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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO.

INTRODUCTION

to the

P R O D U C T I O N O F B O P P F I L M

BRUKNERMASCHINENBAU

GERNOT BRUKNER GbH & Co. KG, D8227 Siegsdorf

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

T A BLE O F CONTENTS

1) Summary of the BOPP Production Plant

2) BOPP Film Products

3) PP Raw Materials

4) Additives

5) Charging of Granulates

6) Extrusion Unit

7) Film Casting Machine

8) Machine Direction Orienter MDO

9) Transverse Direction Orienter TDO

10 ) Pull Roll Stand

11 ) Thickness Gauge

12 ) The Corona Treatment Stations

13 ) Winder Station

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1) Summary of the BOPP PRODUCTION PLANT

The BRUCKNER BOPP plant serve to produce biaxially oriented


flat film in a twostage process .

Biaxially oriented means that the film is stretched in two main


directions .

These two main directions are

a ) the machine direction, abbreviated MD, and


b ) the transverse direction, called TD .

Stretching in the twostage process means that


the film is stretched in longitudinal direction
(MD) in the first stage and in transverse
direction ( TD) in the second stage .

The BOPP production plant comprises the following


seven main units :

raw material feeding and transport


extrusion unit
film casting unit
longitudinal orienting machine
transverse orienting machine
pull roll stand
winder .

A survey of the complete plant is given in the


General Assembly Plan , attached at the end of this
chapter .

The raw material transport to the main extruder


starts from the raw material feeding hopper via the
pneumatic conveyor to the intermediate silo .

From the individual storage silos the granulate is blown to the


intermediate silo. From the intermediate silos it proceeds via
a dosing unit, where additives and regranulates can be added,
to the cyclone .

From the cyclone the raw material and the cut edge trim waste
fall in to the mixing hopper . In the mixing hopper the granulate
and the cut edge trim waste is mixed homogeneously to be able to process .

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

it in the main extruder .

The raw material transport to the co extruder (s) is effected directly from the
mixing unit to the hopper on top of the extruder .

The extrusion unit includes the main extrusion system, the co extruder (s) ,
the filters for the melt stream and the die .

The melt stream from the main extrusion system passes, connected by
adapter pieces, through the filter to the die.

It is the purpose of the film casting machine to draw the melt from the
die and to stabilize the melt by cooling it down. This is made by means
of a big cooling roll, called chill roll .

In order to apply the melt perfectly, the socalled air knife with air pipe
is used.

The melt must be cooled most uniformly on both sides. Therefore the film on the
chill roll is passing through a water bath.

The heating and cooling units required are located near to the casting unit.

The now available cast film is conveyed from here to the MDO.

The longitudinal orienting machine is abbreviated MDO standing for


machine direction orienter.

The MDO serves to stretch the so far non-stretched film in longitudinal


direction, i.e. to orient it in machine direction.

The MDO consists of the preheating rolls, the stretching rolls, and the
annealing rolls.

At the end of the MDO an auxiliary winder is

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

installed.

The drive unit is next to the machine in a sheltered area .

Also the necessary heating and cooling units for the MDO
are located in a separate area.

The transverse orienting machine is abbreviated TDOstanding


For transverse direction.

There the film is transported through an oven by the so-called


clips. At the end of this oven cooling blowers are installed to
cool down the hot film.

On top of the TDO an exhaust system is installed to eliminate


vapours, originating from additives, from the oven.

It is the purpose of the pull roll stand to pull off the biaxially orient-
ed film from the TDO and to transport it to the winder.

Assembled with the pull roll stand are the edge trim unit, the thick-
ness gauge and the corona treatment stations.

The function of the winder a twostation turret winder with


automatic film cutting unit is to wind up the final film into
socalled jumbo rolls .

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2) BOPP Film Products

The abbreviation BOPP stands for biaxially oriented polypro-


pylene .

By stretching the film i.e. by orienting the macro-molecules of the


polypropylene, its properties are altered as follows :

mechanical properties +
elasticity +
tear propagation strength +/
haze +
gloss +
gas and vapour permeability +

Explanation :

= value increasing
= value decreasing
+ = property improved
= property impaired.

Field of Application for BOPP Film :

food stuff :
noodles, snacks, sweets, nuts, cheese, animalsfeeds, coffee,
tea, dried food, fruits, vegetables

nonfood articles :
tobacco, cigarettes, records, cassettes, textiles

technical field :
tapes, capacitor film ( special type of machine necessary)

In order to cover the application above two different types of


Film are produced :

plain film
coextruder film

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Since BOPP plain film is not sealable, a sealing layer for instance
PVDC, PAN must be attached to the plain film.

This can be made either by laminating a sealing layer on to the plain


film or during production, then it is called coextrusion.

For coextrusion as substrate a PP homopolymer and as sealing layer


normally a PP copolymer is used.

The thickness of each sealing layer is adjusted to 0.8 up to 1.2 my in the


final film.

Since the point of the sealing layer is always lower than that of the homo-
polymer, the film edges must be kept without sealing layer in order to
prevent sticking of the clips in the oven and to ensure that the recycled
edge trim consists of homopolymer only.

Extruded primary film profile with edges

As already mentioned above, BOPP plain film is not sealable. The reason
is that the temperature required for sealing would cause considerable shrin-
king of the film in the area of the sealing seam.

The occurring shrinkage strength at that moment is bigger than the prevailing
hot sealing seam strength (hot tack)

Therefore in principle, BOPP film must always be made hot sealable by


applying a sealing layer.

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In this case, the melting point of the sealing layer must always be at least
30.C lower and thus must have a lower sealing temperature than the PP
homopolymer.

The applied sealing layers can be of additional advantage, especially by


Increasing the barrier properties (PVDCcoating ).

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3) PP R a w M a t e r i a l s

For the production of BOPP film two raw materials are available :

a) PP homopolymer raw material as


plain film for tape application as well as for printing and
coating
substrate of the coextruded 3 layer film

b) PP copolymer as raw material for the


surface layer of the coextruded 3 layer film.

The initial PP stand for polypropylene, a partly crystalline polymer


being produced by polymerization of propylene monomers in to prop-
lene polymers, i.e. polypropylene. As a result chain shaped molecules
originate.

When producing polypropylene the following characteristics of the PP


may be affected:

the molecular weight


the molecular weight distribution
the tactic properties
the copolymerization .

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PP Homopolymer

The most customary method of producing PP is suspension polymerization in


a solvent ( Slurry process )

reactor

Propylene
Hexane
output

catalyst
mixing
Hydrogen
Catalyst
10 minutes


Washing out the catalyst /drying of solvent
PP power add additives granulating
PP granulate.
=========

The following reaction agents are put into the reactor:

Propylene as monomer to achieve polymerization

hexane as solvent.
The hydrogen portion is responsible for the medium
molecular weight. i.e. the average number of propylene
bricks per polypropylene chain (n in the aforementioned
rational formula).

The molecular weight determines the processing proper-


ties in the melting stage. With an increasing rate of the
molecular weight the melt viscosity at each specific tem-

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perature is rising.

By this, ability of polymer to flow through a die is affected

On the other hand, the capability of the melt to maintain its


from when leaving the extruder die is improved by increas-
ing molecular weight.

Indeed, usually the molecular weight is not indicated on the


polypropylene products offered on the market.

The polymer are marked by their melt flow index, abbriviat-


ed MFI.

This property, giving an indication to the flow performance


of the polymer melt, is related to the molecular weight.

The melt index is of reciprocal proportion to the molecular


weight and therefore also to the viscosity .

Polymer of a high melt index flows easily and in general is


easier to be processed.

The method of measuring the MFI is for instance described


in the ASTMStandard D 1238.

The numerical value of the MFI depends on the taste condit-


ions. Polypropylene granulate is normally tested at 230.C
with a testing weight of 2.16 kg.

For the BOPP production process a MFI of 2 4 dg / min


of the PP homopolymer has to be chosen.

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The Catalyst determines the molecular weight distribution, i.e. as to how tight
or wide the molecular weight spreads around the mean value.

The catalyst also is of influence on the tactic properties of the PP.

The tacticity is the stereo-specific arrangement of the mythl groups (CH3) in the
macro molecule.

By linking of propylene molecules during polymerization three basic forms of


chain structure are pssible:

the atactical
the isotactical
the syndiotactical system.

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For easier demonstration these three basic forms, a tactical, isotactical, and syndiotactical
are shown optically flat .

Actually, these molecules are not in a plain : the iso tactically and syndio tactically
Structured molecules form a regular spiral, while the atactical group is arranged completely
Irregular.

Since the methyl (CH3) groups of the a tactical chain are in no regular space arrangement,
crystallization s not possible.

Due to the fact that in case of iso-tactical polypropylene all methyl groups are placed on one
Side of the chain spine, and subsequently from a helical line, it is possible that iso-tactical
polypropylene solidifies into a relatively hard and stiff material. Which in pure stage
Melts at 176 c.

In a similar way also the alternating arrangement of methyl groups of syndiotactical


polypropylene in to regularly arranged chain molecules causes crystallization.

During the technically large scale polymerization of propylene applied, all there forms
are built .

Therefore, the properties of polypropylene are mainly determined by the ratio of


amorphous and crystalline polymers.

Actually this refers to the ratio of a tactical areas because the syndiotactical polymer
is formed only in negligibly small quantities.

For BOPP the isotactical portion must be 95 97 %, therefore the atactical portion
Must be 3 5 %.

The atactical portion is acting as an inside lubricant and facilitates orienting. Also,
the optical properties are improved by the atactical portion, while the mechanical
properties are affected.

The isotactical portion influences considerably the crystallinity. Further crystallinity


is also strongly affected by the cooling rate of the melt.

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The crystallinity is reflected in the density of the polypropylene. The normal portion
of crystallinity is 60 70 % . In this case the density is 0.90 0.91 g /cm = 900
910 kg / m .

The melting point of a PP homopolymer is 165 175 % c.

After polymerization, taking approx. 10 minutes, the polypropylene is discharged.


The complete process is continuous.

After discharge the remaining catalyst deposits are washed out and the solvent is
evapourated. The result is a PP powder.

Then processing additives are mixed to the PP powder, such as


antioxidation agents
thermostabilizers
calcium stearat.

It is the purpose of the antioxidant agent and of the thermostabilizers to prevent


the degradation of molecules during further processing.

Calcium stearat serves to neutralize non washed out catalyst deposits.

Catalyst deposits consist of chlorine compounds which would, for example, affect
the roll surface (especially of the chill roll).

Calcium stearat is also acting as slip agent.

These additives are absolutely necessary for the next processing stages and they
are contained in any PP granulate.

The PP granulate is produced from PP powder mixed with the additives via the
Granulation extruder.

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PP Copolymer

When producing PP copolymer, propylene and ethylene are polimerised together


Resulting in a copolymer consisting of propylene enthylene.

For BOPP coextrusion a RANDOM copolymer is used for the sealing layer.

A RANDOM copolymer show the following statistic arrangement of propylene


and ethylene bricks:

The ethylene portion of a RANDOM copolymer for BOPP is 3 5 %.

The typical characteristic of a high-quality random copolymer is a low portion


of ethylene blocks, i.e the portion of single ethylene molecules (-P-E-P-) should
be as high as possible.

The ethylene portion determines the melting point of the copolymer, i.e. the
higher the ethylene portion, is the melting point.

The disadvantage of a too high ethylene portion, however, is the increasing


haze caused by the ethylene.

The melting point of a RANDOM copolymer is, depending on its ethylene


content, below 138 c.

The lower the melting point of the copolymer, the lower the sealing
temperature.

By decreasing the nominal sealing temperature the cycletime of the packaging


machine can be shortened and at the same time sealing range can be increased.

In order to reduce the malting point, for example terpolymers have been
developed.

These terpolymers have 3 bricks:

- propylene (C3)
- ethylene (C2) , and also
- butane (C4) or hexane (C6)

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Which are polymerized together.

Normally the MFI of a RANDOM copolymer is approx.


4 7 dg / min.
There are also PP copolymers mixed with lowsealing additives to reduce the sealing
temperature available.

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4) Additives

Normally additives are used to improve the properties of a raw material with
reference to the final product.

The additives are applied in form of a master batch. The master batch is a PP
granulate with a high content of efficient additives.

Since pure additives usually are liquid, pasty or powdery , they cannot be
instantly mixed with the PP granulate.

Only additives in form of a master batch guarantee a homogenous distribution


in the granulate and sub-sequently in the film. The master batch are added to the
PP via dosing units.

In connection with the application of additives it must be considered that they


are physiologically non-hazardous .

The maximum concentration for use in the food packaging industry is limited
and subject to the local laws of each individual country.

For BOPP application three different additives are used:

slip agents
anti statics agents
anti blocking agents.

Dosing and output of the master batch respectively are calculated according to
the following formula :
Ceff
DMB = -------------------
100 . CMB

MP P . DMB MP P . Ce f f

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MMB = ---------------------------------- = --------------------------------------
100 1000 . CM B

PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

DMB = dosing of master batch to PP ( %)

Ce f f = agents concentration in the film ( pp )

CMB = agents concentration in the master batch ( %)

MP P = net output of extruder or plant ( kg / h ) please, see also chapter 13

MMB = output of master batch at dosing unit ( kg / h )

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Slip Agents

Basically, slip agents are applied in order to obtain a smooth slipping film surface
effecting a low coefficient of friction.

Besides, the slip agent is an effective processing aid, i.e. the extruder output capacity
is improved while the extruder power input decreases.

The coefficient of friction, for instance, can be tested by methods according to the
DIN-Standard 53375 or the ASTM-Standard D 1894.

As active agent Erucamide is used.

For plain film depending on the application of the film depending on the
application of the film an effective agent. concentration Ceff of the slip agent of
approx. 250 750 ppm is used.

For coextruded film the dosing of the slip agent for the PP homopolymer is
approx. 1000 ppm for the pp copolymer.

Since the slip agent can be effective only on the film surface, a certain migration
time for the agent must elapse in order to fully utilize its total effect. Therefore
a film storage time of 1 2 week is necessary.

The migration of the slip agents mainly depends on the temperature. Higher
temperatures. speed up the migration.

Also, the tests of

coefficient of friction,
optical properties,
sealing properties

should be repeated after storage time, since they can considerably changed by the
existence of slip agents on the film surface.

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By adding slip agents the film properties are changed as follows:

tensile strength
elongation
haze
gloss
sealing seam strength
min. sealing temperature
printability
coefficient of friction

Note:

= value increasing
= value decreasing
+ = property improved
= property impaired

As above table shows, by adding slip agents besides an improved coefficient of


friction quite a number of property impairments are observed.

This calls for a cautious dosing of slip agents !

Since the agents are also migrating in the master batch, the master batch should be
stored in cool and dry conditions and never be exposed to direct sunlight. The storage
time should preferably be less than 3 months and shall not exceed 6 months.

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Anti static agents

Anti static agent are to reduce the electrostatic charge of the film to a minimum
during processing.

The efficiency of an antistatic agent is tested by charging the film under control
and then measuring the discharge time.

Measuring unit for this parameter is the halflife , i.e. the time required until half
of the accumulated charge is discharge.

As short test, the socalled ashtray test can be applied. For this, the film is
charged by rubbing it with a cloth and measuring the distance at which the ash is
attracted by the film.

In general, the measuring of the surface resistance is considered as being too


umprecise.

The agent is a bipolar material migrating to the film surface. The unpolar portion
Stays with PP, while the polar portion attaches humidity. The store-up humidity, i.e
water, facilitates an easier discharge of electro-static charge from the film.

Anti-statics are especially used for coextruded film. The effective agent concentra-
tion mixted to the PP homopolymer is approx. 3000 ppm Its efficiency basically
depend on the humidity.

Since anti-statics - as well as slip agent migrate to the surface, an appropriate


migration time is required.

In order to obtain optimum results, a storage time of 1 2 week is necessary.


The migration can be speeded up by high storage temperatures.

As the film parameters can be change considerably if there are anti statics
on the film surface the tests of

the electro-static
the optical properties, and
the sealing properties

should be repeated after the intermediate storage time.

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By adding anti-statics the film properties are changed as follows:

tensile strength
elongation
haze
gloss
sealing seam strength
min. sealing temperature
printability
half-life +
surface resistance +

Note:

= value increasing
= value decreasing
+ = property improved
= property impaired

According to above table the addition of antistatics besides a reduction of the


halftime value and the surface resistance also results in a number of property
impairments.

Therefore, the addition of antistatics calls for absolutely cautious handling!

Regarding the storage of antistatics master batches the same recommendation


as for slip agents apply.

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Antiblocking Agents

Antiblocking agents are to prevent blocking of the film on the winder. The
film is blocking when two films are pressed together by the influence of temp-
rature and time.

There are two reasons for the blocking phenomenon:

shorttype polymer chains migrate to the film surface and get pasted with the
other film

if the film surface is too smooth, great adhesive strength originates between
two films.

As countermeasure the film surface is roughened artificially by adding antiblocking


agent is acting as a distance control between the film webs.

The efficiency of the antiblocking agent is generally expressed by the blocking


strength.

Most companies have their own testing method. However, blocking tests are also
described in the ASTM-Standards D 1893 and D 3354.

As anti-blocking agent a synthetically produced silicic acid ( silicon dioxide Si02 )


is used.

Silicic acid has the following advantage:

it is amorphous, i,e. it cannot cause a silicosis

it is of high purity and has almost the same refraction index as PP, being
important especially for transparent film

it is soft and cannot cause abrasion in the extrusion unit

by the tight brick size arrangement a good distribution in the film is


possible and the agents concentration in the film on comparison
with the natural silicic acid can be considerably reduced.

The particle size of the silicic acid, used in the field of BOPP , is between

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2 and 4 my .

The quantity of effective agent to be applied should be in the range of 200


1000 ppm depending on the film thickness. The thinner the film is, the more
antiblocking agent is required.

Since it is an unorganic product , the antiblocking agent does not tend to


migrate and therefore is fully effective right after film production.

By adding antiblocking agent the film properties are change as follows:

haze
gloss
sealing strength +
printability +
half-life +
surface resistance +
blocking strength +

Note:

= value increasing
= value decreasing
+ = property improved
= property impaired

as shown in above table, adding of blocking agents not only results in a


decreasing blocking force but also in other positive change of the film proper-
ties.

With reference to the impairment of the optical properties, however, anti-


blocking agent should be applied reluctantly.

Since silica acid is highly hygroscopic, attention must be paid to vapor-


proof packing and dry storage.

Prior to use for production the water content should be checked by determining
the increase of weight. If the water content is too high, spots and bubbles
in the film be formed.

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5) Charging of Granulate

Usually, the raw material is supplied in bags of 25 kg each. Normally, 50 bags


are packed on one pallet with a total weight of 1,250 kg per pallet.

For space saving reason the granulate is stored in raw material silos.

From the granulate feeding hopper the raw material is conveyed to the storage
silos by a compressed air blower system.

For the storage of different PP homo-polymers various silos are available.


From the storage silos the granulate is transported by the compressed air blower
system to an intermediate silos.

From here it passes a dosing unit to which additives and re-granulate can be
added. The dosing unit is charged with additive master batches and re-granulate
respectively by suction conveyance.

The mixture of PP homo polymer, master batches and re granulates passes a


dosing screw to the compressed air blower system ending in the cyclone.

The piping of the edge trim waste is also connected with the cyclone. The
edge trim waste arriving here from the cutting mill has already been cut there
into film fluff.

The edge trim waste and the granulate are collected in the cyclone and from
there fall into the mixing hopper.

In the mixing hopper, located above the main extruder, the granulate and the
film fluff are homogeneously mixed for further processing in the main
extruder.

The PP copolymer is mixed with the additive in a mixing unit from where the
Co-extruders are directly charged by suction units on top of the coextruder
hoppers.

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCOS

6) Extrusion Unit

The extrusion unit is to melt the PP raw material and to discharge it as flat profile
in continuous operation.

The unit consists of the main extrusion system the coextruder ( s ) , the melt filters,
and the 3layer die.

Extruders, filters and the die are connected by adapter pieces.

The mixture of the PP homopolymer and the edge trim fluff is melted in the main
extrusion unit and conveyed to the filters.

The filter is to retain contamination from the melt. This filter has a certain amount
of filter candles.

By using filter candles a large filter surface in a relatively small construction is


obtained. Large filter areas provide long filter life and small pressure losses.

Then the melt flow continues from the filter to the die.

For coextrusion there are coextruders. They serve to melt and to convey the sealing
layer material.

The coextruder are connected with the die by the copolymer filter which consists
of a strainer and various layer of filter fabrics, the so-called filter package.

The melt of plain film and coextruded film is discharged by a 3-layer die.
The die distributes the melt stream or melt streams (in case of co-extrusion)
in even thickness across the total width.

The distribution takes in the so-Called coat- hanger distributor.

The total profile of the film can be adjusted by means of a flexible die lip with push-
pull bolts .

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The ratio of the layer thickness can be controlled by varying the extruder output.

FLAT DIE FOR 3-LAYER EXTRUSION

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With the 3-layer die, 3 types of film can be produced:

one-layer film (plain film)


two-layer film (coextruded film)
three-layer film (coextruded film)

Attention must be paid to the fact that always all three melt channels of the die
are working .

This ensures that the polymer in the die cannot degrade thermally. The degraded
melt would contaminate the die considerably.

Pollution is prevented by individually designed inserts to be changed at the die


inlet.

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

7) Film casting machine draws the melt from the die. In this unit the film is
strengthened by cooling down. For this process a big cooling roll,called
chill roll, is used.

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By the cooling condition of the chill roll and the water bath, the crystallization of
the PP and thus optical properties as well as the stretchability of the film are
influenced.

A quick cooling process of the melt influence the crystal or spherolite structure
of the cast film in away to keep the crystal structure as even as possible and the
size of the crystals rather small.

Subsequently, the haze of the film is minimized, the film is easy to be oriented,
and the final film shows better thickness tolerances.

The melt is cooled on one side by the chill roll and on the other side in the water
bath with the effect of a relatively uniform cooling down both sides.

Since the film is cooled from outside, the inside cooling condition are not as
good, i .e. the spherolites are bigger.

Figure A: Crystal Structure of


slowly cooled polypropylene

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Figure B: Crystal Structure of


rapidly cooled polypropylene

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Therefrore, the temperatures of the film casting machine should be set as low as
possible.

However, there are limits due to the following effect :

at too low temperatures the melt would cool down too quickly and the film
burst because of the great thermal shrinkage on the chill roll.

By that, the perfect contact between the chill roll and the film is no longer
Guaranteed and penetrating water could cause spots on film; this again would
impair the cooling conditions resulting in a non homogeneous crystal struct-
ure.

A good contact between the film and the chill roll is achieved by applying the
melt on to the chill roll by means of an air knife.

To minimize the neck in of the melt when drawn off the die and also to avoid
curling of the film edges, the melt edges are additionally pinned down by the
so called air pipes.

Finally, to keep the longitudinal tolerances as low as possible, the melt must be
drawn off the die at a certain outlet rate.
ddg
0 =
dcf

0 = outlet rate ( )

ddg = die gap opening (mm)

dcf = thickness of the cast film (mm)

With this formula the neckin of the melt from the die to the chill roll and the
difference in density of the PP melt to the cast film is neglected.

The outlet rate 0 is normally 1.5 2.5 at die lip gap of 2.0 3.5 mm.

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8) Machine Direction Orienter

The machine direction orienter, abbreviated MDO, orients the unstretched


cast film in the first stage in longitudinal direction.

This requires a specific stretching temperature. To warm up the cast film


to stretching temperature a number of preheating tolls is necessary.

The preheated cast film can then be oriented in longitudinal direction


In the stretching unit. This unit consists of stretching rolls running at
different speeds.

After stretching the longitudinally oriented film is thermofixed by the


socalled annealing roll.

To always maintain a constant tension of the film between the casting


machine and the MDO, as well as between the MDO and the TDO, there
are dancer rolls at the inlet and exit of the MDO.

These dancer rolls are installed to control the speed of the MDO and the TDO.

The cast film is fed into the MDO are by a threading chain.

The preheating rolls of the MDO are heated by thermo oil.

The temperature is always set for one pair of rolls, i.e. for 10 preheating
Rolls (= 5 pairs) there are 5 temperature controllers.

The first roll have a chromium-plated surface, the last rolls are TEFLON-
Coated. The TEFLON-coating is necessary for a specific temperature
program to produce co-extruded film.

The stretching unit consists of 6 rolls. All of them are connected to


heating/ cooling units.

For co-extrusion the first 2 pairs of rolls are for cooling, for the production
of plain film these pairs of rolls are for preheating.

The longitudinal stretching is performed between the second and the third pair
of rolls in the

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

so-called stretch gap.

The difference between the speed of the second and the third pair of rolls is
defined as longitudinal stretch ratio SMD:
v2
SMD =
v1

SMD = longitudinal stretch ratio

V1 = speed of MDO rolls in front of the stretch gap (m/min)

V2 = speed of MDO rolls after the stretch gap (m/min)

The usual stretch ratio is between 4,8 and 5.3

Limits are set by the minimum and the maximum stretch ratio. A too low
longitudinal stretching ratio will cause excessive thickness tolerances in
longitudinal direction.

If a too high-stretch ratio is chosen, the film is oriented too much in


longitudinal direction without breaking in the TDO.

Increasing the stretch ratio increases the tensile strength of the film and reduces
the elongation at break.

The interdependence between the elongation at break and the tensile strength
can be seen on the following diagram:

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

During longitudinal orientation the film becomes thinner in relation to


the stretch ratio.

In the BRUCKNER short-gap stretching system the nec-in of the film during
the stretching process is so small that it can be disregarded.

dc
dMD =
SMD

dMD = film thickness after longitudinal orienting (my)

dc = film thickness of cast film (my)

SMD = longitudinal stretch ratio ()

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

Example:

dc = 1.25 mm = 1250 my

SMD = 4.5

1250 my
dMD = = 280 my
4.5

This means, that in case of a cast film thickness of 1.25 mm and a longitudinal
stretch ratio of 4.5 the film thickness of the longitudinally stretched film is approx.
280 my.

After longitudinal stretching the film passes over the annealing rolls for thermo-
fixing.

By increasing the temperature and decreasing the speed between the annealing rolls
the thermal shrinkage of the film during heat treatment can be decreased.

At an excessive fixing temperature the film becomes hazy. If the speed adjustable
by a hand wheel at the gear of the MDO is reduced too much, wrinkles may
develop.

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

Temperature program for co-extrusion

There are limits for setting the stretching temperature of the MDO due to
the fact that the film will stick to the-plated roll.

The sticking point for PP homo-polymer is at approx.140 - 145C. For PP


copolymer it is at approx. 120 125C.

consequently, plain film can be stretched at temperature of 140 - 145C,


while coextruded film with PP copolymer a outside layers must be oriented
at temperature as outside layers must be oriented at temperature of
120 125C.

The required lower stretching temperatures for coextruded film would result
in an increased thermal shrinkage and impaired sealing properties.

To be able to stretch the PP homo-polymer in the inner layer at higher temperatures


than 120 125C, the TEFLONcoated preheating rolls are used.

Considerably higher temperature can be adjusted for the TEFLONcoated rolls


without making the film stick.

Experience has shown that for coextruded film temperature up to 134C can be
set for TEFLONcoated rolls.

Thus, also the core can be heated up to 132C. For the ensuing stretching process,
however, chromium plated rolls are absolutely necessary.

For this process, the outside layer of the film must be cooled down again to
120 125C. This takes stretching unit.

Since the radii of the stretch rolls are considerably smaller than the radii of the
preheating rolls and therefore the residence time of the film on these rolls is
shorter, only the outside layers of the film are cooled.

The temperature on the stretching roll pair No. 3 is set in a way to avoid
sticking of the film to the rolls.

By overheating the sealing layer on the

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

TEFLONcoated preheating rolls and by subsequent cooling, it is


possible to orient the coextruded film at optimum temperatures for each layer,
i.e. approx.120C for the sealing layer and approx.132C for the core layer.

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

9) Transverse Direction Orienter

The transverse direction orienting machine, abbreviated TDO, serves to


orient the longitudinally stretched film in the second stage into transverse
direction.

Thus, the film is bi-axially oriented, i.e. stretched in longitudinal and in transverse
direction.

To orient the longitudinally stretched film in transverse direction, a stretching


temperature of approx. 160C is necessary.

Since the transverse stretching temperature is considerably higher than the


Longitudinal stretching temperature, the film must be preheated to that temperature.

For thermofixing of the oriented film also a fixing zone is required.

Finally, the hot film must be cooled down to room temperature.

For above reasons, the TDO is subdivided into four sections:

preheating section
stretching section
fixing section
cooling section

The film is transported through the TDO by a clip system mounted to a chain
and guided by a chain rail.

The chain rail position can be adjusted by hand wheels being located between
the different zones.

At the film inlet into the TDO the distance between the clips is monitored by the
edge guide unit according to the width of the longitudinally oriented film.

Heating and cooling of the film is effected by a heating and cooling air stream is
spread evenly across the film by socalled nozzle boxes therefore, the TDO
is subdivided into heating zones and a cooling zone.

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

Above each zone there is an opening to exhaust the vapor of additives.


If films containing additives we produced without this exhaust system, the
additives could condense inside the oven and dripping additives could cause
spots on the film or filmbreaks.

In the preheating section the temperature are set at approx. 170. 180 C. The chain rail
adjustment in this section is mainly parallel, i.e. in the preheating section the film must
not be stretched at all, but transported only.

In the stretching section the chain rail adjustment becomes continuously wider. That means
the film is stretched in transverse direction.

The transverse stretching temperature is approx.160C. If a too low stretching temperature


is chosen, the film will break with a loud noise. In this case, treatment increase, too.

If the stretching temperature is too high, the thickness tolerances are bad. The film becomes
hazy and finally breaks.

Practically, the transverse stretch ratio is never set. It sets itself at given chain rail adjustment
depending on the PP homo-polymer used.

It is found out by marking two parallel lines of a certain distance by means of fiber pens and by
measuring these lines at the end of the TDO or on the wider

b2
Sro =
b1

Sro = transverse stretch ratio

b1 = line distance prior to transverse stretching

b2 = line distance after transverse stretching

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

During transverse stretching the film also becomes thinner in relation to the stretch ratio

d MD
dro =
S TD

dTD = film thickness after transverse stretching

dMD = film thickness prior to transverse stretching

STD = transverse stretch ratio

If we continue calculating according to the example in the previous chapter with


a typical transverse stretch ratio of 8.5, we obtain a film thickness of 33 my.

dMD = 280 my
STD = 8.5

280 my
dTD = = 33 my
8.5

As the film edges are held by clips, the edges remain untstretched during transverse
orientation. This is why the edges stay thicker.

For this reason the unstretched edges must be removed after leaving the TDO.

To prevent waste production the edge trim is cut to fluff by a cutting mill and is recycled
to the main extruder. This is in a continuous process during production.

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

Sketch : edge trim with remaining edges

In the fixing section the transport system converges to thermostabilize the film by
temperature and relation. The film width is decreased by approx. 5 10 % compared
to the width of the last stretching zone.

The Fixing temperature is limited, since too high temperature make the film hazier.
The normal fixing temperature are approx. 160 165C.

The last section behind the TDO is a cooling zone. Here, air at room temperature is
blown onto the film to cool it down.

Quick cooling down is necessary to achieve good optical properties especially


for coextruded film and to avoid dimensional changes on the winder by thermal
shrinkage.

After cooling down, the film is released from the clip system for further conveyance
by the pull roll stand.

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

10) Pull Roll Stand

Its purpose is to pull off the bi-axially oriented film from the TDO and to forward the
film to the winder.

In the pull roll stand the thickness gauge for measuring the thickness of the final film,
the edge trim system and the corona treatment stations are installed.

The edge is trimmed on the left and on the right side by blades.

The width of the trim is approx. 120 150 mm.

The edge is pulled off and covered by a suction pipe to the cutting mill cutting the edge
trim to film fluff.

From the cutting mill the fluff is blown through a piping system to the cyclone above
the mixing hopper.

After edge trimming the corona treatment stations follow.

To avoid developing of wrinkles during the transport of the film there are spreader
rolls.

Attached to the every corona treatment roll there is a nip roll to prevent slipping of
the film on the rolls. Thus, the winder cannot pull the film through the pull roll stand.

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Page 44
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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

11) Thickness Gauge

The thickness gauge is installed at the pull roll stand and is used for measuring the
thickness profile of the final film.

The film thickness is measured during production in a nontangent and continuous


way by means of a betaray scanner.

The thickness gauge does not only measure and indicate the film profile, it also adjusts
the film profile automatically and by calculating the film thickness for each scan
it keeps the film thickness on a constant level during production.

During production there are changes in the film profile. Therefore, the film tolerance
must be corrected accordingly by readjusting the die lip.

The coarse adjustment of the profile is made manually by pushpull bolts.

The fine adjustment and control is taken over by the thickness gauge.

For this purpose, the pushpull bolts are designed as heated expansion bolts. These
expansion bolts are controlled by the thickness gauge.

The necessary temperature of the expansion bolts is calculated by the computer of


the thickness gauge with reference to the film profiles measured.

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

12) Corona Treatment Station

Energy corona treatment station comprises a rubbercoated metal roll, two treatment
electrodes and an ozone exhaust system.

In the corona treatment station the surface tension of the BOPP film is increased by means
of an arc being developed between electrode film.

PP has a natural surface tension of approx. 30 mN/m. To be able to print the film, a surface
Tension of approx. 37 38 mN/m is required.

The surface tension can be evaluated with testing liquids or by edge angel definition.

The testing liquids can be made in a doityourself process according to ASTMStandard


D 2578.

It must be considered that the testing liquids are hygroscopic, that means their values may
change in the course of time when absorbing humidity.

The accuracy of the testing liquids is + / 1 mN/m.

The surface tension can also be determined more precisely by edge angel definition.

However, the treatment level must be increased during production by approx. 2


4 Mn/m, since it decreases during storage.

The corona treatment affects the film surface. For oneside corona treated film the sealing
strength, the minimum sealing temperature, and the coefficient of friction must be measured
separately on each side.

Films with additives require higher treatment intensity than films without additives.

To interpret the effect of the corona treatment various facts are significant :

chain degradation
interlacing
oxidation
electret formation
ozonisation
hydrogen linkage

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

The most important part of the corona treatment station is the treatment electrode
and the dielectric.

The dielectric consists of the

air between the electrode and the film


film
rubbercoating of the roll

and should have a dielectric constant of 8.

The system works with a tension of 15.000 v and a frequency of 20 kHz. The distance
between electrode and film should be set at approx. 2 mm.

Since the electrode and the roll warm up during operation, the parallelism of the electrode
to the roll must be checked from time to time.

For this reason sight glasses, through which the constant of the arc from the electrode to the
film can be watched, are installed at the exhaust hood.

In the area around the arc formed during corona treatment in connection with air also
ozone (O3) is being developed, which iis harmful to health and therefore must be exhausted.

For treating both sides of the film corona treatment station are installed from top as well
from bottom.

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PROCESSING OF BOPP FILM SZINTRCO

13) Winder Station

The winder Station consists of a two Station turret winder with an automatic cutting
unit and a precedingly installed roll system.

With this winder it is possible to change the film rolls without interrupting the
production process

While winding up the film on one station, on the other side of the unit the completed
jumbo roll can be removed and an empty winding core can be fixed.

When startingup the line, the film is wound on one winding station, first. Then, the
machine parameters are optimized and finally the film can be laid on to the empty
winding core by automatic layon and cutting unit.

It is necessary to adjust the winding characteristic in order to obtain well wound film
rolls.

The computer system presets the winding characteristic via a Force / Diameter Diagram,
displayed on the screen.

Based on the existing winding speed on the winder, the net output of the production
plant can be calculated from the film constants (width, average, thickness, and density).

mn = Vw . b . d . S . c

mn = net output ( kg/h)

Vw = film speed at winder (m / min)

b = film width after edge trim (m)

d = average film thickness (mm)

S = film density = 0.910 g / cm

c = conversion factor = 60 min / h

Page 49