By: Berlin Packaging Specialist
Date: October 20, 2019
What is Fluorination?
Some products require specialized packaging that prevents vapor from escaping or oxygen from entering the container. There are a variety of options from glass to metal or high-performance plastic barrier containers – or you can consider fluorination. Fluorination allows you to use a lighter weight and more affordable plastic container where it may otherwise not be possible.
Fluorination provides a chemical barrier to a pre-produced container. Containers are exposed to fluorine atoms under highly controlled conditions of time, temperature and pressure. This process allows the fluorine gas to bond to the container’s surface resulting in smaller pores and permeation rates. Fluorination of a container is permanent and the container will not lose these properties. In other words, fluorination does not “expire.”
What are the benefits of Fluorination?
- Prevents containers from distortion and paneling
- Prevents odor emission
- Reduces solvent and chemical permeation by up to 1000 times
- Reduces weight, flavor, and fragrance loss
- Enhances the performance of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) containers
- Can replace more costly containers such as glass, metal, or barrier containers
- Fluorination is FDA safe because it causes a permanent modification to the plastic and will not wear off or leak into the food
- Fluorinated bottles are just as recyclable as any other untreated bottle of the same material
Do I need fluorination?
If you are using a plastic container to hold a liquid substance, your product may benefit from fluorination. Fluorinated containers are used for a variety of applications from industrial and auto to pharmaceutical or food and beverage. Five levels of fluorination are available. The appropriate level depends on the type of plastic product being packaged. Our team will work closely with you to determine the proper treatment level.
Some candidates for fluorination include:
- Products that emit fumes: acetone, turpentine, paint thinners, kerosene, gasoline, lighter fluid
- Household and agricultural products: fertilizers, weed killers, insecticides, household cleaning products
New trending uses for fluorination now include food and beverage containers. Fluorination is food safe and will keep your product looking, tasting, and smelling fresh.
When products such as those listed above are housed in untreated plastic containers, the product can become damaged and even escape. Creating a fluorine barrier prevents odors and vapors from escaping from the container. In untreated plastic containers, vapor escapes and the product begins to evaporate, causing the container to lose weight and volume. This can make the container appear as though it has been subject to tampering.
Products left in untreated plastic containers can also cause paneling or distortion to the package. When the pressure outside of your container is greater than the pressure inside, your container may begin to show signs of paneling. Paneling of a container causes the walls to collapse inward, looking like the container has been squeezed and often causes the label to detach from the container. If the pressure inside of the container is too great, it can cause distortion of the container creating a bulging effect and resulting in product leakage. Fluorination can help your container maintain its shape - and its label.
Products that can cause paneling include:
- Cleaners and solvents (especially those with a citrus scent)
- Any product with a strong flavor or odor
- Shampoos and body washes that are organic or contain enzymes
- Waxes and polishes
- Automotive fluids, especially those containing oil
- Paint thinners
- Tanning products
- Weed killers