Film machines: tubular or flat film?
When packaging a product with a film machine your options include tubular film and flat film. But what should your choice be based on? To help you, we have drawn up a comparison.
Bags made of tubular film are preformed and only need to be sealed at the top and bottom in the film machine. Otherwise, the bag forms one uninterrupted unit.
Tubular film is a popular choice for industrial products such as fertilizers or plastic granulates that must be packed at high speeds.
Tubular film bags usually start at widths of 300 mm and on average go up to 440 mm plus a side gusset.
The fact that a bag made of tubular film is a single unit makes special printing somewhat more difficult. A sober print, which is ideal for B2B is, however, perfectly possible.
If you have to package products like powders or cement, tubular foil can have a labyrinth vent, which flat foil does not have. It is therefore better to pack such products in tubular film.
Because tubular film consists of one piece, it requires less plastic than flat film. If using flat film, the sealed edges require an average overlap of 4 cm per bag. On the other hand, flat film can often be processed in thinner layers.
Automatic width adjustment
Do you have to wrap different bag sizes and widths with one film machine? A tubular film machine can switch automatically. However, this makes the machine’s mechanism more complicated and more maintenance may be required.
Our tubular film machines
We are official distributors of MTB and Technipes, two renowned manufacturers of tubular film machines.
Flat film is cut in half and not just the top and bottom but also the sides must be sealed in the foil machine.
Bags made of flat film come in all sizes, from small bags (e.g. candy bags) with a width of 50 mm to large bags that can accommodate 80 litres of potting soil.
Flat films can be made thinner. This can be interesting, for example, for wood pellets or other products with a low price per bag. Thinner film means lower packaging costs. Yet another benefit is that using less plastic is better for the environment.
Flat film bags are perfect for products that will be sent to end consumers. It is perfectly possible to use beautiful, elaborate prints.
Available in other materials
A flat film bag can also come in laminated film, as used for dog food bags. This is not possible with tubular film.
If you want to adjust the width of your flat film bags, you will have to change the forming tube in the flat film machine as this is not done automatically. On the other hand, a flat film machine is a simple machine that requires little maintenance and has fewer moving parts than a tubular film machine. Nowadays, there are also adjustable forming tuber so that the shoulder needs changing less often.
Our flat film machines
All of our flat film machines come from Essegi, known worldwide for its high-quality machines.
How can you be sure of choosing the right film machine?
When choosing between flat film or tubular film machines, you may not be sure which film machine is best suited to your product. Ask us for tailor-made advice and we will help you to install an optimized and efficient packaging process.
Our simulation tool will get you started – try it now!