Packaging Terms

Glossary of Packaging Terms


A substance, such as glue, used to laminate two structures together.
Air-Flow is used in agricultural product packing and has die cut holes to reduce spoilage and ensure even cooling. Air-Flow replaces pallet netting and gives users all the advantages of conventional LLDPE pallet stretch wrap, which include strength, load holding and ease of use.
Ambidextrous Control
Separate right/left hand braking control which allows the operator to have total stretch control over 100% of the surface area of the stretch film while wrapping.
Angel Hair
Thin strands of stretch film on the edges of stretch film rolls caused by improper bologna slicing.
Auto Bander
Jumbo rolls of stretch film for automatic bundling equipment.
Wrapping several items together with plastic stretch wrap.
Base Lock
The thick layer of film produced by holding the Western Plastics handwrappers at approximately a 45 degree angle to the floor. This wrap helps lock the boxes to the skid to prevent shifting.
Where the printing on a piece goes all the way to the edge of the paper – accomplished by printing beyond the margins of the piece and then trimming to the margin.
The time period that the Poly Iso Butylene takes to migrate to the surface of the stretch film. Once this happens high cling films are at their peak of perfection.
Blown Film
The fabrication of a film by continuously pumping the polymer through a circular die and filling the tube with air. The volume of air contained within the tube stretches the tube out to the desired width and, in conjunction with the rate at which it is bring pulled away from the die, the desired thickness is created.
Bologna Slicing
A film slitting process in which a rotating double edge blade cuts a roll of film while the roll is spinning. This is the quickest way for slitting film. However, the quickness can cause the film to melt in some places, resulting in the film hanging up and tearing it, as it is unwound off the roll.
Braking Tension
The tension applied to stretch film by pulling and squeezing the patented Western Plastics hand brakes (See Finger Tip Control).
Bulk heading
A shipping technique that combines both unitization and stabilization. The pallet loads nearest the back door of a truck are unitized while the pallet loads towards the front of the trailer are stabilized.
Banding articles together into distinct and separate units with plastic stretch film.
Cast Film
The fabrication of a film by continuously pumping the polymer through a straight slot die, then chilling this hot plastic immediately through contacts with a chilled roll. Film width is determined by how fast the chill roll pulls the film away from the die.
The characteristic of stretch film which makes it stick to itself.
Coefficient of Friction (C.O.F.)
The amount of slip exhibited when one surface is dragged against an adjacent surface. Static COF is the force required to begin the structure moving. Kinetic COF is the force required to maintain structure movement at the test pull speed. High Slip = less than 0.2, Medium Slip - .2-.5, Low Slip = more than 0.5 (kinetic).
The process of converting sheets or rolls of product such as paper, film, and foil to a finished product.
Tube on which coiled product is wound; usually made of fiber, plastic, aluminum, or steel.
Cross Top Wrapping
A unitization technique which covers the top of a load. Not only does cross top wrapping protect the tops of pallet loads but it also helps to pull the load together as it settles during shipment.
The total area inside a truck trailer. The length times width times the height of the trailer is the cube space.
Customer Service Representative
The person at Western Plastics who promptly and cheerfully answers or gets the answers to all your packaging questions, follows your order from beginning to shipment, and advises you when your order ships.
Dead Fold
Stretch film sticking to itself during wrapping without the use of any additional heat sealing (i.e. – PVC films used in food wrapping have high dead fold).
A device used in extrusion processes to shape the extrudate.
Double Stacking
One pallet piled on top of another during shipping. All of Western Plastics products packaged four rolls per case are specially wrapped, using the techniques in this manual, to permit double stacking in shipment and storage.
Micron pallet wrap. Stiffer and stronger than conventional hand wrap. Has a high resistance to stretch for superior load retention.
Elmendorf Test
Measurement of tearing resistance by means of a device that tears standard samples and records the required energy. Papers must be tested both along and across the grain and specimens should be conditioned at a certain temperature and humidity prior to testing.
The linear stretch of material during tensile loading.
EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate)
A copolymer put in stretch film adding strength to ordinary polyethylene film.
A machine that makes stretch film. It consists of a large steel barrel surrounded by heaters, which melt the plastic resin pellets. Inside of the barrel is a large screw to force the liquid plastic under pressure through a die to be made into plastic sheeting by either the cast or blown processes.
A product formed by pushing material through a die.
Film Supply
The amount of film on a Western Plastics roll.
Fingertip Control
Stretch film tension control that is at the operator’s finger tips, providing the operator with control that can always be felt and adjusted instantaneously. When very little pressure is applied to the Western Plastics handbrakes, the film can be stretched up to 25%. When an intermediate amount of pressure to applied to the hand brakes, the film can be stretched up to 50%. When firm finger tip pressure is applied to the hand brakes, then the film can be stretched up to 100% and more.
Five Sided Wrapping
Wrapping a pallet load’s four sides plus the top. The top of a pallet can be wrapped by using the cross top wrapping technique.
The extended lip of the hand brake that keeps the operator’s hand from sliding down and rubbing against the roll.
Flexible Hand Brakes
The key to fingertip control and Western Plastics patented braking system. Inside the hand brakes are specially designed wear pads that dissipate heat and provide the proper tensioning when squeezed for maximum film stretch. By squeezing them, the operator can get 50% to 100% or more stretch when he pulls the film. Not only do grips give the operator a feel of how much pressure he is applying to the film, but they protect his hands – keeping them from burning or blistering.
Flexographic Printing
An economical printing method, mostly done on web-fed equipment, in which a rubber roll, partially immersed in an ink fountain, transfers ink to a fine-screened steel roller carrying the design to be printed, which in turn deposits a thin layer of ink on the printing plate. The print pattern is raised and the non-print area is lower. The ink is applied to the raised area of the rubber plate, and then transfers to the material to be printed in the desired pattern. Flexographic printing produces remarkably sharp reproductions of multicolor work, including lettering in small type sizes.
Floor Loading
A technique used for packing a truck in which pallets and stretch film are not used. Hand carrying (conveyors are frequently used) a load on a truck and shipping the load by leaving it on the trailer floor unprotected.
A rolled aluminum product less than 0.006 inch thick.
Force majeure
An event that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled
The Thickness of a film. 80 Gauge film equates to .8 Mil or .0008 inches.

Here are some examples and equivalents: 
1 mil = 1/1000 of an inch = .001”
1 mil = 25.4 microns
1 micron = one millionth of a meter
1 inch = 25.4 mm = 2.54 cm
100 gauge = 1 mil
80 gauge = 8/10 mil = .0008 inches
Gauge Band
Thickness irregularity in films.
Small piece of undissolved resin causing imperfection in film.
Pallet stretch wrap with disposable extended core handles.
Marks on printed material caused by dirt or foreign material during the printing process.
High Density Load/Product
A load or product that is relatively heavy (i.e. - an engine block on a pallet).
Identi Film
Pallet stretch film in colors. Tinted films give protection from tampering and theft. Improves load appearance, product rotation.
Interleaved Sheets of Foil
Foil in rectangular or square sheets, with paper between each sheet of foil
Composite product consisting of two or more sheets or films joined together, with glue, adhesive, wax, etc.
Laundry Wraps
All purpose PVC over wrap for use in commercial laundries.
A rendering of a proposed printed piece, indicating positions for headings, copy, art and borders. May also indicate color treatments.
LDPE or PE (Low Density Polyethylene)
A resin base for making stretch film. Even though LDPE is a relatively strong transparent film with good tensile strength it does not match the performance of the newer LLDPE.
LME (London Metal Exchange)
An international board of exchange for trading of non-ferrous metals such as aluminum. The LME is the world’s most recognized indicator of aluminum foil pricing on the spot and futures markets and is regarded as the basis for aluminum foil pricing by rolling mills.
Master Roll
A finished roll that comes off the press
Maximum Stretch
The ability of the film to stretch as far as it can without tearing. Western Plastics uses premium grade films that can stretch 100, 200 percent, and more.
Metric Conversions
1 kilogram (kg) = 2.2046 pounds
1 meter = 39.37 inches = 1.0936 yards
1 pound = 0.4536 kilograms
1 mile = 1.6094 kilometers
1 short ton = 2000 pounds
1 yard = 0.9144 meter
1 kilometer = 0.6237 miles 
1 mil = 1/1000 of an inch = .001 
1 mil = 25.4 microns
1 micron = one millionth of a meter
1 inch = 25.4 mm = 2.54 cm
100 gauge = 1 mil
80 gauge = 8/10 mil = .0008 inches

Use this calculator to convert sizes
After the Western Plastics film is stretched to its maximum it will recover and form fit the load which has been wrapped (See recovery).
Neck Down
The narrowing tendency of stretch film when being stretched or pulled.
PMS (Pantone Matching System)
Standard, numbered shades and colors and may be selected when a specific background or accent color is desired. The Pantone Matching System is an international printing, publishing and packaging color language providing an accurate method for the selection, presentation, specification, communication, reproduction, matching and control of color.
View chart
Process Print
Also four-color process - Indicates the four-color plates or cylinders commonly used in color printing. Usually of photographic quality.
Poly Vinyl Chloride. In film form, it is used as a meat or produce wrap as stretch film, and a high clarity shrink wrap for retail packaging.
Raw Materials
A manufacturing classification of inventory before the material is put into the manufacturing process and when components are in their “raw” state.
Stretch film trying to return back to its original form after it has been stretched. This action constantly pulls the load together since the stretch film tightly form-fits the load. Stretch wrapping continues to tighten the load as it settles during shipment, due to the recovery property, keeping the load safe and secure during shipment.
Reverse Printing
1.) Printing an image on the back of a transparent material so that when viewed from the front the image is correct. 
2.) Laying down a printed background on an opaque surface, leaving certain design areas open.
Opaque pallet stretch film. Opaque film blocks UV rays from damaging products. Protects shipments during transit by not allowing contents to be seen.
Term used to describe the amount of COF (coefficient of friction) on the surface of a substrate such as paper, film, or foil. The slip affects the ability of the web to process through application equipment.
The cutting of a large master roll into small rolls used.
A good supplier like Western Plastics will provide their customer with superior customer service and excellent quality, when the customer requires product.
A general term used to refer to cling additives in stretch film (see blooming, cling, poly isobutylene).
Tear Strength
A measure of how likely a substrate will continue to tear once started. Tear strength will differ with and against the grain (in the case of plastic).
Transverse slipping of successive layers of film so that the edge of the foil is conical rather than flat.
Tensile Strength
The maximum longitudinal stress that stretch film can take before it tears.
Allowable deviation from a nominal or specified dimension.
Top Sheeting
A protective covering put on the top of a load to protect the top from dust, dirt, and other objects that might damage the load. Western Plastics manufactures a top sheeting dispenser and top sheeting rolls for protecting tops of loads, open containers, etc.
Wrapping techniques that protect a pallet load from top to bottom, making all packages in the load one single unit. These techniques are ideal for long distance hauls and less than truckload shipments. X-wrapping, wrapping low, and cross top wrapping are wrapping techniques that promote the best unitization.
Unit of measure.
Netting pallet wrap. Knitted pallet wrap that hold load together but also allows air to circulated throughout the pallet.
The amount of stretch a film gets without interfering with the performance of other properties like tear and puncture resistance.


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