Introduction to Flexible Packaging by Pira International Ltd

By Pira International Ltd

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The characteristics of PE include excellent toughness, good tear and burst strength, excellent chemical resistance, translucence, low-heat resistance, and low cost because of the simple production processes involved. PE with straight linear geometry is brittle and not very useful, while PE with side branching is more bendable due to the bonds that can form between the side branches. Metallocene is important in the production of PE because it allows control over side branching. They can control the side branching because of the single activity site found at the metal centre.

Examples include: on packaging lines, achieving higher filling speeds and reduced waste; in distribution, by using lighter materials; and for the consumer, improved product protection, increased freshness and reduced waste. This development has been particularly apparent in the barrier layers of laminates (usually the most expensive materials). Today, aluminium foil is typically used at a thickness of nearer six microns compared to seven, nine or even 12 microns a few years ago. EVOH layers in extruded laminates have also been downgauged from 5–10 microns a few years ago to two microns or less today.

In this emerging market sector, growth will be seen in fast-food restaurants, modern retailing, increased exports and frozen distribution. Page 42 © Copyright Pira International Ltd 2003 Introduction to Flexible Packaging Innovations in flexible materials 4 There will be continued growth in portion packs with a rise in pack value of some 12% a year and a rise in the tonnage packed of around 3% a year. Commercial examples Prepackaged salad with tomatoes Ready-to-eat salads that include tomatoes and feature an extended shelf-life are on sale in US supermarket chains.

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