What is MDO-PE film? Your Ultimate Guide

MDO-PE film is becoming more and more popular today, for it requires less material which saves resources and it improve the PE film properties. This is the best recyclable material in flexible packaging, especially when it needs high barrier function to better protect the product.

The 100% recyclable mono-material PE pouches film structure as below: 

PCR PE Pouches (Post-Consumer Recycled PE content)


MDO-PE / High Barrier MDO-PE / PE

Today, we will give you ultimate guide on what is MDO-PE.

 It’s an in-depth article that takes 30 minutes to read. 

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Ultimate guide on what is MDO-PE

1) What is MDO?

MDO is the abbreviation of Machine Direction Orientation. This is a film making technology.

In MDO process, the film is extruded then stretched several times in machine direction, which gives it a shrink index. This shrink value determines the maximum final retraction and sets during the plastic material cooling process.

MDO (Machine Direction Orientation) is a post extrusion process used to enhance film properties such as resistance, optics or even rigidity.

2) What is MDO-PE

MDO-PE means the PE is made by MDO technology.

MDO-PE films are the type films that are extruded by heating the PE resin at a temperature slightly below the melting point and then the PE is stretched several times in a machine direction. After that the PE film’s new properties are locked during the annealing stage; and finally cool down. Now MDO-PE film is finished production & ready for use.

MDO technology used to manufacture MDO-PE films requires less material which saves resources and it improve the film properties.

There are standard MDO-PE film and High Barrier MDO-PE Film.

High Barrier MDO-PE film

3) The manufacturing process of MDO-PE

  1. The first step in the MDO-PE production process is extrusion. This needs preheating, where the PE is fed into the stretching unit and evenly warmed to the desired temperature, which is slightly below the melting point.
  2. Then is followed by machine direction orientation, where the film is stretched between a series of rollers that are revolving at different speeds. The MDO PE film will be stretched several times which gives it a shrink index. This shrink value determines the maximum final retraction and sets during the cooling process.
  3. Next, it is the annealing stage; the film’s new properties are locked in and made permanent.
  4. Finally it is cooling process; the MDOPE film is brought back to near room temperature.
MDO-PE film barrier 2

4) Outstanding characteristics of MDO-PE film

The main purpose of machine direction orientation process to produce MDO-PE film is to enhance PE resistance, optics, and rigidity. This production technology will make PE film more powerful, long lasting, and compliance with widely range of usages and applications.

Below are a few outstanding characteristics of MDO-PE film

High Rigidity: The MDOPE film will have higher rigidity than basic PE film

High Resilience: The MDO PE film offers higher resilience. It can withstand maximum weight and temperatures without broke.

Excellent Printability: MDO PE film has excellent printability. The printing is easy and high quality.

Excellent Optical Properties: MDO-PE film has higher transparency, glossiness, and other optical properties.

Excellent Bag converting performance: MDO-PE film performs better in bag converting performance, it is easier to cut.

MDO-PE film barrier 3
High Transparent
MDO-PE film barrier 4
Excellent Printability

5) Benefits of MDO-PE film

Reduces thickness: MDO-PE film can reach the maximum performance with minimum thickness. So it will use less material to achieve the same or even better quality.

Reduces PE material usage: When you have thinner PE film in production, you will sure reduce PE material usage

Reduces shipping cost: Less PE material means less shipping cost.

High pressure resistance: The MDO-PE film have higher resistance so it can withstand higher pressure. This is helpful in bag making and shipping with filled products

Excellent printability: The material with excellent printability will absolutely help the printing process and make the printing easier and beautiful.

Minimal deformation: The MDO-PE film with higher rigidity so it will perform better in bag formation.

Shock and tear resistance: Higher resistance and rigidity will sure make the film shock and tear resistant

Outstanding optical properties: The film is gloss and transparent.

MDO-PE film barrier 2

6) Applications of MDO-PE film

Food & Beverages

Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

Cosmetic & Personal care



recyclable high barrier side gusset coffee bag
recyclable high barrier stand up pouches,pet food packaging

7) What Drives the Demand for MDO-PE Films?

The high performance of MDO-PE films increases the shelf-life of a product which gains popularity among the end-use industries and drives the demand for MDO-PE films. MDO-PE film has excellent quality such as thermal resistance, excellent water vapor barriers, chemical resistance, and others which fuels the demand for MDO-PE films among end-use industries.

Furthermore, MDO-PE films reduces the carbon footprint which lead towards sustainability concern which is majorly concerned by the end-users nowadays.

MDO-PE films enhances the barrier, mechanical, and the optical properties which becomes ideal for the food packaging and this augment the sales of it among the food & beverage industries. Overall, the improved film performance and its strength & stiffness bolster the demand for MDO-PE films.

And more importantly, sustainability. MDO-PE will make it possible for 100% PE material of packaging no matter it is daily usage or high barrier applications. It can be used as single layer, or laminated to PE.


8) Sustainability

MDO-PE can maximize the PE film performance with minimum thickness. This means it will only need less material consumption. This will sure protect our raw materials.

When there is less material in usage, there will be less transportable, and this will also help us to protect our environment.

But the most important thing for MDO-PE film in sustainability is recycling. It makes recyclable possible for almost all packaging.

The while trash is the global problem, and many countries set goals that they will make sure all the flexible packaging is reusable, recyclable or biodegradable in 2025 or 2030. Biodegradable technology will need more times especially for high barrier packaging. While reusable is impossible for the packaging products selling in the stores. So recyclable packaging is the best choice for them to reach the target on time.

We can easily solve the problem if it is single PE layer packaging, this is all recyclable.

We can also easily solve the problem if packed product is light such as chips, below film structures are good: (total thickness about 60 micron)




We can also easily solve the problem if only need thicker material while no requirements on barrier function, below film structures are good: (total thickness 120 micron)

BOPP/100 micron PE

But the problem is thicker packaging with high barrier functions. Before we were using VMPET or foil for the barrier function. But these 2 materials are not recyclable. So we will have to make sure it is thick enough to packed the products, while the barrier are good to protect the products. This packaging is widely needed for laminated packaging, mostly food packaging. And now we have solution: (total 120 micron)

Higher barrier MDO-PE/ 100 micron PE

All the materials are PE, we can call it 100% fully recyclable mono-material laminated PE pouch, so it is fully recyclable. It is thicker to pack the product, and it is high barrier to protect the product. 

This will be the a solution for the new version thresholds of soft plastics recycyclability. And it is the solution for CE FLEX.

Sustainability 7

9) Limitations of MDO-PE film

The factor that limits the market growth for MDO-PE films is the cost factor. The high cost of machines used for manufacturing MDO-PE films hinder the market growth for the MDO-PE films. Also, up to some extent the use of plastic material for manufacturing MDO-PE films create market challenge for the MDO-PE films manufacturers.


MDO-PE film is a big progress in packaging, it not only result in the decreased use of raw materials and improved film performances, but also make the high barrier flexible laminated packaging recyclable. With further development of MDO technology, we can expect a better future for MDO-PE film.

This article is written by Longdapac, ( www.longdapac.com), leading recyclable high barrier pouches manufacturer from China. 

Longdapac is the first manufacturer in China to have MDO-PE film and High Barrier MDO-PE film. And it is a leading company in 100% recyclable high barrier mono-material PE Pouches. 

Please contact Longdapac for a free quote on your recyclable flexible packaging needs. We have quick response, efficient communication, quality products, on time delivery, and competitive price.


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