MDO stands for Machine Direction Orientation. This is a filmmaking technology.
The film is extruded and stretched numerous times in machine direction in the MDO process, giving it a shrink index. This shrink value defines the maximum final retraction and is established during the cooling process of the plastic material.
MDO (Machine Direction Orientation) is a post-extrusion procedure that improves film qualities including resistance, optics, and even stiffness.
MDO-PE films are extruded by heating the PE resin to a temperature just below the melting point and then stretching the PE many times in a machine direction. After that the PE film’s new properties are locked during the annealing stage; and finally cool down. MDO-PE film is now completed and ready for use.
MDO technology, which is used to make MDO-PE films, uses less material, which saves resources and improves film qualities.
There are two types of MDO-PE film: Normal MDO-PE film and High barrier MDO-PE film.
Extrusion is the first stage in the MDO-PE production process. This requires preheating, which involves feeding the PE into the stretching unit and uniformly heating it to the correct temperature, which is slightly below the melting point.
The film is then stretched between a set of rollers that rotate at varying speeds in the machine direction orientation. The MDO PE film will be stretched many times, resulting in a shrink index. This shrink value, which is determined during the chilling process, defines the maximum final retraction.
Next, the film’s new properties are then locked in and made permanent during the annealing stage.
Finally, the MDOPE film is cooled to a temperature close to the room temperature.
The primary goal of the machine direction orientation procedure used to create MDO-PE film is to improve PE resistance, optics, and stiffness. This manufacturing process will make PE film more powerful, long-lasting, and suitable for a wide range of uses and applications.
The following are some of the interesting characteristics of MDO-PE film.
The high performance of MDO-PE films extends a product’s shelf life, increasing its appeal among end-use industries and driving demand for MDO-PE films. MDO-PE film provides good quality such as heat resistance, excellent water vapour barriers, chemical resistance, and others, which drives demand for MDO-PE films among end-use industries.
Furthermore, MDO-PE films reduce the carbon footprint, which leads to the sustainability problem that end-users are becoming more concerned about nowadays.
MDO-PE films improve the barrier, mechanical, and optical qualities, making them perfect for food packaging and increasing sales in the food and beverage sectors. Overall, the improved film performance, as well as its strength and stiffness, increase demand for MDO-PE films.
And, more significantly, long-term viability. MDO-PE will enable 100% PE packaging material, whether for daily use or high barrier applications. It is available as a single layer or laminated to PE.
MDO-PE can maximize PE film performance while maintaining a minimum thickness. This means that less material will be required. This will absolutely protect our raw materials.
When less material is used, there is less transportable material, which also helps protect our environment.
However, recycling is the most crucial aspect of MDO-PE film sustainability. It allows practically all packaging to be recyclable.
While waste is a worldwide issue, many nations have established objectives to ensure that all flexible packaging is reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable by 2025 or 2030. Biodegradable technology will be required more frequently, particularly for high barrier packaging. While reusable packaging is impractical for products selling in the stores. As a result, recyclable packaging is the greatest option for them for achieving their target on time.
If the packaging is single PE layer, we can simply fix the problem because it is all recyclable.
If the packed product is light, such as chips, and the below film structures are good, we can easily fix the problem:
We can also easily solve the problem if only need thicker material while no requirements on barrier function, below film structures are good: (total thickness 120 micron)
However, thicker packaging with strong barrier functions is an issue. Previously, we used VMPET or foil for the barrier function. But these two materials are not recyclable. Thus, we must ensure that it is thick enough to pack the contents while also acting as a barrier for protecting the products. This packaging is commonly used for laminated packaging, mainly food packing. And we now have a solution: (Total micron: 120)
All the materials are PE, we can call it a 100% fully recyclable mono-material laminated PE pouch, so it is fully recyclable. It is thicker for packing and has a strong barrier to protect the goods.
The cost factor is limiting the market expansion of MDO-PE films. The high cost of machinery used to manufacture MDO-PE films limits the growth of the MDO-PE film market. Furthermore, the usage of plastic materials in the fabrication of MDO-PE films creates a market challenge for MDO-PE film makers to some extent.
MDO-PE film is a significant advancement in packaging since it not only reduces the consumption of raw materials and improves film performance, but it also makes high barrier flexible laminated packaging recyclable. We may anticipate an improved future for MDO-PE films as MDO technology advances.