The sheet protector: How it’s made

Man in uniform and ear protectors operating printing machine

Google’s Patent register lists sheet protectors as “perforated or punched sheets with edge reinforcing.” Some of the Brits call them punched pockets, plastic wallets or poly pockets. People from Sussex, England call them slippery fish.

North Americans call them sheet protectors or plastic sleeves and the longer form version of a sheet protector in the US is a perforated document bag.

There are a lot of names for a rather unassuming item of stationery, wouldn’t you say? Let’s learn more about the sheet protector and how it’s made.

PVC plastic pellets

A summarised production of the PVC for PVC sheet protectors

Sheet protectors are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) through a scientific process that combines a complicated mix of chemicals such as vinyl chloride polymer, ethylene and chlorine. A series of scientific methods ensue, including chlorination, oxychlorination, cracking (increasing heat), quenching (decreasing heat), cooling, purification, polymerisation, stripping, centrifuging, drying and sieving. This process results in PVC resin, a powder-type substance packaged in cement-like bags.

Next, the resin is mixed with processing acids, lubricants, colours and fillers and is heated to produce a product called polyethylene in large tubes. These tubes then cool and run along a series of rollers to push the plastic sheets together to make them easier to work with.

The PVC plastic is then rolled into large, double-layered rolls, ready to be transported.

Plastic film winding through stainless idler roll

Converting PVC to sheet protectors

The roll of PVC plastic arrives at the factory in varying sizes and thicknesses. Based on the customer requirements, our printing experts convert the brief into customised sheet protectors. These can vary in size and are manufactured from clear PVC in heavy-duty (125 microns) or extra heavy-duty (200 microns).

Here at Acme Preston, we offer punched and unpunched options and additional custom preferences like flaps, gussets and extra pouches. Our team then programs our high-tech machines to process the custom branded product.

Flat plastic pockets for shop's stands set paper iso

Things to know about sheet protectors

As we mentioned, sheet protectors have been protecting important documents, reports and recipes in binders for decades.

Sheet protectors are available in A3, A4 and A5 and can also be customised based on your requirements. The weight of the sheet protector will depend on its usage. Documents used more frequently will require a heavier duty weight, whereas less used documents will need a lighter weight sheet protector.

Sheet protectors also come in varying loading styles – top load, side load or quick load where the corner peels back. Documents can be loaded from either the top or side of the PVC sheet protector. Sheet protectors come in varying finishes, too, based on their use and weight.

Some common uses for sheet protectors include display files, especially for school, financial documents or sports accolade files, photo album inserts, collector album inserts, coin album inserts and collector card pockets.

Ever stopped to think about your sheet protector needs? Need them custom branded? Then contact us to discuss how we can help you.

Read more custom branded product articles.

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