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Flexible Packaging SPOILED FOR CHOICE


Tom Kerchiss of RK Print Coat Instruments, examines the challenges and choices of processing in the highly competitive snack food sector


manufacturers over time witnessed greater interest in machines capable of running unsupported films as converters were increasingly called upon to produce printed shrink wrap for containerised products ranging from motor oils, to plant food and from soſt drinks to fabric soſteners. Presses and converting machines


P


developed in recent times are able to run a wider range of materials; they offer higher processing speeds, greater automation and with incremental advances that have been made in areas such as digital, flexographic, hybrid print and UV technology, etc, are better able to meet the ongoing challenges of processing in highly competitive product sectors such as snack foods. Plastic filmic materials are indispensible


for many applications, without them; either as mono, multi-web or as part of a


30 October 2018


rinting and converting has undergone dramatic changes in the last decade. Press


conjoined structure many product performance requirements would be unrealisable. Admittedly there are many environmental and recyclability issues to be satisfactorily overcome, but resourcefulness, optimism, innovation and problem solving are noted qualities associated with film manufacturing and with printing and converting. Converters are as likely as not required to


process filmic materials that a few years ago were considered specialised materials and were only occasionally likely to come across them, if at all. For instance, HDPE is regularly used in tag and label applications either as a single ply or as a cross- laminated structure; HDPE is also available clay coated or in some other permutation. Certain products, such as the calcium carbonate polypropylene films are still, at least for the time being considered a speciality rather than a commodity. Many films are coated or laminated. They may be coated with other polymers to


improve abrasion resistance or to enhance anti-static properties or they may be coated or laminated with other materials to protect against product spoilers and to extend shelf life. They are sometimes metallised to alter their electrical properties or reduce moisture permeability. It’s easy sometimes to forget that packaging and labelling is one of a number of product categories, albeit an important one. The polyester films, often structures of


PET are used in areas such as flexible packaging. The ready printability and machinability as well as performance properties such as for example: resistance to extremes of temperature, puncture resistance, strength and barrier resistance makes them worthy of consideration. For packaging applications the finished structure is comprised of a combination of various materials and coating layers. PET may be used for the outer layer of for example, a snack or beverage pack; there follows a printed and primer coated layer,


convertermag.co.uk


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