What technologies are suitable for processing Tyvek®?

DuPont™ Tyvek® is a non-woven material made of 100% high density polyethylene fiber that integrates the excellent characteristics of paper, cloth and film. The processing feasibility same as paper, cloth and film endows it with wider application possibilities in printing, packaging, design and consumer goods related fields.

Unlike traditional printing substrate paper, Tyvek® is a material of a melting point of 135 °C, water-resistant and non-absorbent, which requires proper adjustment of parameters during certain processing. The following quick reference for processing Tyvek® is based on our current knowledge and will be subject to continuous updating.

Coating
The purpose of coating on Tyvek® materials is usually to achieve properties/tactility (e.g. PU coating), printability/convertibility (e.g. primer coating for water-based/eco-solvent based inkjet printing or heat-sealing coating), or to improve the performance of printing ink (e.g. primer for Latex, Indigo), etc.
There are several precautions for processing Tyvek®. Firstly, verify the coating formulation according to different application requirements. Secondly, in order to avoid shrinkage or deformation of the material, it is recommended to control the web tension below 1.4N/cm (for non-numerical control equipment, to the point where the material does not wrinkle), it is recommended to control the oven temperature below 80°C. Especially for water-based coating, we can make the coating dry thoroughly by increasing the solid content of coating formulation or adjust air flow of oven and lower down the machine speed.
Coating methods currently used in the market, such as gravure coating or roller coating, etc. can be used depending on the desired effect to be achieved.

Laminating
Laminating is a common processing technique in Tyvek® applications. Tyvek® can be laminated with various materials (such as paper, film, non-woven fabric and woven fabrics), different adhesives are considered for different substrates. Since Tyvek® is a non-woven material made of 100% high density polyethylene and non-absorbent, it is recommended to increase the solid content and amount of glue when water-based or solvent-based adhesive is used, to improve the bonding strength and avoid hollow glue (bubble).  According to the application requirements, the adhesive formulation needs to be evaluated before mass production.
Similar as the coating process, the web tension should be controlled below 1.4N/CM (for non-numerical control equipment, to the point where the material does not wrinkle) and it is recommended that the oven temperature should be controlled below 80°C. Enable the adhesive dry completely by adjusting the air flow of oven and lower down the laminating speed.

Gluing
Tyvek® has been widely used in printing and packaging, such as envelopes, notebooks, packaging bags and boxes, handbags, etc. and gluing technology is used on Tyvek® more and more. Tyvek® looks like paper but with quite different properties. During the gluing process, air bubbles and wrinkles are easily caused by improper glue selection or gluing methods. Tyvek® is a non-woven material made of high-density polyethylene and can also be classified as plastic. Moreover, Tyvek® does has unique thickness uniformity unlike typical paper. Therefore, in glue formulation selection, suitability reference should be made to plastic substrates. Water- based or solvent-based or hot-melt adhesive and animal glue can all be used on Tyvek®. For water-based or solvent-based glue, the formulation of the glue and gluing process need to be slightly adjusted compared with typical paper. It is recommended to use glues with solid content over 50% and appropriately increase the amount of glue. For example, when gluing Tyvek® with paper or paperboard, it is recommended to apply glue to Tyvek® first and allow it to dry for enough time and to test the gluing effect after 24 hours.

Note: Like gluing other materials, the characteristics of the substrate, the end use conditions and requirements etc. need to be fully acquainted before selecting glue. In addition, it is recommended to communicate with the glue vendor to select the appropriate glue formulation. Evaluation should be conducted before mass production.

Sewing
Tyvek® is more and more popular in consumer goods and sewing becomes the most common assemble method to Tyvek. As we mentioned previously, Tyvek® is a non-woven material and unlike woven fabric, the needle holes will not disappear after sewing. Therefore, it is recommended to choose smaller needles (e.g. No.10 needles) and not to sew too densely to avoid strength loss. In addition, Tyvek® has a smooth surface and is slippery in sewing. It is suggested to replace metal presser foot with plastic one to increase the friction coefficient.

Resource for download:

For detailed operation instructions for Tyvek® printing and processing, please download the complete version of Tyvek® User Guide in PDF file.