Packaging textiles or Packtech include all textile packing materials for industrial, agricultural, and other goods. One of the important uses of textiles is the manufacturing of bags and sacks, traditionally from cotton, flax and jute but increasingly from polypropylene. It consists of synthetic bags used for industrial packaging and jute sacks used for packing food grains. Packaging is a long established application for textiles. Packtech is the largest end-use. Bags, sacks, flexible and wrappings for textile bales and carpets are used in one hand; however, on the other hand, it includes lightweight nonwovens used as durable papers, tea bags and other food and industrial product wrappings. Armoring, cords, belts are also used as packaging textiles.
Strong, lightweight spun-bonded and nonwoven paper-like materials are particularly useful for courier envelopes. Also, the adhesive tapes, often reinforced with fibers, yarns and fabrics, are increasingly used in place of traditional twine. Woven strappings are less dangerous to cut than the metal bands and wires traditionally used with densely packed bales.
Lightweight nonwoven and knitted materials are widely used for various wrapping and protection purposes, particularly in foodstuff industries. Growing environmental concern over reusable packages and containers is opening new opportunities for textile products in this area. Textiles have helped high performance packaging to advance as they can be engineered to have very strong weaving structures while being lightweight and more sustainable than conventional packaging materials. High performance textiles along with modern materials handling methods have permitted the innovation of more proficient handling, storing, and distribution of various powdered and granular merchandise varying from fertilizers, sand, cement, sugar, and flour to dyes and pigments. Packaging textiles have also entered a new era of active and intelligent systems which interact with their content and inform the consumer about spoilage risks or products nonconformity.
To ensure scratch free and safe handling of sensitive articles Textile partitioned boxes/packages are an ideal option. These boxes/packages are very useful in automotive industry for transportation and handling of sensitive components like lamp assemblies, fenders etc. Packaging material is one of the important branches of technical textiles. We can define packaging as like below.
Packaging = (Functions / Costs) x Service
Savings are in the total logistic chain not in the packaging. Better protection higher density better ergonomics.
Packaging textiles include several flexible packing material made of textile used for packing various goods for industrial, agricultural, consumer and other goods. It ranges from polymer based bags used for industrial packing to jute based sacks used for packaging food grains and packaging used for tea. This packaging (excluding jute) is also referred to as flexible packaging materials.
The technical textile products covered under Packtech are as give below:
- Polyolefin Woven Sacks (excluding FIBC)
- Leno bags
- Wrapping fabric
- Jute Hessian and Sacks (including Food grade jute bags)
- Tea-bags (filter paper)
- Soft luggage products (TT component)
Woven sacks (excluding FIBC) account for around 50% of the technical textiles consumption under Packtech followed by Jute hessian and sacks (including Food grade jute bags) with around 30% share. FIBC and wrapping fabrics account for around 20% of the total usage. Usage of technical textiles in soft luggage products, leno bags and tea-bags is less than 5% of the total usage in packaging textiles.
A short description of textile packaging materials are highlighted below:
Polyolefin Woven Sacks (excluding FIBC):
Polyolefin (HDPE/PP) woven sacks are versatile packing materials used extensively in the packing of cement, fertilizers, thermo plastic raw materials, food grains, sugar etc. The list of user-industries where they are used is:
- Food Grains
- Cattle Feed
- Sacks – Export
PP/HDPE printed sandwich bags are made by sandwiching PP and HDPE. They have a very good appearance and are used for packaging costlier products like pesticides, seeds, wheat flour, high-end chemicals, etc. They may also be used for secondary packaging of smaller 1kg bags.
Advantages of polyolefin woven sacks bags:
The various advantages that HDPE/PP bags have conventional packing materials are:
- Higher Strength
- Light Weight
- Minimal Seepage
- Moisture Proof
- Long Lasting (Durable)
- Cheaper (as it can be reused)
Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBC):
Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBC), popularly known as ―Jumbo Bags, is similar to the HDPE/PP bags but that of a larger size. FIBC‘s are one of the most cost effective and ideal types of packaging for shipping and storing dry bulk products. They can be produced from either tubular or flat polypropylene (PP) woven fabrics. These fabrics can be coated or uncoated and vary in terms of weights depending upon the requirements of the Safe Working Load (SWL), or Safety Factor (SF).
There are three types of FIBC bags:
- Panel Type
- Circular woven
- Baffle type (Square bags)
These bags have capacities ranging from 500-4000 kgs. The weight of fabric varies from 180-275 gsm. FIBCs can vary from 900 gms to 3 kgs in weight depending upon the bag properties and weight to be carried.
Advantages of FIBC:
- Low cost of material handling from the manufacturer to the end user, inclusive of wastage of material
- Easy filling and discharge
- Savings in loading/unloading time due to ease of handling
- Low weight packing for transport
- Built in safety factor of at least 5:1 on nominal load
- Transportation of empty FIBCs is cheap and space saving
- No requirement of pallets when compared to small bags – self supporting
- Good chemical and organic resistance
- Eco-friendly, since product is recyclable
- Can be used for storage in open air (if UV stabilized)
Uses of FIBC:
It is used in bulk packaging of
- Polymers, such as PET and PVC
- Petrochemicals, such as DMT, PTA and polyester chips
- Minerals, such as bentonite, alumina, ebonite, magnesite, and mineral ores like nickel
- Agro-products, such as wheat, rice, starch, lactose and sugar
- Chemicals, such as carbon black, dyes and intermediates and fertilizers
- Oil cakes (powder form)
- Oat meal
- Clay, mica and feldspar
- Fish meal
Leno bags are excellent for packing and preserving vegetables like potato, onion, ginger, garlic, cabbage etc. and fruits like pineapple, citrus fruits, raw mango, coconut etc. The Leno Bag is made of netted fabric of virgin Polypropylene (PP) with color Master batch.
Advantages of a leno bag:
- Superior aesthetics
- Excellent mechanical properties
- Chemically Inert
- Ease in handling and storage
- Reuse and recyclable
- Cost Effective
- Suitable for dry skin vegetables (Potato, Onion, Garlic etc.)
- Suitable for cold storage
Wrapping fabric is made out of HDPE/PP, cotton canvas, etc. Unlaminated PP/HDPE Woven Fabric is mainly used for wrapping of paper rolls, paper bundles, steel coils, tyres, yarn cones etc. Wrapping fabric weighs 50 to 200 gsm and its size varies from 20 to 210 cms. The fabric is generally packed in roll form and can be run on automatic cutting and stitching machines. Clear Woven Sheets (Natural Woven Laminated Sheets) are used for packing of used clothes etc.
Uses of wrapping fabric:
These fabrics are widely used in industries such as paper bundles, wrapping of paper rolls, steel coils, yarn cones, tires etc. These fabrics can be utilized with automatic cutting and sewing machines for manufacturing bags too.
Jute Hessian and Sacks:
Jute Hessian also termed as Burlap is a finer quality jute fabric that has been long used as the most preferred packaging material for all kinds of goods. Hessian is used for bags and many other coarse fabric uses, such as wrappers, wall coverings, etc. Presently, shopping bags are being made out of hessian fabrics. It is also used in the upholstery and home furniture. Also available in “dyed” or “bleached” form and treated with vegetable oil, Burlap meets the latest international standards for food safety.
A range of heavy jute fabrics either in plain or twill weaves manufactured by using coarse jute fiber in larger percentage than used for manufacturing tarpaulin, hessian or such light fabrics. Sacking refers to the coarser and heavier cloth, used primarily for sacks for packing materials, which do not need special protection, but has higher weight. Jute bagging material is in demand because of the openness of the weave, which allows air to circulate while protecting the contents.
Sacking bags, specifically used for the purpose of storing agro-based products, are known as Hydro carbon free bags that have been treated with vegetable oils to destroy the harmful effect of hydrocarbons. Thus sacking bags have great demand not just in the cement industry but also in the agro-based industries.
You may also like: Uses of Jute | Application of Jute Products with Images
Different categories of sacking are:-
- D.W. Flour
- D.W. Salt
- W. Nitrates
- Heavy Cees
- Light Cees
- Sydney Woolpacks
- Australian Woolpacks
- Australian Cornsacks
- New Zealand Cornsacks
- New Zealand Woolpacks
- Fine Twill Cloth
- Cement Bags
The difference between hessian and sacking is in the quality of the cloth and the jute used for its production, the difference being primarily one of fineness, the former being made of finer grade jute, the latter of coarser qualities. Hessian can be available in cloth lengths while the mills usually convert sacking cloth into bags and sacks.
Tea bags are sold by organized tea producers to the high-end consumers. Tea bags consist of a filter paper pouch with a thread, which holds the tea powder and a tag. The tea bag is dipped in hot water / milk to produce the beverage.
Tea bag filter paper is made with a blend of wood and vegetable fibers. The vegetable fiber is bleached pulp abaca hemp, a small plantation tree grown for the fiber, mostly in the Philippines and Colombia.
Heat-sealed tea bag paper usually has a heat-sealable thermoplastic such as PVC or polypropylene, as a component fiber (100% non-woven technical textile) on inner side of the teabag surface. The filter paper used for making tea-bags is a 12-17 GSM non-woven material. The heat-sealing type tea-bag paper is of 16.5 to 17 GSM approx while the non-heat sealed tea-bag paper is around 12 – 13 GSM.
The luggage industry is classified into hard and soft luggage. Hard luggages are mainly the large travel bags made from moudled plastic. Soft luggage is made out of woven fabrics like nylon and polyester. It comprises of uprights, totes, duffle and sky bags which can be with or without wheels and handles. The soft luggage today is becoming very popular due to the ease of carry as it is light and flexible. It includes handbags, military backpacks, athletic backpacks, wallets, briefcases and other soft sided luggage items.
- High Performance Technical Textiles Edited by Roshan Paul
- Agro Textiles and Its Applications by Grace Annapoorani
- Textile Engineering – An Introduction Edited by Yasir Nawab
You may also like:
- Industrial Textiles and Their Applications
- Uses of Jute | Application of Jute Products with Images
- Versatile Uses of Jute and Its Effect on Environment and Economy
- Agro Textile Products: Their Properties and Uses
Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.