(19)
(11)EP 2 773 504 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/20

(21)Application number: 12770403.9

(22)Date of filing:  27.09.2012
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B32B 27/32  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2012/057542
(87)International publication number:
WO 2013/066536 (10.05.2013 Gazette  2013/19)

(54)

UNIAXIALLY SHRINKABLE, BIAXIALLY ORIENTED POLYPROPYLENE FILMS

MONOAXIAL SCHRUMPFBARE, BIAXIAL AUSGERICHTETE POLYPROPYLENFOLIEN

FILMS DE POLYPROPYLÈNE À RÉTRÉCISSEMENT UNIAXIAL ET À ORIENTATION BIAXIALE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 04.11.2011 US 201161555588 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
10.09.2014 Bulletin 2014/37

(73)Proprietor: Jindal Films Europe Virton SPRL
6761 Virton (BE)

(72)Inventors:
  • LU, Pang-Chia
    Pittsford, NY 14534 (US)
  • AMBROISE, Benoit
    6270 Hachy (BE)

(74)Representative: Barker Brettell LLP 
100 Hagley Road Edgbaston
Birmingham B16 8QQ
Birmingham B16 8QQ (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 878 567
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The present disclosure relates to uniaxially shrinkable and biaxially oriented polypropylene films, and more particularly to roll-on-roll-shrink-on films based on a polypropylene core and a modifying soft polymer that shrink in substantially only in the machine direction.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0002] Shrink labels fall into two categories: roll-on-shrink-on ("ROSO") labels and sleeve labels. ROSO labels are supplied from a reel, cut into sheets, applied around a container, and seamed around the container during the labeling step using hot melt to form a seam, with the machine direction (MD) of the film extending circumferentially around the container. ROSO label films primarily shrink in the MD direction and generally employ biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) films.

    [0003] A shrink film's distinguishing characteristic is its ability upon exposure to some level of heat to shrink or, if restrained, to create shrink tension within the film. This ability is activated by the packager when the wrapped product is passed through a hot air or hot water shrink tunnel. The resulting shrinkage of the film results in an aesthetically pleasing transparent wrapping which conforms to the contour of the product while providing the usual functions required of packaging materials such as protection of the product from loss of components, pilferage, or damage due to handling and shipment. Typical items wrapped in polyolefin shrink films are toys, games, sporting goods, stationery, greeting cards, hardware and household products, office supplies and forms, foods, phonograph records, and industrial parts.

    [0004] In certain situations, it is desirable to affect shrinkage along a single axis without substantial shrinkage in the cross-direction. For example, in the process of labeling bottles or cans by shrinking a tube or lap-sealed sleeve of heat shrinkable material, if the film shrinks parallel to the container axis, the label may not be placed in the right position but rather placed above or below the desired position upon shrinkage.

    [0005] In order to obtain uniaxially shrinkable materials, it is possible to employ uniaxially oriented materials, i.e., materials which are oriented in only one direction. However, uniaxially oriented film can lack the requisite strength and toughness necessary for use in such applications. Inasmuch as biaxially oriented films exhibit desirable strength and tear resistance in both directions of orientation, it would be desirable to obtain a uniaxially heat shrinkable film which is biaxially oriented but substantially stable in the transverse direction (TD). In labeling applications, the shrinkable direction usually corresponds to the MD of the film manufacturing process.

    [0006] Oriented polypropylene films are particularly desirable, but crystalline polypropylene alone will become very rigid after the normal MD/TD orientation. When going through a second orientation, an oriented polypropylene film will typically break (tear/snap by MD force). On the other hand, if the film starts off (room temperature) too soft it will become too soft even after the second MD orientation, giving low stability. Thus, there is a balance in the level of softness of the polypropylene film that is desirable, but difficult to reach. The inventor, however, has discovered that certain additives and processes can make a biaxially oriented film having desirable properties.

    [0007] Related disclosures include U.S. Patent Nos. 7,052,750; 5,691,043; 6,908,687; 6,113,996; U.S. Patent Application Publication Nos. 2011/0268979; 2011/0212338; 2009/0220757; 2008/248229; 2005/214557; and 2003/0068453; EP 1 423 408; EP 1 300 238; and EP 1 632 343; and WO 2009/142805 and WO 2005/097493.

    [0008] A heat-sealable multilayer polypropylene-based resin is known from EP-A-1876567 comprising a crystalline polypropylene-based resin and a propylene-alpha-olefin copolymer, which is an oriented polypropylene-based resin film made of a laminate of 3 or more layers of a substrate layer having a melting point of 155°C or less, an intermediate layer and a thermal adhesion layer having a melting point of 150°C or less, wherein the intermediate layer has a xylene-soluble content of 2.5% or less, the substrate layer has a melting point higher than that of the intermediate layer, and the intermediate layer has a thickness of 4µm or above.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0009] The invention provided herein is a film as defined in claim 1. The invention also provides an article as defined in claim 12 and a method of forming a biaxially oriented film as defined in claim 13. Optional features of the film and the method are the subject of dependent claims. At least one core layer is sandwiched between at least two skin layers, the layers comprising (or consisting essentially of) a core layer comprising (or consisting essentially of) polypropylene and within the range of from 20 wt% or 25 wt% or 30 wt% to 35 wt% or 40 wt% or 45 wt% or 50 wt%, by weight of the materials in the core layer, of an propylene-a-olefin elastomer having within the range of from 5 wt% or 6 wt% or 8 wt% to 12 wt% or 16 wt% or 20 wt% or 25 wt% a-olefin derived units, by weight of the copolymer; and skin layers comprising one or more polymers having a melting point within the range of from 125°C or 130°C to 150°C or 160°C, a Shore D Hardness within the range of from 55 or 56 to 65 or 70, and a Flexural Modulus (ISO 178) of at least 600 MPa or 650 MPa; wherein the film has a Haze value of less than 5% or 8% or 10%, and wherein the MD dimensional stability value is less than -10% or -20% or -30% or -40% (15 sec at 135°C), and a TD dimensional stability value within the range of from -2% or -1% or 0% to 2% or 4% or 8% (15 sec at 135°C).

    [0010] Also, the invention is a method of forming a biaxially oriented film comprising at least one core layer sandwiched between at least two skin layers, the method comprising co-extruding a core layer comprising polypropylene and within the range of from 20 wt% or 25 wt% or 30 wt% to 35 wt% or 40 wt% or 45 wt% or 50 wt%, by weight of the materials in the core layer, of a propylene-α-olefin elastomer having within the range of from 5 wt% or 6 wt% or 8 wt% to 12 wt% or 16 wt% or 20 wt% or 25 wt% α-olefin derived units, by weight of the copolymer; and skin layers comprising a polymer having a melting point within the range of from 125°C or 130°C to 150°C or 160°C, a Shore D Hardness within the range of from 55 or 56 to 65 or 70, and a Flexural Modulus (ISO 178) of at least 500 MPa or 600 MPa or 650 MPa; forming at least a three-layer film; stretching the film twice in the MD, the first stretch being within the range of from 2.5 to 6.5 ratio at from 80°C to 120°C, and the second stretch being within the range of from 1.2 to 1.5 ratio at from 140°C to 180°C; and stretching the film once in the TD simultaneous with or after the first MD stretch and before the second MD stretch; wherein the MD dimensional stability value is less than -10% or -20% or -30% or -40% (15 sec at 135°C), and a TD dimensional stability value within the range of from -2% or 0.5% to 6% or 8% (15 sec at 135°C).

    [0011] The various descriptive elements and numerical ranges disclosed herein can be combined with other descriptive elements and numerical ranges to describe preferred embodiments of the invention(s); further, for a given element, any upper numerical limit can be combined with any lower numerical limit described herein.

    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0012] The present invention is directed to unilaterally shrinkable films and methods of making them. This is accomplished in one embodiment by stretching the film in both the machine direction (MD) and transverse direction (TD) and a second simultaneous or consecutive stretch in either the MD or TD, preferably the MD. For a film to be stretched a second time in the MD, the inventor has found that it should be flexible enough even after the first MD/TD orientation. Regular crystalline polypropylene alone will become very rigid after the normal MD/TD orientation. When going through the second MD, an oriented polypropylene film will break (tear/snap by MD force). Therefore, the inventor has found that there is a need to have present in the film a soft additive polymer to make the film more flexible (e.g., as a plasticizer to retard polypropylene crystallization). But it has been found that the additive should be sufficiently compatible with host polypropylene matrix. Thus, a propylene-based elastomer, or "propylene-α-olefin elastomer," having certain desirable properties as described herein has been found to be useful.

    [0013] Further, the second MD orientation (MDO) will stretch the film to a maximum rigidity. If too high a level of soft additive is added to the film, the film will become too soft even after the second MDO, giving low stability. A high level of additive may also make the film easy to break during second MDO (e.g., film surface/metal friction may cause film tear). Thus, there is a balance of the amount of propylene-based elastomer that is useful to make unilaterally shrinkable film.

    [0014] Thus, provided herein is a biaxially oriented polypropylene film comprising at least one core layer sandwiched between at least two skin layers, the layers comprising (or consisting essentially of) a core layer comprising (or consisting essentially of) polypropylene and within the range of from 20 wt% or 25 wt% or 30 wt% to 35 wt% or 40 wt% or 45 wt% or 50 wt%, by weight of the materials in the core layer, of a propylene-α-olefin elastomer having within the range of from 5 wt% or 6 wt% or 8 wt% to 12 wt% or 16 wt% or 20 wt% or 25 wt% α-olefin derived units, by weight of the copolymer; and skin layers comprising one or more polymers having a melting point within the range of from 125°C or 130°C to 150°C or 160°C, a Shore D Hardness within the range of from 55 or 56 to 65 or 70, and a Flexural Modulus (ISO 178) of at least 600 MPa or 650 MPa; wherein the film has a Haze value of less than 5% or 8% or 10%, and wherein the MD dimensional stability value is less than -10% or -20% or -30% or -40% (15 sec at 135°C); and a TD dimensional stability value within the range of from -1% or 0% to 2% or 4% or 8% (15 sec at 135°C), thus, "uniaxially" shrinkable.

    [0015] By "consisting essentially of' what is meant is that the film or layer referred to only includes as effective polymer components the named polymers but can also include up to 1 wt% or 2 wt% or 3 wt% or 4 wt% or 5 wt% of an additive as described further below, those additives not changing the properties of the film or layer as described/claimed herein. In particular embodiments, the films and/or layers consist of the named polymer components.

    [0016] Preferably, the films of the invention have at least 2 layers, and more preferably at least 3 layers, and most preferably at least 5 layers. The films typically have at least two skin layers that are bound to the core on one face, and are unbound (face away from the film) on the other face. In certain embodiments of the invention, the skin layer(s) can be bound directly to the core, with no tie-layer in between. In other embodiments, there is a tie layer between each core layer and each skin layer that are otherwise adjacent to one another in the structure. If each skin layer is labeled "S", and each core layer labeled "C", and each tie layer labeled "T", then preferable film structures include, but are not limited to SCS, STC, STCT, STCTS, SSTCTS, STSCTSTS, SSTCCTSS, STSTCCTSTS, STTCTTS, SSSTCTS, SSTCTS, and other such structures. In the films described herein, each individual skin layer may be the same or different, preferably the same, in composition compared to other skin layers in the same film. Also, each core layer may be the same or different, and each tie layer may be the same or different. Thus, for example, the film structures above might be represented by S1T1CT2S2, S1S2T1CT2S1, etc., wherein "S1" and "S2" are distinct from one another, meaning that they comprise different materials, and/or the same materials but in different ratios. The same is true for "T1" and "T2". Preferably, however, each skin layer, tie layer, and core layer that makes up a film will have a similar or identical identity, as this type of structure allows the use of only three extruders to melt blend and extrude the materials that form each layer of the film.

    [0017] As used herein, the term "layer" refers to each of the one or more materials, the same or different, that are secured to one another in the form of a thin sheet or film by any appropriate means such as by an inherent tendency of the materials to adhere to one another, or by inducing the materials to adhere as by a heating, radiative, chemical, or some other appropriate process. The term "layer" is not limited to detectable, discrete materials contacting one another such that a distinct boundary exists between the materials. Preferably, however, the materials used to make one layer of a film will be different (i.e., the weight percent of components, the properties of each component, and/or the identity of the components may differ) from the materials used to make an adjacent, and adhering, layer. The term "layer" includes a finished product having a continuum of materials throughout its thickness. The "films" described herein comprise three or more layers, and may comprise 3, 4, 5, or more layers in particular embodiments.

    [0018] The 3, 4, 5, 6, or more layer film structures (films) may be any desirable thickness, and in certain embodiments have an average thickness within the range of from 20 µm or 30 µm or 40 µm to an upper limit of 50 µm or 60 µm or 80 µm or 100 µm or 150 µm or 200 µm or 500 µm. Thus, an exemplary average thickness is within the range of from 30 µm to 80 µm.

    [0019] As mentioned, the core layer will comprise a polypropylene, described further herein, and a soft propylene-based polymer or "propylene-α-olefin elastomer." These components can be described any number of ways, but, preferably, the polypropylene has a Vicat softening temperature (ISO 306, or ASTM D 1525) of greater than 120°C or 110°C or 105°C or 100°C; and the propylene-α-olefin elastomer has a Vicat softening temperature of less than 120°C or 110°C or 105°C or 100°C. Described another way, the softening temperature of the polypropylene is at least 5°C or 10°C or 15°C or 20°C or 30°C higher than the softening temperature of the propylene-α-olefin elastomer. If the propylene-α-olefin elastomer does have a measurable melting point (ASTM D3418), then preferably it has a melting point of 5°C or 10°C or 15°C or 20°C or 30°C or 40°C lower than the polypropylene. Preferably, the core layer of the films herein will comprise or consist of polypropylene and one or more propylene-α-olefin elastomers. Most preferably, syndiotactic polypropylene is absent from the core layer.

    [0020] Desirably, the films of the invention are biaxially oriented and uniaxially shrinkable. Preferably, the film has an MD shrinkage of at least 5% or 10% or 15% or 25% at 143°C, or stated another way, a dimensional stability at 143°C of less than -5% or -10% or -15% or -25%. And preferably, the film has no TD shrinkage or expands (has a dimensional stability) to -2% or -1% or 0% to 2% or 4% or 8% at 143°C. The films of the invention also have other desirable properties, for instance, the films preferably have a Modulus (ASTM 882) in the MD within the range of from 100 kpsi or 120 kpsi to 250 kpsi or 300 kpsi or 350 kpsi; and a Modulus in the TD within the range of from 100 kpsi or 150 kpsi to 300 kpsi or 350 kpsi or 400 kpsi or 450 kpsi. Also, the films described herein preferably have a Gurley stiffness (ASTM D6125-97 (2007)) in the MD within the range of from 8 mg or 10 mg to 18 mg or 20 mg or 24 mg; and a Gurley stiffness in the TD within the range of from 8 mg or 10 mg to 25 mg or 30 mg or 35 mg.

    [0021] The materials that comprise each layer of the films described herein are elucidated by, but not limited to, the embodiments described below.

    [0022] Core Layer Polypropylene. The "polypropylene" that is preferably used in the core layer is a homopolymer or copolymer comprising from 60 wt% or 70 wt% or 80 wt% or 85 wt% or 90 wt% or 95 wt% or 98 wt% or 99 wt% to 100 wt% propylene-derived units (and comprising within the range of from 0 wt% or 1 wt% or 5 wt% to 10 wt% or 15 wt% or 20 wt% or 30 wt% or 40 wt% C2 and/or C4 to C10 α-olefin derived units) and can be made by any desirable process using any desirable catalyst as is known in the art, such as a Ziegler-Natta catalyst, a metallocene catalyst, or other single-site catalyst, using solution, slurry, high pressure, or gas phase processes. Polypropylene copolymers are useful polymers in certain embodiments, especially copolymers of propylene with ethylene and/or butene, and comprise propylene-derived units within the range of from 70 wt% or 80 wt% to 95 wt% or 98 wt% by weight of the polypropylene. In any case, useful polypropylenes have a melting point (ASTM D3418) of at least 125°C or 130°C or 140°C or 150°C or 160°C, or within a range of from 125°C or 130°C to 140°C or 150°C or 160°C. A "highly crystalline" polypropylene is useful in certain embodiments, and is typically isotactic and comprises 100 wt% propylene-derived units (propylene homopolymer) and has a relatively high melting point of from greater than (greater than or equal to) 140°C or 145°C or 150°C or 155°C or 160°C or 165°C.

    [0023] The term "crystalline," as used herein, characterizes those polymers which possess high degrees of inter- and intra-molecular order. Preferably, the polypropylene has a heat of fusion (Hf) greater than 60 J/g or 70 J/g or 80 J/g, as determined by DSC analysis. The heat of fusion is dependent on the composition of the polypropylene; the thermal energy for the highest order of polypropylene is estimated at 189 J/g that is, 100% crystallinity is equal to a heat of fusion of 189 J/g. A polypropylene homopolymer will have a higher heat of fusion than a copolymer or blend of homopolymer and copolymer. Also, the polypropylenes useful herein may have a glass transition temperature (ISO 11357-1, Tg) preferably between -20°C or -10°C or 0°C to 10°C or 20°C or 40°C or 50°C. Preferably, the polypropylenes have a Vicat softening temperature (ISO 306, or ASTM D 1525) of greater than 120°C or 110°C or 105°C or 100°C, or within a range of from 100°C or 105°C to 110°C or 120°C or 140°C or 150°C, or a particular range of from 110°C or 120°C to 150°C.

    [0024] Preferably, the polypropylene has a melt flow rate ("MFR", 230°C, 2.16 kg, ASTM D1238) within the range of from 0.1 g/10 min or 0.5 g/10 min or 1 g/10 min to 4 g/10 min or 6 g/10 min or 8 g/10 min or 10 g/10 min or 12 g/10 min or 16 g/10 min or 20 g/10 min. Also, the polypropylene may have a molecular weight distribution (determined by GPC) of from 1.5 or 2.0 or 2.5 to 3.0 or 3.5 or 4.0 or 5.0 or 6.0 or 8.0, in certain embodiments. Suitable grades of polypropylene that are useful in the oriented films described herein include those made by ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell, Total, Borealis, Japan Polypropylene, Mitsui, and other sources.

    [0025] Propylene-based elastomers. To improve certain properties of the polypropylene and/or core film layer, especially highly crystalline polypropylene, it is desirable to add an agent that is miscible with the polypropylene but adds some softness to the film. The inventor has found propylene-α-olefin elastomers useful. As used herein, a "propylene-α-olefin elastomer" refers to a random copolymer that is elastomeric, has moderate crystallinity and possesses propylene-derived units and one or more units derived from ethylene, higher α-olefins, and/or optionally diene-derived units. One or a mixture of different propylene-α-olefin elastomers may be present in the core compositions, preferably only one. The propylene-based elastomers are copolymers of propylene having an intermediate amount of α-olefin, such as within a range of from 5 wt% or 8 wt% or 10 wt% or 12 wt% to 18 wt% or 20 wt% or 22 wt% or 25 wt% α-olefin derived units. In a particular embodiment, where more than one comonomer is present, the amount of a particular comonomer may be less than 5 wt%, but the combined comonomer content is greater than 5 wt%. The propylene-α-olefin elastomers may be described by any number of different parameters, and those parameters may comprise a numerical range made up of any desirable upper limit with any desirable lower limit as described herein.

    [0026] Preferably, the propylene-α-olefin elastomer comprises ethylene or C4-C10 α-olefin-derived units (or "comonomer-derived units") within the range of 5 wt% or 7 wt% or 9 wt% to 13 wt% or 16 wt% or 18 wt% or 20 wt% or 25 wt%, by weight of the elastomer. The propylene-α-olefin elastomer may also comprise two different comonomer-derived units. Also, these copolymers and terpolymers may comprise diene-derived units as described below. Preferably, the propylene-α-olefin elastomer comprises propylene-derived units and comonomer units selected from ethylene, 1-hexene, and 1-octene. And, more preferably, the comonomer is ethylene and, thus, the propylene-α-olefin elastomer is a propylene-ethylene copolymer. When dienes are present, the propylene-α-olefin elastomer comprises less than 5 wt% or 3 wt%, by weight of the elastomer, of diene derived units, or within the range of from 0.1 wt% or 0.5 wt% or 1 wt% to 5 wt% in other embodiments. Suitable dienes include, for example: 1,4-hexadiene, 1,6-octadiene, 5-methyl-1,4-hexadiene, 3,7-dimethyl-1,6-octadiene, dicyclopentadiene (DCPD), ethylidiene norbornene (ENB), norbornadiene, 5-vinyl-2-norbornene (VNB), and combinations thereof.

    [0027] These propylene-α-olefin elastomers may have some isotactic polypropylene sequences but they also have some amorphous regions in the polymer chains, thus imparting desirable qualities to them and the compositions in which they are blended. Preferably, the propylene-α-olefin elastomers have a melting point of less than 110°C or 100°C or 90°C or 80°C; and within the range of from 10°C or 15°C or 20°C or 25°C to 65°C or 75°C or 80°C or 95°C or 105°C or 110°C in other embodiments. In certain embodiments, the propylene-α-olefin elastomers have no discernable melting point but are better described by their Vicat softening temperature. Whether the copolymers have a melting point or not, the propylene-α-olefin elastomers preferably have a Vicat softening temperature (ISO 306, or ASTM D 1525) of less than 120°C or 110°C or 105°C or 100°C, or within a range of from 50°C or 60°C to 110°C or 120°C, or a very particular range of from 70°C or 80°C to 100°C or 110°C. Preferably, the softening point of the polypropylene used in the core is at least 5°C or 10°C or 15°C or 20°C higher than the softening point of the propylene-α-olefin elastomers used as a core additive.

    [0028] Preferably, the propylene-α-olefin elastomers have a heat of fusion (Hf), determined according to the Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) procedure described herein, within the range of from 0.5 J/g or 1 J/g or 5 J/g to 35 J/g or 40 J/g or 50 J/g or 65 J/g or 75 J/g. In certain embodiments, the Hf value is less than 75 J/g or 60 J/g or 50 J/g or 40 J/g. Preferably, the propylene-α-olefin elastomers have a percent crystallinity within the range of from 0.5% to 40%, and from 1% to 30% in another embodiment, and from 5% to 25% in yet another embodiment, wherein "percent crystallinity" is determined according to the DSC procedure described herein. The thermal energy for the highest order of polypropylene is estimated at 189 J/g (i.e., 100% crystallinity is equal to 189 J/g).

    [0029] Preferably, the propylene-α-olefin elastomers have a melt flow rate ("MFR," ASTM D1238, 2.16 kg, 230°C), within the range of from 0.5 g/10 min or 1 g/10 min or 1.5 g/10 min or 2 g/10 min to 4 g/10 min or 6 g/10 min or 12 g/10 min or 16 g/10 min or 20 g/10 min in other embodiments.

    [0030] Preferably, the molecular weight distribution (MWD) of the propylene-α-olefin elastomers is within the range of from 1.5 or 1.8 or 2.0 to 3.0 or 3.5 or 4.0 or 5.0. Techniques for determining the molecular weight (Mn, Mz, and Mw) and molecular weight distribution (MWD) are as follows and as in Verstate et al. in 21 MACROMOLECULES 3360 (1988). Conditions described herein govern over published test conditions. Molecular weight and molecular weight distribution are measured using a Waters 150 gel permeation chromatograph equipped with a Chromatix KMX-6 on-line light scattering photometer. The system was used at 135°C with 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene as the mobile phase. Showdex™ (Showa-Denko America, Inc.) polystyrene gel columns 802, 803, 804, and 805 are used. This technique is discussed in LIQUID CHROMATOGRAPHY OF POLYMERS AND RELATED MATERIALS III 207 (J. Cazes ed., Marcel Dekker, 1981).

    [0031] The propylene-α-olefin elastomers described herein can be produced using any catalyst and/or process known for producing polypropylenes. In certain embodiments, the propylene-α-olefin elastomers can include copolymers prepared according to the procedures in WO 02/36651; U.S. Patent No. 6,992,158; and/or WO 00/01745. Preferred methods for producing the propylene-α-olefin elastomers are found in U.S. Patent Application Publication 2004/0236042 and U.S. Patent No. 6,881,800. Preferred propylene-α-olefin elastomers are available commercially under the trade names Vistamaxx™ (ExxonMobil Chemical Company, Houston, TX, USA) and Versify™ (The Dow Chemical Company, Midland, Michigan, USA), certain grades of Tafmer™ XM or Notio™ (Mitsui Company, Japan), or certain grades of Clyrell™ and/or Softel™ (LyondellBasell Polyolefins of the Netherlands).

    [0032] Skin Layer Materials. Preferably, the one or both skin layers in the films of the invention may include (or consist essentially of, or consist of) a polymer that is suitable for heat-sealing or bonding to itself when crimped between heated crimp-sealer jaws. Desirable polymers that make up the skin layers have a DSC melting point of from 120°C or 125°C or 130°C to 150°C or 160°C, a Shore D Hardness within the range of from 55 or 56 to 65 or 70, and a Flexural Modulus (ISO 178) of at least 500 MPa or 600 MPa or 650 MPa, or in another embodiment within the range of from 400 MPa or 500 MPa or 600 MPa to 800 MPa or 900 MPa or 1000 MPa or 1500 MPa or 2000 MPa. Commonly, suitable skin layer polymers include copolymers or terpolymers of ethylene, propylene, and butylene (EPB terpolymer) and may have DSC melting points of less than 140°C or 135°C, or within a range of from 100°C to 135°C or 140°C. In some preferred embodiments, the skin layers may also comprise a polymer selected from propylene homopolymer, ethylene-propylene copolymer, butylene homopolymer and copolymer, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), metallocene-catalyzed propylene homopolymer, polyethylene (low, linear low, medium or high), and combinations thereof. An example of a suitable EPB terpolymer is Japan Polypropylene Corp. propylene-based terpolymer 7510. In a particular embodiment, the skin layers consist essentially of one or more propylene-ethylene copolymers or propylene-ethylene-butylene terpolymers.

    [0033] Heat sealable blends of polymers can be utilized in the first, second, or both skin layers in the inventive films. Thus, along with the skin layer polymers identified above there can be, for example, other polymers, such as polypropylene homopolymer, for example, one that is the same as, or different from, the polypropylene of the core layer. The first skin layer may additionally or alternatively include materials selected from the group consisting of ethylene-propylene random copolymers, low-density polyethylene (LDPE), linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), medium density polyethylene (MDPE), and combinations thereof.

    [0034] Preferably, the first, second, or both skin layers comprise at least one polymer selected from the group consisting of a polyethylene (PE) polymer or copolymer, a polypropylene polymer or copolymer, an ethylene-propylene copolymer, an EPB terpolymer, a propylene-butylene (PB) copolymer, and combinations thereof. Preferably, the PE polymer is high-density polyethylene (HDPE), such as HD-6704.67 (ExxonMobil Chemical Company), M-6211 or HDPE M-6030 (Equistar Chemical Company). A suitable ethylene-propylene copolymer is Fina 8573 (Total). Preferred EPB terpolymers include Japan Polypropylene 7510 and 7794 (Japan Polypropylene Corp.). For coating and printing functions, the first skin layer may preferably comprise a copolymer that has been surface treated.

    [0035] The skin layer can also comprise (or consists essentially of) a styrenic block copolymer. Desirable polymers will have a density within the range of from 0.850 g/cc or 0.860 g/cc or 0.870 g/cc to 0.930 g/cc or 0.940 g/cc or 0.960 g/cc or 1.000 g/cc or 1.050 g/cc (ISO 1183). Preferably, the styrenic block copolymers comprise from 15 wt% or 20 wt% or 25 wt% to 35 wt% or 40 wt% or 45 wt% or 50 wt% styrenic derived units, by weight of the copolymer. Preferably, the styrenic block copolymer is a styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene terpolymer having a melt flow rate (MFR, ASTM D 1238, 230°C at 2.16 kg) of from 0.5 g/10 min or 1 g/10 min or 2 g/10 min or 3 g/10 min to 6 g/10 min or 8 g/10 min or 10 g/10 min or 12 g/10 min. Desirable styrenic block copolymers may be SEBS or SBBS Tuftec™ styrenic elastomers from Asahi Kasei Chemicals; Chevron Phillips K-Resins™; and Kraton™ D or G Elastomers.

    [0036] The styrenic block copolymer may comprise from 50 wt% or 60 wt% or 70 wt% to 90 wt% or 100 wt%, by weight of the skin layer materials, of the skin layer. The skin layer may consist essentially of, or consist of, the styrenic block copolymer, but when other materials are present, skin layer materials or core layer materials may make up a portion or all of the remainder, especially in three-layer films with no tie-layers. Preferably, the skin layer(s) is made from a blend of the styrenic block copolymer and the ethylene-based polymers described above, the latter being present in the skin layer within a range of from 5 wt% or 10 wt% or 20 wt% to 40 wt% or 50 wt%, by weight of the skin layer.

    [0037] Additives. Additives may be present in one or more layers of the multi-layer films of this disclosure. Typically, the additives are present, if at all, at a level of from 0.1 wt% or 0.5 wt% to 1 wt% or 2 wt% or 3 wt% or 5 wt%, by weight of the materials in the given layer. In some cases, such as for cavitating or opacifying agents, the amounts can be within the range of from 5 wt% to 10 wt% or 15 wt% or 20 wt% or 30 wt%, by weight of the given layer. Examples of additives include, but are not limited to, opacifying agents, pigments, colorants, cavitating agents, slip agents, antioxidants, anti-fog agents, anti-static agents, antiblock agents, fillers, moisture barrier additives, gas barrier additives, and combinations thereof. Such additives may be used in effective amounts, which vary depending upon the application and the property desired.

    [0038] Examples of suitable opacifying agents, pigments or colorants include iron oxide, carbon black, aluminum, titanium dioxide (TiO2), calcium carbonate (CaCO3), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), talc, beta nucleating agents, and combinations thereof.

    [0039] Cavitating or void-initiating additives may include any suitable organic or inorganic material that is incompatible with the polymer material(s) of the layer(s) to which it is added, at the temperature of biaxial orientation, in order to create an opaque film. Examples of suitable void-initiating particles are PBT, nylon, solid or hollow pre-formed glass spheres, metal beads or spheres, ceramic spheres, calcium carbonate, talc, chalk, or combinations thereof. The average diameter of the void-initiating particles typically may be within the range of from 0.1 µm to 2 µm or 3 µm or 5 µm or 8 µm or 10 µm. Cavitation may also be introduced by beta-cavitation, which includes creating beta-form crystals of polypropylene and converting at least some of the beta-crystals to alpha-form polypropylene crystals and creating a small void remaining after the conversion. Preferred beta-cavitated embodiments of the core layer may also comprise a beta-crystalline nucleating agent. Substantially any beta-crystalline nucleating agent ("beta nucleating agent" or "beta nucleator") may be used.

    [0040] Slip agents may include higher aliphatic acid amides, higher aliphatic acid esters, waxes, silicone oils, and metal soaps. Such slip agents may be used in amounts ranging from about 0.1 wt% to about 2 wt%, based on the total weight of the layer to which it is added. An example of a slip additive that may be useful is erucamide.

    [0041] Non-migratory slip agents, used in one or more skin layers of the multi-layer films, may include polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). The non-migratory slip agent may have a mean particle size in the range of from about 0.5 µm to about 8 µm, or about 1 µm to about 5 µm, or about 2 µm to about 4 µm, depending upon layer thickness and desired slip properties. Alternatively, the size of the particles in the non-migratory slip agent, such as PMMA, may be greater than about 20% of the thickness of the skin layer containing the slip agent, or greater than about 40% of the thickness of the skin layer, or greater than about 50% of the thickness of the skin layer. The size of the particles of such non-migratory slip agents may also be at least about 10% greater than the thickness of the skin layer, or at least about 20% greater than the thickness of the skin layer, or at least about 40% greater than the thickness of the skin layer. Generally spherical, particulate non-migratory slip agents are contemplated, including PMMA resins, such as Epostar™ (commercially available from Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd.). Other commercial sources of suitable materials are also known to exist. "Non-migratory" means that these particulates generally do not change location throughout the layers of the film in the manner of migratory slip agents. A conventional polydialkyl siloxane, such as silicone oil or gum additive having a viscosity of about 10,000 to about 2,000,000 centistokes is also contemplated.

    [0042] Suitable anti-oxidants may include phenolic anti-oxidants, such as Irganox™ 1010 (Ciba-Geigy Company). Such an anti-oxidant is generally used in amounts ranging from about 0.1 wt% to about 2 wt%, based on the total weight of the layer(s) to which it is added.

    [0043] Anti-static agents may include alkali metal sulfonates, polyether-modified polydiorganosiloxanes, polyalkylphenylsiloxanes, and tertiary amines. Such anti-static agents may be used in amounts ranging from about 0.05 wt% to about 3 wt%, based upon the total weight of the layer(s).

    [0044] Examples of suitable anti-blocking agents may include silica-based products such as Sylobloc™ 44 (Grace Davison Products), PMMA particles such as Epostar (Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd.), or polysiloxanes such as Tospearl™ (GE Bayer Silicones). Such an anti-blocking agent comprises an effective amount up to about 3000 ppm of the weight of the layer(s) to which it is added.

    [0045] Fillers may include finely divided inorganic solid materials, such as silica, fumed silica, diatomaceous earth, calcium carbonate, calcium silicate, aluminum silicate, kaolin, talc, bentonite, clay, wollastonite, and pulp.

    [0046] Suitable moisture and gas barrier additives may include effective amounts of low-molecular weight resins, hydrocarbon resins, particularly petroleum resins, styrene resins, cyclopentadiene resins, and terpene resins.

    [0047] Optionally, one or more skin layers may be compounded with a wax or coated with a wax-containing coating, for lubricity, in amounts ranging from about 2 wt% to about 15 wt% based on the total weight of the skin layer. Any conventional wax, such as, but not limited to, Carnauba™ wax (commercially available from Michelman Corporation) and Be Square™ wax (commercially available from Baker Hughes Corporation) that is useful in thermoplastic films is contemplated.

    [0048] Process of Producing. It is preferred that all layers of the multilayer film structures of the present invention be coextruded, after which the film can be biaxially oriented (primary orientation) and thereafter secondarily oriented in the direction in which shrinkability is desired. Co-extrusion can be carried out in a multilayer melt form through a flat die. Orientation steps can be effectuated by the use of rollers and/or tenter clips as is known in the art.

    [0049] Preferably, the films are first stretched in the machine direction (MD) at a stretching ratio of from 2.5 or 3 or 4 to 6 or 6.5 at a temperature of 80°C to 120°C. Next, the film is stretched in the transverse direction (TD) at a stretching ratio of from 4 or 6 to 10 or 12 at a temperature of from 100°C to 125°C. Finally, the film is stretched a second time in the MD at a stretching ratio of from 1.2 to 1.3 or 1.4 or 1.5 or 2.0 at a temperature of from 140°C to 180°C, the film cooled to below 100°C after each stretching step in certain embodiments. In a particular embodiment, the film is not cooled after the TD stretch.

    [0050] In order to minimize TD contraction which can adversely affect second direction heat stability, for example, MD heat stability, it is desirable to maintain a minimal distance between the stretching rollers used in MD orientation. Such distances can be less than 30 cm, for example, from 5 cm to 10 cm. The resulting uniaxially shrinkable film, after secondary orientation, can range in thickness from 10 µm to 64 µm (0.4 mils to 2.4 mils), preferably 20 µm to 56 µm (0.8 mils to 2.2 mils).

    [0051] The films of the present invention can also be prepared by orienting on a line which utilizes linear motors to directly propel opposed pairs of tenter clips synchronously. The film can be primarily oriented by synchronously accelerating along a diverging path, directly opposed pairs of tenter clips holding the film, thus, achieving simultaneous biaxial orientation. Secondary MD orientation on the same tenter can be effected along a parallel path subsequent to the diverging path by simultaneously accelerating the directly opposed pairs of tenter clips along some portion of the parallel path.

    [0052] The equipment used for film stretching can be a factor in how the stretching ratios are set. For a LISIM line, for example, the stretch ratio is controlled by clip roller speed. During the first MDO, the film web is moving forward at increasing speed with a set of parallel clips. In the same large oven during TDO, the film is stretched in a divergent angle at high steady speed. Then, after reaching the maximum and/or desired TDO, the film will be moving at increased speed going through the second MDO. All these MD/TD/MD processes in LISIM equipment are done in sequence in the same oven with no cooling. Each orientation zone however may have different temperature settings.

    [0053] On the other hand, film from a sequential orientation would be cooled during each orientation step. A base sheet is quenched into a solid sheet first. The solid sheet is heated to a temperature sufficient enough to be stretched in MD (MDO process). Then, the MDO sheet is cooled slightly and then reheated again in the preheat zone of TD oven. There is always a gap/space between exit of MDO and entry point of TDO. The line operator would need this space to handle the web going through each section. A scrap winder is usually stationed between MDO and TDO to wind the MDO sheet during start-up. For an LISIM line, there would be no space between MDO and TDO.

    [0054] Thus, provided herein is a method of forming a biaxially oriented polypropylene film comprising at least one core layer sandwiched between at least two skin layers, the method comprising co-extruding a core layer comprising polypropylene and within the range of from 20 wt% to 50 wt%, by weight of the materials in the core layer, of a propylene-α-olefin elastomer having within the range of from 5 wt% or 6 wt% or 8 wt% to 12 wt% or 16 wt% or 20 wt% or 25 wt% α-olefin derived units, by weight of the copolymer; and skin layers comprising a polymer having a melting point within the range of from 125°C or 130°C to 150°C or 160°C, a Shore D Hardness within the range of from 55 or 56 to 65 or 70, and a Flexural Modulus (ISO 178) of at least 500 MPa or 600 MPa or 650 MPa; forming at least a three-layer film; stretching the film twice in the MD, the first stretch being within the range of from 2.5 to 6.5 ratio at from 80°C to 120°C, and the second stretch being within the range of from 1.2 to 1.5 ratio at from 140°C to 180°C; and stretching the film once in the TD simultaneous with or after the first MD stretch and before the second MD stretch; wherein the MD dimensional stability value is less than -10% or -20% or -30% or -40% (15 sec at 135°C), and a TD dimensional stability value within the range of from -2% or 0.5% to 6% or 8% (15 sec at 135°C). The film may have other desirable properties as described herein.

    [0055] Preferably, the film is stretched in the TD after the first MD stretch but before the second MD stretch at a ratio of from 4 or 6 to 10 or 12. And in yet another embodiment, the film is simultaneously stretched the first MD and the TD at a ratio of from 4 or 6 to 10 or 12, followed by stretching again in the MD.

    [0056] The resulting uniaxially MD shrinkable film exhibits greater than 15% shrinkage, preferably greater than 18% shrinkage or even 25% or more shrinkage in the MD, after 7 minutes of exposure to a temperature above 130°C. However, at temperatures at or below about 50°C, a shrinkage in the same direction of less than 3%, preferably less than 2%, after seven days is obtained. The films described herein can exhibit ± 8% stability, preferably -2% to +4% stability or +6% or +8% stability in the direction perpendicular to that of the secondary MD orientation (i.e., TD). Stability of -2% to +4% or +6% or +8% means that the dimension of the film perpendicular to the direction of secondary orientation, after heating to a temperature above 130°C shrinks no more than, for example, 2% or expands no greater than 4% of the original dimension of the film at room temperature.

    [0057] The higher temperature range given in the preceding paragraph is typical for the application of labels to containers. The lower temperature range is typical for the storage of film rolls prior to label application. Hence, the shrinkage behavior described ensures good conformance of labels to containers but minimizes defects due to excessive shrinkage in roll form.

    [0058] As mentioned, the films preferably are biaxially oriented, but only substantially shrinkable in the MD. By "substantially" what is meant is that there is little to no expansion or shrinkage of the film in the TD upon heating as described above. The films described herein also have other favorable properties such as a desirable Modulus (MD and TD), Gurley Stiffness (MD and TD), haze, and other properties. The films are very useful in forming so-called roll-on-shrink-on labels for articles such as bottles, etc. A "label" is simply a film as described herein having printing thereon, preferably on a skin surface, more preferably a skin surface that has been chemically and/or physically treated as is known in the art.

    [0059] The following are non-limiting examples of the embodiments of the invention described herein.

    EXAMPLES



    [0060] The core component of the films used to demonstrate the invention are ExxonMobil™ 4612 polypropylene homopolymer having a melt flow rate (ASTM D1238, 230°C, 2.16 kg) of about 3 g/10 min, a 1% Secant Modulus MD of about 119 kpsi and TD of about 116 kpsi, and a melting point of about 161°C. A first propylene-α-olefin elastomer (α-PP1) is Vistamaxx™ 3980 from ExxonMobil having an MFR of 8 g/10 min, a melting point of 79°C, a Tensile Strength of about 2700 psi, and a Flexural Modulus of 15.4 kpsi. A second propylene-α-olefin elastomer (α-PP2) is Clyrell™ RC1890 from LyondellBasell, having a MFR of 2.5 g/10 min, a Vicat softening temperature (ISO 306) of 110°C, and a Tensile Modulus (ISO 527-1) of 500 MPa. As a comparative example, Finaplas™ 1471 (EOD 96-30) syndiotactic polypropylene (s-PP) from Total may be present.

    [0061] The components of the skin layer of the films used to demonstrate the invention are JPP 7510, a C2/C3/C4 terpolymer from Japan Polypropylene Corporation, MFR = 5.7 g/10 min and a melting point of 130°C, and Topas™ 8007-F04, a cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) by Topas, has a glass transition temperature of 78°C (ISO 11357-1, -2, -3). Up to about 1 wt% of Be Square™ Wax 195 may be added to the skin layers.

    [0062] The core component(s) (polypropylene and the additive in Table 1) are melted in an extruder with a screw of L/D ratio of 20/1 to provide the core layer. A second and third extruder, in association with the first extruder, is supplied with the skin layer materials as listed in Table 1 to provide the two skin layers. A melt co-extrusion is carried out while maintaining the barrel of the core polymer material extruder at a temperature sufficient to melt the polymer mixture, i.e., from 232°C to 288°C (450°F to 550°F). The polymers to be extruded as skin layers are maintained in the second extruder and third extruders at about the same temperature as the components used in fabricating the core layer. The two streams of skin layer material of the second and third extruders enable the formation of skin layers on each surface of the core layer.

    [0063] A three-layer film is coextruded with a core thickness representing about 92% of the overall extruded thickness, with the thickness of each skin layer representing about 4% of the film thickness. The resultant film sheet is subsequently stretched 4.5 times in the machine direction and 8 times in the transverse direction using a commercially available sequential biaxially orienting apparatus to provide a multi-layer film structure. The MD orientation is conducted at 127°C (260°F) and the TD orientation is conducted at a temperature of from 149°C to 160°C (300°F to 320°F). The resultant film is thereafter secondarily oriented in the MD direction by stretching on a series of five rollers heated at 110°C to 121°C (220°F to 250°F) directly after the TD orienter. Samples are collected which are secondarily oriented by MD stretching. Secondary MD stretch is measured as the percentage of increase in length of the film after secondary orientation, which is approximated by the percentage increase of roll speed.

    [0064] After the secondary MD stretch the film is annealed by moderate heating. This can be done by means of an infrared (IR) heater and/or a pair of heated rollers. In addition, annealing can be accomplished by carrying out most of the secondary MD stretch further upstream in the above-mentioned series of five rollers and raising the temperature of the last one. The annealing conditions used in this Example are set forth in Tables 1 and 2.

    [0065] In Table 1, the 1st MDO and 2nd MDO are MD stretch ratios. For dimensional stability (dim stab), the "-" means shrinkage and no sign means film growth or expansion. Percent "haze" measurements of the film are before heat shrinkage and after heat shrinkage. Low haze would be preferred especially after shrinkage.

    [0066] Some of the examples demonstrate the difficulty in making this type of MD stretch film. In the three-layered films of Table 1, ExxonMobil 4612 polypropylene is the predominant component of the core layer, with varying amounts of additives in Samples 1 through 7. When increasing the second MDX speed to 1.3 (from 1.2) for Sample 7, web breakage occurred. The line was reset for a second MDO at 1.5, but breakage still occurred. With 30% Clyrell RC1890 (α-PP2) in core in Sample 6, operability is not as good as that with 30% Vistamaxx 3980 (α-PP1) in core. Web breakage with 1.3 second MDO stretch occurs. When COC is present in one skin layer (WB), as in Sample 5, light melt disturbance was observed on the water bath side of the film, opposite the cast-roll side. There was difficulty in stretching in the second MDO with one skin layer comprising COC. With COC in both skins in Sample 5, a 5/8 (MD/TD) orientation could be achieved, but could not be stretched post TDO. Further, web breakage was observed when stretched through second MDO section when COC is used as both skin layers. Skin cracks with delamination in Sample 4.

    [0067] The term "Gurley stiffness" as used herein means the bending resistance of a flat sheet material by measuring the force required to bend a specimen under controlled conditions. The ASTM test is D6125-97.

    [0068] The term "haze" as used herein refers to the percentage of incident light that is transmitted through a film that is deflected or scattered more than 2.5 degrees from the incoming light direction. On the other hand, the term "light transmission" as used herein refers to percentage of incident light that passes through a film. The haze for a film may be measured with a spectrophotometer or haze meter using ASTM D 1003. In one or more embodiments, the haze value of the film is ≤ 35%. In other embodiments, the haze is less than or equal to 20%, or 18%, or 15%, or 12%, or 10%, or 8%, or 5%, or 3%, or 2%.
    Table 1. Sample Compositions and Testing Results
    Sample No.SkinsPP + additive core1st MDO2nd MDOyielddim stab 135°C, 15 sec% haze
         in2/lbMD %TD %beforeafter
    1 JPP-7510 10% s-PP 4.5 1.20 14868 -20.0 3.3 7.5 4.6
    2 JPP-7510 10% α-PP1 4.5 1.20 14318 -20.7 4.7 5.8 1.7
    3 JPP-7510 30% α-PP1 4.5 1.20 14809 -23.7 1.7 7.3 2.1
          5.0 1.20 14750 -24.0 1.7 6.8 1.8
          5.0 1.22 14711 -25.0 1.0 7.6 1.9
          5.0 1.26 14778 26.7 2.3 8.0 2.4
          5.0 1.30 14526 -28.0 5.0 8.3 2.3
    4 8007F04 30% α-PP1 5.0 1.30 15837 -28.3 5.3 14 23
    5 8007F04 30% α-PP2 5.0 1.2 - - - - -
      8007F04 30% α-PP2 5.0 1.0 - - - - -
    6 JPP-7510 30% α-PP2 5.0 1.2 15069 -23.3 2.3 7.3 3.4
          5.0 1.3 15417 -27.3 5 7.6 3
          5.0 1.29 15466 -27.3 3.3 8.7 2.6
    7 JPP-7510 10% α-PP2 5.0 1.2 15144 -21.3 2 5.2 2.0




    [0069] Having described various features of the biaxially oriented, uniaxially shrinkable films and methods of making them, described herein in numbered embodiments is:
    1. 1. A film comprising at least one core layer sandwiched between at least two skin layers, the layers comprising (or consisting essentially of):
      1. (i) a core layer comprising (or consisting essentially of) polypropylene and within the range of from 20 wt% to 50 wt%, by weight of the materials in the core layer, of a propylene-α-olefin elastomer having within the range of from 5 wt% or 6 wt% or 8 wt% to 12 wt% or 16 wt% or 20 wt% or 25 wt% α-olefin derived units, by weight of the copolymer; and
      2. (ii) skin layers comprising one or more polymers having a melting point within the range of from 125°C or 130°C to 150°C or 160°C, a Shore D Hardness within the range of from 55 or 56 to 65 or 70, and a Flexural Modulus (ISO 178) of at least 600 MPa or 650 MPa;
      wherein the film has a Haze value of less than 5% or 8% or 10%, and
      wherein the MD dimensional stability value is less than -10% or -20% or -30% or -40% (15 sec at 135°C), and a TD dimensional stability value within the range of from -2% or -1% or 0% to 2% or 4% or 8% (15 sec at 135°C).
    2. 2. The film of embodiment 1, wherein the polypropylene has a Vicat softening temperature (ISO 306, or ASTM D 1525) of greater than 120°C or 110°C or 105°C or 100°C; and the propylene-α-olefin elastomer has a Vicat softening temperature of less than 120°C or 110°C or 105°C or 100°C.
    3. 3. The film of embodiments 1 or 2, wherein the Vicat softening temperature of the polypropylene is at least 5°C or 10°C or 15°C or 20°C or 30°C higher than the Vicat softening temperature of the propylene-α-olefin elastomer.
    4. 4. The film of any one of the previous numbered embodiments, wherein the film has an MD shrinkage of at least 5% or 10% or 15% at 143°C.
    5. 5. The film of any one of the previous numbered embodiments, wherein the film has no TD shrinkage or expands (has a dimensional stability) from -1% or 0% to 2% or 4% or 8% at 143°C.
    6. 6. The film of any one of the previous numbered embodiments, wherein syndiotactic polypropylene is absent from the core layer.
    7. 7. The film of any one of the previous numbered embodiments, wherein ethylene-based copolymers, those copolymers having at least 60 wt% or 70 wt% or 80 wt% ethylene derived units, are absent from the core layer.
    8. 8. The film of any one of the previous numbered embodiments, wherein the skin layers consisting essentially of one or more propylene-ethylene copolymers or propylene-ethylene-butylene terpolymers.
    9. 9. The film of any one of the previous numbered embodiments, wherein the film has a Modulus in the MD within the range of from 100 kpsi or 120 kpsi to 250 kpsi or 300 kpsi or 350 kpsi; and a Modulus in the TD within the range of from 100 kpsi or 150 kpsi to 300 kpsi or 350 kpsi or 400 kpsi or 450 kpsi.
    10. 10. The film of any one of the previous numbered embodiments, wherein the film has a Gurley stiffness in the MD within the range of from 8 mg or 10 mg to 18 mg or 20 mg or 24 mg; and a Gurley stiffness in the TD within the range of from 8 mg or 10 mg to 25 mg or 30 mg or 35 mg.
    11. 11. The film of any one of the previous numbered embodiments, wherein the film is biaxially oriented and uniaxially shrinkable.
    12. 12. An article comprising the film of any one of the previous numbered embodiments wrapped circumferentially around a container.
    13. 13. A method of forming the film of any one of the previous numbered embodiments, the method comprising co-extruding the core layer between the at least two skin layers and optionally tie layers and/or other layers of material:
      1. (i) a core layer comprising polypropylene and within the range of from 20 wt% to 50 wt%, by weight of the materials in the core layer, of a propylene-α-olefin elastomer having within the range of from 5 wt% or 6 wt% or 8 wt% to 12 wt% or 16 wt% or 20 wt% or 25 wt% α-olefin derived units, by weight of the copolymer; and
      2. (ii) a first skin layer comprising a polymer having a melting point within the range of from 125°C or 130°C to 150°C or 160°C, a Shore D Hardness within the range of from 55 or 56 to 65 or 70, and a Flexural Modulus (ISO 178) of at least 500 MPa or 600 MPa or 650 MPa; and
      3. (iii) a second skin layer a polymer having a melting point within the range of from 125°C to 160°C, a Shore D Hardness within the range of from 55 to 70, and a Flexural Modulus (ISO 178) of at least 500 MPa;
      forming at least a three-layer film;
      stretching the film twice in the MD, the first stretch being within the range of from 2.5 to 6.5 ratio at from 80°C to 120°C, and the second stretch being within the range of from 1.2 to 1.5 ratio at from 140°C to 180°C; and
      stretching the film once in the TD simultaneous with or after the first MD stretch and before the second MD stretch;
      wherein the MD dimensional stability value is less than -10% or -20% or -30% or -40% (15 sec at 135°C), and a TD dimensional stability value within the range of from -2% or 0.5% to 2% or 4% or 6% or 8% (15 sec at 135°C).
    14. 14. The method of embodiment 13, wherein the film is stretched in the TD after the first MD stretch but before the second MD stretch at a ratio of from 4 or 6 to 10 or 12.
    15. 15. The method of embodiments 13 or 14, wherein the film is simultaneously stretched in the MD and the TD at a ratio of from 4 or 6 to 10 or 12, followed by stretching again in the MD.
    16. 16. A method of making an article comprising wrapping a film made in accordance with the method of any one of numbered embodiments 13-15 around a container.
    17. 17. The invention herein also includes the use of a polypropylene film as a roll-on-shrink-on label comprising at least one core layer sandwiched between at least two skin layers, the layers comprising (or consisting essentially of) a core layer comprising (or consisting essentially of) polypropylene and within the range of from 20 wt% to 50 wt%, by weight of the materials in the core layer, of a propylene-α-olefin elastomer having within the range of from 5 wt% or 6 wt% or 8 wt% to 12 wt% or 16 wt% or 20 wt% or 25 wt% α-olefin derived units, by weight of the copolymer; and skin layers comprising one or more polymers having a melting point within the range of from 125°C or 130°C to 150°C or 160°C, a Shore D Hardness within the range of from 55 or 56 to 65 or 70, and a Flexural Modulus (ISO 178) of at least 600 MPa or 650 MPa; wherein the film has a Haze value of less than 5% or 8% or 10%, and wherein the MD dimensional stability value is less than -10% or -20% or -30% or -40% (15 sec at 135°C), and a TD dimensional stability value within the range of from -2% or -1% or 0% to 2% or 4% or 8% (15 sec at 135°C).



    Claims

    1. A film comprising at least one core layer sandwiched between at least two skin layers, the layers comprising:

    (i) a core layer comprising polypropylene, and within a range of from 20 wt.% to 50 wt.%, by weight of materials in the core layer, of a propylene-α-olefin elastomer having within a range of from 5 wt.% to 25 wt.% α-olefin derived units, by weight of copolymer in the propylene-α-olefin elastomer; and

    (ii) the at least two skin layers comprising one or more polymers having a melting point within a range of from 125°C to 160°C (ASTM D3418), a Shore D Hardness within a range of from 55 to 70, and a Flexural Modulus (ISO 178) of at least 500 MPa;

    wherein the film is a shrink film and has a haze value (ASTM D 1003) of less than 10%, and
    wherein the film is biaxially oriented and secondarily oriented in a chosen direction to produce at least 15% shrinkage above 130°C in the chosen direction comprising a machine direction (MD) or a traverse direction (TD).
     
    2. The film of claim 1, wherein the polypropylene has a Vicat softening temperature (ISO 306, or ASTM D 1525) of greater than 100°C; and the propylene-α-olefin elastomer has a Vicat softening temperature of less than 120°C.
     
    3. The film of claim 1, wherein a Vicat softening temperature of the polypropylene is at least 5°C higher than a Vicat softening temperature of the propylene-α-olefin elastomer.
     
    4. The film of claim 1, wherein a machine-direction (MD) dimensional stability value is less than -10% (15 sec at 135°C), and a transverse-direction (TD) dimensional stability value is within a range of from -2% to 8% (15 sec at 135°C).
     
    5. The film of claim 1, wherein the film has no TD shrinkage or expands, as a result of having dimensional stability, from -1 % to 8% at 143°C.
     
    6. The film of claim 1, wherein syndiotactic polypropylene is absent from the core layer.
     
    7. The film of claim 1, wherein ethylene-based copolymers having at least 60 wt.% ethylene derived units are absent from the core layer.
     
    8. The film of claim 1, wherein the at least two skin layers consisting essentially of one or more propylene-ethylene copolymers or propylene-ethylene-butylene terpolymers.
     
    9. The film of claim 1, wherein the film has a modulus (ASTM 882) in the MD within a range of from 689 MPa (100 kpsi) to 2413 MPa (350 kpsi); and a modulus (ASTM 882) in the TD within a range of from 689 MPa (100 kpsi) to 3103 MPa (450 kpsi).
     
    10. The film of claim 1, wherein the film has a Gurley stiffness (ASTM D6125-97 (2007)) in the MD within a range of from 8 mg to 24 mg; and a Gurley stiffness (ASTM D6125-97 (2007)) in the TD within a range of from 8 mg to 35 mg.
     
    11. The film of claim 1, wherein the film is uniaxially shrinkable.
     
    12. An article comprising the film of claim 1 wrapped circumferentially around a container.
     
    13. The film of claim 1, wherein the film has a thickness within a range of from 20 µm to 500 µm.
     
    14. A method of forming a biaxially oriented film comprising at least one core layer sandwiched between at least two skin layers, the method comprising co-extruding:

    (i) a core layer comprising polypropylene, and within a range of from 20 wt% to 50 wt¾, by weight of materials in the core layer, of a propylene-α-olefin elastomer having within a range of from 5 wt% to 25 wt% α-olefin derived units, by weight of copolymer in the propylene-α-olefin elastomer; and

    (ii) a first skin layer comprising a polymer having a melting point within a range of from 125°C to 160°C (ASTM D3418), a Shore D Hardness within a range of from 55 to 70, and a flexural modulus (ISO 178) of at least 500 MPa; and

    (iii) a second skin layer comprising a polymer having a melting point within a range of from 125°C to 160°C (ASTM D3418), a Shore D Hardness within a range of from 55 to 70, and a flexural modulus (ISO 178) of at least 500 MPa to form at least a three-layer, shrink film;

    stretching the film twice in a machine direction (MD), a first stretch being within a range of from 2.5 to 6.5 ratio at from 80°C to 120°C, and a second stretch being within a range of from 1.2 to 1.5 ratio at from 140°C to 1 80°C; and
    stretching the film once in a transverse direction (TD) simultaneous with or after the first stretch and before the second stretch,
    wherein a MD dimensional stability value is less than -10% (15 sec at 135°C), and a TD dimensional stability value within a range of from -2% to 8% (15 sec at 135°C),
    wherein the film shrinks at least 15% in the MD above 130°C.
     
    15. The method of claim 14, wherein the film is stretched in the TD after the first stretch but before the second stretch at a ratio of from 4 to 12.
     
    16. The method of claim 14, wherein the film has an MD shrinkage of at least 18%.
     
    17. The method of claim 14, wherein the film has no TD shrinkage or expands to less than 8% at 143°C.
     
    18. The method of claim 14, wherein the film is simultaneously stretched in the MD and the TD at a ratio of from 4 to 12, followed by stretching again by performing the second stretch.
     
    19. A method of making an article comprising wrapping a film made in accordance with the method of claim 14 around a container.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Folie, umfassend wenigstens eine Kernschicht, die zwischen wenigstens zwei Hautschichten geschichtet ist, wobei die Schichten umfassen:

    (i) eine Kernschicht, umfassend Polypropylen und in einem Bereich von 20 Gew.-% bis 50 Gew.-%, bezogen auf das Gewicht der Materialien in der Kernschicht, an einem Propylen-α-olefin-Elastomer, das in einem Bereich von 5 Gew.-% bis 25 Gew.-%, bezogen auf das Gewicht des Copolymers, α-Olefin-abgeleitete Einheiten in dem Propylen-α-olefin-Elastomer, aufweist; und

    (ii) wobei die wenigstens zwei Hautschichten ein oder mehrere Polymere mit einem Schmelzpunkt in einem Bereich von 125 °C bis 160 °C (ASTM D3418), einer Shore-D-Härte in einem Bereich von 55 bis 70 und einem Biegemodul (ISO 178) von wenigstens 500 MPa umfassen;

    wobei die Folie eine Schrumpffolie ist und einen Trübungswert (ASTM D 1003) von kleiner als 10 % aufweist und
    wobei die Folie biaxial orientiert ist und in einer ausgewählten Richtung sekundär orientiert ist, um wenigstens 15 % Schrumpfung bei über 130 °C in der ausgewählten Richtung, umfassend eine Maschinenrichtung (MD) oder eine Querrichtung (TD), zu erhalten.
     
    2. Folie gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei das Polypropylen eine Vicat-Erweichungstemperatur (ISO 306 oder ASTM D 1525) von höher als 100 °C aufweist; und das Propylen-α-olefin-Elastomer eine Vicat-Erweichungstemperatur von kleiner als 120 °C aufweist.
     
    3. Folie gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei die Vicat-Erweichungstemperatur des Polypropylens um wenigstens 5 °C höher als die Vicat-Erweichungstemperatur des Propylen-α-olefin-Elastomers ist.
     
    4. Folie gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei der Wert der Dimensionsstabilität in Maschinenrichtung (MD) kleiner als -10 % (15 s bei 135 °C) ist und der Wert der Dimensionsstabilität in Querrichtung (TD) in einem Bereich von -2 % bis 8 % (15 s bei 135 °C) liegt.
     
    5. Folie gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei die Folie keine TD-Schrumpfung aufweist oder expandiert, als Folge davon, dass sie eine Dimensionsstabilität von -1 % bis 8 % bei 143 °C aufweist.
     
    6. Folie gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei in der Kernschicht kein syndiotaktisches Polypropylen vorhanden ist.
     
    7. Folie gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei in der Kernschicht keine Copolymere auf Ethylenbasis mit wenigstens 60 Gew.-% ethylenabgeleiteten Einheiten vorhanden sind.
     
    8. Folie gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei die wenigstens zwei Hautschichten im Wesentlichen aus einem oder mehreren Propylen-Ethylen-Copolymeren oder Propylen-Ethylen-Butylen-Terpolymeren bestehen.
     
    9. Folie gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei die Folie einen Modul (ASTM 882) in der MD in einem Bereich von 689 MPa (100 kpsi) bis 2413 MPa (350 kpsi); und einen Modul (ASTM 882) in der TD in einem Bereich von 689 MPa (100 kpsi) bis 3103 MPa (450 kpsi) aufweist.
     
    10. Folie gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei die Folie eine Gurley-Steifigkeit (ASTM D6125-97 (2007)) in der MD in einem Bereich von 8 mg bis 24 mg; eine Gurley-Steifigkeit (ASTM D6125-97 (2007)) in der TD in einem Bereich von 8 mg bis 35 mg aufweist.
     
    11. Folie gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei die Folie uniaxial schrumpfbar ist.
     
    12. Gegenstand, umfassend die Folie gemäß Anspruch 1, die umfangsseitig um einen Behälter gewickelt ist.
     
    13. Folie gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei die Folie eine Dicke in einem Bereich von 20 µm bis 500 µm aufweist.
     
    14. Verfahren zur Herstellung einer biaxial orientierten Folie, die wenigstens eine Kernschicht umfasst, die zwischen wenigstens zwei Hautschichten geschichtet ist, wobei das Verfahren umfasst: Coextrudieren von

    (i) einer Kernschicht, umfassend Polypropylen und in einem Bereich von 20 Gew.-% bis 50 Gew.-%, bezogen auf das Gewicht der Materialien in der Kernschicht, an einem Propylen-α-olefin-Elastomer, das in einem Bereich von 5 Gew.-% bis 25 Gew.-%, bezogen auf das Gewicht des Copolymers, α-Olefin-abgeleitete Einheiten in dem Propylen-α-olefin-Elastomer, aufweist; und

    (ii) einer ersten Hautschicht, die ein Polymer mit einem Schmelzpunkt in einem Bereich von 125 °C bis 160 °C (ASTM D3418), einer Shore-D-Härte in einem Bereich von 55 bis 70 und einem Biegemodul (ISO 178) von wenigstens 500 MPa umfasst; und

    (iii) einer zweiten Hautschicht, die ein Polymer mit einem Schmelzpunkt in einem Bereich von 125 °C bis 160 °C (ASTM D3418), einer Shore-D-Härte in einem Bereich von 55 bis 70 und einem Biegemodul (ISO 178) von wenigstens 500 MPa umfasst, um wenigstens eine dreilagige Schrumpffolie zu bilden; und

    zweimaliges Strecken der Folie in einer Maschinenrichtung (MD), wobei eine erste Streckung in einem Bereich des Verhältnisses von 2,5 bis 6,5 bei von 80 °C bis 120 °C liegt und eine zweite Streckung in einem Bereich des Verhältnisses von 1,2 bis 1,5 bei von 140 °C bis 180 °C liegt; und
    einmaliges Strecken der Folie in Querrichtung (TD) gleichzeitig mit oder nach der ersten Streckung und vor der zweiten Streckung,
    wobei der Wert der MD-Dimensionsstabilität kleiner als -10 % (15 s bei 135 °C) ist und der Wert der TD-Dimensionsstabilität in einem Bereich von -2 % bis 8 % (15 s bei 135 °C) liegt,
    wobei die Folie bei über 130 °C wenigstens 15 % in der MD schrumpft.
     
    15. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 14, wobei die Folie nach der ersten Streckung aber vor der zweiten Streckung in einem Verhältnis von 4 bis 12 in der TD gestreckt wird.
     
    16. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 14, wobei die Folie eine MD-Schrumpfung von wenigstens 18 % aufweist.
     
    17. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 14, wobei die Folie bei 143 °C keine TD-Schrumpfung aufweist oder bis weniger als 8 % expandiert.
     
    18. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 14, wobei die Folie gleichzeitig in der MD und der TD in einem Verhältnis von 4 bis 12 gestreckt wird, gefolgt von erneutem Strecken durch Durchführen der zweiten Streckung.
     
    19. Verfahren zur Herstellung eines Gegenstands, umfassend Wickeln einer Folie, hergestellt gemäß dem Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 14, um einen Behälter.
     


    Revendications

    1. Film comprenant au moins une couche centrale prise en sandwich entre au moins deux couches superficielles, les couches comprenant :

    (i) une couche centrale comprenant du polypropylène, et dans une plage allant de 20 % en poids à 50 % en poids, en poids des matériaux dans la couche centrale, d'un élastomère de propylène-α-oléfine possédant dans une plage allant de 5 % en poids à 25 % en poids de motifs issus d'une α-oléfine, en poids de copolymère dans l'élastomère de propylène-α-oléfine ; et

    (ii) les au moins deux couches superficielles comprenant un ou plusieurs polymères possédant un point de fusion dans une plage allant de 125 °C à 160 °C (norme ASTM D3418), une dureté Shore D dans une plage allant de 55 à 70, et un module en flexion (norme ISO 178) d'au moins 500 MPa ;

    le film étant un film rétractable et possédant une valeur de trouble (norme ASTM D 1003) inférieure à 10 %, et
    le film étant orienté de manière biaxiale et orienté de manière secondaire dans une direction choisie pour produire au moins 15 % de rétrécissement au-dessus de 130 °C dans la direction choisie comprenant un sens machine (MD) ou un sens transversal (TD).
     
    2. Film selon la revendication 1, le polypropylène possédant une température de ramollissement Vicat (norme ISO 306, ou norme ASTM D 1525) supérieure à 100 °C ; et l'élastomère de propylène-α-oléfine possédant une température de ramollissement Vicat inférieure à 120 °C.
     
    3. Film selon la revendication 1, une température de ramollissement Vicat du propylène étant au moins 5 °C supérieure à une température de ramollissement Vicat de l'élastomère de propylène-α-oléfine.
     
    4. Film selon la revendication 1, une valeur de stabilité dimensionnelle sens machine (MD) étant inférieure à -10 % (15 sec à 135 °C), et une valeur de stabilité dimensionnelle sens transversal (TD) étant dans une plage allant de -2 % à 8 % (15 sec à 135 °C).
     
    5. Film selon la revendication 1, le film ne possédant pas de rétrécissement sens transversal ou s'expansant, du fait qu'il possède une stabilité dimensionnelle, de - 1 % à 8 % à 143 °C.
     
    6. Film selon la revendication 1, du polypropylène syndiotactique étant absent de la couche centrale.
     
    7. Film selon la revendication 1, des copolymères à base d'éthylène possédant au moins 60 % en poids de motifs issus de l'éthylène étant absents de la couche centrale.
     
    8. Film selon la revendication 1, les au moins deux couches superficielles étant essentiellement constituées d'un ou plusieurs copolymères de propylène-éthylène ou terpolymères de propylène-éthylène-butylène.
     
    9. Film selon la revendication 1, le film possédant un module (norme ASTM 882) dans le sens machine dans une plage allant de 689 MPa (100 kpsi) à 2413 MPa (350 kpsi) ; et un module (norme ASTM 882) dans le sens transversal dans une plage allant de 689 MPa (100 kpsi) à 3103 MPa (450 kpsi).
     
    10. Film selon la revendication 1, le film possédant une rigidité de Gurley (norme ASTM D6125-97 (2007)) dans le sens machine dans une plage allant de 8 mg à 24 mg ; et une rigidité de Gurley (norme ASTM D6125-97 (2007)) dans le sens transversal dans une plage allant de 8 mg à 35 mg.
     
    11. Film selon la revendication 1, le film étant rétrécissable de manière uniaxiale.
     
    12. Article comprenant le film selon la revendication 1 enroulé de manière circonférentielle autour d'un récipient.
     
    13. Film selon la revendication 1, le film possédant une épaisseur dans une plage allant de 20 µm à 500 µm.
     
    14. Procédé de formation d'un film orienté de manière biaxiale comprenant au moins une couche centrale prise en sandwich entre au moins deux couches superficielles, le procédé comprenant une coextrusion de :

    (i) une couche centrale comprenant du polypropylène, et dans une plage allant de 20 % en poids à 50 % en poids, en poids des matériaux dans la couche centrale, d'un élastomère de propylène-α-oléfine possédant dans une plage allant de 5 % en poids à 25 % en poids de motifs issus d'une α-oléfine, en poids du copolymère dans l'élastomère de propylène-α-oléfine ; et

    (ii) une première couche superficielle comprenant un polymère possédant un point de fusion dans une plage allant de 125 °C à 160 °C (norme ASTM D3418), une dureté Shore D dans une plage allant de 55 à 70, et un module en flexion (norme ISO 178) d'au moins 500 MPa ; et

    (iii) une deuxième couche superficielle comprenant un polymère possédant un point de fusion dans une plage allant de 125 °C à 160 °C (norme ASTM D3418), une dureté Shore D dans une plage allant de 55 à 70, et un module en flexion (norme ISO 178) d'au moins 500 MPa pour former au moins un film rétractable à trois couches ;

    un étirement du film deux fois dans le sens machine (MD), un premier étirement étant dans une plage allant d'un rapport de 2,5 à 6,5 à une température de 80 °C à 120 °C, et un deuxième étirement étant dans une plage allant d'un rapport de 1,2 à 1,5 à une température de 140 °C à 180 °C ; et
    un étirement du film une fois dans le sens transversal (TD) simultanément avec ou après le premier étirement et avant le deuxième étirement ;
    une valeur de stabilité dimensionnelle sens machine étant inférieure à -10 % (15 sec à 135 °C), et une valeur de stabilité dimensionnelle sens transversal dans une plage allant de -2 % à 8 % (15 sec à 135 °C),
    le film rétrécissant d'au moins 15 % dans le sens machine au-dessus de 130 °C.
     
    15. Procédé selon la revendication 14, le film étant étiré dans le sens transversal après le premier étirement mais avant le deuxième étirement à un rapport allant de 4 à 12.
     
    16. Procédé selon la revendication 14, le film possédant un rétrécissement sens machine d'au moins 18 %.
     
    17. Procédé selon la revendication 14, le film ne possédant pas de rétrécissement dans le sens transversal ou s'expansant de moins de 8 % à 143 °C.
     
    18. Procédé selon la revendication 14, le film étant simultanément étiré dans le sens machine et dans le sens transversal à un rapport allant de 4 à 12, suivi à nouveau par un étirement en réalisant le deuxième étirement.
     
    19. Procédé de fabrication d'un article comprenant le fait d'entourer un film fabriqué conformément au procédé selon la revendication 14 autour d'un récipient.
     




    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description




    Non-patent literature cited in the description