New Trends in Flexible Packaging Film Processing in Europe

The study entitled “European Flexible Packaging Market 2006” shows that. Although plants are still being rationalized, the €9.3 billion Western European flexible packaging market is still oversupplied. Because of the high costs, most products are not very competitive. In addition, there is a trend for leading brand owners to move food production and packaging outside the UK. They usually build their factories in the new EU member states. This has forced flexible packaging suppliers to follow suit. Large processors in Western Europe can re-locate their plants. By this method to adapt to these changes. But many small and medium-sized Western European converters are unable to do so. They have to endure the pain caused by this change.

flexible packaging film

PCI explained that the rationalization of industry configuration and the continued closure of some plants will balance supply and demand. Overall, the study predicts that European demand for flexible packaging will grow at an annual rate of 1.4 percent. From 9.3 billion euros in 2005 to about 10 billion euros in 2010. However, it is estimated that the growth rate in Western Europe during this period may be less than 1% per year. In contrast, the market demand in Central and Eastern Europe will grow at an annual rate of 7%. This is because packaging in these regions is constantly evolving. In terms of supply, AlcanPackaging and Amcor continued to maintain their market leadership in 2005. They account for approximately 30% of the European market.

HosokawaAlpine is the agent for EdlonMachinery in the UK. It is also a specialist manufacturer of most types of blown film lines. It has pioneered the development of a range of unidirectional stretch single or multi-layer films over the last 10 years. By gradually stretching the film in only one direction along the web, a new type of film with different properties is produced. This can be used for strength, stiffness, barrier properties, conductivity, and opacity of mineral filled films, to name a few. As with PP films, directional stretching can also improve the performance of PE films. The market demand for “thinner” and newer R&D from raw material manufacturers in this area has led to increased interest from film manufacturers in oriented films.

New opportunities for OPE films have been recognized by the suppliers of oriented PE films. They are beginning to supply raw resin for PE blown films. This material is said to have the same optical properties as OPP after being oriented and stretched. Alpine reports that it also offers a separate production line for testing at its technical center in Augsburg, Germany. The orientation equipment can be stand-alone or inline with a single extruder. The process involves preheating the extruded film through a series of rollers. It then undergoes directional stretching, annealing and cooling. Finally rewinding. Linear stretching ratios can be as high as 1:10, so rewinding speeds are much faster than feeding or unwinding speeds. Generally the line speed can exceed 200 m/min. W&H subsidiary Reinhold launched the Varex blown film line and the new HSF high-speed forming tube at its Lengerich facility last July. The outstanding advantage of this equipment is its ability to effectively reduce the cost of resin by reducing film thickness.

FFS cartridge film is traditionally extruded on a blown film line using a built-in triangular plate. However, a disadvantage of plastic bags produced with this film is the weakened material strength in the triangular edge area. This is because the material here will be under high tension during the molding process. Their strength will generally be reduced by 20%. This result tends to rupture the triangular edge of the plastic bag. There is a risk of losing the product inside. As an alternative solution, the company demonstrated a two-step production process using high-speed forming tubes at speeds up to 300 m/min.

Producing FFS cartridge film from a flat web has multiple benefits. It can have higher extrusion efficiency. Especially when producing small sized bags. High flexibility in applicable film sizes through multiple slitting. The strength of the film is also better because of the higher stretch rate. When forming, the film is supported by an air cushion because the film is supported by an air cushion. Therefore the triangular area of the bag is not touched. This reduces the thickness of the film by up to 20%. While still not compromising any of its physical properties. At the same time it makes maximum use of the potential of the tree ester. And of course it will save the company considerable costs. During the winding operation of the cartridge film with a FilmaticASK winding machine, the triangular edges are also finely processed. An oscillating winding process causes minimal stress on the triangular edges. In addition to standard heavy-duty plastic bag materials, this high-speed forming machine can handle a wide range of products. Such as those used for pet food packaging materials.

DuPontPackaging has introduced the BiomaxStrong additive. Used to improve the performance of biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA) packaging, PLA is considered a renewable alternative to petroleum-based plastic products. It can also be degraded in industrial environments. However, despite its better quality and attractiveness. Packaging and industrial products made from PLA are also limited due to performance deficiencies. Compared to petroleum-based plastic products, PLA products are more fragile and less durable.

BiomaxStrong is a petrochemical-based additive. It improves the strength of PLA material and reduces its brittleness. It is said to increase the contact strength, elasticity and melt stability of PLA materials. When used in the recommended amount (one to five percent by weight), it can outperform other similar products and can improve strength very well. It also causes minimal impact on transparency. At the recommended dosage, BiomaxStrong has excellent contact transparency. It is able to create a more transparent plastic bag than other alternatives. One way to control costs and make better use of limited raw materials is to ensure that the amount of material produced and supplied to the customer is very accurate.The ProtonInteliSENSSL laser Doppler non-contact speed and length gauge monitors the shrinkage or lengthening of the film material. It ensures that the web to be shipped out is exactly 2 meters in diameter as defined in the protocol, not 2.4 or 2.5 meters. In addition to ensuring accuracy and synchronization on the processing equipment (packaging winders), it provides precise “cut-to-length” control. It also determines the degree of control and sliding of the material web and drive equipment, etc. It also helps analyze speed deviations in various parts of the process production (laminating, film extrusion, label printing (release liner and label stack synchronization)).

The microporous treated films can adjust the OTR (oxygen transmission rate) to suit specific applications, such as MAP or cigarette filters. MicroLaserTechnology, based in Kirchheim, Germany, manufactures equipment that can be easily installed on production equipment such as slitting and rewinding machines. The company also offers equipment for inspection monitoring and in-line porosity measurement.

The MicroLaserTech.MLP5 can punch holes at an average web speed of 300 m/min. It can punch up to 48,000 holes per second in up to four rows at a time. It is claimed to punch each hole with consistent quality, which results in minimal standard deviations and high reliability. With the integrated micro punch and CO2 laser light source, this machine is ready for immediate use once installed on the production system. The light source pulses at frequencies of up to 48,000 holes/second (4 rows) or 12,000 holes/row. The diameter of the holes can range from 50 to 120 microns, depending on the type and thickness of the material.

AnglianFlexibleCoatings, Inc. is a UK-based A specialist manufacturer in the film coating and laminating business. It has introduced SelfCling coatings. When applied to film surfaces like LDPE, HDPE, OPP, polyester and metallized films, with thicknesses of 12 microns or more, this coating enables the film to adhere to glass, celluloid, and smooth plastic surfaces. This coated film prevents these flat surfaces from sticking to dust. It can be easily removed or reapplied to these surfaces as needed. It is said to have excellent transparency. The company can also coat already printed films with Cling coating. It is then placed in a film box for protection. These films can then be processed into sheets. Similarly, inkjet or laser-printed films can be coated and laminated to a film liner to enable users to print on them at home or in the office.

The multi-layer film is produced and coated by a flat die system from ExtrusionDiesIndustries (EDI). It is capable of producing many more layers of film than conventional co-extrusion equipment. The micro-layer film structure provides improved barrier to moisture and gases. The ability to encapsulate gel-like substances also enables manufacturers to make the best use of high-cost raw materials. This was announced at the NPE 2006 show.

According to EDI, microlayer technology will be widely used in barrier packaging. The technology is based on a patented layer efficiency system licensed to EDI by DOW. In a typical configuration, three or more extrusion heads feed molten fluid into an EDI modified feed sleeve, which produces a homogeneous multi-layer structure of semi-finished products, which are then fed into a multi-layer layering device manufactured by EDI using Dow’s patented design. In this machine, the layers are added in several steps: for example, three layers can be added to 12 layers, and 12 layers to 48 layers. The final multilayer structure is then sent to an EDI coextruder in order to produce the desired width.

EDI’s microlayer film technology integrates Dow’s layer booster into a fully customizable system. This system includes dies, feed sleeves and other tools for taking products with complex structures and producing the final extruded film. The key properties of a given polyester do not proportionally reduce the thickness of the layer. Microlayer technology will make it possible to obtain the desired film properties while taking full advantage of the more costly resin material. For example, in oriented PET films, a more expensive high-viscosity resin layer can be laminated with a lower-viscosity resin layer. The resulting film properties will be much better than those obtained by mechanically laminating a high-viscosity and low-viscosity resin.

In addition, the more layers of film there are, the less likely it is that the film will leak due to pinholes in the film. This is especially true for biaxially oriented products that are subjected to later extrusion and stretching. Depending on whether the film is produced as a single layer, double layer or multiple micro-layers, the same polyester can have a different impact on the performance of the final product. Layer efficiency technology makes it possible to produce more flexible films. For example, the total amount of raw polyester used can be reduced without the need to do so. Micro-layer co-extrusion technology can also accelerate the application of nano-complexes for food packaging,. to enhance barrier, thermal and mechanical properties. The company will sublicense Dow’s technology to its customers.

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