Factors to Consider in Choosing the Best Shrink Wrapping System

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Best Shrink Wrapping System

Deciding on what shrink wrap equipment to use is essential to the end result of the overall packaging operation. There is a wide range of shrink wrap systems available which are tailored for varying items and budget. In trying to find the perfect shrink wrap machine that will match your packaging requirements, here are points to keep in mind:

step-l-4535 shrink packaging machine

1. Material
Films to be used should be considered when shopping for a shrink wrapper system to ensure no issues shall arise therefrom that will most likely result to waste. It is necessary to identify what type of items would be wrapped, for the different components of the film will affect the level of protection given to a specific item. Obviously, more fragile objects need a heavy-duty film. (Film types are discussed below)

2. Speed
Depending on your quota, speed is also one factor that needs to be considered. Fully-automated machines render results the fastest per a given amount of time while manual shrink wrappers take more time in producing results. If time is one factor that you cannot compromise, then you might want to think about the smartest option that will best suit your company’s needs.

3. System
Not all shrink wrap systems are suited for integrated packaging operations and add on systems like conveyors. Before introducing upgrades on your machines, make sure the added equipment is compatible with the system by which your machine works on.

4. Size
As shrink wrap machines and applicators come in different sizes, choose a size that will best fit your goods.

5. Workspace Limitations
Shrink wrap machines especially those capable of accommodating bigger items will most probably demand for more space, and so it is important to secure a sufficient area to accommodate the machines’ dimension.

step-s-4525 shrink packaging machine

Types of Films used in Shrink Wrapping

STEP Polyolefine Shrink Film

Polyolefin Shrink Film
• Polyolefin Shrink wrap is preferred for several reasons, including: less odors emission when sealed, stronger hold, and more flexible storage.
• These films do not have Chlorine therefore they do not produce Hydrogen Chloride gas.
• Polyolefin shrink wrap does not have any plasticizers, so temperature is not an issue.
• Polyolefin can be stored in a wide range of temperatures and does not harden nor soften in varying weather conditions. 

Polyolefin shrink film is used for almost every kind of items. To name a few: toys, sporting goods, printed wrap, food, stationary and cards.

Cost and machine compatibility are the two major drawbacks of Polyolefin shrink film. Polyolefin is commonly more expensive than the PVC shrink wrap that is why many packagers prefer the latter. There are types of Polyolefin Shrink Wraps that are compatible to only certain types of machines, making this an issue of packagers.

Cross-Linked Polyolefin Shrink Film

Cross-Linked Polyolefin Shrink Film

• Cross-linked shrink film is sterile and FDA approved for direct food contact.
• Offers excellent clarity to display packaged products.
• Cross-linked shrink film also leaves less residue on sealers, promoting longer sealing blade or wire life.
• Cross-linked shrink film is made for use of high-speed machines and high output operations.

Cross-linked shrink film is used with the same products as a standard polyolefin shrink film. Cross-linked film is often used in high output operations. It can also be used for heavier products which a standard polyolefin shrink film cannot properly accommodate.

Cross-linked shrink film requires a higher seal and temperature. Higher temperatures can damage and deform products sensitive to heat. Higher seal and shrink temperatures also require higher energy costs.

PVC Shrink Film

PVC Shrink Film

• PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride.
• Polyvinyl Chloride is the third most produced plastic in the world.
• PVC shrink wrap was the most commonly used shrink film, until replaced several years ago by polyolefin (POF) shrink wrap. 
• PVC Shrink Films are not often used in Europe and in the USA due to its adverse effect in the environment

PVC shrink wrap uses include: packaging boxes, CD and DVD packaging, software, small canisters, and other non-edible items. 

Sealing Strength, storage issues, and sealing by-products are common drawbacks of PVC Shrink Wrap. The plasticizer in PVC Shrink wrap hardens in cold conditions and softens under hot conditions making it inflexible. It also releases small quantities of Hydrogen Chloride into the air and Carbon deposits into the sealer making it harmful to the environment. Proper ventilation is required when sealing PVC shrink wrap