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Best Adhesives for Different Packaging Materials

The packaging industry accounts for one of the largest markets for industrial adhesive. Everything you purchase, from frozen food to car parts, comes in some form of packaging. With all of these products on the market, it’s necessary for manufacturers to use the most effective adhesive for different packaging materials.

What Adhesives Are Best For Plastic Packaging?

Plastic is the most widely used material for packaging. Low-density plastics are typically used for trash bags and carrier bags, while high-density plastics are found in bleach and shampoo bottles. When choosing the right adhesive for plastic packaging, bond strength is usually the top priority.

  1. UV Curable Adhesives: These are effective for bonding different types of plastic and are a popular choice due to their strong bond strength. They work well with both low-density and high-density plastics鈥嬧.
  2. Cyanoacrylate Adhesives: Known for their quick bonding times, cyanoacrylate adhesives are suitable for most plastic bonding applications. They are often chosen for their ease of use and strong bond formation鈥嬧.
  3. MMAs (Methyl Methacrylate Adhesives): These adhesives are effective for bonding plastic substrates and are known for their impressive adhesion strength. MMAs are often chosen when substrates require a strong and durable bond鈥嬧.
  4. Epoxy and Structural Adhesives: Some types of epoxy and structural adhesives can also be used for plastic packaging, especially when a high level of flexibility or particular bond strength is required鈥嬧.
  5. Structural Acrylics: These adhesives bond most plastics and are available in various forms such as surface-activated, bead on bead, and two-component systems. They are known for their versatility and strong bonding capabilities鈥嬧.

When choosing an adhesive for plastic packaging, it’s important to consider the specific nature of the plastic, including its type and surface condition, as well as what the bond needs to resist鈥嬧. This will help in selecting the most appropriate adhesive for the particular application.

Paper Packaging

Corrugated boxes, boxboard or paperboard, and paper bags are all everyday uses for paper in packaging. Depending on the use, the best types of adhesives for paper packing are water-based, solvent-based, and hot melts. For food-related applications, both water-based and hot melt adhesives are the safest. Labels and seals for cartons and cases are usually manufactured with solvent based adhesives. Finally, hot melt is best for automated applications, including erecting and sealing cartons and cases.

  1. Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSAs): These are commonly used to stick labels onto flat surfaces like boxes and cans. Most often, they are formulated with acrylics, making them suitable for a wide range of paper packaging applications鈥嬧.
  2. Hot Melt Adhesives: These are viscous liquids that turn into a solid when heated. There are two main types: thermoplastic and thermoset adhesives. Hot melt adhesives are widely used in packaging due to their strong bonding properties and quick setting times鈥嬧.
  3. Water-Based Adhesives: Ideal for many paper packaging applications, water-based adhesives are environmentally friendly and easy to clean up. They create strong bonds and are often less expensive than other options. However, they can leave residue when dry and often require some time to set before handling the packaged items鈥嬧.
  4. Spray Adhesives: These are liquids that turn into glues when sprayed or brushed onto surfaces. While they can stick to almost anything, they are not suitable for creating airtight seals and can be messy to work with. They are often used for lightweight or temporary bonding applications in packaging鈥嬧.
  5. Solvent-Based Adhesives: Commonly used for labels and seals for cartons and cases, solvent-based adhesives provide strong bonding and are suitable for various packaging applications鈥嬧.


Foam Packaging

Foam packaging is widely used for protective purposes. Any time you order something fragile like electronics or glass, it usually comes wrapped in a layer of foam. For foam with a smooth surface like charcoal or poly, pressure-sensitive adhesives work well because of their long open time and strong peel and shear characteristics.

When selecting adhesives for foam packaging, several options are available, each with its own set of advantages for different applications:

  1. Hot Melt Adhesives: These are versatile adhesives suitable for bonding foam to various surfaces, including plastic and corrugated paper. Hot melts are preferred for their quick setting time and strong bond formation鈥嬧.
  2. Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSAs): They are excellent for applications that require long open time, heat resistance, and prolonged bonding strength. They are a good choice if the packaging will be exposed to high temperatures or stress鈥嬧.

For corrugated foam surfaces like the pick and pull grid or eggcrate, hot melt adhesives are the best because of their wet tack, heat stability, and long open time.

Aluminum Packaging

Aluminum foil is used in various applications for food packaging, like beverage cans. It鈥檚 also used for packaging medication and in the automotive industry. Because of its chemical properties, aluminum allows adhesive to retain all of its bonding strength. Epoxy-based adhesives withstand exposure to many acids, bases, and solvents. Polyurethane reactive hot melts are also excellent for aluminum because of the incredibly strong bond that they create.


The type of adhesive you need will depend on your packaging type. For paper and foam packaging, hot melt PUR and pressure sensitive adhesives are your best bet. For Aluminum and plastic, you are better off with Epoxy based adhesives that can properly bond to their surfaces.

To learn more about which packaging adhesive is right for you, reach out to us today!


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