Nathan Dube

By: Nathan Dube on August 17th, 2021

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Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene Overwrap Film: Applications And Uses

Packaging Materials | Food Packaging

You are looking for a new flexible packaging film. Perhaps you are looking for a more affordable alternative to cellophane.


Or, maybe, you require a film that has increased strength and superior barrier properties to resist water vapor and oxygen gas.


You may have many reasons for searching for biaxially oriented polypropylene overwrap film (also known as BOPP). But, the main thing you have had trouble finding concerning this material is information.


You have likely discovered that BOPP is a bit obscure when compared to other types of flexible packaging films. And, this has made finding the information you are looking for even more difficult.


Well, today, we are going to solve that problem for you.


As a multi-generational packaging company, Industrial Packaging has over 65 years of experience with packaging films. And, we have a library of information on the different types of packaging films currently available.


With the information in this article, you will better understand biaxially oriented polypropylene overwrap film, its applications, and its uses.




What Is Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene Overwrap Film?


Biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) film is a type of flexible packaging film. Biaxially oriented polypropylene overwrap film is stretched in machine and transverse directions. This results in a molecular chain orientation in both directions. 


This type of flexible packaging film is created via a tubular production process. A tube-shaped film bubble is inflated and heated to its softening point (this is different from the melting point) and is stretched with machinery. The film stretches between 300% - 400%.


Alternatively, the film can also be stretched by a process known as tenter-frame film manufacturing. With this technique, the polymers are extruded onto a cooled cast roll (also known as a base sheet) and drawn along the machine direction. Tenter-frame film manufacturing uses several sets of rolls to create this film.


The tenter-frame process generally stretches the film 4.5:1 in the machine direction and 8.0:1 in the transverse direction. That being said, the ratios are fully adjustable.


The tenter-frame process is more common than the tubular variant. It produces a highly glossy, clear film. Biaxial orientation increases strength and results in superior stiffness, enhanced transparency, and high resistance to oil and grease.


BOPP film also boasts increased barrier properties to vapor and oxygen. Impact resistance and flexcrack resistance are substantially better with BOPP versus polypropylene shrink film.


Want to learn more about shrink film?

Show Me The Complete Guide To Shrink Film!



What Are The Applications For BOPP Overwrap Film?


Biaxially oriented polypropylene overwrap films are most commonly used for food packaging. They are fast replacing cellophane for applications including snack food and tobacco packaging. This is primarily due to their superior properties and lower cost.


Many companies choose to use BOPP in place of traditional shrink films as they feature enhanced properties and capabilities that are superior to those of standard flexible packaging films.


It should be noted that heat sealing is difficult for BOPP films. However, this can be made easier by coating the film after processing with a heat-sealable material or co-extruding with a co-polymer before processing. This will result in a multi-layer film.




Who Uses Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene Overwrap Film?


Businesses that commonly use BOPP film include food manufacturing and distribution companies, tobacco companies, supermarkets, and consumer goods manufacturing companies.


You can see BOPP at your local supermarkets, retail food stores, and gas stations.


Many companies that use cellophane for their product packaging also use BOPP films. In some cases, these companies have replaced cellophane altogether with BOPP film.


packaging question


Is Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene Overwrap Film Right For You?


To figure out if BOPP films are the correct packaging solution for your company's packaging requirements, you will need to answer a few questions.


  • Are you looking for a food-grade flexible packaging film with better vapor and oxygen resistance than regular shrink film? - If you answered yes, BOPP film is a good choice.


  • Are you looking for an alternative to plastic packaging? - If you said yes, BOPP film is not the right material for you.


  • Do you need a stronger packaging film than regular polypropylene shrink film? - If that is the case, BOPP film is a good fit for you.


  • Are you looking for a recyclable packaging film? - If you answered yes, there are some recyclable BOPP films currently available and they would be a good choice for your packaging needs.


  • Are you looking for a less expensive alternative to cellophane? - If you said yes, BOPP film is a good choice for you.


  • Are you looking for a packaging film with a higher strength than regular shrink film? - If the answer is yes, BOPP film is a good option for your packaging.


  • Are you looking for a biodegradable packaging film? - If you are, BOPP film is not a good material for your needs.


  • Are you looking for a less expensive alternative to regular shrink film? - If you said yes, BOPP film is not the appropriate material for your packaging.


  • Are you looking for an ultra-glossy packaging film? - If you said yes, BOPP film is a good material for your needs.


  • Do you need a packaging film with high resistance to grease or oil? - If the answer is yes, BOPP is an excellent material for your packaging requirements.


rolls of shrink film standing up with white backround


Is BOPP Or Shrink Film Right For Your Packaging Needs?


With the answers to the questions above, you should have everything you need to figure out if biaxially oriented polypropylene overwrap film is proper for your packaging or not.


With that being said, BOPP may or may not be the best type of flexible packaging film for your packaging requirements.


Depending on your application, shrink film may be a better choice. Would you like to learn about the different kinds of shrink films currently available and which one would be most appropriate for your business?


If you would like to learn more about the different types of shrink films, you will want to consider reading our complete guide to shrink film.


This free resource is packed to the brim with everything you need to help you choose the correct shrink film for your packaging line.


Complete guide to shrink film | Industrial Packaging Premium Resources


About Nathan Dube

As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Industrial Packaging, I am honored to create content for such a phenomenal company and work with one of the greatest teams in the Packaging Industry. Whether creating a video, writing blog posts or generating other pieces of content and multimedia, I am always excited to help educate and inspire our prospects and clients to reach their highest potential in regards to their packaging processes and needs.