How packages with die cut handles (D cut packages) are made

       What associations do you have when you see branded soft packaging? If you are looking at a rustling D cut package with a logo from a branded boutique, you probably think with a smile about a pleasant purchase. Saw a bag with a bakery advertisement? You will smell the heady aroma of fresh croissants and brewed coffee in the air.

       The fact is that packages with die cut handles are a pleasant part of our life. They can pick your mood up and give emotions. And all thanks to the fact that package manufacturers have mastered the art of packaging and help manufacturers solve marketing problems. Let's open the veil of secrecy, take a virtual tour and find out how packages are produced in Ukraine.


Let's take a closer look

       Each type of packaging has its own purpose. T-shirt is an irreplaceable container for carrying cargo and the best assistant in a supermarket, loop is a capacious and presentable package for courier delivery. Packages with a die cut handle with a logo is a universal advertising medium, an effective branded shopper, a convenient and spacious container for carrying any things.

       A polyethylene bag with die cut handles has a rectangular (less often square) shape, made of a single piece of canvas, in which an oval handle is cut. It is precisely because of the shape of the handle in professional slang that it is called “banana”, the slot reminds everyone of the well-known sweet tropical fruit.

       Recently, transparent oxo-biodegradable packages with die cut handles (D cut packages) with a logo print or starch-based packages have been popular in Ukraine.

You can order such packages by clicking the link.


Article how to make bags with a cut handle


The improved D cut package has:
  • bottom fold, due to which its capacity increases;
  • reinforced handle for increased carrying capacity.

This soft packaging does not stretch, retains its shape, can be used many times.


What raw materials are used to manufacture packages with die cut handles

What are D cut package made of? Customer can choose any type of polyethylene. There are four options:

  1. HDPE – low pressure polyethylene. A very tear-resistant material that increases loading capacity of the container. Remember the rustling branded package with die cut handle with a logo in which the brand boutique shop assistant put the freshly bought perfume? That was HDPE.

  2. LDPE – high pressure polyethylene. Elastic and pleasant to the touch material with a beautiful glossy sheen. The print on it looks brighter and more juicy.

  3. MDPE – medium pressure polyethylene. It successfully combines the advantages of LDPE and HDPE. Products from it are durable, with good carrying capacity, the print looks impressive.

  4. Biodegradable. Contains oxo-biodegradable additives that accelerate polyethylene degradation hundreds fold. After 2-3 years, as a result of oxidative processes, water, carbon dioxide and substances suitable for composting remain from such a product. It is also possible to produce transparent D cut packages from corn or potato starch.


How packages with die cut handle are made

       Polyethylene packaging is produced in a factory equipped with modern equipment. This is a full cycle production enterprise. Here they develop layouts and designs, select composition of raw materials for each batch of products, experiment with the color of polyethylene and printing. All stages of technological process pass in the factory workshops: at the initial stage, raw materials enter the line, at the final stage, the finished product comes out.


Stages of production of packages with die cut handles:


Extruder workshop

      Here, a thermoplastic polymer film is produced from raw materials. To do this, granular polyethylene (PE), which is obtained by polymerizing ethylene, is used.

There are two types of polyethylene:

  • LDPE – obtained from ethylene in an autoclave or reactor at high pressure (hence its name) in the presence of polymerization catalysts.
  • HDPE – synthesized from ethylene at low pressure. As a rule, a mixture of ethylene with saturated hydrocarbons is used for production, which is then evaporated.


Extruder for production of tubular films

Extruder for the production of tubular films MPAK


       For the production of thermoplastic films, polyethylene granules together with additives (pigments, etc.) are loaded into the extruder. There the components are melted at a high temperature. Then the resulting viscous-flowing mixture is formed by pressing it through the hole – the extruder head. Then a sleeve is blown out of it with air under pressure. The temperature and air flow rate are adjustable, because the characteristics of the finished product depend on these parameters.

       Further, blanks are cooled and reeled into rolls. If the film is intended for flexo-printing, the sleeve is corona treated to improve adhesion to the ink.


Arrangement of the extruder for the production of tubular films

 Extruder for the production of tubular LDPE films


Arrangement of the extruder:

  1. Automatic loader;
  2. Bunker for polyethylene and additives;
  3. Extruder;
  4. Extruder head;
  5. Cooling ring;
  6. Stabilizer;
  7. Basket;
  8. Folding jaws;
  9. Receiver;
  10. Guide rollers;
  11. Film corona treatment device;
  12. Reeler;
  13. Control panel;
  14. Tower;
  15. Finished reel.


Flexo-printing workshop

       The flexo-printing workshop is equipped with flexographic machines. What is flexography? It is a letterpress direct printing method.

Professional terms and definitions:

  • direct printing – ink is applied from a photopolymer cliché to polyethylene in direct contact, that is, when the flexo-form comes into contact with the surface of the future product without the use of intermediate matrices and stencils;

  • letterpress printing – the pigment is applied to the surface from the elastic flexo-mold with protruding printing elements located above nonprinting area.

Flexo-printing uses these two technologies together, and the image is applied with fast drying inks of low viscosity.


There are several types of flexo-printing machines:

Decked-type flexographic machine – sections with inks in them are located vertically one above the other.

The decked-type flexographic machine is arranged as follows:

  1. unit for unreeling bobbins with clean film;
  2. decked system for building printing units;
  3. printing sections;
  4. drying system (UV, IR or combined);
  5. reeling unit for bobbins with colored film.

MPAK deck flexographic machine


Sectional flexographic machine – ink transfer tanks are located horizontally – one after another.

Arrangement of the machine:

  1. unit for unreeling clean bobbins;
  2. four printing units.

Sectional Flexographic Machine


Planetary flexo-printing machine – ink tanks are located around one central cylindrical shaft.

The planetary flexo-printing machine is arranged as follows:

  1. unit for unreeling clean bobbins;
  2. planetary system for building printing sections;
  3. printing sections;
  4. reeling unit for colored bobbins.


Planetary flexo machine


Package-making workshop

       At the final stage of production, package-making machines are installed. Here the sleeve or half-sleeve is sealed with a hot soldering knife, and then cut with a guillotine-type knife. The automatic package-making machines are equipped with a stepping servo drive unit for sleeve feeding, sensors for temperature control, a static charge neutralization device, and a production counter.

       Also here, in D cut packages, a film is welded in the upper part for reinforcement, an oval handle is die cut and the bottom fold is made.

Cut Handle Bag Making Machine

Polymer recycling workshop

       Plastic waste is a sore subject of our time. Lightweight and durable plastic packages made our life much more comfortable, we can buy food in safe sealed packaging, they extended shelf life of semi-finished products and finished products. However, when we began to use a lot of plastic, it turned out it threatens the environment.

       When looking for ways to address the problem, many options were found. For example, it was suggested to switch to paper bags. However, their production turned out to cause much more damage to the environment. Reusable shopping bags are not an option either. They are not hygienic, even if you try to wash and clean them after every trip to store. The third option is transparent, biodegradable bags with die cut handles. They degrade really quickly in nature. But this method is not ideal either, since hydraulically degradable plastics emit methane during degradation, and oxo-degradable plastics cannot be buried in ordinary landfills – they need contact with air.

       The best solution to the problem is to recycle T-shirt and D cut packages. They can be used to make cheap technical bags, outdoor furniture, trash cans or country benches. Recycling polyethylene is not expensive. All it takes is a polymer shredder and a pellet extruder.

Fun facts about D cut packages: why consumers and marketers love them so much

  1. D cut package printing makes them the most effective advertising medium with maximum audience reach. It has been experimentally proven that people on the streets pay much more attention to small bags in the hands of passers-by than to huge billboards and ascenders.
  2. Attractive packaging and a recognizable brand logo are more convincing and important to consumers than the product itself. This was proved by the exhibition of the Israeli photographer “Wheat is Wheat is Wheat” (Wheat-Wheat-Wheat). He presented there a series of photographs of products in branded packaging for Apple, Versace, Nike, Tiffany&Co, Prada. It turned out that consumers are ready to pay by ten folds more for ordinary sausage wrapped in Louis Vuitton!
  3. Bag manufacturers spend huge sums annually to develop soft packaging for each product category. For example, they check if the bag opens comfortably. This is done by specially trained people – a responsible employee or even a whole department.
  4. When ordering bag designs, luxury brands always use discreet colors and apply one logo only. Colorful packaging with an abundance of inscriptions is hair about the heels.
  5. Marketing analysts found that more than half of shoppers are willing to re-purchase if they like the package.

Research has proved that a conventional die cut handle package can increase business profitability several times.


Do you pay enough attention to the packaging of your goods?