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FLEXO Magazine : March 2008
40 FLEXO MARCH 2008 www.flexography.org Narrow & Mid-Web Films Everything You Need to Know By Jerry Henson As the flexible packaging market continues to grow there are more opportunities for the converter than ever before. This, however, doesn't come without its challenges. With reduced run sizes and Lean Manufacturing initia- tives, more creative methods of producing with lower wastes and faster makereadies is increasingly more crucial. This leads some converters to narrow- and mid-web printing as the solution. As in most other industries, flexile pack- aging films are constantly being devel- oped that improve various characteristics. Whether it is barrier properties, strength of material, recycling or sealing properties, films are improved upon or replaced with products that meet the current needs. Many different film types are used in narrow- and mid-web flexible packaging today. Some of the most popular include PVC, PETG, polystyrene, BOPP, OPP, PET, LLDPE, HDPE, PLA and nylon. These films are designed to be used alone or in combination with other films to engineer a package or label that meets very specific requirements. Various films have been increasing in complexity over the years to cover a wider range of properties as product needs in- crease and more packaging moves to film as a solution. Film manufacturers are con- stantly improving the surface of film with coatings, different treatments and film blends that will accept various ink types. Reduction of pinholing, ink adhesion, gloss and lamination bond strength are some of the characteristics film suppliers are work- ing to improve with the surface of the film. These improvements have an effect on the appearance as well as functionality of the package and allow flexible packaging to continue to grow into new markets as well as better serve the current product mix. Photos courtesy Mark Andy Inc PLANTS & PROCESSES FLEXIBLE PACKAGING