Why Pregis’ New Phantom Mask Is An All-in-One Protective Plastic Film Solution
Pregis’ new Phantom Mask protective film solution offers unparalleled protection for plastic sheeting while eliminating adhesive transference and decreasing waste.
Plastic is a part of our future. Everything, from kitchen utensils to complex scientific instruments, is made of the stuff. It’s found in equipment exploring the bottom of our oceans, and in technology probing the outer bounds of our solar system. Plastics technology is driving innovation in automobiles and airplanes, and home goods and healthcare. But while the things we make out of plastic grow, evolve, and improve, many parts of the plastics manufacturing chain are mired in “yesterday’s approaches.”
Take the protective film that manufacturers use to protect extruded sheets with. It serves a vital role, protecting the surface between when the sheet is manufactured and when it’s turned into a finished product. This film has remained largely unchanged for years — the quality of the film itself has seen some iterations, and the adhesive used to bond it to the underlying sheet has changed, but the fundamental process has mostly remained the same since its introduction.
This might seem like minor nit-picking. After all, who cares about protective film, right? But dig a little deeper, and it’s easy to see that innovation in protective films is critical. Manufacturers ask a lot of their films — they need to protect from the elements and survive being cut up, heated, cooled, stretched, squished, punctured, pushed, and pulled. And they need to do all of this without detaching from the sheet they’re protecting. That’s a lot of work for a thin polymer sheet to take on, which is why manufacturers are on a constant search for an all-in-one protective film solution like Pregis PolyMask that can avoid (or at least reduce) the compromises they have to make.
Enter Phantom Mask from Pregis, the most innovative approach to protective film for plastics in years. It’s tough, it’s visually pleasing, it’s engineered to stand up to manufacturing and fabrication stress, and it solves one of the oldest problems of protective films: adhesive residue left behind.
Protective films are used for numerous plastic products to protect against scratches, dings, and exposure to the elements. This film has to preserve the underlying product through shipping and storage, ensuring the surface looks as good when it reaches the end user as it did when it was produced.
Plastic sheet manufacturers, however, have an additional challenge: The protective film added post-extrusion has to remain in place, intact, and functional through manufacturing by buyers, including cutting, thermoforming, and other fabrication processes. This is a much tougher bar to clear than typical film often found in common consumer applications.
And if these challenges aren’t enough, film for plastic sheets has another hurdle to jump: The adhesive used to attach it to the underlying sheet can’t be so sticky that it leaves behind residue or streaks. This damage requires costly and time-intensive processes to rework, assuming correcting these problems is even possible. Often, it isn’t, and fresh plastic sheets are sent to the landfill straight from receiving. Even in a best-case scenario where the material can be recycled, the environmental costs of manufacturing and transporting new sheets can be staggering.
The future is clear
A protective film for plastic sheets has to be tough enough to stand up to physical damage, thermal extremes, and the stress of manufacturing and fabrication. However, trying to keep it in place with ever-stronger adhesives is counterproductive since the adhesive itself can damage the sheet. Conventional protective films are forced to optimize for stickiness or adhesive transfer-resistance, and end manufacturers have to build margin for damaged sheets into their orders and production estimates.
Phantom Mask takes a different approach. Instead of focusing on the adhesive as a separate layer added to the film post-production, the adhesive is applied in tandem with film extrusion as a coextruded layer that’s part of the final whole. This process, dubbed “adhesiveless,” leads to a clear film that makes it easy to spot imperfections and a strong bond that can stand up to the rigors of manufacturing and fabrication.
This film is tough enough to withstand the most demanding converting processes, including slitting, vacuum forming, thermoforming — virtually any kind of fabrication that plastic sheets are exposed to. And because of its high clarity and optional printing, it makes for an exceptional customer presentation, showcasing our clients’ brand and quality right from the get-go.
The Phantom Mask protective film is a fully-featured all-in-one solution to plastic sheet manufacturers that addresses the shortcomings of last-generation films and then some. But it’s also more than that. The coextrusion process that allowed Pregis to create an “adhesiveless” film is a showcase of the kind of packaging and protection technology that manufacturers can expect to see more of in coming years.
Materials and manufacturing science is advancing rapidly, offering brands like Pregis the opportunity to help address a lot of the most glaring challenges facing manufacturers. As these processes become more refined and mature, innovative companies will find new ways to make manufacturing faster, cheaper, better, and more sustainable.
Phantom Mask gives plastics manufacturers a clear edge over competitors that reduces costs, lead times, and manufacturing waste.