Downgauging Stretch Film: Balancing Cost and Performance

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Stretch film, also known as stretch wrap, is a widely used packaging material that provides load containment and protection for various products during transportation and storage. One of the trending practices in the packaging industry is downgauging, which involves making the stretch film thinner while maintaining its performance properties. In this article, we will explore the concept of downgauging, its environmental and financial benefits, and how manufacturers can achieve downgauging while ensuring the quality of their packaging.

What is Downgauging?

Downgauging refers to the process of reducing the thickness of stretch film without compromising its load-holding capabilities. This practice has gained popularity due to its potential to offer two significant advantages: environmental sustainability and cost reduction. By using less material, companies can contribute to their sustainability goals while also saving on material costs.

downgauging stretch film

Environmental Benefits of Downgauging:

The environmental impact of packaging materials has become a crucial consideration for many companies aiming to reduce their carbon footprint. The downgauging stretch film allows companies to use fewer resources, resulting in lower waste generation and decreased energy consumption during production. As a result, downgauging aligns with eco-friendly initiatives and contributes to a greener supply chain.

Financial Benefits of Downgauging:

Beyond its environmental advantages, downgauging also offers substantial financial benefits to manufacturers. The thinner stretch film means less raw material is required for production, leading to cost savings. For larger producers, a mere 5% reduction in thickness can result in significant polymer savings, potentially amounting to millions of dollars. This cost-effectiveness enhances the appeal of downgauging for businesses seeking to optimize their packaging expenses.

Achieving Downgauging While Maintaining Performance:

Maintaining the performance properties of stretch film is crucial during the downgauging process. Manufacturers have several options for the downgauging film while ensuring its quality:

  1. Multilayer Film Structure: Employing a multilayer film structure can enhance the strength and performance of thinner films, compensating for the reduced thickness.
  2. Changing Polymer Types: Exploring different polymer types can lead to improved film properties, allowing for thinner films with excellent load-holding capabilities.
  3. Measuring Film Uniformity: Monitoring and ensuring the uniformity of the film is essential when downgauging. Using advanced capacitance-based technology, such as SolveTech’s proprietary systems, enables precise measurement and control of film thickness.
compare downgauging stretch film

Tools for Downgauging:

SolveTech offers specialized tools for downgauging plastic film, both in the lab and on the production line:

  • The PR2000 Precision Profiler: This lab-based unit enables accurate profiling of plastic film, assessing its uniformity in both the machine direction (MD) and cross web direction (TD). The data obtained helps producers optimize downgauging in the quality lab and during production.
  • The BF200 Blown Film Gauge: Designed to retrofit existing blown film lines, this gauge allows producers to monitor the variability profile of thinner films and make necessary adjustments to the process.

The downgauging stretch film presents a promising opportunity for companies to achieve environmental sustainability and cost reduction simultaneously. By exploring various downgauging techniques and utilizing advanced measurement systems, manufacturers can maintain the performance properties of thinner films. Embracing downgauging as part of a comprehensive and collaborative packaging strategy can lead to long-term success in cutting costs and improving sustainability.

Contact us for more technical discussion on stretch film thickness reduction and a solution for your plastic film downgauging.

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Stretch film the biggest unspoken rule - Reduce 30% purchase amount