating that enables viscous products to slide easily from packaging, eliminating food waste and providing a better consumer experience.
The customised coating for Orkla’s mayonnaise products is made from natural ingredients.
“We see this as a valuable strategic relationship and hope it will expand to additional brands and products in Orkla’s portfolio,” added Smith.
“We’ll continue to focus on the consumer packaging goods space, as that’s where we’ve seen the most interest to date.
“We’re already working with some of the biggest name brands in the CPG industry globally, and we continue to have advanced licensing conversations, discussing exclusivity for specific fields or market segments.
“Beyond consumer packaged goods, we’re speaking with companies in the medical, industrial and oil and gas industries, exploring strategic partnerships in those fields.”
Deals are also underway with a cosmetics company in the US and a paint manufacturer in Australia.
To learn more about LiquiGlide’s platform technology, visit: http://liquiglide.com/tech/
The physics behind non-stick mayo bottles
Plenty of coatings can make for slippery packaging, but they have one fundamental problem: They’re toxic. They’re great for things like windshields and boots, but the chemicals used to create so-called superhydrophobic surfaces — which mimic the functionality of a lotus leaf by capturing a cushion of air between a textured solid and a smooth liquid — definitely can’t be used with food.
So how does LiquiGlide build a food-safe solution? The company’s tech isn’t a formulation, but a formula. Rather than making a single superhydrophobic surface suitable for all products, it has created an algorithm to optimise the thermodynamic relationships between a textured solid on the inside of the bottle, its liquid “lubricant,” and the product in question.
When the solid matches the liquid just right, capillary forces create a permanently wet, highly stable coating that the product inside a bottle flows right over. The technical term for it is “liquid-impregnated surface.” And for products like mayo, the company can limit its selections to solids and liquids already recognised as safe for consumption by the FDA.
Finding that balance of solid and liquid isn’t easy. “In most cases you could create a liquid-impregnated surface pretty easily — liquids just wick into textured surfaces,” says Dave Smith, LiquiGlide’s CEO. But introduce another liquid — in this case, a viscous condiment — into the equation and things get tricky. That product can displace the liquid and stick to the solid. That’s how you end up with that dollop of glue, ketchup, or lotion you can’t get out of the bottle.
With the right interaction between the wicking texture and the liquid seeping into it, LiquiGlide can improve what materials scientists entertainingly call a surface’s “wettability.” If you put a droplet of a liquid on a surface, it either beads — that’s low wettability — or melds into the surface, making it highly wettable.
The behaviour of that combination also is highly dependent of the product that’ll be sitting on top of it.
“The coating for mayo won’t work for ketchup, which also won’t work with a medical device application,” says Smith. The liquid needs to “preferentially wet” the product, so it sticks to the solid but lets the product roll right off.
The company can’t be too specific about the best combination for its mayonnaise bottle coating, but Smith explains the basic process like this. First, he must narrow his liquid choices: It’ll have to be food-safe, and immiscible with the product so it doesn’t mix with the mayo or ketchup. The liquid also has to have a fairly high surface energy.
“Liquids that are high surface energy bead up more, and low surface energy ones spread out more,” says Smith.
Then, “the trick is in choosing the right solid to go with the particular liquid,” says Smith. LiquiGlide has a database with hundreds of textured surfaces, described in terms of their micro-scale surface features in a range of shapes, sizes, and depths. The smaller those features—which range from nanometers to microns-wide—the stronger the capillary forces will be to keep the impregnated liquid in place…..
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