A new test facility at Peterborough based Paperfeel is set to open commercial opportunities for what is believed to be the first triple layered waterproof plastic material with a paper feel.

Carrying the company name, patented Paperfeel is described as a three-layer polyethylene film that is strong and moisture resistant like plastic, with the texture, print quality and folding characteristics of paper.

The film has been in development since Harrier Packaging became Paperfeel in 2001. Paperfeel pioneer and technical director Geoff Southwell said: “Increasingly we are producing made to order Paperfeel films to meet the technical, functional, economic and aesthetic requirements of a client. The test facility has become essential to create a film with the right profile and ensure consistency during production.”

It’s proprietary formulations enable each layer to perform a different function, so the inner surface can be low friction for ease of filling, the middle layer a stiffener and the outside high friction to prevent slippage and deliver good print quality. Computerised testing equipment is used to ensure each sample can be reproduced exactly.

Paperfeel has made its way into niche applications including pet food sacks where a non-slip outside surface and high print quality is required. It has also been used for specialist food wrappings for products such as cheese with a barrier layer to exclude odours and an outside parchment layer for aesthetics.

“Packaging designers are interested in Paperfeel because of its versatility,” added Mr Southwell. “The layers can be different colours. Smooth, rough, matt or gloss finishes are possible and a range of external textures such as paper or parchment feel. Laminates may be applied externally to protect printing and barriers incorporated to exclude odours or moisture.”