June 17, 2024
Lamination Adhesives For Flexible Packaging

Navigating Lamination Adhesives for Flexible Packaging: Types, Considerations, and Applications

Flexible packaging is gaining popularity worldwide and flexible laminations are a integral part of the flexible packaging process. Choosing the right lamination adhesive plays a crucial role in determining the quality, performance and shelf life of the flexible packaging. This article discusses the different types of lamination adhesives used for flexible packaging, their properties and applications.

Types of Lamination Adhesives

There are various types of adhesives used for laminating flexible packaging materials like plastic films, paper, foil and more. The major types are:

Solvent-Based Adhesives

Solvent-based adhesives were commonly used in the past due to their low coat weight and high bond strength properties. However, they are being replaced now due to environmental and health concerns related to solvent emissions. These adhesives use organic solvents like toluene, ethyl acetate, methyl ethyl ketone etc to dissolve the resin and reduce its viscosity for coating. On evaporating the solvent, a solid adhesive film is left behind.

Water-Based Adhesives

Water-based adhesives have emerged as sustainable replacements for solvent-based ones. They have lower VOCs and are environment friendly. These use water as the primary solvent which gives them fewer hazards compared to organic solvents. However, their bond strength is lower than solvent-based types. Advances in resin and additive technologies have improved the bond strength of newer water-based adhesives.

Hot Melts

Hot melt adhesives are solvent-free and solid at room temperature. They are heated and melted to the application temperature before coating. Once applied, they cool and solidify quickly to form strong bonds. Clean up is easy as they are 100% solid with no volatile solvents. However, high temperatures required for melting can be damaging to heat-sensitive materials.

Pressure Sensitive Adhesives

These adhesives form permanent bonds by the application of light pressure and do not require heat, solvents or other activations. They find usage in self-adhesive labels and tapes. However, their bonding may not be as strong as other adhesive types.

Choosing the Right Adhesive System

Selection of the most suitable lamination adhesive depends on various factors like:

– Materials being laminated – Compatibility with plastic films, paper, foil etc.

– Bonding requirements – Heat seal, high speed lines, durability etc.

– Regulatory compliance – Food contact approval, recycled content etc.

– Sustainability objectives – Low VOCs, recyclability etc.

– Processing equipment – Coating method, drying capabilities etc.

Adhesive resin type, Lamination Adhesives For Flexible Packaging coat weight and formulation play an important role as well. A balanced adhesive system matching the packaging needs, materials and processing is essential for consistent bonds with optimal performance.

Key Application Areas

Some major application areas of lamination adhesives in flexible packaging include:

Pouches

Multi-layer pouches for food, household and industrial products widely use lamination adhesives to bond polymer films, paper substrates and aluminum foil. Water-based systems are commonly used due to sustainability preferences of pouch manufacturers.

Bags & Sacks

Grocery bags, trash bags, shipping sacks etc involve lamination of woven and non-woven materials. Hot melts provide fast production cycles while solvent systems work better for heavier gauge films requiring high bond strengths.

Labels

Self-adhesive labels use pressure sensitive adhesives in roll or sheet form for application onto bottles, cans and other containers. Their solvent-free, 100% solid nature suits just-in-time label converting processes.

Wraps

Cling films, plastic wraps, aluminum foil wraps etc employ either hot melts or water-based lamination adhesives depending on line speeds and wrap material properties.

Other applications include converting flexible intermediate bulk containers, packaging laminates, medical device packaging and more. Continuous innovation in adhesive resin formulation has further expanded their use.

Future Outlook

The flexible packaging industry is expected to grow at over 5% annually driven by shifting consumer preferences towards convenience, sustainability and eco-friendly options. Adhesive technologies will have to evolve to meet these changing needs.

Bio-based solvents, plant-derived resins, adhesive recycling compatibility and reduced environmental footprint will become key focus areas. Advanced adhesive systems enabling high speed automated packaging lines, robust seals even under retort conditions and extended shelf life requirements present opportunities for manufacturers.

Overall, lamination adhesives tailored to diverse flexible packaging applications and sustainability objectives will play a bigger role in the future of the flexible packaging industry and supply chain. Continuous improvements offer ample scope for further growth in this critical sector

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it