Common Uses for 3-Layer Blown Film Machines in the Plastic Industry

2023-05-02 | Technical Blog | By Janine Cheng |

3-layer or multilayer plastic films are highly demanded in the packaging industry due to their superior tear and heat resistance, as well as excellent moisture and oxygen barrier properties.

3 layer films are known for their high tear resistance

For producing 3-layer plastic films, ABA and ABC co-extrusion machines are the options to go, with the processed materials including HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE, recycled, and biodegradable materials. However, although both of them produce 3-layer films, their structures and purposes vary, including the extruder numbers, die head design, and the final product applications.

How do ABA and ABC Blown Film Extruders Work?

  • ABA Co-extrusion Machine

    • - 2 extruders
    • - 3 flow channels in the die head

    ABA co extrusion machines are equiped with two extruders
    ( The melted material from extruder A and B splits into 3 flow channels )

The term ABA refers to a film structure that can use two types of materials/ colors/ properties. A-A layer is the outer and inner layers composed of the same material, while the B layer represents the middle layer.

One of the benefits of ABA extrusion machines is to reduce manufacturing costs. The specially designed screws and the structure of the die head allow producers to apply a higher percentage of sustainable materials in the middle layer, including recycled material, biodegradable material, and CaCO3. By doing so, virgin resins can be reserved for the outer layers.

  • ABC Co-extrusion Machine

    • - 3 extruders
    • - 3 flow channels in the die head

    ABC co extrusion machines consists of 3 extruders
    ( 3 different material properties flow through the specially designed die, forming 3-colored film )

ABC extrusion machines, on the other hand, consists of 3 extruders. Each extruder can be used to process a different materials/ colors/ properties, allowing for customization of the layers based on the specific product requirements.

One of the advantages of the ABC extrusion machine is its flexibility in producing 3-colored plastic films. By changing the die head, the extruder can produce a multicolored film with up to three different colors. This feature provides producers with more options to create unique and visually appealing products.

Differences Between ABA and ABC Film Applications

ABA films are widely used for producing a variety of bags, including T-shirt bags, garbage bags, and supermarket bags. These films are preferred for packaging applications that require higher strength and durability.

ABA blown film machines are commonly for producing plastic bags which requires higher strength
( ABA co-extrusion film applications: T-shirt bags, shopping bags, flat bags )

On the other hand, 3-layered ABC films are for even more demanding applications which require superior strength, durability, and barrier properties such as greenhouse films, agricultural mulches, construction films, and medical packaging. The production of 3-colored films can be T-shirt bags and shopping bags which are more visually appealing.

ABC films are applied as agricultural films
ABC films are applied as greenhouse films
ABC blown film machines can produce 3 color films by changing the die head
( ABC co-extrusion film applications: agricultural mulches, greenhouse film, 3-colored T-shirt bag )


The specially designed screws allow both machines to process HDPE, LDPE as well as LLDPE and well mix them with recycled and biodegradable materials.

With lower virgin materials used, the ABA co-extrusion machine reduces manufacturing cost and make the final products more eco-friendly. It is also more cost-effective to produce 3-layer films with only two extruders compared to ABC.

ABC co-extrusion machines can produce films suitable for a wide range of applications, from everyday packaging to specialized industries that require high-performance materials, offering more flexibility and customization options for producing unique products.

Comparison between two types of co-extrusion machines
Machine model ABA Co-extrusion Machine ABC Co-extrusion Machine
Extruder number 2 3
Film layer 3 3 (1 layer for 3 colored films)
Film thickness 0.01mm~0.1mm 0.1mm~0.2mm
HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE, recycled material, biodegradable materials, CaCO3, masterbatches, and additives
  • T-shirt bags
  • Shopping bags
  • Garbage bags
  • Others
  • T-shirt bags
  • Greenhouse films
  • Agricultural films
  • Medical packaging
  • Others
  • Cost-effective
  • Sustainable
  • Strong outer layers
  • Flexible
  • Multicolored films
  • High-performance films

If you need more details or further discussion on your 3-layer plastic film products, please contact us.

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About the Author
Janine Cheng

POLYSTAR Marketing Assistant

Janine creates engaging content for POLYSTAR’s social media presence, including keeping social media channels updated and brand-focused and seeking ways of connecting with plastic producers and recyclers.

You can find Janine on LinkedIn.