Rigid vs. Flexible Window Packaging

Rigid vs. Flexible Window Packaging

Cosmetic Packaging

Window patching is the term applied to creating the many types of packaging boxes we see every day with a transparent window, allowing consumers to see the products inside. Window packaging is used for a wide variety of products, from snacks, bakery, and other food items to toys, cosmetics, and high-end luxury goods. Window patching is the perfect way to increase product visibility, and brand awareness and showcase high-quality products or craftsmanship.

There are basically two types of windows to consider for window patching: rigid and flexible.

Window Patching with Flexible Window Film

Window Patching with flexible window film made of polyester is affordable and eco-friendly as it can be recycled. Flexible windowing is ideal for odd-shaped packages with curves and is a cost-effective solution for many product packaging needs. This type of flexible cellophane windowing is typically used for food products and is approved by the FDA, regulated under the Code of Federal Regulations, CFR 21, Ch.1, Part 177.

Flexible windowing provides many benefits, although some products are better suited with rigid window packaging.

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Window Patching with Rigid Window Film

Rigid window patching films are typically made of a type of plastic resin that provides a more luxurious look to packaged products. Rigid window film is commonly used for packaging pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and other high-end or luxury products. Rigid windowing provides added protection with greater strength over flexible films and may be a better choice for larger or wide windows. Rigid windows allow for crystal clear viewing of the products inside.

Considerations When Choosing Rigid or Flexible Window Patching

When deciding which type of window patching film is right for your products, there are some things to consider that will simplify the choice and lead you in the right direction.

Size of Window

One of the first things to consider is the window size, as larger windows are more prone to tearing, showing scratches, or breaking. In this case, the window should be of a strong film, so rigid usually works best for larger windows. A thinner, more flexible film may be ideal for smaller windows although some small products typically have a rigid window, like cosmetics, and some larger boxes, like bakery items, often feature flexible films. 

Strength Required 

Some products require packaging that provides a high level of sturdiness and protection. Packaging luxury items, pharmaceutical products, and some cosmetics require greater stiffness in windows to properly showcase the items inside. Packaging high-end products with rigid windows and high gloss lamination packaging can better catch the consumer’s eye and increase sales. 

Exposure to Elements

When designing packaging and window patching options, it is important to consider the elements the packages will be exposed to and how they could affect the products inside. Elements such as excessive heat, cold temperatures, or moisture will require a stable window film. Some bakery goods are packaged before they are completely cooled off, which can create steam and moisture in a box which is then quickly flash-frozen to protect product integrity. The packaging and window film type chosen must meet the demands of these processes to avoid disaster.

The Window Patching Process

Adding flexible or rigid windows to packaging is performed with specially designed window patching equipment like Tamarack’s Vista® Window Patcher.  This in-line window patching equipment efficiently patches flexible and rigid windows, affixes susceptor patches and liners with excellent patch registration accuracy. The Vista® Window Patcher allows for efficient and accurate window patching at high speeds for short-run or high-volume folding carton jobs.

Tamarack® Products has been providing specialty in-line and off-line finishing and converting equipment for more than 50 years. Established in 1969, Tamarack® offers vast expertise and solutions to the packaging, forms and label industries. Contact us to learn more about improving your window patching process with high-speed, accurate, and custom window patching solutions.


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