Industrial packaging includes a variety of materials, forms, applications, and equipment. There are multiple facets of industrial packaging, including Primary Packaging, Secondary Packaging, the function of each type of material, and the variety of applications in which you can utilize plastic industrial packaging.
Industrial packaging can refer to primary packaging – the packaging in which products are brought to market – (a good way to think of this is it’s often the last thing that you toss when the product is consumed, or it’s the packaging that comes directly in contact with the product)
- Crackers, household goods, electronics
- Clamshells (plastic cases)
- Hardware (nuts, bolts, etc.), Toys
- Shrink film
Secondary packaging refers to protective packaging, including strapping, edge protection, stretch film (palletizing), envelopes, etc. This is the packaging that is used to protect the product in transit, storage, and on the shelf. Secondary packaging also includes –
- Air pillows
- Air cushions
- Void fill
- Paper void fill
- In-the-box-paper packaging
- Rolled bubble and foam products
- Corrosion prevention
- Bubble wrap
- Paper liners
- Air pouches
- Packing peanuts
- Corrugated boxes
- Protective sheeting
What it’s made of: Polyethylene Film
One of the most prevalent materials in the flexible packaging industry is polyethylene (PE) film. Polyethylene is made from ethylene gas and is versatile, tough, has good clarity, and there are several variations with distinct and specific characteristics that make it a preferred material for industrial packaging applications.
There are several variations of PE film that are regularly used; three of the more popular types are LDPE, LLDPE, and HDPE. PE film is a popular flexible packaging material because of its relatively low cost, sealability, moisture barrier, and tear resistance. Its applications are versatile, ranging from uses within the agriculture, construction, and manufacturing industries. There are several different types of PE, three of the most common are:
- LDPE – Low Density Polyethylene film
- LDPE film is known for its toughness, flexibility, and fair transparency.
- LLDPE – Linear-Low Density Polyethylene Film
- Characteristics of LLDPE film include its high tensile strength, high impact and puncture resistance, flexibility, and resistance to chemicals and UV radiation.
- HDPE – High Density Polyethylene Film
- HDPE film is known for its high clarity and scratch resistance. HDPE film is harder, stiffer, and stronger when compared to LDPE film.
Applications for LDPE, LLDPE, HDPE films
LDPE film is often used to produce
- dry cleaning bags
- newspaper bags
- bread bags
- frozen food bags
- household garbage bags
- Other uses include:
- shrink wrapping
- stretch wrapping
- Stretch wrap is available in “hand wrap” or for “machine use”
- bags on a roll
- bubble packaging
- industrial liners
- container lids
- squeezable bottles
LLDPE film is used in the same applications as LDPE along with applications that require more toughness and sealability.
- Automotive parts
- Craft items
- Medical devices
- Electronic components
- Retail applications
HDPE film is used in similar applications as LDPE and LLDPE films. HDPE is stiffer than other PE films, which is beneficial when packaging needs to retain its shape
- sporting goods
- any application that might result in chemical contact with the film
These types of films are used for protective packaging, satisfying the needs of small operations (with 5 to 10 packages per day) and large operations packaging product around the clock. Different forms everyone is familiar with are bags, sheeting, tubing, casing, and liners. When you purchase anything that needs to be assembled at home, the hardware is in a PE film bag. When you see a home renovation or remodel, the plastic sheeting that is often protecting the floor or furniture is PE film. Trucks hauling equipment or pallets that are covered by plastic sheeting – polyethylene film! Garbage liners and mattress bags are also made from polyethylene films.
When it comes to industrial packaging and uses, PE film is one of the most common. You’ll find it in primary packaging, secondary and protective packaging. You’ll also find PE film in several different variations, serving multiple purposes because of its versatility and affordability.