Polybags is the UK's leading polythene packaging manufacturer.
We produce a huge range of polythene bags and film in-house here at Polybags HQ - please take a look around part of our factory via the interactive 360° image above.
As manufacturers, we cut out the middleman and you deal with us directly, which means you get quality goods at factory prices, with unbeatable value on a huge range of products, including:
Our manufacturing ability also allows us to make products designed specifically for your business, tailored exactly to your needs and printed with your own company design, branding or messaging.
Polybags manage the whole manufacturing process ourselves, from the storage and extrusion of raw materials, right through to the products being despatched to your address - meaning we have flexibility that regular packaging retailers simply do not.
Of course, you don't need to know anything about the manufacturing process as we manage everything for you, but if you would like to find out more, simply click through the wizard below for more information.
All polythene manufacturing begins with the raw materials used - the granules or pellets of polyethylene that are melted down and extruded to make polythene that is either kept in sheet form or converted into bags.
How the raw polyethylene - or an eco-friendly variant - is handled is crucial to the manufacturing process, so Polybags uses eight huge external silos to store and feed the raw materials into the extruders. This method ensures:
Polybags produces a variety of polythene and polypropylene film grades, each with slightly different properties. Using these alongside a selection of processing additives allows the production of film with very specific properties to suit the product in question.
The main types of film produced are:
In addition to the above, Polybags can supply other grades of film - including co-extruded polythene and polypropylene films - whilst we can also produce film specifically to meet your requirements.
We can manufacture to order film blends containing additives to give the film specific properties, such as a UV additive to prevent degradation of film stored outside or an EVA freezer-grade additive prevents film cracking at temperatures as low as -30°C.
If you want to add or remove a slip or blocking agent to your film, we can do that, whilst you can colour your film to the exact tint you need using our colour masterbatch additives. Whatever type of film you need, please get in touch and we'll do everything we can to meet your exact requirements.
The process by which polythene film is manufactured is known as blown film extrusion, or extrusion for short.
At Polybags, raw polymer is distributed from our storage silos via a feeding machine called a hopper into the machine that creates the polythene, which is called an extruder.
The polymer is forced through the extruder and, as it passes through its long, horizontally-mounted barrel, it is heated and melted into molten polymer, which is then forced upwards into the extruder die - two circular steel pipes placed one inside the other with a gap of approx 1mm.
The molten polymer passes through the circular extruder die and up into a cooling tower, whilst air is forced through the middle of the circle to inflate the polythene into a tube of the required size.
At the same time, cold air is blown onto the tube to cool the polythene, which then passes from the cooling tower and is folded into a layflat tube before being drawn through a series of rollers. It may pass through a treatment point and printer if a design is being added to the polythene (see "Print & Art" section).
Before being wound onto a cardboard roll ready for dispatch, the layflat tube may be slit on one or both edges to produce a specific type of polythene sheeting product (see below), or it may be converted into a series of polythene bags (see "Conversion" section).
The tube of polythene that leaves the extrusion line can be turned into a wide range of polythene film products, depending on how the polythene is cut and folded before being wound onto the roll. These products include:
Here at Polybags we run our polythene extrusion lines 24 hours a day, which provides a number of benefits:
Polybags is big enough to cope and small enough to care. We have the capacity to cope with the largest of jobs, whilst also being able to look after smaller orders in super-quick time.
We run a large number of extruders which, between them, feature a range of film treaters, in-line printers, double unwinds for sheeting production and wide winders for jumbo take-off units.
We specialise in short run and narrower width films and always ensure that we have at least two extruders with the capability to produce every product size. This gives us maximum flexibility in our production planning to ensure we can meet all lead times.
Furthermore, all of our manufacturing equipment is linked to our sales with a real time scheduling system. This means we get immediate information on lead times and can make adjustments where required, to prioritise urgent jobs. Ask our sales team about the system - they love it!
Polybags are manufacturers, so we can make products exactly as you need them.
This includes a printing service that allows us to personalise a huge range of products with your company branding or in any way you need - i.e. with a seasonal design or a promotional message.
Just tell us what you need and we'll give you a free no-obligation quotation.
Polythene printing takes place after the layflat tube of polythene has cooled and as it leaves the extruder, before being wound onto the roll. Alternatively you can use a pre-extruded roll of laylat tubing, winding it off the roll and through the printer before winding onto another roll.
Either way, the polythene film that reaches the printing station will be pulled tight around various sets of rollers to provide enough tension to treat and print the polythene, as well as seal and cut them to size (see 'Conversion' section).
Prior to printing the polythene first passes through a treatment point, which primes the surface of the polythene so that the printer ink forms a cleaner, sharper and more long-lasting bond with the polythene.
Once primed, the polythene then passes through the printer itself, which is pre-programmed with the relevant design for the product in question, tailor-made to the customer's design and signed-off by them (see 'Your design. Your way' below for more details).
The personalised design is printed onto the polythene at regular intervals, precisely located to match to where the polythene will be cut and/or sealed during the bag-making process (see 'Conversion' section).
So you're ready to take your business packaging to the next level, but how should you do it?
Well, how you design your packaging is up to you. Company logos, colours and fonts are an obvious starting point to reinforce your brand.
But you might want carrier bags with a seasonal design, mailing bags with a promotional message or perhaps garment covers with just your company name and contact details. The choice is yours.
You can print on one or both sides of the bag, in a single monochrome design on any colour polythene or, if you choose a white or clear bag, in up to four colours (please note: using four colours - known as full-colour printing - is much more complicated and so costs a lot more than using three colours or fewer).
We like to keep things simple, fast and cheap, so we just need a few details, including the number and size of bags you want and how many colours you wish to print with (we don't even need to know which actual colours you wish to use at this stage).
The process takes no more than 60 seconds, so what not try it out today? We think you'll be surprised how reasonable our prices are!
When making polythene bags, the next crucial phase of the manufacturing process after extruding the polythene is conversion - i.e. when you convert the tube of polythene into a collection of bags.
Polythene can be converted into bags either immediately after it leaves the extrusion line after cooling or from a pre-wound roll of polythene film, if extruded at an earlier date.
This conversion film stock - made up of popular widths and thicknesses of film - helps to ensure quick lead times for Polybags customers by allowing us to produce an order of bags on urgent request, rather than have to wait for the film to be extruded first.
Whether the film is delivered to the conversion line directly from the extrusion line or from a roll of conversion film stock, the polythene is stretched around a series of rollers first to ensure that it is sufficiently taut before conversion begins.
Polybags can customise any bags with a company's own design printed onto the bags. If this option is chosen, the bags are first treated and then printed before they enter the conversion line (see 'Print & Artwork' section).
Polybags runs a large number of conversion lines to match our 24-hour extrusion. This allows us to maximise flexibility around the clock, so we can cope with massive jobs and small orders at the same time, whilst keeping operation costs low for everyone.
Our converting machines allow for both bottom-weld and side-weld bag production, whilst catering for perforation, handle cut-outs, magic eyes for print register work and the application of adhesive glue strips in the production of peel and seal bags (e.g. mailing bags).
All of this means we can make polythene bags pretty much as you want them. If you can't find the bag for you in the Polybags shop then just tell us what you need and we can make them for you!
To help you decide, here's a quick overview of some of the more popular features we could add to a polythene bag for you.
Polythene is converted into polythene bags by being drawn through a conversion machine, which repeatedly cuts the bags to exactly the same size whilst, at the same time, welding each bag shut in one of the following ways:
A couple of other terms which are important in the bag-making process:
As well as cutting and welding the bags in the correct place, conversion machines also provide all of the necessary features for the polythene bag to be worthy of the name.
As each bag works its way down the conversion line, handles are formed using a heated tool - in the same shape as the desired handle - which melts and punches through the same place in each bag in turn. Some handles are reinforced with an extra polythene to strengthen them.
Ventilation can be added to a bag if required using perforation holes - usually approx. 6mm in size - which are cut using the same method as a handle.
If a bag requires a seal, these can also be added during the conversion process. Polythene bags can be sealed in a variety of ways, but the three most popular types of seal used by Polybags are as follows:
Once the manufacturing process is complete, Polybags' finished products are either sent straight for dispatch to the customer or immediately packed and stored in our warehouse.
As orders are processed they are entered into our in-house order tracking software, which provides real-time information on order progress and dispatch dates for all orders.
Our delivery systems are set up to deal with a huge range of orders, which can vary in size from a small box to many pallets' worth of products. Whatever size your order, the Polybags team do everything we can to ensure it reaches you in a timely manner and in perfect physical condition.
As each dispatch note is printed out in the warehouse, orders are assigned to one of five national couriers, depending on the size of the order.
Smaller orders are picked immediately, wrapped or boxed according to the contents of the order and placed into a cage for maximum protection. This cage is directly loaded onto the courier's transport and sent out for delivery.
Large orders which require loading onto pallets are collated, labelled and stretch-wrapped in-house before being loaded onto the courier lorry. We restrict pallet height to sensible levels and use a variety of pallet types or sizes to meet the customer's needs.
We work with five of the UK's most trusted couriers which, combined with our first class packaging - using high quality boxes, roll wrapping and pallet wrapping - ensures that we receive practically no complaints due to damage in transit.
Polybags provides fast and free delivery across the UK.
Our standard delivery service takes 2-3 days and is always free for any order across England, Wales and most of Scotland. A minimum order value may apply for parts of Scotland (Highlands, Isles), the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and across Ireland (NI and ROI).
For urgent orders, we provide a range of next-day and express delivery options to meet your needs and required timescales. See our UK & Ireland delivery options for full details.
Polybags also delivers worldwide. Please visit our delivery calculator select your country for a list of all delivery options available to you, including timescale and delivery cost.
If you would prefer to collect your goods from Polybags HQ, that is also fine. A number of our larger or merchant customers already choose to do this. We simply confirm with you when the goods are ready and you can collect them any time during business hours. We are conveniently located just off the A40 and only eight miles north of the M25.