Summertime is the busiest vacation period of the year. Now is the time to enjoy the warmth of the summer before we return to normalcy in the fall. If you live on the U.S. East Coast there’s a high probability of a beach or mountain getaway. No matter where you decide to go this summer, chances are engineered films will play a crucial role in your travels.
If you are heading to the beach or the mountains, there is a good chance a cooler will be part of your getaway. Many of the soft coolers on the market use various film materials. The films and foils used in today’s soft coolers are based on reflective technology that’s also found in building insulation. Some soft thermal coolers are also constructed with multi-layer films that integrates Aerogel, which is synthetic ultra-light material with low density and low thermal conductivity properties. Coolers need to have a high R value and a moisture barrier to perform effectively.
Taking a look inside the cooler, there’s the obvious pouches used for drinks and snacks that overtly rely on film and foil materials, but there is also the more subtle by design, no-label look seen on beer bottles. The no-label look is made possible by engineered film and is slightly more complex than one might imagine. For the label to work, the film is engineered with a durable, clear, printable coating on the front, and a robust adhesive on the back. The label needs to be strong enough to withstand wide temperature fluctuations and being submerged in water for prolonged periods. From the outside looking in, it’s easy to think, why would someone spend that much time on something as simple as a label when the product should be the main focus. In reality, packaging and labels play an integral role in differentiating a manufacturer’s product. In most cases, the product packaging and label are more expensive than the product itself. After all, there’s a reason the packaging industry is valued at $145 billion and growing.
In addition to protecting your food when you on the beach or camping, it is also important to protect yourself from the sun. Many people use sunscreen as the first line of defense against harmful UV rays. With so many sunscreen options, the challenge becomes choosing the right one. That is why sunscreen packaging engineers work tirelessly to create a an aesthetically pleasing, yet functional package that will influence the consumer’s buying decision. Packaging designers often choose brilliant colors and metallized films to stand out from the crowd. Some of the materials used for packaging require complex laminations to meet the high visual requirements or other functional requirements. In cases when high barrier is paramount, foil can be used in the construction. Typically, laminated between PET or PE film, the foil provides an excellent oxygen and moisture barrier, while the film provides printability or tactile feel properties.
The second line of defense against the sun are beach umbrellas and shade tents. The material used in shade tents are also used in your standard camping tent if you are mountain bound. The common canvas material has been replaced by film materials such as PVC, nylon, polyester, and scrim material. These materials are often laminated together to provide a light-weight, water resistant, and tear resistant solution.
Enjoy your time off this summer and remember to relax and make new experiences with the people you care about. Don’t forget your sunscreen and remember that that no matter where you go in the world for vacation, film plays an important role.