ANTARCTICA – Amcor is supplying the extremely strong but lightweight state-of-the-art packaging used by teenage explorer and climate campaigner Parker Liautaud on his quest to set a new record while trekking from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole.
For the 2013 Willis Resilience Expedition, nineteen-year-old polar explorer and climate campaigner Parker is attempting to set a new record to become the fastest and the youngest person to make the journey. During the expedition, Parker will also be conducting environmental research on the impact of climate change.
The packaging designed for Parker uses the state-of-the-art Duratear technology developed by Amcor in 2006. Today it is widely used by medical device companies to safely package surgical kits and equipment – from eye kits to cardiac surgery packs. The packaging combines different resin technologies, using a blown film process, to create a super tough and flexible product that can endure the extreme Antarctic conditions.
By taking the film technology used in the Duratear packaging, and adjusting it to fit Parker’s needs, Amcor has created a solution that can keep Parker’s food protected in one of the harshest environments on the planet.
The technology developed by Amcor uses metallocene resins and a blown film process which maximizes the impact strength and puncture resistance of the packaging. This strength will ensure the food contained in the packaging will be protected throughout the tough conditions, such as being bounced around on the sled or being dropped.
While strong, the packaging is still lightweight, which minimises the burden on Parker who is hauling his food and equipment on a sled for an average 18 miles (30km) a day. Crucially, the packaging maintains flexibility at low temperatures of up to -60°C; this means the packaging won’t stiffen and split in the extreme Antarctic temperatures.
The packaging also provides good clarity, so the contents of the bag are easily viewed. This means Parker can easily distinguish what food is inside to ensure he selects the right food item. Part of the packaging solution includes a clip sourced by Amcor that attaches to the bag and provides a re-sealable opening feature. This enables Parker to easily open and close the bag while wearing four pairs of gloves, minimising skin exposure and significantly reducing his risk of frostbite.
Amcor Flexibles Vice President Research & Development Bob Biasi said that Amcor is proud to be providing the packaging that will be used by Parker to store and protect food that is essential to his success on the ice: “The packaging we’ve designed for Parker uses Amcor’s innovative Duratear technology, that offers many unique physical properties compared to ordinary plastic packaging.
“Typically used for medical kits, Duratear enables us to create a super tough bag that will endure the extreme Antarctic conditions and the incredibly rough journey.
“Parker’s food will be safely stored in an Amcor bag that won’t puncture, will stay flexible in sub-zero temperatures, won’t split on high impact and will withstand all the rigours of the 640km (397 mile) trek,” said Biasi.
On an average day, Parker will be on the move for around twelve hours, stopping every 1.5 hours for very short six to eight minute breaks. On these breaks, Parker will access the high calorie snacks stored in Amcor’s packaging to help take in the 6,000 calories he needs daily to survive, while expending about 10,000 calories per day.
Parker said Amcor’s innovative packaging is critical to his survival on the ice: “On previous expeditions, we’ve used plastic bags which are basically designed for school lunch boxes. Trekking through extreme wind and cold, while constantly hungry, it’s truly a depressing moment to watch your food bag split open and cashews spill everywhere.
“The food packaging is one of the most important elements of a safe and successful expedition. It has implications for our safety on the ice, and our mental state. The gear we need – from clothing, to equipment, to food packaging – needs to be able to keep up with us as we push the boundaries of what’s possible.”