Imagine a material that’s lightweight yet durable, breathable yet tear-resistant, recyclable yet resistant to water, chemicals, UV rays, and more. What you’re picturing in your mind is, in fact, DuPont™ Tyvek®.
While we like to think of Tyvek® as a super material, it can’t do everything on its own. Tyvek® comes in rolls or sheets, so most applications require the raw material to be converted, printed, or both. So, to unlock the full potential of Tyvek, you’ll want to find a trusted printer and converting partner, which we’ll cover in this article.
How is Tyvek® made?
Tyvek® is a nonwoven synthetic material made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Fine fibers are spun together and then bonded with heat and pressure. The result is an innovative, versatile material used in everything from building materials, functional clothing, consumer products, and active packaging.
Tyvek® comes in two styles. Hard structure Tyvek® looks and feels like paper, while soft structure Tyvek® is more reminiscent of textile. Within each style are many different products with distinct attributes and intended applications
Common Tyvek® applications
With so many unique benefits, Tyvek® is a popular choice in many applications. In our experience, some of the most exciting opportunities can be found in durable printed graphics, medical packaging, and industrial packaging.
Durable printed graphics
- Lid stock trays
- Protective peel pouches
- Header bags
- Sterilizable bags
- Syringe packaging
- Industrial active packaging
- Electronic active packaging
- Food active packaging
- Healthcare active packaging
- Industrial-strength bags
Printing considerations for Tyvek
What some product designers don’t realize is that Tyvek® can produce excellent print quality and is compatible with several traditional and digital printing techniques. The substrate is lightweight, has a smooth surface, and offers high dimensional stability. Some of the most commonly used processes for printing on Tyvek® include flexographic, offset, screen, and web-fed digital color presses.
As for color, Tyvek® can be printed using PANTONE Matching System (PMS) colors or four-color process. Either way, proofing for color matching on this unique material is important. Since Tyvek® is not as absorbent as paper, your printer should allow for longer dry times, especially if you’re printing on both sides. Tyvek® is also available corona treated to improve ink and coating adhesion.
Special consideration should also be made based on your industry. For example, when printing on Tyvek® for medical or pharmaceutical packaging, flexographic printing with alcohol-based polyamide or water-based inks is typically recommended. Be sure to ask your printing partner about the materials and inks best suited for your application and industry.
Converting considerations for Tyvek®
While Tyvek® is an impressively durable and rugged material, it is still very easy to convert through various processes, allowing you to create custom shapes and add the material to your specifications.
Common converting techniques used with Tyvek® include:
- Die-cutting– Material can be die-cut but dies call for tight tolerance and sharp, nick-free edges.
- Embossing – Can be embossed or foil stamped with high- or low-pressure equipment.
- Gluing – Several adhesives can be used to bond Tyvek® to itself or another substrate.
- Perforating and punching – Clean perforations and holes can be accomplished with the appropriate equipment
- Cutting – Slitting, sheeting, and cutting can be done; however, close attention must be made to fully cut through all fibers and prevent curling.
- Laminating and coating – Materials are compatible with several lamination techniques, including extrusion, adhesive, flame, ultrasonic, and thermal.
- Folding – Tyvek® can be folded on conventional bindery folders and dead folded.
Converting and printing services for Tyvek
If you’re using Tyvek® for your project, you’ve already made one excellent choice. The next important decision is selecting a qualified printer and custom converting partner to make the most of this innovative material.
At Tapecon, we’ve earned the distinction of a DuPont™ Graphics Preferred Printer. We also offer a wide range of converting capabilities, allowing us to handle your complete Tyvek® job under one roof.
Disclaimer: DuPont™ and Tyvek® are trademarks or registered trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates.
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With over 100 years of manufacturing experience, Tapecon works with product teams to solve challenges, create products, and enhance lives. Learn more about our durable printing and coating capabilities.