Is It Time To Reconsider Your LDPE Film Options for Secondary Packaging?

10 March 2016 //

Packaging System UpgradeProject Planning

In the past, “no replacement for displacement” was the default response to secondary packaging challenges wherein LDPE films were underperforming. As a result, film gauge would often be increased to provide more protection or containment.

While sometimes necessary, simply increasing film gauge is often not the only or most appropriate solution to a secondary packaging concern. This is particularly true in ongoing applications where the gauge has been steadily increased through creep, without much consideration to root causes or alternate solutions.

Secondary packaging film performance continues to evolve in both component and manufacturing technology. Newer resins deliver superior performance while allowing reduction in the gauge and/or overall amount of film used for a given application. Modern manufacturing technologies, such as co-extrusion, combine several desirable and complementary properties into a film that yields better overall results while reducing total usage, cost and environmental impact.

To determine if your applications would benefit from a fresh perspective on current film technologies, consider the following:

1. Have you been using your current film specification for more than 5 years?

If so, it’s probable there are alternatives available that would perform as well or better at a given gauge, with potential to down-gauge and achieve better yield.

2. Are there opportunities to improve performance or reduce production challenges through down-gauging your current film?

While cost is often a primary driver, reducing the film gauge delivers several additional benefits including increased run time per roll; less operator involvement with secondary packaging equipment; and, fewer interruptions to upstream primary packaging processes that can suffer from reduced efficiencies on restart.

3. Is our film specification limiting your options by driving your equipment specification or vice-versa?

While there’s an obvious correlation between film and machine specification in secondary packaging operations, it shouldn’t necessarily be assumed that an application must use a given combination of film and equipment based solely on past practice.

Take, for example, applications that require high-clarity films. Traditionally, Polyolefin or PVC films were used which limited the type of equipment that could be run. However, with current film technology, co-extruded film may be a viable alternative. It offers clarity, strength, machinability and cost-effectiveness while maintaining or increasing performance, and expanding equipment choices.

4. Does your organization treat film as a pure commodity purchase?

For a variety of reasons, the specification and purchasing process for secondary packaging film is often given no more consideration than printer paper or janitorial supplies. Realistically, secondary packaging film spend can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year per production line. Current technology presents a great opportunity to reduce overall costs and increase efficiencies.

Going forward, challenge your existing secondary packaging film supplier to present alternatives that will yield performance or cost benefits beyond simple discounting. If they can’t reasonably defend why you should maintain the status quo, you may want to consider a second opinion. Contact EDL today to discuss your options. We’re happy to help!