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Polythene film is...
Making the unwrappable wrappable
If you have an item that needs wrapping but won’t fit into ‘regular’ packaging like a plastic carton or bag, the polythene film could be just what you are looking for.
If you have loads of different items to wrap, each of which is a different shape or size, or just an awkward shape in the first place, then polythene film is definitely what you’re looking for!
Polythene film comes on the roll so you can dispense as little or as much film as you need to wrap your item. Place your item on a table or other surface next to the roll of film. Then pull the film off slowly the roll until it extends far enough for you to wrap your item. If you need more than a single coat of polythene film, make you roll off enough film for this, or simply repeat with a second coat.
When you have unravelled enough film, cut the film at the relevant point and then wrap your item. If you need to seal the wrapping shut you can do this with various devices, including a bag clip, bag tie or, perhaps the best solution of all, a heat sealer.
You can then repeat as necessary ad infinitum, or at least until you’ve run out of polythene film. And it doesn’t matter if the next item your wrap is smaller or larger, thinner or wider, rounder or flatter than the previous item - with polythene film you can wrap all shapes and sizes of item with no problem at all!
Shrink wrap is a type of polythene film that shrinks under the application of heat. Shrink wrap is available in clear or coloured polythene and keeps out moisture from inside the packaging. It is used to wrap a range of items from CDs to magazines, providing a smart wrapping whilst still making the contents of the package visible from the outside. It also helps to prolong the shelf life of food and so it is used regularly in food production.
To make the polythene used in shrink wrap actually shrink, you need to place it directly underneath a heat source. In factories or large manufacturing bases, this is often be done with a specially-designed machine. However, a more common method, and one available to small business and people working at home, is through the use of a shrink gun.
Once your item is covered in your polythene shrink wrap, apply heat across the wrapping and, as the molecules (polymers) in the polythene change move, the wrapping shrinks tightly around the item.
Polythene film as DIY bag security
If you’ve ever passed through an airport and seen someone’s suitcase covered in tightly wrapped film and looking like a giant packed lunch, then the chances are you’ve just looked at a bag covered in shrink wrap.
One of the main benefits of shrink wrap is that it makes packages more tamper proof so, if you’re worried about the contents of your suitcase pockets getting pilfered, then shrink wrap could be the answer for you. With a few layers of shrink wrap applied and then heat sealed onto the bag, not only does this provide an excellent protective layer that thieves will find difficult to break through, but it also keeps your bag safe from bumps, scratches and tears. Something to think about next time you’re off to the airport on holiday!
Layflat tubing - polythene film in the round!
Layflat tubing is made from polythene film but comes with one obvious difference: rather than a single layer of film, layflat tubing - as the name suggests - comes in a tube!
Imagine two sheets of polythene film laid one on top of the other, with the ends then sealed together with an invisible join, so that there is no mark, fold or crease anywhere on the film, just a circle of film stretching on and on into a long, continuous tube!
Layflat tubing, which is also known as poly-tubing, is dispensed off a central roll, which is sealed at the core but open at the outside, to provide a quick, easy and convenient method of packaging items and is widely used within the industry.
Ideal for bespoke packaging, layflat tubing allows the user to pack awkwardly-shaped items or a series of items of irregular length, all with a minimum of fuss.
To wrap an item in layflat tubing, simply place it inside the open end of the tube and then cut the tube to the required length, ensuring you’ve cut off enough polythene to cover the item.
You then seal seal the tube at one or both ends, as required, using either a bag tie, clip, tape or, most effectively, a heat sealer.
Whatever size or shape of item you have, there is most likely a size of layflat tubing that suits your job, as the polythene tubes are manufactured in a range of sizes from 2” (5cm) wide to 4’ or 48” (122cm) wide.
Where to buy polythene film
Polythene film manufacturers and suppliers include:
Polythene Layflat Tubing
Research & Resources
To find out more about polythene film or layflat tubing, including the range of products available and how polythene film is manufactured, please visit:
PackagingKnowledge: The online knowledge site for the polythene packaging industry, containing loads of articles and tonnes of useful information on polythene film.
Goldstork: Free 'best-of-the-web' directory featuring hand-picked information and specialist websites dealing in polythene film.
PlasticBags.uk.com: The definitive UK polythene packaging directory, where retailers can list items for free and shoppers can browse a selection of polythene film websites.
Polythene rolls or plastic rolls?
The terms 'polythene rolls' and 'plastic rolls' - along with polythene film, poly rolls, builders rolls, plastic sheeting and more - are often used to describe the same thing, whilst each single term is sometimes used to describe a range of polythene products. All terms refer to a roll of polythene - or plastic - that unrolls to produce a large sheet that can be cut to size, depending on the job in hand.
Although often the terms are used in their broadest sense, most people working in the trade use the term 'polythene rolls' to describe sheets of thinner polythene used to wrap items - such as shrink wrap, layflat tubing or glossy polypropylene wrapping - whilst the term 'plastic rolls' refers to thicker sheets of plastic - commonly known as builders rolls or wide plastic sheeting - used to cover or protect items during building work or painting and decorating. Alongside these, even thicker damp proof membrane - used to provide a damp proof course when building a new house - could also come under the term 'plastic rolls'.