Flexible packaging is used in all segments of the health and beauty markets. The most common applications are pressure sensitive labels used to decorate health and beauty products. The shrink sleeve label is another common item being used for bottles and containers. It is a sleeve that “shrinks’ on a container and offers a 360 degree decoration to a container. Films are used to make pouches for cosmetics and the metallic films offer designers superior graphics and shelf appeal.
The meat industry consumes flexible packaging in many forms. Large volumes of pressure sensitive labels are used in this industry for pricing labels and general product labels. The industry also uses a large volume printed and clear non-forming film that is married to forming films that is used to package meat products and keeps it fresh. Most of the meat packing lines use specific machinery that requires the non-forming film to be chemically compatible with the forming film. Testing is a must before supply films to this industry. Companies like Cryovac and Bemis supply equipment for this market place among others.
The cheese industry is similar to the other food industries; they use pressure sensitive label stocks for pricing, barcode, and product identification. Typically due to the large numbers of SKU’s digital labels are often used in this industry to eliminate expensive plates and setups. Films are used to wrap the product as well.
The direct mail industry incorporates a lot of flexible packaging into their designs. Mailers are often made from clear films that are printed and converted into mailers to show off inside graphics or variable data. In addition metallic films are used to create “mirror” looks and superior graphics on converted mailers and envelope type products. Lay flat pouches are often used as mailers.
Frozen novelties are great users of flexible packaging. They use large volumes of pressures sensitive labels for product marking, bar coding and identification purposes. Film is used to wrap the actual novelty. Typically cavitated polypropylene is surface printed and covered with an over-lamination.
Industrial products and medical products are often packed inside some kind of flexible film package. Lay flat pouches are commonly used in industrial packaging. Typically polyester films or surface printed polypropylene films are converted into pouches by fillers or manufacturers in the shipping process. Horizontal and vertical forming lines are used in the shipping and packaging lines. Many medical products need moisture and oxygen barrier films that have metalized polyester in their structures.
Food powders and mixes are packed using Paper/Poly/Foil/Poly or Poly/Poly/Foil/Poly structures most often due to the need to keep the food dry and fresh. The foil acts as the critical barrier level keeping items safe from contamination. These films are used in a roll form on Dough Boy vertical filling machines or equivalent equipment.
Candies wraps and labels create an enormous flexible packaging market. Everything from pressure sensitive labels, single structure films and barrier films are used in this industry. Barrier films are used for freshness and act as an odor barrier for items like gum and mints. Chocolate packaging uses barrier films to keep the products fresher as well.
Frozen Food films are typically unique because of the environment that frozen foods have to endure, especially the freezing temperatures and the high temperatures from microwave ovens. In addition moisture is a problem from the constant condensation occurring inside a freezer. Typically barrier films are used in this environment. Poly/Poly/Foil/Poly combinations are used here.
Coffee is packed using Poly/Poly/Foil/Poly structures most often due to the need to keep the coffee grounds dry and fresh. The foil acts as the critical barrier level keeping the coffee safe from contamination. These films are used in a roll form on vertical filling machines or equivalent equipment.