Uflex’s Flex Films has developed an innovative bi-axially oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BOPET) film with a unique velvety surface at its manufacturing plant in Elizabethtown Kentucky, US.

The new soft touch film FLEXPET™ F-STF exhibits exceptional scratch, heat and scuff resistance which has been a serious need-gap in the industry for flexible substrates. The surface is self-healing from most scuffing and is optimally durable.

Talking about the new soft-touch BOPET film, Dr Steven J Sargeant, GM, Technology at Flex Films (USA) Inc, said: “If we scratch the surface of this film, it won’t be scratched. Soft touch is rendered through a robust surface coating, in combination with a proprietary in-line anchor coating on the base polyester film.

“It is this combination which imparts unique properties of self-healing, toughness and durability along with the soft texture. This effectively increases converters’ yield as they generate less scrap and have less customer rejections or other associated issues.”

Elaborating upon the properties of the film, Mr Vijay Yadav, business head, Flex Films (USA) Inc said: “The film has superior tactile properties. In addition to a soft surface that is heat and water resistant, the film exhibits improved scuff resistance along with ultra-low gloss (5-8 Gloss Units) and robustness superior to commodity matte surface films. All polymeric films tend to stick to themselves. This adhesion is termed as ‘blocking’. In the case of our soft-touch film this isn’t an issue to worry about at all.

“Through the combination of base film and off-line coating design, we have been able to avoid blocking, improve durability of the soft touch at high processing speeds. This in turn leads to higher production throughput. The film as you would see is thinner than previous low-quality solutions currently available in the market. This clearly decreases material costs of the end-use packaging at brands’ end.”

Speaking about the value proposition of the new product, Mr. Anantshree Chaturvedi, Vice Chairman and CEO, Flex Films International said: “This film is FDA compliant for a range of uses making it further unique. It finds extensive use in luxury brand packaging, decorative packaging, labelling, graphic advertising banners, and high-end stationery products among others.

“F-STF film exhibits low gloss, excellent matte homogeneity with high haze (>90%) and very high contact (see- through) clarity. This means that the film can be readily reverse printed by convertors to impart deep and rich graphics.

“The surface maintains its soft and luxurious feel yet being strong and durable enough to withstand the ensuing rigours of handling throughout the value chain. Tactile feel products have an anticipated CGAR of 12%-15% and are thought to be the highest growth segment in flexible packaging spaces in the United States. This is an encouraging opportunity that Flex Films is pursuing.”

Sharing his thoughts about FLEXPET™ F-STF film, Mr Ashok Chaturvedi, chairman and managing director of Uflex Limited, said: “This is a classic example of value-engineering. My engineers at Flex Films by addressing two rather dichotomous issues of maintaining a velvety soft surface texture of the BOPET film while simultaneously ensuring good tensile strength have given the convertors best of both the worlds. This is one of the very many ways we keep enhancing business value for our clients globally.”