27/09/2021 – Packaging / Flex Films / Film / Aluminium / Metallic Polyester / BOPET
Flex Films launches metallic polyester ultra-high barrier film (F-UHB-M) as innovative replacement to aluminium foil
Flex Films – the global film manufacturing arm of flexible packaging giant UFlex – has launched its new patented BOPET high-barrier film F-UHB-M, designed to replace aluminium foil in flexible packaging applications. The innovation is on show this week in Las Vegas at Pack Expo 2021, Booth N-9115.
The converting industry has long relied on aluminium foil for packaging despite several of its limitations, including material availability, high material cost, weak integrity, propensity for in-use pinhole formation, and difficulty in recycling. Now, manufactured at Flex Films’ Kentucky plant and supplied across the world, new innovation F-UHB-M responds to such challenges.
Superior barrier performance and bond strength
With its new specially formulated, bi-axially-oriented, polyester (BOPET) structure, F-UHB-M acts as a superior gas and water barrier while achieving one of the lowest oxygen and moisture barrier values (0.1cc/m2-day and 0.1gm/m2-day respectively).
Alongside this, the new innovation boasts industry-leading metal adhesion of 1200gm/25mm, which aids improvement and extension of product shelf-life. Barrier performance is retained after incorporation of F-UHB-M into a multi-layer laminate structure demonstrating excellent handling, machinability and resistance to pin-hole formation.
Flex Films’ novel film offers a thickness of 12 microns and coating technology together with a very high optical density. It is compatible with a wide range of inks and adhesives; it has better machinability and handling during processing, alongside generating less scrap during production. Moreover, the new film comes with good flex crack resistance, and has 20 per cent increased puncture resistance versus BOPET grades. An advanced in-line inspection mechanism ensures consistency in the film’s barrier properties. Finally, the film has far less pinhole density than aluminium foils, making it less susceptible to gases and water vapour leakages. All of these qualities lend the new BOPET film a strong competitive edge and makes it suitable for a whole host of flexible packaging applications, particularly those dominated by laminate comprising aluminium foil, positioning the new innovation among the best in the packaging film industry.
Efficient and sustainable packaging material
Besides superior barrier performance and bond strength, F-UHB-M offers multiple benefits for customers ranging from cost efficiency, and higher sustainability quotient, to efficient use in logistics and e-commerce.
One of the biggest challenges that the packaging film industry faces today is reducing food wastage through enhanced shelf-life of food products, in tandem with reducing packaging material consumption through laminate rationalisation. F-UHB-M helps the converting industry move from a ‘difficult-to-recycle, four-ply laminate structure with aluminum foil’ status quo to a ‘much simpler, easily-recyclable, three-ply laminate structure with F-UHB-M film’ position without compromising on barrier performance. Making such a shift helps the customer achieve reduced laminate weight and lesser cost with a minimised carbon footprint.
Safeguarding cost-effective quality
While the new high barrier film’s protective oxygen and moisture barrier system helps lock in flavours and aroma of food products for longer than those of products packaged in aluminium foils, the high metal bond strength of the new F-UHB-M film ensures no delamination, making the laminate a lot more secure and packed product safe and retain quality. Such properties are particularly advantageous for the e-commerce industry, which involves transporting products to consumers over long distances in a safe and efficient way, and without damage.
In contrast with traditional aluminium foils, the materials cost of F-UHB-M is less impacted by price fluctuations, allowing the customer to make better cost forecasts. With a better yield per unit area, F-UHB-M would therefore prove to be a highly cost-effective film.
The new film, which is FDA-compliant, has been made to suit customer needs for applications in medical packaging; packaging for dried and powdered items like dried meats, coffee, yeast, snacks and nuts; energy drinks packaging; vacuum insulated panels; bag-in-box and many more.
Value-added film with numerous benefits
Speaking on the benefits of this innovation, Vijay Yadav – Business Head of Flex Films (USA) Inc. – said that after gathering market intelligence, the firm identified the need to find a better replacement for conventional aluminium foil – a material he said “comes with quite a few limitations besides being highly sensitive to damage, often compromising the barrier performance of packaging”.
“While developing high barrier F-UHB-M, priority was given to upscale the barrier properties matching that of an aluminum foil to deliver the best packaging experience to our customers,” Mr Yadav advised. “Our teams have worked extensively on creating a really high-value-added film with numerous benefits so that our converting partners gain from reduced manufacturing cost, much better performance and achieve economies of scale while going sustainable with their packaging at the same time. This film will act as a game-changer in the packaging industry, giving the industry a product like never before.”
Also remarking on the new film’s potential, Anantshree Chaturvedi, Vice Chairman and CEO of Flex Films, added: “We are in business of offering solutions to challenges that packaging faces, and one that complements evolving market needs. Customer-centric innovation helps us in introducing products that caters to the specific requirements of our clients. The F-UHB-M film has been developed keeping in mind the enhanced safety parameters and lesser complexities that convertors want and green packaging that the consumer seeks. With this film, we are accelerating our innovation strategy and delivering a solution that is sustainable and cost-effective.”
Flex Films is currently exhibiting at Pack Expo 2021 – currently taking place at Las Vegas Convention Centre (27-29 September 2021). To see the company’s new F-UHB-M film and other innovations firsthand, visit booth N-9115 at the show.
State-of-the-art film manufacturing
Flex Films is the global film manufacturing arm of India’s largest multinational flexible packaging solutions company, UFlex Limited. With state-of-the-art film manufacturing facilities at strategic locations across the globe – including USA, Mexico, Poland, Egypt, UAE, Russia, Hungary and India – the firm’s cumulative production capacity today stands in excess of 465,000TPA. The company is currently in the process of expanding its global footprint further with new plants in Nigeria and South of India.
Flex Films offers an array of packaging film solutions, including Polyester (BOPET), BOPP, CPP, Metallized, Alox-Coated, Holography and other high performance speciality films and green films (PCR-grade Asclepius and Mono-material films). For more details, visit: www.flexfilm.com
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