What is layflat tubing?
Layflat tubing is a tube of polythene film that is widely used in the packaging industry. LFT, as it is often referred to, is manufactured in a long, continuous tube that is wound around a central core or reel and then supplied by the roll to a wide range of industries.
Available in a wide range of sizes from 2” to 48” wide as standard, but manufactured to any size required to suit bespoke orders, layflat tubing is a fantastic product and incredibly versatile.
By unrolling the tubing off the reel, LFT provides a simple solution for wrapping products of varying lengths, shapes and sizes. Just roll on enough layflat tubing to cover your product, cut to size, seal and - hey presto! - your item is packaged.
The ideal tool for sealing layflat tubing is a manual heat sealer. In fact, when layflat tubing is used in combination with a heat sealer, it can be used used it to package almost anything you want.
The perfect packaging combo
The versatility of the tubing means that you can bag or completely seal lots of individual items of awkward shapes or different sizes or, if consistency is what you’re looking for, you can just as easily make yourself a batch of polythene bags, all of the same shape and size.
It’s easier than you’d think to make a mini production line and do-it-yourself - see our simple guide to making bags below.
Whether wrapping or bagging items, the key to doing a good job is getting the right size tubing to cater for the items you have to wrap, along with a good quality heat sealer. Once you have these two things in place, the DIY-packaging world is your oyster!
What size layflat tubing do you need?
Layflat tubing comes in a range of sizes from 2" to 48" wide. These can be broken down into three categories of layflat tubing: narrow (2-6"), standard (7-15") and wide (18-48").
The size of layflat tubing refers to the width of the polythene as it comes off the roll, i.e. when it is laid flat. Layflat tubing is folded flat so, when the polythene is opened up into a tube, the width of the tubing (when flat) is half of the circumference of the tube (when open).
For example, a layflat tube of size 4" has the following measurements:
- Width (flat): 4"
- Circumference of tube (open): 8"
The diameter of the layflat tube, when opened, is often the important measurement to know, as tubular items (e.g. pipes) are referred to by the size of their diameter.
Note: When choosing your layflat tubing and deciding what size you need for the job in hand, always remember that the width of the layflat tubing refers to the flat width, not the diameter of the tube. So a piece of 4" layflat tubing will not fit a 4" pipe into the tubing when opened.
To calculate what size layflat tubing you need:
- Take the diameter of your pipe (e.g. 4")
- Multiply by Pi (Π), which is rounded to 3.14
- This gives you the circumference of your pipe (4" x 3.14 = 12.56")
- Divide this by 2 (12.56" / 2 = 6.28")
- The minimum size layflat tubing you will need is the next size up
So, in this example, to fit a 4" pipe you would need a minimum layflat tubing size of 7".
The length of layflat tubing you need would depend on how long your pipe is. Layflat tubing can be cut and sealed to the bespoke length required for each individual job and then sealed at one or both ends using a heat sealer.
Make your own bags - a simple guide
Before starting the bag-making process, think about what you want to use the bags for. Do your bags need to be narrow or wide? Do they need to be short or tall/long? The answers to these questions will inform your choice of layflat tubing and heat sealer.
The instructions below explain how to make a batch of small polythene bags. In this example, we are making small bags measuring 6” (152mm) wide x 9” (229mm) tall. However, the same method can be applied to create bags of any width or length, provided you have layflat tubing of the necessary size and strength and the correct size heat sealer.
- Setup your roll of 6” layflat tubing so that it is upright and the open end of the roll is square to the heat sealer, ready to pull through
- Place a marker 9” from the heat sealer, on the opposite side to the layflat tubing. This will provide your guide on how far to pull the roll of LFT through to make each bag
- Turn on the heat sealer
- Open the heat sealer
- Pull your layflat tubing slowly off the roll so that the open end passes through the jaws of the open heat sealer
- Keep pulling until the open end of the tubing reaches your 9” marker (the tubing should now be laying on the heat sealer, 9” from the end of the tube)
- Close the heat sealer, pressing down for a few seconds until the tubing is sealed and cut to form a 9” tall bag
- Repeat steps 5-7 to make as many bags as you require.
And there you have it - a simple way to manufacture your very own made-to-measure polythene bags. Once you have the right tools in place, you can run off your own DIY batch of plastic bags in no time at all.
This solution not only provides an economical packaging solution, tailored perfectly to your needs, but it is also fun to do. Give it a try today!
Of course, if you need a batch of plastic bags but don’t want to make them yourselves, then just get the experts to do it. Whatever type of plastic bag you require - any style, any size, any colour, plain or personalised with your own design - then Polybags can will be able to cater for your business needs at fantastic wholesale prices.