Facts & Terms Explained

Common Terms

It's not really rocket science, but it can be confusing

One of the challenges for those that are new to the world of product packaging is that it is highly technical in nature. Our role is to reduce the complexity and get you a product package the performs to the highest levels and brings your brand to life. To help, we have compiled some of the common terms and jargon you might comes across and explained the basics. We hope you find this helpful.

2-ply laminate

It typically consists of an outer layer of PET or vinyl and an inner layer of LLDPE (linear low-density polyethylene). The LLDPE can be white, in which case the laminate will appear opaque. The LLDPE can also be clear, in which case the laminate will be clear. 2-ply laminate will often have a better look than traditional 3-ply laminate, however the shelf life of coffee products packed in 2 layer laminate will be shorter, as the contents are less shielded against light and oxygen.

3-ply laminate

It is a 3-layer laminate, where the middle layer can be AL, or VMPET. 3-ply laminates protect the bags contents against oxygen and light better than 2 ply laminates.


It is an abbreviation for aluminium and is used as a light and oxygen barrier in 3 ply materials, due to its excellent insulation against oxygen and light.

Custom print

The reverse gravure printing of logos, descriptions and pictures on bags, pouches, roll stock, or laminate according to designs submitted by the customer.

Die Lines

Die lines measure the form/shape/outline of the item being made and is an aid in the artwork design phase for roll (or flat) stock items

Dry Lamination

It is a solvent-based adhesive lamination process offering the best bond strength. Dry laminate cuts slightly easier than wet laminate, but is less cost-effective.

Gloss Finish

It is an abbreviation for Polyethylene terephthelate and is a form of polyester often used as the outer substrate on laminates, due to its excellent tear strength, elongation properties and competitive price. Images and artwork are usually printed on the reverse side.


It is a composite material made of 2 or more dissimilar substrates such as PET and AL bonded together. Laminate for coffee bags and roll stock can be 2-ply or 3-ply, with the outer layer being Natural Kraft, PET, vinyl or MOPP. The optional central barrier substrate can be AL or VMPET, and the inner substrate is usually LLDPE. The generic term for laminate is web

Laminate production process

After the artwork has been approved, the production process starts with the manufacture of the print cylinders/drums. Once a proof has been produced (extra charges & time delays may occur, depending on what proof is required eg. digital, paper or top layer), the production begins with the image being reverse printed in up to 8 colours on the outer PET substrate. The next step is the lamination, where the substrates or layers are bonded together. After this the laminate is wound, cut, and packaged.


Linear low-density polyethylene. A strong, clear or white film ideal for packaging of foods. It is heat sealable, has excellent puncture and tear resistance, and has a high degree of stiffness. It’s used as the inner layer in all laminates and meets FDA regulations.

Matte Finish

It is an abbreviation for oriented polypropylene. OPP is used as a substitute for PET due to being highly price competitive. OPP can also have a matt finish. This laminate substrate can wrinkle easier when heat sealed compared with other products.

Natural Kraft

It is a durable and strong form of paper that can be used as the outer substrate on bags and pouches. It gives a more natural feeling to the bag. Natural Kraft can be printed in up to 10 colours.


It is an abbreviation for polyethylene. PE is used as a bonding agent in wet lamination.

Pouch Lines

These are similar to die lines and measure the form/shape/outline of the pouch instead of a flat bag/pouch.


It is an abbreviation for polypropylene.

Pre-made Bags

These are bags already formed at the factory. This is as opposed toroll stock.


The process of cooking food in the package that it is sold in eg. baby food or soups that have meat or vegetables that need to cook at a temperature to kill off the micro-organisms and to avoid botulism. The temperature is generally around 121º C.

Retort Pouch

The bag/pouch created to store a food product that will be heated before the food product is consumed.

Reverse Gravure Printing

This is the transfer of ink from an etched cylinder (normally steel or copper print drums) to the substrate, eg. paper/film/foil. The colors are printed onto the substrate one color at the time. The image is printed onto the reverse side (inner) of the outer substrate. The equipment is a multi-station (up to nine) printing machine to print and/or coat up to eight colours on to a fast-moving web of material. All types of coffee bags and laminates except for aluminum foil and gold foil are printed. Print drums are re-usable and one print drum is required per colour.

Roll Stock

It is a bag /pouch material supplied in a flat form and on a roll.


The generic term for the layers that the laminate is composed of. A wide range of materials can be used, such as AL, LLDPE, PE, PET, VMPET, Natural Kraft, Vinyl and MOPP. The choice of material depends on the use of the bag/ pouch.

Vinyl (Polyvinyl chloride), or PVC.

This strong clear material is used as the outer substrate on some coffee bags. It presents well, has excellent elongation and tear strength properties, and is used on coffee bags, where appearance is more important than price.


It means metalized PET. This material consists of PET which has been metalized with aluminium. It serves as a light and oxygen barrier, and is often used instead of aluminium. It has a slightly smoother appearance than aluminium, however it is slightly less efficient as a light/oxygen barrier. It is however cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

Wet Lamination

It offers a cost-effective alternative to dry lamination and is used when the product does not require the strongest bond strength. The bonding liquid used by our manufacturers is a PE resin.