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Solutions for Laminating Adhesives and Flexible Packaging

Dow.png Flexible packaging is one of the most economical and sustainable forms of packaging, owing to its lightweight construction and reduced material usage versus rigid packaging. As a result, it continues to be adopted by a growing number of food, consumer good, and personal care brand owners that strive to be more sustainable and save on transportation and storage costs for their packaging.
At its core, a flexible pouch is a complex feat of engineering that uses laminating adhesives to bond different layers of film, metallized film, or foil to combine barrier, sealing, and structural properties to protect the goods within.

A couple of key steps converters must take to make successful, high-performance flexible packaging are selecting the right laminating adhesives and applying them correctly. This involves adjusting adhesives, laminators, and substrates to the appropriate settings per application. However, each converting job will always have a high degree of variability between end-use applications and conditions, complicating the process. Thus, it is important to work with an adhesive partner that can not only recommend the right adhesives and advise on the best application methods but also provide in-depth testing and troubleshooting when things do not work out as they should.

ChemPoint's Technical Expertise


ChemPoint has partnered with Dow over the past decade to provide converters with the best technical service for Dow’s adhesive portfolio. Together, we have helped hundreds of converters find the right adhesives and overcome issues to develop durable, high-quality flexible packages and laminates for many industries. We have also enabled many converters to improve the appearance and performance of their existing packages and laminates. Below are specific advantages converters gain when working with ChemPoint and Dow. All advantages are offered at no charge if converters are using or are interested in using Dow’s adhesives:

 

  • Decades of experience troubleshooting flexible package and lamination processes
  • Access to world-class equipment for lab-, pilot-, and commercial-scale development
  • Industry-leading response and service times

Over Forty Combined Years of Experience and Troubleshooting

When you have been in the laminating adhesive business for as long as ChemPoint has, you know what issues can arise and how to overcome them. Here are a few common visual and performance issues we have seen and helped overcome:
 

Issue Visual Common Causes
Low laminate bonds
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  • Low adhesive coating weight
  • Poor adhesive wetting due to low surface energy
  • Improper temperature or pressure from nip roller
  • Surface contamination from film additives
  • Insufficient adhesive drying
  • Incorrect adhesive mix ratios
  • Weak printing ink anchorage to substrate
Tunneling in laminate
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  • Incorrect adhesive mix ratios or capped adhesive
  • Insufficient adhesive cure when sealing
  • Web tension imbalance or improper rewind tension and taper settings
  • Excessive coating weights, especially in solventless systems
Poor resistance to chemicals and high temperatures
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  • Incorrect adhesive mix ratios
  • Insufficient adhesive cure during time of exposure to high temperatures or chemicals
  • Capped adhesives due to residual printing ink solvents
  • Use of non-urethane grade diluents
  • Improper adhesive choice for end use
Bubbles in lamination and fish eyes
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  • Poor wetting of adhesive on substrate
  • Insufficient coating weight
  • Outgassing
  • Low nip pressure or nip roller is too soft
  • Excessive adhesive agitation during mixing or improper circulation
  • Lack of smoothing bar use
Laminate haziness
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  • Low coat weight
  • Poorly dried adhesives (water based)
  • Low nip pressure or hardness
  • Low nip temperature
Ink bleed or smear
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  • Improperly dried inks
  • Ink incompatibility with specific adhesives, more common with solventless systems

In each case above, the recommended solution will depend on the root cause. With information about your process and application, ChemPoint and Dow can help to determine the root cause of your issues and provide solutions. Feel free to submit an inquiry to us here, and we will be happy to help. We can also offer basic troubleshooting guidance through our Troubleshooting Guide.

World-Class Equipment and Facilities for Scale-Up and Analysis


Packaging converters and laminate manufacturers can work with ChemPoint and Dow to gain access to a variety of analytical reports, lab-scale drawdowns, and pilot-scale laminations to help with commercialization. Here is a complete list of services we offer at no charge to converters that are using or interested in testing Dow’s adhesives:

 

  • Pilot-scale, full web-width laminations via Nordmeccanica Super Combi 3000 laminator
  • Lab-scale, narrow web-width laminations via Nordmeccanica Labo Combi 400 laminator
  • Hand drawdowns for feasibility and compatibility testing
  • Physical tests
    • Peel strength
    • Haze and gloss
    • Water vapor transmission rate
    • Oxygen transmission rate
    • Blocking
    • Ink smear
    • Surface energy
    • Coefficient of friction
    • Migration
  • Analytical reports
    • FTIR and Raman spectroscopy for mix ratio troubleshooting
    • NMR and SIMS for adhesive–solvent interactions
    • Functional group analysis
    • Amine decay rates for FDA compliance
  • Access to Dow’s Pack Studios

Industry-Leading Response Times

 

In today’s market, speed is key to developing new business and fulfilling existing customer orders. The more time converters spend troubleshooting issues, the less they can use their laminators, effectively utilize labor, and keep their customers happy. ChemPoint employs a team of technical service engineers who respond to website inquiries within an average of two hours so you can get your issues resolved quickly and move your project forward.

Since the development process for flexible packaging and laminations can be complicated, we know having in-person support and training for your projects is valuable. Our technical service engineers can be on-site to help converters get their projects optimized and back on track. Contact us for a list of available areas and dates.

Summary


Selecting the right laminating adhesives and using them correctly are keys to creating flexible packaging that is robust, visually appealing, and durable. When defects or failures occur in flexible packaging, one or more settings for selecting, applying, or curing laminating adhesives may be adjusted to help solve these issues. ChemPoint has over forty years of combined experience providing converters with the assistance they need to achieve or maintain dominance in the flexible packaging and lamination markets using Dow’s laminating adhesives. Click below to start working with ChemPoint and Dow’s laminating adhesives today and gain access to our various services at no charge.

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