As income levels across the globe trend ever upward consumer demand for products increases and many of these products are reliant on Polyester Chips for their manufacture. These chips are also known as PET chips or ‘Polyethylene Terephthalate’ chips. They are used in the manufacture of a vast assortment of plastic containers and also for the manufacture of polymers.
Polyester chips are available in three main types. There are the Film grade chips, Textile grade, and Bottle grade. The chips can be classified as Bright or Super Bright Chips (and the opaque semi-dull chips). The Bright or Super Bright Chips – are transparent and used for products such as water and soft drink bottles. These bottles are cheap to make and are also extremely durable. They also do not rely on high temperatures for processing and can be finished in a variety of shapes.
These bottle-grade chips of manufactured in a variety of different classes. At the lower end, they are used in the manufacture of water bottles and in some cases for bottles containing mineral water.
Next is quality is the PET chips used in the manufacture of carbonated soft drinks, edible oils and some pet products such as sheets. They are also used in the manufacture of bottles for alcohol and medicines – the advantage of these chips is that the end result is very attractive and highly finished. There is a third grade which is used for the manufacture of much larger carbonated drinks bottles and also for the production of water bottles used in dispensing. These are typically found in commercial offices.
There is also a semi-crystalline form known as PET Semi-Dull Chips. The highest grade of these polyester chips are used in the manufacture of PET films which are used for products such as laminates, embossing, printing and holograms (among other uses).
The textile industry is a major user of these chips. They are combined with other artificial materials such as nylon – and can also be combined with natural products such as wool, as well as cotton and hemp where they add to the durability of the textile material.
The advantage of fiber made from Polyester textile grade resin is that it boasts high levels of breathability and boasts exceptional water-wicking properties. This makes the fabric ideal for products such as wet weather and outdoor hobby use. The material is also used for blankets, sheets, upholstery, and rope. It is most often produced in its raw form as a byproduct of the petroleum refining process and today the majority of the polyester is produced in China.
However, it is worth noting that apparel made from polyester can be priced for significantly less than is the case using natural fibers. However, the comfort of the clothing can be adversely affected. It is for this reason that it is most often blended with cotton.
Polyester has thousands of uses – and has remained an incredibly popular material due to its versatility. However, aside from some notable exceptions, polyester is not biodegradable. This led to enormous amounts of polyester waste and pollution. In fact, some consumers are now avoiding products like single-use bottles due to the fact that they are not environmentally friendly. Alternatives like glass, laminated cartons, and steel/aluminum bottles, many of which can be recycled.
That said, polyester remains one of the most useful materials and is today found as an additive in almost all modern, mass-produced clothing. The sheer versatility of humble polyester chips has ensured that the packaging and textile industry will continue to make use of the material. Cheap to produce and to market – and easily designed in a variety of shoes it can be found in most industries – and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.