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How To Use Polythene Layflat Tubing

Even if you’re not a packaging pro, there’s no doubt you’ve encountered polythene layflat tubing in your day to day life. It’s one of the simplest, most cost-effective and useful ways to package products. But what exactly is it – and how is it used?

product wrapped in lightweight polythene layflat tubing

What is Layflat Tubing?

Polythene layflat tubing (or LFT for short) is a seamless tube of plastic, which is squashed flat and wound onto a reel.

It can be unrolled to any length, cut and sealed around an object to protect it in transit and storage. Unlike other plastic wraps and films, layflat tubing only has to be sealed at the ends – which saves time on packaging production lines.

What is Layflat Tubing Used For?

It’s probably the simplest way to make custom-size bags for a range of items, especially products made to varying lengths, like: 

 

  • Sports equipment
  • Flatpack furniture
  • Foods – fresh, frozen and ambient
  • Rugs and carpets
  • Blinds
  • Toys

 

The list really does go on – and NPF Packaging works with clients in medical, automotive, fashion, retail and food sectors, to name but a few.

That’s because polythene is such a brilliant material for packaging. It offers excellent protection for anything stored inside it, from moisture and scratches, to bright light (when coloured) and dust.

It’s lightweight, durable, versatile – and even printable. It doesn’t cost as much as some other polythene products and it’s fully recyclable.

And, depending on the grade, it’s food safe, too.

LFT is just one of the configurations of polythene available for packaging – but it’s a great solution for manufacturers that build to order, or whose core products have a variable length that would otherwise require multiple packaging solutions.

How to Use LFT: What You’ll Need

Thankfully, you don’t need much to make use of layflat tubing. All you need is a work surface (with a dispenser for your LFT roll), something to cut it to length with and something to seal it with, if required.

A simple setup for narrower widths could simply be a pair of scissors and staples or tape to seal the ends. Alternatively, the ends can just be tucked in. This isn’t always the best solution; it can end up causing some wastage, especially where ends are folded over – and it’ll look a little less than perfect.

For a more professional finish, and where a seal is required, a heat sealer is recommended. Available in most widths, these create a watertight seal at the ends of your LFT packaging, with a clean cut.

Polythene LFT Width and Thickness

NPF Packaging supplies LFT in widths from 19mm, suitable for slim items, like pens.

Our maximum width goes up to 9600mm (that’s about the length of a double decker bus).

Thicknesses range from 8 to 300 microns (mu).

8mu is incredibly thin and light – for comparison, a human hair is around 30 or 40mu thick. 

It’s great for very light uses; butchers bags, for example, can be made with this kind of superthin polythene. Due to the blend used to get such a thin result, clarity might not be as good – but the additional opacity isn’t too noticeable when the LFT is so thin.

A thickness of 300mu is about a third of a millimetre, which doesn’t sound like much – but polythene is unbelievably strong stuff, and a 300mu thick sheet of it is surprisingly difficult to deform or cut without tools.

The thickness should be appropriate for the item being packaged – and for large metal automotive components, furniture and other bulky items, heavy duty polythene LFT will be more than adequate.

Other Polythene LFT Specifications

The versatility of layflat tubing means that it comes in a huge range of specifications.

The kind you’ll need depends on the final use: for example, with frozen foods, additives need to be added to the poly blend to prevent cracking in low temperatures.

For UV protection, you’ll need another blend that contains a UV inhibitor (UVI). A UVI prevents the polythene film from breaking down when stored outdoors. The LFT can also be opaque, to prevent sun damage to the product.

These details should be specified when you order your layflat tubing, to make sure you get the right product – and NPF Packaging is always on hand to advise you on the best solution. Get in touch with a member of the team today.

Bespoke Packaging Solutions – from NPF Packaging

Premium packaging solutions at great prices, from NPF Packaging. Order our fully recyclable polythene layflat tubing – printed, tinted and specified to your exact requirement.

Get a quote now, or call us on 01773 820415.