Flex Films Launches Metallic Polyester Ultra-high Barrier Film ‘F-UHB-M’ for Aluminium Foil Replacement
Flex Films, the global film manufacturing arm of flexible packaging giant UFlex, launched its new avant-garde patented BOPET high barrier film F-UHB-M, designed to replace aluminium foil in flexible packaging applications. To be manufactured in Flex Films Kentucky plant and supplied across the world, F-UHB-M addresses challenges of the Converting Industry that has relied for long 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.
With its new specially formulated bi-axially oriented, polyester (BOPET) structure, F-UHB-M comes with superior gas and water barrier while achieving one of the lowest oxygen and moisture barrier values (0.1 cc/ m2-day & 0.1 gm/m2-day respectively) and industry-leading metal adhesion of 1200 gm/25mm that 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 is compatible with a wide range of inks and adhesives, has better machinability and handling during processing, generates lesser scrap during production, comes with good flex crack resistance, has 20% increased puncture resistance vs BOPET grades, an advanced in-line inspection mechanism in place to ensure consistency in barrier properties; and far less pinhole density than aluminium foils making it less susceptible to gases and water vapour leakages. All of these lend the new BOPET film a strong competitive edge and makes it suitable for a whole host of flexible packaging applications, particularly the ones dominated by laminate comprising of aluminium foil, placing it among the best in packaging film industry.
Besides superior barrier performance and bond strength, F-UHB-M offers multiple benefits for customers ranging from cost efficiency, 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 yet reducing packaging material consumption through laminate rationalization. F-UHB-M helps Converting industry move from a ‘difficult to recycle 4-ply laminate structure with aluminum foil’ to a ‘much simpler, easily recyclable 3-ply laminate structure with F-UHB-M film’ without compromising on barrier performance, thus helping the customer achieve reduced laminate weight and lesser cost with minimized carbon footprint.
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 ensures no delamination making the laminate a lot more secure and packed product safe and retain quality. These advantages come in very handy for e-commerce industry for which transporting products long distances in a safe and efficient way, without any damages, to their consumers is the name of the game.
As against 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 will prove to be a highly cost-effective film.
The 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.
Talking about the benefits of this innovation, Vijay Yadav, Business Head, FLEXFILMS (USA) Inc. said, “Gathering market intelligence, the need to find a better replacement for conventional aluminium foil was established which otherwise comes with quite a few limitations besides being highly sensitive to damages 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. Our teams have worked extensively on creating a real 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.”
Adding to it on the new film’s potential, Anantshree Chaturvedi, Vice Chairman & CEO, Flex Films said, “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 consumer seeks. With this film, we are accelerating our innovation strategy and delivering a solution that is sustainable and cost-effective.
The film was showcased at Pack Expo 2021 in Las Vegas in September 2021 and received an overwhelming response from visitors.