Flexible films are used to wrap and protect a wide variety of products in industrial and consumer market applications. Flexible packaging films protect product freshness, ensure food safety, and extend shelf life with lightweight protective barriers.
The Benefits of Flexible Packaging Films
There are a wide array of benefits of the use of flexible packaging, such as lighter weight than other packaging media, which allows for shipping more products with less fuel costs. Flexible packaging is a more environmentally friendly type of packaging to produce and use, requiring less energy to manufacture and transport. Flexible packaging generates less greenhouse gases throughout the entire product lifecycle resulting in less consumer waste in landfills.
Considerations When Choosing Flexible Films
An experienced, flexible packaging provider will have the most information to help you evaluate the many considerations when choosing the right flexible film to meet your packaging needs. You will want to consider:
- The type of product you are packaging, including the shape, weight, and dimensions
- The type of packaging required, whether manual or with automated machinery
- The product’s function and packaging requirements such as freshness, barriers to moisture and/or oxygen, or tamper-resistant
- The product’s lifecycle including future handling, storage, environmental exposure, and shelf-ready display requirements
Which Flexible Film Type Is Best for My Product?
When a flexible film is determined to be the desired flexible packaging choice, there are a variety of options to choose from. Some of the most common flexible films include:
- Polyolefin (POF)
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
- Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
- Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE)
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE)
Polyolefin is a versatile, durable material and is FDA approved for food safety. POF provides incredible strength and resistance to punctures, making POF ideal for odd-shaped products. POF shrink film is 100% recyclable and is used to protect many common products such as food items, candy, books, games, toys, retail items and consumer products.
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
HDPE is a polyethylene type of thermoplastic produced from petroleum. HDPE provides a high strength-to-density ratio and is used to produce things like plastic bottles, milk jugs, construction materials and corrosion-resistant piping. HDPE is quite versatile and recyclable in both flexible bag form and rigid container form. Examples include plastic bags used as cereal box liners, and thin plastic bags found in the produce section or used as bread wrappers. HDPE is also used as a stretch wrapping packaging for bundling and provides breathability to products with convenience on a large roll.
Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
LDPE is similar to HDPE, although with a lower density, which means it has less mass when comparing volume. LDPE is resistant to chemicals, moisture, and impact and is also recyclable. LDPE is ideal in products such as container lids, caps, bottles, flexible cable and wire applications, and in processes where heat sealing is required.
Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE)
LLDPE is one of the most commonly used flexible films used in flexible packaging, providing the greatest flexibility of all polyethylene films. LLDPE is a mixed form of LDPE with greater conformability ideal for stretching and greater strength. LLDPE does not shrink like other flexible films and can protect heavy loads in transit, providing greater protection than typical shrink wrapping films. LLDPE is commonly used in palletizing applications.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE)
PET is recognized as a lightweight, flexible and strong material that is also recyclable. PET has common uses in plastic bottles for beverages such as water, juice, sports drinks and more. PET is often used in injection molded products, including jars and microwavable food trays.
To help determine the best type of flexible film for your flexible packaging requirements, contact a contract packager like Peoria Production Solutions, PPS.
PPS offers more than 80 years of experience in providing high-quality contract packaging services to some of the largest companies in the country. We meet the requirements of businesses large and small with a large modern facility and a dedicated, highly skilled and trained staff. Contact us to learn more when choosing your flexible film and for high-quality, cost-efficient flexible packaging solutions.