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Summer 2010 | Learning About Labels – Chrome Paper vs Chrome BOPP


What is the Difference Between Chrome Paper & Chrome BOPP?

We are sometimes asked why we keep chrome BOPP in stock here at Lightning Labels, yet do not choose to print labels on chrome paper. The reason is that chrome BOPP is more versatile and holds up better in most applications.

Allow me to explain.

Chrome paper and chrome BOPP share some similar characteristics. They both have a glossy metallic finish similar to that of aluminum foil, but are much lighter in weight. Chrome paper and chrome BOPP are most commonly produced in the colors silver and gold. What makes chrome BOPP a better choice for most applications than chrome paper is its durability. Unlaminated chrome BOPP, which is uncommon, is more durable than chrome paper to start with. Chrome BOPP is usually laminated, whereas chrome paper is not laminated.

The lamination step enhances the durability of the end product, and makes it resistant to water and oils. It also gives it a glossier finish than chrome paper, almost like a mirror.

The enhanced durability of laminated chrome BOPP makes it an excellent choice for a wide range of applications, including all types of product labels. Chrome BOPP is widely used in food packaging container applications (think chip bags) and in specialty applications related to electronics and insulation. Other names for chrome BOPP include metallized paper and metallized film.

Curious about how chrome BOPP and chrome paper are made? Chrome paper, also known as metallized paper, is produced by melting and vaporizing metal in a vacuum while passing a paper substrate around a chilled roller and over the point of vaporization. The vaporized molecules then collect on the cool paper, leaving it coated with a layer of metal that is about 1 micron thick. Aluminum is most commonly used in this process, followed by copper alloys.

Chrome BOPP is made using the same metallization technique as chrome paper, except that a bi-axially orientated polypropylene (BOPP) is used as the base substrate instead paper. Chrome BOPP is also usually laminated.

Source: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Labels and Label Technology by Michael Fairley.

(Christy Correll)

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