In pharmaceutical, food, cosmetic, or FMCG packaging – the gas & moisture barrier characteristic is one of the key elements to provide a longer shelf life.
Aluminum foils, aluminum-metalized films, PVDC-coated films, or coextruded EVOH films have performed significant barrier packaging roles. However, more sophisticated packaging demands have increased, such as transparency, metal detector capability, microwave ability, retort ability, environmental friendliness, and barrier properties.
Use of Ceramic coating film
Ceramic coating (Silicon oxide) is used for injectable packaging, i.e., as a protective material used to protect glass from acidic or basic products to avoid the product packaging interactions. Ceramic-coated films can meet the demands in other sectors and have become more and more popular recently. Ceramic-coated films are AlOx- or SiOx-coated films of excellent barrier properties, potentially reaching almost the same levels of O2 and H2O barriers.
Properties of Silicon oxide film
Besides barrier properties, transparency is another important aspect of these films. Although the SiOx layer is somewhat yellowish, both the AlOx and SiOx layers are transparent, providing the marketing advantage of allowing the consumer to see the product inside the package and the quality control advantage of more reliable visual inspection.
These films also have the advantages of metal detector capability and microwave ability. Unlike aluminum foil or metalized films, the films are metal-free films that allow metal detectors to work correctly and do not cause arcing in the microwave oven. The recent improvement also imparts these films with the exciting advantage of being retort able, with the durability to withstand the severe temperature and pressure conditions in the retorting process—Eg. Sterilization (steam, pressure, dry heat) in Injectable vials/syringes. In the past, only metal cans, glass containers, and aluminum–plastic pouches were retortable. Replacing the heavier and more bulky metal cans and glass containers with packages made of ceramic-coated films can result in significant cost /energy savings in transportation and waste reduction.
A comparison of ceramic-coated films and other barrier films is shown, where
€ = Excellent
£ = Moderate
× = Poor
|Films||Moisture Barrier||Oxygen Barrier||Transparency||Use of Metal Detector||Use of Microwave Oven||Retort Treatment|
A physical vapor deposition process is typically used to form ceramic coatings. Aluminum is evaporated from a crucible tank by electron beam heating and then reacts with oxygen to form a thin layer of AlOx onto a substrate. The process is done under high vacuum conditions to achieve efficient evaporation and deposition of the material.
Major Suppliers of Ceramic-Coated Films and Their Products:-
|Suppliers||Barrier Materials||Products||Base Films|
|Dai Nippon Printing||AlOx, SiOx||IB-Film||PET, PA|
|Mitsubishi Plastics||SiOx||Techbarriers||PET, PA, PVA|
|Toppan Printing||AlOx, SiOx||GL, GX Films||PET, PA|
|Toyobo||AlOx and SiOx (two-component process)||Ecosyars||PET|