Bag-in-box (BIB) flexible packaging solutions are popular due to their convenience, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. Thermo-lamination is the preferred method for BIB film manufacturing due to its sustainability, safety, and high oxygen barrier. Aran’s expertise in hot lamination and unique co-extrusion technology produces superior BIBs that offer high mechanical durability, flexibility, and oxygen protection.
The popularity of Bag-in-box (BIB) flexible packaging solutions has increased due to their convenience, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. The production of flexible film is a crucial aspect of BIB technology, and it can be achieved through various methods: Co-extrusion, Thermo-lamination (TLT) or Adhesive lamination, and a combination of both. Each of these technologies has its advantages and disadvantages. This article will delve deeper into these three BIB technologies, analyzing their distinctive features, benefits, and limitations, with a particular focus on mechanical properties, visibility, sustainability, and functionality as gas transmission barriers for extending shelf life.
Moving toward thermo-lamination technology
All three BIB film manufacturing methods are common. However, in recent years, due to sustainability considerations and the desire to preserve packed food for longer shelf life and extended transportation distances, it seems that the equation has changed. When considering these factors, the thermo-lamination method presents significant advantages over other methods. This led companies in the industry to adopt this technology and make it their main manufacturing method. It is important to note that this is not a black-and-white issue, as there are applications where other methods have advantages. Thus, it is essential to maintain flexibility and adapt the appropriate technology to the desired application.
Seal the Deal: The Advantages of TLT
The lamination stage is critical for Bag in Box plastic bags as it determines the final properties of the film. This process involves combining different films produced using various techniques to create a single film that incorporates the unique features of each film. Lamination can be accomplished through chemical adhesives or Thermo-lamination, which uses only heat and pressure to combine the films.
Thermo-lamination has significant advantages, especially in terms of the environment. Adhesive lamination has major environmental drawbacks, such as the use of chemicals and solvents, which have a highly negative impact on the environment and pose a risk to workers on the manufacturing floor. These chemicals and solvents can also leave residues in the final product and contaminate packed food inside the bag. Additionally, the drying tunnel’s solvent evaporation consumes a significant amount of energy.
In contrast, Thermo-lamination requires less energy and is safer for the workers on the production floor, the final product, and the environment. Adhesive films are less flexible, which makes them more susceptible to flex cracks phenomenon and pinholes.
Another advantage that TLT bags present is their high oxygen barrier; the metalized layer has excellent performance, preventing oxygen from entering the bag and extending the product’s shelf life. Aran’s bags reach a level of less than 1 (cc/m2/24 hr), which is an outstanding performance from the bags.
Aran recognized the advantages of Thermo-lamination 30 years ago and produces their Bag in Box bags using this technology ever since. With our experience, we can design and provide all our products, including custom-made ones, in sizes ranging from three to 1500 liters.
Beyond Ordinary Bags: Advantages of Aran’s Co-Extrusion Bag in Box Bags
Co-extrusion is another technology to create multi-layer films for BIB applications. However, the barrier layer is usually based on EVOH, which is sensitive to moister. For better barrier and higher oxygen protection, the thickness of the EVOH layer must be more prominent, but doing so will cause the flexibility to diminish.
To address the drawbacks, Aran adopted unique co-extrusion technology that modifies the structure of the polymer matrix and enhances the flexibility of BIBs made with Co-extrusion films.
A Whole is Greater Than the Sum of its Parts
Both Thermo-lamination and Co-extrusion techniques have their respective advantages and disadvantages. However, Aran’s “Super-Flex” and Premium Flex product line utilizes a combination of these techniques to achieve superior properties, particularly in terms of durability against flex cracks. This solution outperforms all other available solutions on the market. The high mechanical durability provides an excellent oxygen barrier. This enables the BIBs to be transported for a longer distance without affecting the quality of the product inside.
Thermo-lamination vs Co-extrusion: Bonding Tech Showdown
When choosing a suitable BIB technology, it is important to consider optical factors as well. Contrary to transparent co-extrusion bags, TLT bags are opaque, block light and allow better protection for the product inside. In terms of mechanical properties, TLT laminates are more durable during shipping and less prone to pinholes than co-extrusion laminates. On an environmental level, the co-extrusion film can be fully recyclable if the EVOH content is limited to under 5% of the total film thickness. However, the metallization of the laminates poses a recycling challenge. Aran is currently developing metalized laminates made from recycled materials to address this issue, which will significantly reduce the environmental impact of this solution.
ARAN’s Expertise in Hot Lamination for BIB Applications
Many companies in the industry are only now discovering what ARAN has known for many years: Thermo-lamination is the preferred lamination method for BIB applications, both for sustainability reasons and for functional considerations. ARAN’s years of experience as a pioneer in the field are reflected in advanced developments and solutions that utilize all the advantages that heat lamination technology has to offer. We would be happy to collaborate and explore the benefits thermal lamination can provide for your product.