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What do the different types of plastic based labels mean- PVC,PP,PET etc ?

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  • What do the different types of plastic based labels mean- PVC,PP,PET etc ?

    Can someone explain in detail as to what do these different types of label (PVC, PP, PET, PE, BOPP, PS, and more that I might have missed) mean and what industry, products and conditions each is appropriate for .

  • #2
    these are short names for the longer chemical name of the plastic pvc is poly vinyl chloride pp is poly propylene etc, They are not chemical Symbols. Each type of plastic has different properties. For packaging you need to consider things like how good a moisture barrier or how good an oxygen or air barrier is, and whether or not it would leach into food and poison people. I imagine there are quite a lot of laws about this. Quite often you would combine layers of different properties and include one on the outside that is easier to print on.


    • #3
      PET is a shrink film, Bopp is a poly, PS is pressure sensitive. Contact your stock supplier and they can give you all the details.


      • #4
        PVC, PP, PET, PE, BOPP, PS
        PVC = Poly Vinyl Chloride = Vinyl
        PP = Polypropylene
        PET = Polyester
        BOPP = Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene
        PS = Pressure Sensitive

        Vinyl is mostly used for wall and floor graphics with an indoor application. Cheaper than polyester.
        Polyprop is a cheaper form of polyester, also mostly used for indoor application
        Polyester is the most expensive, basically weatherproof. Mostly used for outdoor applications, can handle rain or shine.
        Biaxially oriented means the film is stretched to increase tensile strength, etc.
        Pressure sensitive = Any paper or film with adhesive

        We have all of the above. Let me know if you need to source something.


        • #5
          Tp add to the existing info, here is my general understanding:
          BOPP - Subset of Polypropylene(PP) - Cheap film. You use this when you need a film (i.e. label may get wet), but you don't need outdoor durability. Cheapest MSI.

          VINYL/PVC - Used for outdoor and signage applications. Bumper stickers and grommetted signs. Mostly "bumper-sticker" type applications for labels. More $$ than BOPPs.

          PET - Polyester - If you need UV and heat resistance typ durability, PET is your choice. Most expensive generally easiest to print on.

          PE is used a lot of in mold labeling, along with PP. MDO and things like Primax (Brand name of MDO) are good for sqeeuzable or conformable labels (for being placed on a curvy surface or squeeze bottle).

          Substrate vendors should be a great source of knowledge for this.


          • #6
            The best way to start is to see what properties you require for your labels. Do you need them to be freezer proof? Moisture-resistant? Friction-resistant? Etc. There are a range of label materials to suit the whole range of products you would need them applied to.
            This might help:


            • #7

              I have the same questions like that before when I haven't found my supplier of PVC or PET stickers! and oh! their web page is here
              and this is how they explain to me the difference. I hope this explanation clears the topic.

              Many types of plastic materials are available to produce packaging. When you need to create a design to package your products, you may soon discover that two plastic materials are commonly used: PET and PVC. At Plastic Ingenuity, we have clients ask us which plastic materials prove to be most advantageous for their thermoformed packaging designs. Here, we’ve outlined explanations for these two plastics, as well as which proves to be the most beneficial to help you determine which to use.

              PET plastic
              PET, or polyethylene terephthalate plastics is one the most widely used plastics for thermoforming. The material is molded into the designated shape, and then dried for increased resistance. The plastic is used to produce food containers, beverage bottles, synthetic fibers and more. PET is the most common plastic for thermoforming packaging designs because of its high-strength barrier that can resist outside tampering or other elements.

              PVC plastic
              PVC plastic, or polyvinyl chloride, is a rigid plastic designed to withstand harsh impacts and extreme temperatures. The material is most commonly used when creating cables, roofing materials, commercial signage, flooring, faux leather clothing, pipes, hoses and more. PVC plastic is created through suspension polymerization to produce a hard, rigid structure.

              PET plastic
              The following are the biggest benefits that PET plastic provides:

              More versatility—PET plastic can be thermoformed for a variety of applications. Although the material is lightweight, it is still strong enough to withstand outside elements for many applications.
              Safer for storing materials, especially food—PET plastic is highly suitable for packaging food items, as well as retail, electronic and other products.
              Increased durability —PVC is a rigid plastic that has some durability. Over time, though, the material may break down from exposure to UV rays—something that is not ideal for packaging materials, especially for food or retail designs. PET plastic, however, is designed to withstand UV rays, making it a suitable choice for almost all thermoformed packaging designs.


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