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~4

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History 4-2
Coatings 4-2
Wax Coating 4-3
Varnish Coating 4-4
PVDC (Saran) Coating 4-4
Polyester (PET) Coating 4-6
Heat-Seal Coating 4-6
Extrusion Coating 4-7
Coated Label Papers 4-7
Metallizing 4-8
Laminations 4-9
Design of Laminations 4-11
Coextrusion 4-17
FDA RegulatioTls 4-18
Costs 4-19

Flexible materials are used extensively for packaging a wide variety of products.
The choice of papers, fIlms, foils, and fabrics is quite broad, and selecting the best
material for a particular purpose requires all the knowledge and skill of a packaging professional. The choice is further complicated by the many combinations
and modifICations that can be made from these basic materials-the subject of this
section.
Cellophane could never have reached the prominent place it has occupied in
this field if it were not for the variety of lacquers that were developed to increase
its barrier properties and make it sealable. The heat-seal coatings that have been
applied to paper and foil have opened up whole new fields of pouch packaging.
Coupled with these new surface treatments is the rapidly growing technology of
laminating different materials to utilize the best features of each, and in this way
achieve results that would not he possible with anyone material alone.
The term structured films is sometimes applied to these combinations of materials, including coatings, laminations, and coextrusions.

4-1
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4-2

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

HISTORY
The earliest packages of Kellogg's Corn Flakes appeared on the market in 1906,
packed in a folding carton with a bag liner of plain white paper. The instructions
on the package were: "To restore crispness, heat in a pan in a moderate oven."
Some experimental work was then done with wax as a coating material, and in
1912 a waxed outer covering known as the Waxtite wrap was added. This helped
to preserve the crispness of the product and provided a real advantage over the
competitive brands of cereals that were beginning to flood the market at that time.
In 1938 waxed glassine was introduced, made with higher-melting-point
waxes that provided better moisture protection and reduced the blocking problems
in hot weather. Although wax has excellent barrier properties against moisture,
it is a rather poor grease and odor barrier, and it makes a very weak seal. With
the introduction of polyethylene in the late 1930s and the development of microcrystalline waxes by the oil refineries shortly thereafter, the blending of coating
materials helped to extend their usefulness.
Varnishes had been used to some extent as greaseproof coatings on paper, but
the introduction of saran emulsion for coating purposes in 1946 was a major
breakthrough. Extrusion coating, discovered in 1948, opened up still another new
area for the converter. In 1953 extrusion-coated cellophane was introduced, and
the following year aluminum foil; in 1955 polyester became available with polyethylene coatings. Other plastics have been added to the list, and the number is
constantly increasing. However, there are only five really important types of coatings in use today: waxes, nitrocellulose, saran (PVDC), polyethylene (PE), and
polypropylene (PP).
The total value of coating materials for flexible packaging in this country is
about $300 million per year. This breaks down to 420 million Ib of wax, 136
million Ib of polyethylene, 94 million Ib of saran, 58 million Ib of nitrocellulose,
and less than 1 million Ib of polypropylene.
Laminations have been in commercial use for more than 40 years, but it is only
since the early 1950s that the great multiplicity of combinations has become available. With about 20 different films to work with and a dozen or more kinds of
paper, plus metal foils and a few woven and nonwoven fabrics, the number of
possible combinations becomes astronomical. From a practical standpoint the
number is not quite so overwhelming, but it is still rather formidable.

COATINGS
The easiest method of improving the characteristics of paper or film is the addition
of a coating. This is less costly than a lamination, since a coating is generally
thinner than the lightest film that could be used for the same purpose, and less
material usually means lower cost.
The method of application will depend somewhat on the viscosity of the mate-

COATINGS AND LAMINATIONS

4-3

rial that is used for the coating. For example, an emulsion is too thin to be extrusion-coated, but it works very well with an air knife. Polyethylene, on the contrary, works best as an extrusion coating, and an air knife will not handle such a
viscous material.

Wax Coating: The oldest and still one of the most widely used coating materials
is wax. Although it is somewhat brittle and makes poor heat seals, it is an excellent
moisture barrier and is very economical. It has been replaced to sorne extent by
the olefins, and by blends of wax and polyethylene if greater flexibility or stronger
seals are required.
There are two methods of ;Ipplying wax to paper: "dry waxing" and "wet
waxing." In the dry waxing proccss, the paper travels over a hot roll aftel' being
coated, so that the wax soaks into the paper and does not stay on the surface. In
wet waxing the wax is chilled quickly by being run through a water bath, so that
it does not penetrate but stays on the surface, giving it a glossy appearance. Paraffll1 is used for dry waxing, but a blend is used for wet waxing, such as 60 percent
paraffll1 wax, 35 percent microcrystallinr wax, and 5 percent polyethylene, to
increase gloss and flexibility and to lower the tendency toward blocking. (See Fig.
1.)

DRY WAXED PAPER

WET WAXED PAPER

FIG. 1 Wax coating. The two mel hod, of pUlling wax on paper arc illuslraled schemalically.
In dry waxing the paper is healed after il is coated, and the wax soaks into lhe paper. In wet
waxing the wax is chilled before il has a chance 10 penetrate inlo the paper.

The earliest waxes used in packaging had a melting point around 128F and
had a great tendency to block in hot weather. The paraffin wax used today is
greatly improved and has a melting point of about 135F. Breakfast cereals
require a 28-lb glassine paper with 8 lb per 1,000 ft 2 of wax on each side, altnough
some types of cereal that are more sensitive to moisture use two 20-lb sheets laminated with 5 lb of microcrystalline wax between, and with 8 Ib of paraffin wax
on both outside surfaces. Where the ultimate in protection is needed, aluminum
foil is sometimes used in conjunction with an 8~-lb "strike-through" tissue,
bonded with up to 20 lb of microcrystalline wax. The heat that is developed in

4-4

COATINGS AND LAMINATIONS

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

heat sealing will drive the wax through the paper and provide a hermetic seal,
filling up the channels formed by the wrinkles and folds in the paper.
There is no clear definition of "microcrystalline" waxes, and there are sometimes even references to "semi-microcrystalline wax." One method of classification
is to identify all wax{'s with a viscosity above 10 centistokes at 210F as microcrystalline waxes.
Plastic blends are becoming more popular; the use of polyethylene for this purpose dates back to 1948. Other materials, particularly ethyl-vinyl acetate and ethylene acrylate, also are being used to improve toughness, flexibility, and adhesion.
Some attention must be paid to the composition of the base waxes, however, as
the gloss may be seriously affected by the additives, and adequate testing over
several days should b{' done on any new compositions.
If waxes are overheated in the coating operation, there may be oxidation products that give a bad odor to the material. Some of the newer compounds are coated
at temperatures up to 300F, which can encourage the formation of odorous peroxides, especially if there is any copper or aluminum in the equipment. This can
be controlled to some degree with antioxidants such as di-tertiary butylparacresol
(BHT).

Varnish Coating: Numerous resins are used singly or in combination as coatings for paper. Some of these are thinned with alcohol, or if they contain wax,
they may be thinned with naphtha; they are called "spirit varnishes." Others,
known as "press varnishes," are used without solvents and dry by oxidation rather
than by evaporation of solvents. Both types are frequently used on printing presses
to add a protective coating that will prevent smearing of the ink, and also to provide a glossy finish. They are the least expensive materials for the purpose, and
they are easy to apply. Their effectiveness is dependent to some degree on the
amount that is used. A coating of ).f Ib of solids per 1,000 ft 2 will not do as good a
job as 2 Ib per 1,000 ft 2, obviously. If it is intended only for appearance, then the
lighter coat may be sufficient, but if protection from scuffing is required, the
printer should be informed. If varnishes are printed only in certain areas, they are
known as "spot varnishes." These varnishes are omitted where necessary to keep
white areas from turning yellow with time, or to facilitate gluing, or to permit
stamping of price marks or code numbers.
A better grade of coating can usually be obtained with lacquers, but the cost is
likely to be a bit higher. These are made from vinyl-type resins and more volatile
solvents than varnishes. Even more sophisticated are the epoxy-type coatings.
They are made from thermosetting resins and require special ovens for curing,
but they provide a hard, lustrous finish that cannot be obtained in any other way.
(See Fig. 2.)
PVDC (Saran) Coating:

A coating material which is rapidly growing in popularity is variously known as PVDC, polyvinylidene chloride, saran, or, when

~~

AIR KNIFE COATER

~
I

C=J
CURTAIN COATER

-r::x-

KISS ROLL COATER

KN I FE COATER

ROD COATER

Ef--tr

REVERSE ROLL COATER

C4ST COATER

CALENDER COATER

4-5

--r:x-GRAVURE COATER

EXTRUSION COATER

-fr- tt=
NIP COATER

BRUSH COATER

FIG. 2 Coating processes. There are many ways of applying solutions and suspensions to
substrates, and a few of these methods are shown. The techniques that are used depend upon
the viscosity, solvents, finish, and thickness of coating required

used on cellophane, polymer coating. It is really a copolymer of vinyl chloride and


vinylidene chloride. First used in emulsion form for coating paper in Germany in
1956, it has only recently come into general use in this country. PVDC has a rare
combination of barrier properties in that it provides good protection from grease
and oil, water vapor, odors, and gases. PVDC coatings are superior to wax or
polyethylene for products with fugitive flavors and aromas, such as coffee, dehydrated soups, spices, butter, margarine, and other oily and fatty foods. (See
"Films," page 3-42.)
The cost of the pvnc base resin is higher than that of polyethylene or most
of the other commonly used coating materials, but the finished cost may be less,
depending on the amount of material used and the method of application. A comparison of cost should be made on the basis of equal performance, and the higher
barrier properties of pvnc: will tend to offset its higher price.
There are several processes for applying PVDC emulsion to paper: (1) air
knife coater, (2) blade coater, (3) metering rod coater, (4) gravure coater, (5) curtain coater, and (6) reverse roll mater. The first three apply an excess of material
to the paper and then scrape ofl' the surplus. This tends to put more in the valleys
and less on the high spots, although the air knife has largely overcome this problem. The other methods apply a measured amount to the web; they are sometimes
called contour coaters because the same amount of material is applied to ttle high
spots as to the low spots in the paper. The curtain coater and the reverse roll
coater, however, can be llsed only for heavy coatings and will not apply the light
coatings most often used in p;lCkaging. The gravure ('(later tends to produce a
pattern in the coating from the texture of the engraving on the cylinder. The

4-6

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

method that seems to be growing most rapidly in popularity is the air knife
technique.
More than one coat of PVDC is generally used, and there is some equipment
that can apply up to six coats in one pass with curing in between successive coats.
Heat is applied immediately after each coating, to evaporate the water and then
to fuse the resin. The melting point varies, but the resin usually fuses at about
450 to 500 F. This is followed by cooling with a chill roll.
The paper to be coated should be smooth, with a minimum of groundwood,
since ground wood contains shives that tend to pierce the coating. There should be
a minimum of highly lignified fibers from hard cooks that would cause wicking.
The paper should also be well sized with an internal sizing rather than a surface
sizing. It may be necessary to apply a primer of a latex emulsion if the sizing is
not adequate, and to improve flexibility, a base coat of acrylic latex may also be
used. It is sometimes also necessary to adjust the pH of the paper dose to neutral
when working with PVDC.
Other coatings that are applied from water suspensions or solutions are casein,
starch, and polyvinyl alcohol. Sometimes borax or aldehydes are used to fix these
coatings so that they will not go into solution in the presence of water.
0

Polyester (PET) Coating: Widely used for extrusion coating on ovenable


paperboard, polyethylene terephthalate was developed for this purpose by the Du
Pont Corporation, who then withdrew from this market. Present suppliers are
Goodyear (Cleartuf) and Eastman (Tenite). Applied in a coating 0.00125 in thick
on solid bleached sulfate paperboard, it will withstand oven temperatures up to
4S(}O F. Transparent covers can be heat-sealed to trays coated with polyester, but
once it is heated in an oven the coating polymerizes in an irreversible reaction,
and it is not possible to reseal the package for future use. Transparent lidding film
can be heat-sealed to coated paperboard at 300-35(}OF, but a 2- to 3-second dwell
time is needed to get the necessary 1~-lb/in seal strength.
Heat-Seal Coating: If thin coatings of heat-seal material are used, the type of
sealing equipment will be limited to flat bar machines. Rotary seal units, which
are used with laminated materials, do not make strong seals with this type of
packaging material, because pressure is such a critical factor and it is difflcult to
control with rotary dies. Even under the best of conditions, regardless of the sealing method used, the seal strength with coated materials will not be as good as
with laminated materials.
Among the heat-seal matings, rubber hydrochloride has a broad heat-seal
range and llidKC, d relatively strong seal. The machinability of polyethylene is
excellent, and the seals are more than adequate, even for liquids. Polypropylene
has good transparency and stiffness, but it has a narrow sealing range, which
makes it unsuited to some types of machines. Although saran has some desirable
barrier properties, it is difflcult to heat-seal. Pressure and dwell time must be
dosely controlled, usually by means of Hat bar sealers and not rotary equipment.

COATINGS AND LAMINATIONS

4-7

Vinyl is another material that nerds an'urate control of temperature and pressure.
Acetate ;md the other cellulosics are sensitive to high temperatures, and they
should not be used in thick buildups where heat-seal conditions may cause
degradation.
If a peelable seal is required, it is possible to use polyvinyl chloride on one side
and a coating of polyvinyl acctatc on thr other. Individual portion packages of
jellies use this SystCIIl, with a cup lIlade of therllloforllled PVC alld a lacquercd
film for the cover. Rubber hydrochloride with PVC also makes a good peelable
seal, but rubber hydrochloride tends to deteriorate with age.
To test the adhesion of a mating on film, scratch or cut the coating; then place
pressure-sensitive tape over the scratch and perpendicular to it. When the Llpe is
removed rapidly, the mating should not come off with it.

Extrusion Coating: The lIlost e('()nolllical way to combine thermoplastics with


other flexible materials in large quantities is by rxtrusion m;llin!!;. The !!;reat
majority of extrusion mating today is being done with polyethylene. The extrusion
process consists of forcing lIlolten plastic through a long slit in a die to produce a
ribbon of material that is laid on a web of paper or other material as it p;1sses
under the die. The temperature is kept fairly high (520 to 5400 F) to secure good
adhesion. There is rapid oxidation of the surface at this temperature, which is
necessary to obtain a good bond, but unfortunately oxidation leads to the production of odor. If the material is to be used for food products, the process must be
controlled carefully to minimize the odor. The oxidation of the surface will also
interfere with heat sealing when the lamination is converted into packagrs, but
problems in this area should not he attributed to oxidation without chccking other
causes as well. It is more likely that heat-seal troubles arc caused by slip agents
or other additives than by the oxidized surface. Since the oxidation will vary from
one batch to another, it may he neccssary to adjust the scaling temperature and
dwell time for cach new lot of material that goes through a fabricating machine.
Extrusion-coating material is softer than a lamination of the same material,
and this too can cause machining problems. If stiffness is necessary in order to
push the material through a bag machine, it may be necessary to change to an
adhesive-laminated combination. Extrusion-coated material has a greater tendency to curl than a lamination has, because of the high extrusion temperature.
A primer coat is usually applied to the web that is being extrusion-coated, to
improve adhesion, especially with foils which are impermeable and have no
"tooth" for the plastic to grasp.

Coated Label Papers: To improve the printing surface of papers for labels,
envelopes, and instruction sheets, various types of coatings are used. There are
usually three components in these coatings: (I) pigments, (2) adhesives, and (3)
additives. Typically the pigments would be rlay, titanium dioxide, or calcium carbonate. Adhesives could be proteins, starches, or latices. Additives are such things
as waterproofing agents, dyes, and preservatives.

4-8

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

COATINGS AND I.AMINATIONS


Vacuum

Gloss is produced by running the coated paper through a calender stack (see
Fig. 12, page 2-13). Calendering smooths out the coating and polishes it, but it
also reduces brightness, opacity, and caliper. A dull coated paper may receive a
limited amount of calendering or none at all. To produce a matte tlnish, the thickness of the coating is reduced and the paper is very lightly calendered. Matte
papers measure from 7 to 20 on the gloss scale, dull coateds measure from 20 to
50, and gloss coateds measure upwards of 50.

Metallizing: The history of metallization starts in the 1930s, when Christmas


tinsel was first made from metallized film. However, it is only within the last ten
years that it has been used as a packaging material in commercial quantities. The
metallized film market is now at 5 million pounds per year; polyester is the chief
subslrate, bUI nylon, polyethylene, and polypropylene films are increasingly being
used.
Metallized film fulfills the need for the attractive appearance of metal foil at a
lower cost. Some improvements in the barrier properties of the films also result
from these coatings. Paper can also be metallized if it is first given a coat of lacquer
to ensure good adhesion. There is a $300 million market for foil/paper laminations, and some of this is being taken over by metallized paper. Cigarette pack
wrappers of foil and paper cost about 9.19 cents/l ,000 in 2, while metallized paper
for this purpose is only 7.77 cents/l ,000 in 2
The coating process consists of heating aluminum wire to 1700C, which
cause~ vaporization of the metal, in a vacuum of 10- 4 mmHg. Vaporization of the
aluminum causes small particles to be ejected in all directions. When film is
unrolled slowly and rcrolled in the vacuum chamber, it becomes coated with a
layer of metal aboul 0.00002 in (500 Angstrom units) 10'70 thick. (See Fig. 3.)
Because of the difficulty of measuring such a thin layer, optical and electrical
methods have been developed. Optical density (00), for example, measures the
amount of light passing through as a proportion of the available light; ratings are
usually in the range of 2 to 3 00. Electrical resistance testing gives readings in
ohms/square (sic), with typical measurements of 1 to 4 n. The thickest coatings
give the highest OD ratings but the lowest resistance figures. (See Table I.)

4-9

i----r'/'Ic::...--::..-.=....=~
Shutler

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=\\1111,
II \ \\11,
WI,r," feed
I \ I I 1I I I

0
ll
, 8 0 -!i,li,-==:l

\1,11

Crucible

FIG. 3 MelaJlizing. Film is IInwound slowly and bombarded with


metal particles in a vacuum chamber, and then rewound. Aluminum
wire fed into a crucible is melted and
vaporized, scattering in all directions, When the metal vapor strikes
the cold film, it condenses in a thin
layer,

Metallized film is not often used by itself but is usually laminated with other
materials to make it more machinable and serviceable. A typical combination
widely used for institutional mfke is 0,00048 metallized polyestcr/O,002 polyethylene. Costs would be aboul as follows:

Mt'talli"'d poly"ster
Adhesive
Polyethylene (ilm

SO, 1000/1 ,000 in 2

0,0070
0,0530

Printing

0,0225

Laminating
Waste

0,0225
0,0250

Converter ('ost

$0,2300/1,000 in 2

LAMINATIONS
TABLE 1 Comparison of Barrier Properties

Pol vester (ilm 50 ga


: '\ L>" ('oated polyester
Metallized polyester
Aluminum foil 0,0007 in

MVTRO

0"ygent

UV light:!:

2,00
1.20
0.05
0.02

30
6,50
0.08
0,03

91
68
5
0

g/(l00 in 2 24 h90"lo RH)


tmL/(lOO in 2 '24 h,77F'O"lo RH)
Percentage of available light

Most of the flexible packaging materials are used in the food industry, and the
market for laminations in this field is over $1 billion. There are five basic methods
of laminating: (1) water adhesives, which require evaporation of the vehicle in the
laminant to provide a bond between the substrates; (2) solvent adhesives, WfllCh
also require evaporation for their effectiveness; (3) thermoplastic coatings, which
take heat and pressure for laminating; (4) extrusion coating, in which a molten
layer of plastic flowing from a narrow slot in a die is laid on a moving web of
paper or film; and (5) hotmelt coating, which differs from extrusion coating only

4-10

COATINGS AND I.AMINATIONS

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

in being done at a lower temperature with mixtures containing wax and other
low-melting materials.
Compared with extrusion coating, adhesive laminations, whether with waterhase or solvent-type laminants, can be made more easily and the equipment is less
complicated. There is a wide choice of materials that can be used, and there is
usually very little scrap with an adhesive system. However, delamination and discoloration are more likely to occur if the proper adhesive is not used, or the curing
cycle is not adequate, or solvents are not completely removed. (See Fig. 4.)

4-11

run must be long to hc cconomical. Therefore it is not very practical to run small
orders by extrusion coating.
He<1l lamination is used to combine coated materials by simply running them
together between rollers, one of which is heated. The equipment is very simple
and relatively inexpensive. Two webs of cellophane are orten combined in this
way to get a stiffer sheet. S<lr;m c;ln be combined with itself without heat or <ldhesive because of the charactcri,tic way in which it clings to itself. If ccllophanc is
printed, as in the case of potato chip bags, the printing can be trapped between
the two sheets for increased gloss and scuff resistance.

Design of Laminations:

Before starting to choose the components of it lamination, make sure there is no single film that will do the job. A brief review of the
properties of various flexible materials might be worthwhile before the decision is
made to add the cost of conversion, if it is not absolutely necessary. (Sec Tables 2
and 3.) Next consider whether a coated film will do the job.

TABLE 2

FIG. 4 Laminating. The basic process consists of combining two or more webs with adhesive. In the diagram one layer of paper is coming up from the bottom and is carried over an
adhesive roller to the left. A second web coming in at the top left meets the adhesive-coated
paper in the nip of the two rolls, which are one above the other on the left. The combined
layers pass around the snub rolls to the right and are carried to the next operation.

Extrusion equipment is more complex than the cold coating machines and is a
good deal more expensive. Temperature and pressure must be controlled very
carefully in each zone of the extruder to get a uniform How and avoid degradation
of the material due to overheating. The extrusion die must also be well designed,
carefully maintained, and accurately adjusted throughout its length to get consistent results. Once the equipment is set up properly, however, extrusion coating is
the most economical method of laminating. Thin coatings of )f mil or less can be
made, whereas with laminations that are bonded with adhesives the film must be
at least 1 mil thick to be machinable. The types of plastics that can be extruded
in this manner are somewhat limited, and about 90 percent of the work is done
with low-density polyethylene, or compounds in which polyethylene is the principal ingredient Other materials that are being used for this purpose include highdensity polyethylene, polypropylene, and nylon.
High temperatures may cause odors owing to degradation of the coating material, but they are sometimes necessary for good adhesion. Thus the converter must
work just below the point at which odors might become noticeable. The amount
of scrap that is produced at the start of an extrusion run is considerable, and a

Characteristics of Flexible Materials

Pouch paper
Glassine paper
Foil
Cellophane
Polyethylene
Polypropylene
Polyvinyl chloride
Saran
RlIhber hydrochloride
Polyester
Nylon

Low cost, rigidity, strength


Greaseproofness, flavor protection
Moisture and gas protection, good appearance
Stiffness, machinability, transparency
Low cost, heat-sealability
Moisture barrier, stiffness
Grease resistance, heat-sealability
Moisture and gas protection
Grease resistance, heat-sealability
Strength, high- or low-temperature performance
Formability for deep draws, 101IKhness

If a coating on film is the material of choice, try to determine the best mating
for the purpose. First consider the most important requirement, then take each
succeeding requirement in the order of relative significance. In this way the
requirements can be weighted and traded off against the cost factors that are
involved with each particular material and method of application. Such tbings as
appearance, machinability, strength of seals, barrier properties, printability, and
coating speeds must be considered in the light of the base cost of the resin as well
as the carrier. (See Table 4.)
If it is decided that a lamination is necessary, every effort should bt' illeHle to
keep the number of plies to a minimum. It is also desirable to use each component
in the very lightest gauge that will serve the purpose, and where bulk or stiffness
is required, try to work with the lowest-cost materials that will give these properties. As a general rule the most protective ply should be nearest to the product.

COATINGS AND LAMINATIONS

TABLE 3 Moisture-Barrier Properties of


Flexible Materials
Water-vapor
transmission

Material
Adar (fluorohalocarbon):
22A, I mil
22A, I~ mil
22C, I mil
22C, 2 mil
33C ~ mil
33C, I mil
33C, 2 mil
Cellulose acetate, I mil
Cellophane:
140K
195K
195M
Polyester, 1 mil
Polyethylene:
Low-density, 1 mil
High-density, I mil
Polypropylene, I mil
Polyvinyl chloride, 1 mil
Rubber hydrochloride, 1.2 mil
Saran (PVDC), 1 mil
Two-ply waxed glassine paper
Waxed glassine paper
Waxed sulfite paper
*g loss/24 h/IOO

0.055
0.046
0.045
0.028
0.040
0.D25
0.015
80.000
0.400
0.450
0.650
2.000
1.300
0.300
0.700
4.000
1.000
0.200
0.500
3.000
4.000

in2/mil at 95F, 90 percent RH.

TABLE 4 Relative Costs of Commonly


Used Flexible Materials

Material
Pou("h paper
Glassine
paper
Pol yet h ylene
'.\ ,xed paper
Aluminum foil
Cellophane
Polyester
Saran
Nylon

Thickness
251b
25 Ib
0.001 in
29 Ib
0.00035 in
195 gauge
0.0005 in
0.001 in
0.001 in

4-12

Cost per
1,000
in 2
$0.035
0.045
0.025
0.065
0.050
0.090
0.090
0.120
0.090

4-13

If one of the plies has a pressure-dependent WVTR, however, the most protective film should be exposed to the high humidity. In the case of cellophane
coated on one side, for example, the coated side should be toward the moist atmosphere. This improves the gas transmission rate, because cellulosic materials are
better gas and water-vapor barriers when they are dry than when they are moist.
The protective value of a sheet is lTlore than doubled when the coating is on the
proper side.
The combination of materials in a lamination is designed for a specific set of
conditions, and each ply should have a particular purpose. If we are to choose the
components of a lamination properly, we should know a few facts about the product to be packaged: the moisture mntent of the product when packaged, as wcll
as the critical level of moisture content, maximum or minimum as the case might
be; the desired shelf life and the conditions of storage that can be expected; the
mass and texture of the product, and the quantities in each unit package as well
as the shipping case quantity, for determining the mechanical strength requirements. (See Tables 5 and 6.) Printing and decoration as well as any special heat-

TABLE

5 Some Common Uses for Laminations

Oriented PP /K cello
K cello/K cello
Polyester /saran/PE
Nylon/saran/PE
Oriented PP /PE/K ["ello/PE
M cello/PE
PP/K cello
Polyester /PE
Aclar/PE

TABLE 6

Snack foods
Snack foods
Meat, cheese (thermoformable)
Meat, cheese (thermoformable)
Cheese
Candy
Candy
Corrosive chemicals
Moisture-sensitive products

Typical Pharmaceutical Applications of Laminations

Paper/PE
Ccllo/PE
Foil/PE
Foil/PVC
Acctate/Plio(ilm
Acetate Ifoil/lacq uer
Acetate/Adar/PVC
Acetate /foil/saran
Acetate/metallized Mylar /PE
Celio/PE/saran
Cello / PElfoi I/Iacq uer
Cdlo/PE/foil/PE
Paprr/PE/foil/PE

Analgesic tablets
Antacid tablcts, vitamin tablets
Effervescent analgesics
Ointments, cough syrup
Antacid tablets, cold capsules
Antibiotic tablets, vitamin tablets
Cough syrup
Antibiotic capsules, ointments
Cough syrup
Antibiotic capsules, vitamin tablets
Antacid tablets
Analgesic tahlets, ointments
Vitamin tablets

4-14

COATINGS AND LAMINATIONS

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

4-15

scal (,()nditions should also be determined before any specifications are set up. (See
Figs. 5 and 6.)
Factors to be considered in selecting the materials for a lamination are permeation of moisture and gases, extraction of plasticizers and stabilizers from the
film by the product, absorption of ingredients of the product by the film, modification of the package by the product, and photochemical change of the product
from exposure to light. (See Table 7.)
Stiffness can be supplied best by paper, usually a pouch paper or glassine.
Paper is the most economical material, and if transparency is not essential, it
should be the first choice.
Printability may be an important consideration, and cellophane or acetate will
serve very well in this case. The best method of printing on film is the gravure
process, but when it is used for printing on paper, this process does not give as
good quality as offsct or leHcrprcss. Printability can be evaluated by two tests that
are in general use: the Geiger tone step test, which shows tone reproduction and
graininess, and the Diamond-Gardiner dot dropout Il'st to measure definition. The
best test, however, is an actual print by the method that is intended to be used.
"Thermoforming" is used for packaging bulky products, and such items as

'-.. .

~'::iiiJG~~"

-,~

FIG. 6 Laminator. Various types of fkxible material can be laminated on this machine,
using solvent or aqueous adhesives, waxes, or hot melts. (Inla-Rolo)

Wi'

TABLE 7

Barrier Properties of Laminations


Oxygen
transmission

Matt'rial
O,O(J2 saran/0.006 PVC
(l.OOIS A<lar/0.002 PE/(J,()075 PVC
0.0015 Adar/O.0075 PVC
"

0,002 PE/(l.(l075

O.()075 PVC
0,l)()2 I'E/O,005
() OOS PVC
0,001 nylon

-'
FIG. 5 Printing press. Different methods of printing paper and film include letterpress,
gravure, offset, and flexographic processes. The press shown is a flexographic printer. (Paper Converting Machine Co" Inc)

I've

I've

'111'/(24 h' 100 ill') .11 71' F,


tg/(24 h' lOO ill').11 '))"1, ')()

0.6
1.0
1.1
1 ."
1.9

{),092

2.(,

0,200
0,520
19,000

2.7
25,0

,I)

Water-vapor
transmission-,

0,034
0,()35
o 17 Ii
(),:\30

IU I
RII

PC'''C'1l1

1'(,IT('nt

frankfurters are packed in laminations that can be drawn into a fell,,,:I ... ,ld,
Typical combinations for this purpose are 50-gauge M-27 Mylar/saran waling/
2-mil polyethylene and 75-gauge nylon/2-mil polyethylene, Better results, in
terms of leaky packages, have been obtained when the materials were laminated
using thermosetting adhesives than when the polyethylene was extrusion-coated.

4-16

COATINGS AND LAMINATIONS

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

Moistureproofness is one of the chief attributes of polyethylene. Wax is economical and is widely used for moistureproofness. The permeation of a film is
inversely proportional to the thickness, but it is not a straight-line function; the
barrier properties do not increase quite so fast as the greater thickness might indicate. (See Table 8 in this section and Fig. 5 in Sec. 3, "Films and Foils," page 310.)

TABLE 8
Protection

Cost Comparison in Relation to Moisture

Lamination

Cdlo/PE
Mylar/I'E
PP/PE
I'YC/saran/PE
PI' /PE/rello/PE
Cello/foil/PE
Cello/Adar/PE

Cost per 1,000

Water-vapor

in 2, cents

transmission

8-10

0.50-\.00

25-50

0.25-0.35

20
90

0-0.04
0-0.04

Gas transmission will vary from one film to another. The list of properties in
Table 5 in Sec. 3, "Films and Foils," page 3-8, may help in choosing a material
if gas transmission is critical. Saran is particularly useful in this regard, and metal
foil is a perfect barrier, but at a slightly higher cost.
Cellophane is a good barrier against oxygen, but as it becomes moist, it loses
some of its barrier properties. A coating of polyethylene will not add much in the
way of a gas barrier of itself, but by keeping moisture away from the cellophane,
it helps greatly in preventing the transmission of oxygen.
It should also be noted that the values of the different components of a lamination are not directly additive, and the only sure way to determine the net effect
is by testing the actual combination. An approximation of the permeability of a
lamination can be calculated from the permeability of the component films as
follows:

PAPER (Itiffn.as)

POLYETHYLENE (adhesive)
FOI L (barrier)

FIG. 7 Laminated construction. A noss senion of a typical laminalion is shown greatly


enlaq<;cd. As indicated, each layer has a specific purpose. The paper side is on the oUlside of
the package in this case, and can be printed. The inside surfaces are intended to be sealed to
each other with heat.

A certain amount of slijTnl'.ls is necessary in a lamination to prevent wrinkling,


especially with foils which have very little springback. Appearance and other
requirements of the finished package also may dictate a stiff material. Paper is the
cheapest and best material to add rigidity in a lamination. There may also need
to be some flexural strength to avoid fractures of some of the layers when the
lamination is draped over bulky or irregular objects. This sometimes requires a
heavier foil, for example, but a word of caution here: the increased thickness may
work against you by aggravating the problems of fatigue failure. There is an optimum thickness for most materials, below which the tensile strength suffers and
above which the stilrness causes stress cracking.

thickness of B

thickness of A
total
permeability
thickness X
of A

changes in pressure, thc result will be a higher total rate than if the film were on
the opposite side. It should be noted also that the internal tear strength, that is,
the resistance to the propagation of a tear, is lower for a laminate than for the
separate films from which it is made.
The workhorse of the converter is a combination of paper, foil, and polyethylene. Written in the usual shorthand of the industry it is pouch paper /PE/foil/
PE. The outer ply is always given first, and the side toward the product is shown
last. The paper in this case provides the tensile strength and the printing surface,
and the foil gives the barrier properties against moisture and gases. The polyethylene which is in bet ween joins l.hefTI together, and polyethylene is used again on
the surface to provide a heat-seal coating. (See Fig. 7.)

POLYETHYLENE (heat- 01)

*g/(24 h/l00 in 2) at 95F, 90 percent RH.

Total
permeability

4-17

total
X permeability
thickness
of B

The diret~lundl effect of a lamination also should be taken into account; for
example, cellophane that is coated on only one side will have a higher moisture
transmission rate when the uncoated side is exposed to high humidity than when
the coated side is in that direction. Also, with a combination of films, if the side
exposed to a gas under pressure has a film that changes its transmission rate with

Coextrusion: The first cOll1meITial coextruded film, sometimes called composite


film, was produced in )9()4 by Ilncules on Beloit equipment. Produoion has
steadily increased until it has now reached a volume of 250 million pounds. There
are two methods being used: the tubular blown method and the flat die pf(jcess.
Two-thirds of coextruded lilm produoion uses polyethylene or polypropylene as
the base film. The remaining one-third is made with nylon, EVA, saran, and
styrene. Heavy-gauge sheet materials for thermoforming, as well as thin films for
bags and pouches, can be made by this process. (See Fig. 8.)

4-18

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

COATINGS AND I.AMINATIONS

4-19

certain conditions; Sec. 3, "Films and Foils," gives some information for each of
the individual materials. Other data are given in Sec. 18, "Test Methods," and
Sec. 20, "Laws and Regulations."

FIG.

Coextrusion

lamination.

Two or more materials can be combinecl


to make a composite film by forcing the
melted polymers through a slit clie
together.

Advantages are that costs can be reduced by using layers as thin as 0.0001 in,
tht're is less delamination than with conventional laminating methods; different
colors can be used in difJ"erent layers; pinholes are practically eliminated; the fllm
has all the advantages of lamination without the use of adhesives, solvents, hot
melts, and primers, and without the need for multiple steps such as drying, curing,
Of solvent removal; and finally, there is greater tear and puncture resistance.
Regarding this last point, thinner fllms generally have better properties than
thicker webs of a single material. For example: two layers of the same material
in a coextrusion will have 20 to 30 percent more impact and tensile strength than
a homogeneous film of the same caliper.
Adhesion can be a problem with some materials. For example, polyethylene
will not bond to impact polystyrene, but a thin layer of EVA, which adheres to
both, can be used to provide the bond. Similarly, a PVC surface can be put on
impact polystyrene by coextruding a layer of ABS between them.
Although coextrusion is generally more economical than adhesive lamination
or extrusion lamination for long runs, when it comes to small orders the scrap loss
during set-ups and changeovers will nearly double the base cost, making this
method less favorable for small quantities.
Suppliers of coextruded films are Diamond Shamrock Chemical Co.; Dow
Chemical Co.; Leco Industries, Ltd. (Can.); Mobil Chemical Co.; National Poly
Products Div.; Pierson Industries, Inc.; U.S. Industrial Chemicals Co.; and Visqueen Div.

COSTS
Determining the exact cost of a lamination is diflicult and complicated, but some
general rules can be laid down, and a few examples will give some indication of
the order of magnitude of thest" costs. In addition to the hase cost of the lilatcrials
that are used, there is the ('Ost of pn)('t"ssin!,;. This v<lf"ies with the type of equipment and the size of the ordt'!".
There is the mst of .1t:1I1Tlg 11/) to run a particular combination, as well :IS the
cost of the S<Tap that is wasted while the equipment is being brou!';ht into adjustment. These are one-time costs, and in a Ion!'; run they may be insignificant. In
short runs, however, they may hcmme a hi!'; factor in the total msts. The running
costI are a constant figure that :lpplies to every rC:lIn of materi:d produced, IT!';ardless of whether the run is long or short. A typical figure would be about $SO() per
hour. Each of these elements will be determined by the complexity and sophistication of the machinery, and the capital cost which must be amortized over every
yard of material that is produced. (See Table 9.)
For rough calculations the cost of the materials used can be doubled to yield a
reasonably close estimate of the ("()st of the finished lamination. If very light gauges
TABLE 9

Typical Costs of Laminations


Cost per
t,OOO
Laminalion

t40 cello/0.003 PE
25-lb pouch paper /0.00035 foil/O.OO IS PE
140 cello/0.0007 PE/0.00035 foil/O.OOI 5 PE
0.00075 saran/50-lb white sulfite paper
0.0005 Mylar/O.OO' I'E

FDA REGULATIONS
The materials used for packaging foods, drugs, and cosmetics must meet certain
standards as requlfCd by law, and by the regulations issued by the Food and Drug
Administration to supplement and define the intent of the law. Not only must the
films, foils, and papers conform to the rules, but any adhesives, primers, inks, or
release coats also must comply with the regulations. Some materials are "generally
recognized as safe," referred to as GRAS materials. Others are acceptable under

0.00088 acetate/O.OOt foi1/0.0008 Plio/ilm


50-lb kraft/O.OOI I'E/0.0005 foi1/0.0025 PE

(l.O005 Mylar/O.OOt foil/O.Om PE


44 X 40 scrim/O.OOI I'E/0.0005 foil/O.0025 I'E

Applications

ir/

Citrus juice, roltage cheese


Cake mix, drink mix, photo
chemicals
Photograpbic film, chipped
beef, coconut
Cap liners
Boil-in-ha;; foods, lunrh
meat pouches
Dehydrated foods
Mil-GO government
specificatiull for case
liners, Slh.dl parts
Boil-in-bag foods
Mil-72 government
specification for
machines, guns. etc.

$0.30
0.30
O.V,
(UR
(UK

O.GO
0.62

0.62
0.90

4-20

~5

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

of film or paper are used, 2}f times would be a little closer to the real figure. If
the number of operations required is known, a figure of 5 cents/l ,000 in 2 for each
pass through the machine, plus 7 cents for profit, plus the cost of the materials
will be more accurate. The thickness of polyethylene in a lamination is sometimes
expressed in pounds per ream, rather than mils of thickness. For converting from
one to the other, 15 Ib is about equal to 1 mil of thickness. This discussion of costs
may help in comparing one lamination with another for design purposes; an accurate cost, however, can be determined only by a supplier because of the many
variables in the costs of adhesives, primers, and other matenals used.

iJarp, (J~, and E~

History 5-1
Advantages and Disadvantage.1 5-2
Types of Flexzble ContazTlers 5-2
Sacks 5-4
Bags 5-5
Pouches 5-5
Milk Pouches 5-5
Aseptic Packaging 5-6
Sterile Packaging 5-6
RetoTtable Pouches 5-7
Design Considerations 5-7
Sacks 5-8
Plastic Sacks and Bags 5-10
Special Bags 5-12
Processes 5-12
Testing 5- 12

One of the oldest forms of packaging, and still one of the most popular, is the
paper bag. It performs all the basic functions of packaging, that is, containment,
protection, and communication, at the lowest possible cost. With a wide range of
sizes and kinds of materials from which to choose, the bag offers a versatility that
can scarcely be matched by any other type of package.

HISTORY
It would be difficult to say how the bag got its start and when it repl,t(("o lhe
animal skins used by nomads for carrying water, wine, cheese, and other subsistence items. In more recent times, when hand operations were superseded by
machines, bags became so generally available that now they are a staple household
item. At the present time abollt 1 million tons of large shipping sacks are produced

5-1

4-20

~5

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

of film or paper are used, 2).f times would be a little closer to the real figure. If
the number of operations required is known, a figure of 5 cents/l,OOO in 2 for each
pass through the machine, plus 7 cents for profit, plus the cost of the materials
will be more accurate. The thickness of polyethylene in a lamination is sometimes
expressed in pounds per ream, rather than mils of thickness. For converting from
one to the other, 15 Ib is about equal to 1 mil of thickness. This discussion of costs
may help in comparing one lamination with another for design purposes; an accurate cost, however, can be determined only by a supplier because of the many
variables in the costs of adhesives, primers, and other materials used.

iJa.<:fi' p~, and E~

History 5-1
Advantages and Disadvantages 5-2
Types of FleXIble Containers 5-2
Sacks 5-4
Bags 5-5
Pouches 5-5
Milk Pouches 5-5
Aseptic Packaging 5-6
Sterile Packaging 5-6
Retortable Pouches 5- 7
Design Considerations 5- 7
Sacks 5-8
Plastic Sacks and Bags 5-10
Special Bags 5- 12
Processes 5-12
Testing 5- 12

One of the oldest forms of packaging, and still one of the most popular, is the
paper bag. It performs all the basic functions of packaging, that is, containment,
protection, and communicatlOll, at the lowest possible cost. With a wide range of
sizes and kinds of materials from which to choose, the bag offers a versatility that
can scarcely be matched by any other type of package.

HISTORY
It would be difficult to say how the hag got its start and when it repl:l(("(1 lhe
animal skins used by nomads for carrying water, wine, cheese, and other subsistence items. In more recent times, when hand operations were superseded by
machines, bags became so generally available that now they are a staple household
item. At the present time about 1 million tons of large shipping sacks are produced

5-1

5-2

BAGS, POUCHES, AND ENVELOPES

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

cach ycar, and 1)(, million tons of smaller bags, 90 percent of which are made of
unbleached kraft, of the familiar type used in the grocery store.
The number of large shipping sacks produced in this country per year is over
3 billion, of which about 30 million are all plastic and the rest are multiwall paper
sacks. In the high-barrier category of large sacks costing over 40 cents each, it is
reported that nearly 100 million are produced, and for the medium-barrier sacks
priced at 30 to 40 cents the figure is near 450 million. The remainder is assumed
to be, from the way it is reported, the minimum-protection type of sack, selling in
the range of 15 to 30 cents each.

I~AL~

8-3/4.11-1/4

ADV ANT AGES AND DISADV ANT AGES


Of all the various package forms, the paper bag is undoubtedly the lowest in unit
cost, if we exclude certain sleeves and bands which are not really complete packages. Bags also keep shipping costs to a minimum since they have the lowest tare
weight ratio, that is, the weight of the container in relation to the weight of the
contents. Being securely closed on all sides, they are essentially dust-tight and thus
protect their contents from outside contamination. Bags can be tailored to fit
snugly around the products they contain, and beyond this they will adjust to any
shift in the shape of the contents. A fluffy product which tends to settle on standing, for example, will take up less space In storage because the bag settles with
the product. Bags take up a minimum of space in storage and shipment, both
before and after filling. Sizes can be made to suit almost any conceivable product,
from the tiniest seed packet to huge wrappers for lumber.
On the negative side is the nonsupporting character of a paper bag. It may not
stand as neatly on the dealer's shelf as some of the more rigid types of packaging,
and the wrinkles and folds may be unattractive for certain purposes. Stacking in
the warehouse or in a retail display may also present some problems. Durability
is usually borderline, and in some instances is deliberately so. A bulky,
low-cost product is often put into a minimum of packaging for economic reasons,
and a breakage factor of X; to 1 percent is built into the design. On the other hand,
it is possible to strengthen a bag to almost any degree through the use of scrim
and similar reinforcing materials laminated to the base sheet. This type of reinforcement adds considerably to the cost, but for export or the armed services it is
sometimes necessary. t'vlore often, a rigid form of packaging would be chosen in
place of a bag under those circumstances, but there are times when the reduced
tare weight and the savings in cubage will make the bag the best choice.

5-3

"""

FIG. 1 Envelopes. Of the many sizes and styles of envelopes, a few are illustrated here. Each
of these comes in several sizes, and the dimensions shown arc typical, although they arc not
the only dimensions that are being used.

smaller than a bag. Envelopes are die-cut and are folded differently from bags, as
shown in Fig. 1, and they are made on a completely different type of machine.
When designing envelopes for mailing, keep in mind that the Post Ollice requires
additional postage on envelopes larger than 6)1; X 11 ~ and post cards over 4X X
6. There are four general styles of bag construction: (1) automatic bottom or selfopening style (SOS); (2) square bottom, also known as pinch bottom; (3) flat bag;
and (4) satchel bottom. (See Figs. 2 and 3.) The numbers printed on grocery bags
indicate the capacity in pounds of sugar. Sacks are usually designated in fractions
of a flour barrel. Some other terms that apply more to the way in which a bag is
used, or to materials from which it is made, should be mentioned here. A "baler"
bag is used to hold a number of smaller bags; it may be satchel bottom or selfopening style. A "multi wall" sack is generally required for packages of chemicals;
it is made from three to six plies of paper or more, depending on weight, value,
and type of export or domestic service required. A two-ply bag is more often called
GUSSET

./
FACE

TYPES OF FLEXIBLE CONTAINERS


A flexible container which is open at one end is broadly called a "bag." Although
in any size it can also be called a "sack," this term is usually reserved for very
large bags holding 50 Ib or more. An "envelope" is usually, but not necessarily,

TUBE

SQUARE

SELF 0 PEN I NG

~usset), and len~th.


Note that the length (/') is measured differently for a square (pinch hottom) ba~ and for a selfopening (automatic) bag. The length of the tube before it is formed into a bag is sometimes
given, and this should not be confused with the finished len~th.

FIG.2

Terminology. Dimensions should he specified as face, width (or

5-4

HANDBOOK 01' PACKAGE ENGINEERING

BAGS, POUCHES, AND ENVELOPES

5-5

Bags: Plastic bags and paper bags require complf'tciy different types of equipment, both for manufacturing and for sealing. The former may be made from
plastic tubing or from a flat web that is folded and joined in a "back-seam" construction. (See Fig. 5.) Either of these can be "flat" or they can be "gusseted"; the
FLAT

SQUARE

SELF OPENING

~
SEWN OPEN-MOUTH

PASTED VALVE WITH SLEEVE

BACKSEAM flAT

a "duplex" construction. The various "plies" are always described in the proper
sequence, which is starting from the inside and working outward. For example,
if a sack is specified as 1/50, 1/90AL, 1/70, this would indicate a three-ply construction consisting of a 50-lb basis (24 X 36-500) kraft sheet on the inside, an
asphalt lamination in the middle, probably made of two 30-lb sheets with 30 lb
of asphalt between them, and a 70-lb kraft sheet on the outside. The basis weight
for kraft paper, as indicated, is the weight of 500 sheets 24 by 36 in (3,000 ft 2 ).

Sacks: Multiwall sacks are either "sewn" across the top and bottom or are of
"pasted" construction. The side seams in either case are glued. Usually a starch
or dextrin glue made from cornstarch is used for this purpose. If only one of the
ends is closed by the manufacturer, the container is called an "open-mouth" sack.
In other cases both ends are closed except for a small valve in one corner, which
may have an extended "sleeve" that is folded in after filliog, or may depend on
the check valve action of an internal sleeve for a tight closure. The folded sleeve
in a pasted bag will give the least amount of sifting. (See Fig. 4.)

~.\~~AJ
I -r I
I ~ I
'I

FIG. 4 Folding a sleeve. The proper method of folding the sleeve of a valve-type sack is
shown. (1) Shake loose material into bag and flatten the end of the sleeve. (2) Fold corners
down at a 45 angle so that the edges meet. (3) Fold point down, with any projecting tape. (4)
Slide the folded point as far as possible into the pocket, and sharply crease the last fold.

L __

SATCHEL

FIG. 3 Styles of bags. A continuous web of paper is formed into a tube and glued along the
overlap. This is torn to length against a serrated bar, which gives the characteristic saw-tooth
edge. The end is then folded over and glued to make the bottom.

TUBULAR GUSSETED

BOTTOM GUSSET

-.0:-

o
c=:l

SIDESEAM WICKETED

SNAP FASTENER

INSIDE FLAP

BOARD HEADER

CARRIER

FIG.5 Plastic bags. Tubing requires only a heat seal across the hottom to complete the hag.
The top is usually flush cut and may therefore be diflicult to open. Side-seam bags can be made
with a lip at the top for ease in opening. Various attachments can be used for special purposes.
See also Fig. 9 in Sec. 3, "Films ,md Foils," page 3-29, for forms of film in rolls.

ends are generally heat-sealed to complete the closure. In some cases a web of film
is folded and heat-sealed to give a "side-seam" bag. The folded edge forms the
bottom and can be accordion-folded if a bottom gusset is desired. The top edge
usually has a lip for easy opening when filling, which is one advantage of a sideseam bag over the other types, which must be flush-cut.

Pouches: The most economical way to produce pouches is to make them from
roll stock at the point of filling. There are several types of form/fill/seal machines
which operate at 100 packages per minute. It is also possible to use preformed
pouches for filling on machines that can produce about 30 filled packages per
minute.

Milk Pouches: Quart-size 3-mil polyethylene pouches for fresh milk are made
on form/fill/seal equipment, and these packages have several advantages over
glass and plastic bottles. When they arc stored in the rdrigerator, they conform

5-6

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

to the available space and take up a minimum of room. They are economical and
sanitary, and when a pouch is put into the special pitcher provided, and X in of
the corner is snipped ofT, the milk can be dispensed easily and conveniently. After
the milk has been used up, the empty pouches take up very little space in the
garbage.
Why has this package not been more successful? Because the public believes it
is inconvenient, usually without even trying it. In parts of Canada where sales
were forced, it has been quite successful, and consumers liked it once they got used
to it. But in other areas sales resistance has prevented widespread use of this package. Leakage has been somewhat of a problem, but this is controllable. The opportunities for pouch packaging of such things as motor oil, fruit juices, and other
liquid produ(,ts are tremendous, but the marketing problems have so far been
insurmountable.

Aseptic Packaging:

The process by which previously sterilized products are


put into sterile packages under aseptic conditions, in contrast to terminal sterilization, has been under development for about 40 years. At the present time more
than half of the milk sold in Italy and West Germany is packaged by this method.
This milk can be stored for up to 90 days without refrigeration, if the container
is a good barrier against oxygen and light, and the headspace is reduced to a minimum. The savings in refrigerator space in retail stores is the main advantage.
Other kinds of food are also being packaged with these techniques, using boxes
and cans of all types, even 55-gal drums.
Pouch material is sterilized by a bath of 20 percent hydrogen peroxide containing a wetting agent, for a period of 4 s, then dried by intense radiant heat.
Another method consists of a bath of ethyl alcohol at a temperature of 95C in
conjunction with high-intensity ultraviolet light. The UV light is necessary
because certain fungi and spore-forming bacteria are resistant to alcohol. The web
can be sterilized by this method at a rate of 40 in/min, or 10 pouches per minute.
Filling and sealing is done in an atmosphere of sterile air.

BAGS, POUCHES, AND ENVELOPES

5-7

larger than 1.0 /.Lm. Paper of consistent formation that is 35-111 basis or heavier is
usually adequate, and a Gurley porosity test of ()O s or morc is a good indication
that microorganisms will not pass through.

Retortable Pouches: Thl' mdin interest in retortdble pou(,hes is for military


and institutional use, with a small market in the recre;uional field for hikers and
campers. and also an export market. Although these packages have been quite
successful in Japan since 19(/), they have not tIlade tIluch headway in this country.
It is expected that the retort able pouch will find its place as a container for gourmet-type prepared foods, rathcr than as a substitute for tIlctal cans.
A typical laminate for retortablc pouches is O.OOOS polyester/O.OOCJ3S foil/
0.003 polypropylene, with the ()lItn ply designated first, as is customary for pouch
material. Filled pouches are sterilized at 240 to 2500 F with overriding air pressure of about 28 psi to prevent hursting. Pouch material that will not delaminate
at these temperatures must be selected, and the seals should withstand a tensile
test of 7 lb/in of width, internal pressure of 1S psi for 30 s, pinhole strength of
1.33 lb, and a drop test of 4 ft.

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS
Small paper bags can be made in several styles. For thin products a flat bag is the
most economical. If the contents is bulky, it is better to have side gussets, which
are accordion folds to permit the bag to "square up" with less bulging. (See Fig.

Sterile Packaging:

The requirements for maintaining sterility in a package are


not complicated. The package must be free of pinholes, unless a double layer is
used. If two wrappers are used, it is unlikely that pinholes in the two layers would
coincide, and bacteria require a direct path to enter a package.
The second important point is that all seals must be dust-tight. The packages
can be heat-sealed, or they can simply be folded twice in what is known as a
"druggist's fold." to form a labyrinth which is effective in keeping out microorganisms. There l' a slight risk that contaminating material may be pumped in
through a folded seal by rough handling, but this is unlikely. Abrasion which may
wear holes in the wrapper during shipment is another source of possible failure.
Some porosity is usually necessary in a package that is to be sterilized, to allow
steam or gas to enter and kill the important pathogens. Paper or film with holes
smaller than 0.3 /.Lm in diameter is satisfactory, since critical bacteria are generally

FIG. 6 Bag machine. SOS (self-opening style) grocery bags are fabricatf'd and printed in
one operation on this machine. The paper feeds from the roll on the right, is glued along one
edge by the small wheel at top ri/-iht, and travels down through the former, which folds it into
a continuous tube. The tube is ('ut to length and is carried around a ferris wheel toward the
left, which glues and folds the bottom. The finished bags are stacked on the conveyor at the far

left.

(H. C. Weber &- Co.,

11Ic.)

5-8

BAGS, POUCHES, AND ENVELOPES

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

6.) The square-bottom style runs faster on the bag machine and is more economical by about 25 percent than the automatic bottom, although the latter is much
easier to open for filling, by grasping the lip and snapping it through the air so
that the bottom pops out.

TABLE 1

Moistureproof Paper for Multiwall Sacks

Barrier material, I hi
1,000 ft 2.

MVT (creased paper),


g/(lOO in 2 -24 h) at
1000F, 90% RH

Sacks: Of the larger sacks, the sewn paper sack is the strongest and least expensive, but it does not offer as much moisture protection or siftproofness as the pasted
sack. The thread which closes the ends is usually chain-stitched, and instructions
showing which end to pull for opening should be included in the printed copy.
Where alkali is present, oil-dipped cotton thread should be specified for the stitching. In the case of strong acids, Dacron thread is recommended. With all highly
reactive materials, the open-mouth sack must be bar-pasted at the top.
Adding a thick filler of soft cotton with the sewing thread affords some
improvement in the siftproofness of a sewn sack. This helps to plug up the needle
holes. A 90-lb creped kraft paper tape folded over the end before sewing keeps the
thread from tearing out of the bag. For better moisture protection the tape-oversewing (TOS) is superior to the tape-under-sewing (TUS). In this case the tape
must be glued or heat-sealed in place, or adhered with a pressure-sensitive coating.
The kraft paper tape is available in several standard colors so that different products can be color-coded if desired.
The valve sack requires no equipment for closing, as both ends are closed by
the sack manufacturer. It does, however, take a special filling machine with a
nozzle that fits through the valve opening. One operator can service two or more
filling machines, since it requires only sliding the bag on and off the nozzle to
complete the operation, while the bottom of the sack rests on the table. The pasted
sack is neater-looking than the sewn sack, because it fills out to a squarer unit,
and product identification can be printed on the top and bottom more easily. It is
not quite as strong, however, but with stepped-end construction, in which the ends
of each individual ply are glued to themselves, it is quite serviceable.
Export multi wall sacks are usually made with five or six plies of paper having
a total basis weight between 270 and 350 lb, with a moisture barrier and a wetstrength outer ply, even if the product is not hygroscopic. Domestic sacks, on the
other hand, usually have three to five plies with a total basis weight of 140 to 280
lb. Two-ply bags made from 60- or 70-lb paper are now beginning to replace the
three-ply bags made from 40-lb kraft, which is becoming difficult to obtain. (See
Table 1.) Length and width of a sack should have a ratio close to 2: 1 so as to
interlock on a pallet when each layer is turned 90 and thus make a neat, stable
load without wasting space. Some packaging engineers prefer the shorter bag, with
a ratio of 1~: I, because it is easier for handling. The gusset can be any convenient
size, but it usually is around one-fifth the width, or between 3 and 5 in. For widths
over 24 in or lengths over 34 in, check with the supplier to be sure the size is not
beyond the range of his machines. The size of a sack for a particular product will
depend on the product's density, trapped air, and free-flowing qualities, and the

1/()O AI.
(,-Ih Lo [) PE (:';-mil)
:<;-mil PE free Ii 1m
2/90 AI.
10-lh Lo D PE
6-lb Hi D PE
7~-lb IIi 0 PE (:<;mil)
15-lb Lo D PE (1nlll)
I-mil PE free film
10-lb Hi D PE
K-type cellophane
20-lh Lo 0 PE
IS-lb Hi D PE
20-lb Hi D PE

5-9

Cents per
1,000 in 2

4.00
3.00
1.()0
2.00
2.00
200

4.14
3.66
2.(,Ht

\.50

7.02

1.25
1.25
1.00
1.00
0.75
060
0.50

5.66
3.70+

8.28

4.64
6.54

7.92

11.68
6.56
9.64
11.24

AL
asphalt.lalllinated; Lo 0
low density; IIi D
high density;
PE = polyethylene.
t Includes cosl of 1/40 kraft paper for comparison purposes.

only satisfactory way to determine the correct dimensions is by trial and error,
making up a sample, fIlling it, and adjusting the dimensions accordingly. The
weight of the product in a sack, for convenient handling, should be from 50 to 80
lb. Although 100-lb sacks are fairly common, they are too heavy for one man to
pick up easily and should be avoided.
Protection from damage or from the atmosphere is provided by the different
plies of paper or film. Two thin sheets are more serviceable than une thick sheet
of equivalent weight, as a general rule. Not only are they more flexible, but the
forces seem to be more evenly distributed and less ('oncentrated with the multiple
construction. The outer ply, however, should not be less than 60-lb basis to resist
snagging. Kraft paper is the strongest and cheapest type of paper and will usually
make up the bulk of the plies. Semibleached or full-bleached kraft on the outside
improves the appearance of the finished sack at a slight ildditional cost.
For greaseproofness, one ply of glassine paper could be included, but for moisture protection a layer of asphalt between two layers of paper is generally used.
It is the least expensive moistureprooflng, but in cold weather it becomes stiff; it
also tends to gum up the sewing needles and with products that are packed tlOI,
the asphalt may bleed through. A ply of plain paper is nearly always put on both
sides of the asphalt lamination because of this bleeding problem. Polyethylene as
a coating or as a free film, especially the high-density type of polyethylene, is a
much better moisture barrier than asphalt, but it is more costly. Other choices are

5-10

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

BAGS, POUCHES, AND ENVELOPES

wax paper, which gives excellent odor and moisture protection, and 0.00035-in
aluminum foil laminated to 40-lb kraft paper, which is considerably more expensive but is a nearly perfect barrier for water vapor and gases. The barrier material
is generally put on the inside, as close to the product as possible, to avoid puncture
from the outside, and when it is put directly against the product, it often helps the
product to slide out of the bag easily.
Other special papers for sacks include wet-strength kraft, which has a melamine resin added during manufacture; antiskid matings of colloidal silica or other
treatments to minimize the shifting of loads in the warehouse and during shipment; fiber-free plies consisting of either a highly calendered or a mated paper to
maintain the purity of critical products; and extensible paper (described more fully
under paper manufacturing in Sec. 2, "Paper and Paperboard"), which has 10 to
15 percent greater impart strength than regular kraft paper.
A certain amount of damage is bound to occur in shipment, and the extent to
which you should overdesign will depend on the value of the product; products
that are worth more than $1 per pound might better be put into a fibre drum.
Some engineers use 50 cents per pound as the breakpoint between bags and drums.
For low-cost items, such as building materials, a ~ or 1 percent breakage is
planned, and a few empty sacks are included with each carload or truckload to
repackage the material from the broken sacks. (See Table 2.)

Plastic Sacks and Bags:

Polyethylene sacks for industrial products have come


into limited use, but the high cost and difficulty of sealing have discouraged their
widespread adoption. The advantages of moistureproofness, transparency, and
chemical resistance will sometimes make these the best choice for fertilizers and
certain chemical products. The heat-seal area has only about two-thirds the
strength of the rest of the sack unless it is reinforced with another strip of polyethylene and sealed through this extra layer. (See Table 3.)

TABLE 2

Approximate Costs of Multiwall Sacks, 19 by 4 by 34 in, per Thousand*

Ply Constru('tiont
3/,)0
1/')0, 2/(,()
2/')0,2/(,0
2/50, 1/60, 1/60 WS
.'1/')0, 2/60
0.0015 PE, 1ISO ~ '(,0
,_ tiL;
1/10 PE 50,1
3/50,2/(,0, 1/70

Sewn open
mouth

Pasted open
mouth

Sewn
valve

Pasted
valve

S174.00
190.00
23000
244.00
270.00
268.00
316.00
320.00

S184.00
200.00
244.00
258.00
288.00
290.00
334.00
34200

S220.00
238.00
286.00
300.00
336.00
330.00
380.00
406.00

S210.00
230.00
278.00
290.00
328.00
322.00
372.00
400.00

Add about 8 p<rcent to the above ligures for extensible paper.


t WS = wet strength; PE = polyethylene. t /50, 2/60 indirates one ply of 50-lb kraft and two plies of 60-lb

kraft, starting from the inside. Free rllm polyethylene is indicated as O.OOt 5 in thick. Coated polyethylene on paper
is shown as 1/10 PE (to Ib HI" ,,t.,ut 0.00075 in thick) on SO-Ib kraft.

5-11

TABLE 3 Size Limitations of


Polyethylene Industrial Sacks
Face ........................... 16 to 20 in
J.,ngth ......................... I K to 38 in
Width .............. , .......... 4)<; to 5)<; in

A 5-mil polyethylene sack to hold 50 Ib costs around 1S cents, and a to-mil


bag for 100 Ih is about 25 ccnts. They can be printed with up to four colors on
both sides, with nonslip inks. Both valve and opcn-Illouth styles arc available in
polyethylene. The best polyethylene resin for large ba)!;s has a density of about
0.91 S and a melt indcx around I is A few pinholes cm be added to allow trapped
air to escape without seriously alfccting the moisture protection.
Small plastic bags made from tubing are most economical, as they require only
a cross seal and cutoff, and so can be run at high speed with a minimum of problems. (See Table 4.) If exceptional clarity is required and the film is not available

TABLE 4
Thousand

Approximate Costs of Polyethylene Bags Unprinted, per

'W

6
10
(,
12
8
14
10
14
12
14

= width;

-----

------.-~.-

in
3 X
"\ X
4 X
4 X
6 X
(, X
HX
8 X
10 X
10 X

Side-weld, in

Tubular style, in

Size W X L,

(l,OOI

o ()(1l25

0.0015

0.002

0.00125

0.002

$3.40
4.40
3.911
6.10
5.70
7.60
7.30
9.S0
10.30

$.1.80
'>.'>0
4.40
7.20
6.40

$4.S0

$SOO
7.40

$3.30
3.1'0

$390
'>.21l
4.70
7.40
7.70
10.70
10.40
13.70
14.60
16.80

i
L

I.')()

C).OO

8.30
1100
12.00
13.70

!J.IO

')00
7.80
7.20
10.00
9.80
12.80
13.90
15.90

6.00

UO

9.50
8.80
12.70
12.30
16.20
19.40
21.00

4.90
5.20
7.30
7.20
9.00
\0.00
11.20

= length.

in tube form, a back seam or side seam becomes necessary. If side gussets are not
required, there is an advantage to the side-seam construction, since a lip can be
made which will facilitate opening the bag for filling. Otherwise tht' open end
must be flush-cut, which tends to stick the edges together and make it difficult to
get the end of the bag open.
Polypropylene bags have exceptional clarity and good printability and are often
used for fine hosiery and other luxury items. Cost is aboul double lhal of polyethylene bags of equivalent dimensions. They are more difficult to fabricate, and gusseted bags are especially hard 10 seal, so that the Hat style of bag is generally used.

5-12

BAGS, POUCHES, AND ENVELOPES

HANDBOOK OF PACKAGE ENGINEERING

Side-seam bags tend to string out as they are cut ofT with a hot knife against a
Teflon-coated anvil, causing rough edges and "angel hair." The best sealing conditions are around 10 psi for 0/. s at 375F with a knife-edge radius of 0.010 in or
less.

Special Bags:

Cushioned mailing bags are made of two plies of kraft with a


cushioning material such as shredded or flaked paper evenly distributed between
them. They are used for mailing books and small fragile objects. Cotton mailing
bags are made with a drawstring at one end and an envelope or address tag sewn
into the other end.
Burlap is not used as much as it used to be, but for special purposes it can be
laminated to kraft paper with asphalt as the laminant, or to polyethylene film with
a special adhesive. Plain burlap sacks are available in 7)<:;-, 10-, or 12-oz material,
in limited widths, in sewn open-mouth or valve types, with sewn or cemented side
seams. Woven mesh bags of polyethylene and polypropylene fibers also are available and are beginning to replace the woven fabrics made from natural fibers.
Various kinds of supplementary devices can be applied to small paper or plastic
bags on the bag-making machine with little additional cost. Holes can be punched
for hanging, for ventilation, or to relieve pressure or vacuum for faster packing.
These are usually X in in diameter and are most conveniently spaced in even
inches to avoid special tooling. A half-circle cut is sometimes used as a Rutter valve
instead of a hole, for better appearance.
Other additions include windows, consisting of a large hole covered with a
transparent film or a mesh fabric; handles cut into the bag and reinforced or added
on; and paperboard saddles to be used for display purposes. Special equipment
has been developed for these operations, and with a little ingenuity the bag manufacturer ran produce a great variety of opening and reclosing features, carrying
and display devices, and many other special constructions.

PROCESSES
Large sacks can be filled with granular material on automatic equipment at speeds
above 20 per minute with a weight variation of less than X Ib either way. With
semiautomatic equipment the filling rate will be about 2 per minute. For best
results the moisture content of the paper should be between 6 and 8 percent. Printing of most bags is by flexography, although some rotogravure is used for long
runs and fu"" iohs.

TESTING
The standard drop tcst for sacks of 50 Ib or more is to drop the filled and sealed
sack from a height of 3)<:; ft alternately on its face and back until it breaks. The

5-13

results are reported as the aver;If!:C number of falls to failurc. Some laboratories
prefer an edge drop from a height of 2 ft. Bags under 50 lb should be tested by
dropping them from a height of 2 ft onto their bottoms until they break. In each
case a bag should survive an average of two to four drops before spilling its
contents.