A French research center specialized in circular economy of plastic packaging

Discover Nenu2phar’s partner IPC, the French Technical & Industrial Center for plastics and composites. With several sites in France, its mission is to support the plastic industries and increase their competitiveness while preparing for the transition towards a circular economy of plastics. In this article, you will discover their specialization, their role in the NENU2PHAR project and their implication in European projects.


Who is IPC and what is its expertise?

IPC was co-funded in 2016 by more than 2000 French plastic industries. As a Research Technology Center, it offers cutting-edge research expertise, innovation capacity and access to industrially relevant prototyping pilot lines to plastic industries.

IPC covers the full cycle of plastic production: design, materials formulations, characterization, processing, modelling/simulation, control and quality measurement and end of life management. All the processes are available at IPC for plastics and composites: injection molding, thermoforming, sheets and films processing, additive manufacturing, composite processes, in-moulds electronics.

The main application sectors are packaging, automotive, aeronautics, construction and medical. The technology center generates value for the industry through innovation projects and subsequent technology transfer. Main revenue streams are generated through research contracts, technology licensing and certification. IPC also has a track record of successful spin-off company development with the S2P startup on smart plastic products.


Why participate in the NENU2PHAR project and what is your role in the project?

IPC is an active partner in several activities in the project with a high contribution in biopolymer formulation through compounding of specific biomaterials at pilot scale  and processing into injected parts or films.

PHAs have good barrier properties but poor mechanical properties. To be processed, PHA needs to be formulated. Blending PHA with biopolyesters that are more flexible tends to improve the mechanical properties of PHA but it decreases the overall barrier properties. To overcome this issue, the MULTI-LAYER CO-EXTRUSION PILOT LINE of IPC is an ideal system to develop a structure with enhanced barrier properties by confining the PHA structure in very thin and continuous layers. In the evaluation of the creation of a specific start-up for the results related to the multinanolayering of PHA-based materials, the following market will be targeted: European packaging companies looking for substitutes for their multi-layer multimaterial film, which are neither recyclable or compostable (for food and non-food applications).


Many plastic industry sectors have a growing need for devices to improve performance or to offer new features such as antimicrobial, anti-scratch, self-cleaning, anti-squeak and aesthetic properties. Surface micro-texturing of injected product, another specific expertise of IPC, is a solution proposed to overcome these issues. Using its injection moulding-based imprinting Platform, IPC produces thermoplastic parts with functional micron topographies, e.g. with hydrophobic, oleophobic (or conversely hydrophilic and oleophilic), or antibacterial properties based on different materials specifically developed within NENU2PHAR.

In addition, IPC leads an important activity on building the most suitable scenario for the end-of-life of the new PHA-based formulations developed in NENU2PHAR. IPC contributes through its sorting and mechanical recycling platform including e.g. optical NIR (Near Infra Red) equipment, and all pre- & post-treatment steps for recycled materials necessary to be representative of an industrial environment (IPC OPTICAL SORTING EQUIPEMENT and RECYCLING PLATFORM). IPC will establish a list of recommendations about the sorting of bio-based materials using NIR and digital watermarking in order to enable the industrial sorting of bio-based products with a sufficient accuracy (<0.1% of sorting errors).