The Difference In Polymer Films

Polymer films are used in various industries like food & beverage, packaging, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and electronics. Both high-density polyethylene (HDPE Resin) and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) are popular materials in the blown film space because of their versatile nature and cost-effectiveness. Both types of film are also highly customizable and have been considered appealing to customers as they allow for whatever they are packaging to be easily displayed.

Like any polymer product, the resins used to produce the films can come in different densities, melt indexes, and grades. Part of finding the right polymer film includes comparing different options and seeing which works best for various end-use applications. Depending on what end application a converter is creating a product for, the attributes will need to be manipulated and adjusted accordingly.

To address the need for specific types of resins that can be used for specific types of films, Shell Polymers has built its new polyethylene plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania around the needs of converters, and that includes equipment we have placed in our Application Hall. The blown film equipment is characteristic of the types of equipment used out in industry. Those capabilities will help us demonstrate to converters the difference in performance and processing across the range of available polymers. When we work with converters, Shell Polymers will test resins in-house to show customers how they perform in typical use cases as well as how these resins perform at their extremes.

Evaluations could involve making layers as thin as possible or maximizing the blow-up ratio to show the limits and benefits of various film designs. This level of detail and information leads to converters making the right choice for their needs.

Test and Evaluate to Find the Right Polymer Film

In an effort to determine the appropriate film for your unique needs, converters and suppliers must embark on an iterative process that involves hours of testing and evaluating. Working with Shell Polymers, customers can test resin and film on our fabrication equipment. While in-house testing has benefits like proximity and control, it also leads to the need for costly shutdowns of blown film lines for testing purposes. Instead, customers can continue running their lines at full capacity while Shell Polymers uses our equipment for testing and troubleshooting purposes on your behalf.

We also take pride in the in-depth polymer testing we do at every stage of the lifecycle. That includes testing the resin at the micro level, monitoring pellets during production, and giving the resin a final check before shipment.These stages ensure we’re giving the highest-quality resin to customers with the properties they expect.

We are also able to provide converters with production quality film that they can share with their own customers from our commercial size lines. These samples will help converters evaluate the performance of the film with their customers without having to produce samples on their machines, thus saving time and material on the converter side.

Work With a Supplier Who Adjusts to Your Needs

Finding the right film structure for any application can often result in a conversation about cost effectiveness, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Cheaper materials won’t always lead to the best end product and disappointing customers will slow business growth. Making sure that the polymer film meets customer specifications and performs as expected are equally important to the cost of the material, if not more so.

When it comes to the resin used to make that film, it’s always best to start with high-quality, consistent batches as they will help converters hit the ground running in blown film development. To realize that point, Shell Polymers goes beyond just producing resin and acts as a collaborative polymer supplier for converters. We’ll test resin and polymer film performance alongside converters so that their customers are satisfied, and their business succeeds.

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Converters are predicted to see a slowdown in growth this year, but opportunities loom. Here's what you need to know.

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