LAMINATES

Our standard laminates are composite materials made from LLDPE that form the core barrier of the tube body. They help keep contents fresh and safe with multiple layers of foil.

Laminates also help a product catch the customer’s eye from the shelf, with their various available finishes and design possibilities.

Customized Specialty Laminates

Our facilities in China and India work proficiently with our Creativity and Innovation teams customizing specialty laminates. We offer new web structures for aggressive products or simply provide a distinct visual element to the material. The R&D and graphics facilities are made available to all our customers for development and testing requirements. The modern R&D unit uses the most sophisticated equipment for testing and new product development.

From aluminum barrier laminates to custom coloured plastic laminates, the variety of Essel web structures offers something special for every unique product.

Aluminum Barrier Laminates (ABL)

ABL tubes have an aluminum foil barrier, which provides superior light, air and moisture barrier along with reduced flavor absorption. The material density offers a more durable tube and allows for additional dispensing of the products contents. Pastes, ointments, creams and gels that typically dentifrice as well as over-the-counter and pharmaceutical products fare well in ABL tube packaging.

 Plastic Barrier Laminates (PBL)

PBL structures are a good option for packaging that needs to maintain its form and shape. It presents a more cosmetic look and is environmentally friendly. Special barriers can be provided such as EVOH (Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol Polymer) to offer strong chemical resistance. Standard material is offered in white or natural (clear) but specialty custom colours can also be developed.

Speciality & Custom Materials

A metallic, iridescent, holographic, soft touch or custom coloured material is sure to capture the customer’s attention by adding to the look and feel of a product. For aggressive or hard-to-hold formulations, Essel can customize relevant materials to suit any kind of need. We offer different barrier strengths and thicknesses in web stock to comply with various requirements (5 Layer Laminate Structures, Barrier Layer -either Aluminum foil or EVOH for Plastic laminate, Copolymer / Tie layer and Polyethylene)

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LAMINATE MANUFACTURING PROCESS

Laminated tubes are manufactured beginning with the laminating process which is done in four phases — Blown film, Laminating, Slitting and Printing. Once these printed laminates are completed they are ready for tubing and shouldering.

Blown Film

A film is made from polymer granules which are extruded and blown. Being co-extruded in three layers, the thickness of these films ranges from 50 to 150 microns. The blown film is allowed to cool naturally and slit into the required width to be rolled and stored for further processing. Essel utilizes a variety of polymers during this process based on customer requirements to acquire a desired structure for the finished product.

Accurate temperature controls are essential in this process as a minor deviation could upset the process and in turn disturb the desired outcome. A heater melts the plastic granules from the hopper, and this molten material is passed through the screw to the die and punch area, where temperature-controlled air is blown to form the film. The film is further treated for corona on one side and wound to the plastic core.

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 Lamination

Laminate is one of the raw materials used by Essel to make tubes. In this process the film and foils are fused together to form a 5-layer laminate. The film is loaded on one un-winder and the foil on the other. Extruded polyethylene is passed between the layers to bind the two layers, which are then fused together. The three-layer laminate thus obtained is then bound with the inner layer (food grade film) resulting in a 5-layered laminate. Film, nylon and foil laminates are produced by extrusion lamination. Mono and multilayer PE films, nylon barriers and aluminum foil form the basic structure of the laminated film.

The high-barrier properties of laminate tubes are delivered through the incorporation of a thin aluminum foil layer in the multilayer polyethylene laminate tube body. As an alternative, an all-plastic, EVOH containing polyethylene structure is added. For additional protection of the product, Essel adds either a roundel or barrier liner to create a barrier by including it in the tube shoulder. This process ensures high stability and provides barrier properties statutory to pharmaceutical products.

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Slitting

The jumbo reel laminates are placed in the intermediate store for curing. Once the curing process is completed, the laminates are taken to the slitting machine. The jumbo reels of laminates are unwound here to be slit into various sizes based on the size of the tube, to match customer specifications. Essel makes use of high speed rotary slitters, which minimize damages to the edges and ensures precise printing process.

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Printing

Once the laminate is slit to a desired size it is ready for printing. Art works provided by customers are processed using sophisticated technology to enable accuracy with printing of colours and other details on the laminate. The offline proofs are provided to the customer to sample the printing done on the laminate. Essel makes use of the ‘Flexo and Letter Press’ technology for printing. There are 6 to 10 inking stations for different colours. A variety of ‘Nylo Plates’ are prepared for each colour (as per the design), and mounted in the units. When the printing process is completed, different colours are merged together to give the desired design.

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Injection Molding

The plants provide injector molding process to create customized caps and closures. The process ensures great efficiency and swiftness. Essel is a breeding ground for operational excellence and innovation. While making closures, particularly when rapid prototyping – a perfect option to test new markets, the company works around the needs and specifications of its customers. Options and solutions are provided to select innovative closures prior to actual production.

Additional capabilities include orientation of closures, snap on closures, tamper evident shrink sleeve brands and specialty decoration such as a metallic layer over shells. Essel welcomes the challenges by creating new ideas and concepts for closures and continues to strive to meet them.

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Tubing

The final stage in the complete manufacturing process is the tubing stage, wherein the laminate is sealed to form sleeves, shoulder is fixed and appropriate cap applied to the tube base as required by the customer. Essel uses both, ‘Compression Molding’ and the ‘Injection Molding’ processes for fixing shoulders on tubes. A variety of machines are utilized while manufacturing tubes depending on product specifications, volume of production and for developing special features, which may be required to suite customer needs.

Essel machines have auto packers at the end of the tubing lines that aid the consistent packing of tubes and ensure sterile surfaces. All manufacturing facilities of Essel are supported by highly sophisticated back end utility infrastructure, which helps production to be carried out in a controlled environment. Having adhered to these stringent methods Essel has achieved great success in assuring its customers high quality packaging alternatives — best suited to the customer specifications as well as the product requirement.

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