Shrink Packaging

About Shrink Packaging

A walkthrough in Shrink Packaging
Understanding the basics


In a supermarket, there are a lot of products packaged in plastic. Most of them are simply in a plastic bag, some are in a hard plastic container. Almost all of them are packaged in a kind of plastic or plastic-like materials. But there is this one particular kind of plastic packaging that seems to be applied to almost all of them. A plastic wrapped tightly on the product’s packaging and it fits it exactly as if a tailor made it. So, what exactly is it? 



PVC and Polyolefin


PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride; it is also the third most produced plastic in the world. It was also the most commonly used type of shrink film until it was replaced by polyolefin shrink films due to its many drawbacks. Storage problems arise when PVC hardens in cold conditions and softens under hot temperatures with greatly compromises its strength and durability. 

Today, the most common shrink film is Polyolefin due to its strength and flexibility. It is widely used for packaging both edible and non-edible products. It is the preferred choice for packaging food because it produces lesser odour compared to PVC and it has flexible storage options. Back then, it is costly to implement and use polyolefin films for shrink packaging due to its high prices and shrink machines incompatibility. Now, cheaper but higher quality polyolefin films are available in the market. Modern shrink packaging machines are designed to accommodate polyolefin films as a standard which makes it very cost effect.


Shrink Wrapping

The packaging process is more commonly known as Shrink Wrapping. The process uses a Polyolefin or PVC plastic films which can stand the heat and more importantly, shrink. Heat can be applied using heat guns or by a shrink tunnel or ovens. But sometimes, a heat gun is not enough to do the job, but a shrink tunnel can be a bit too big for a small factory. Semi-automatic and automatic shrink machines solve this problem. Semi-automatic shrink machines come in various sizes for products with various dimensions. Automatic shrink machines can be integrated with production lines for easier packaging solutions. Shrink wraps are commonly used as overwraps on various types of packaging. Most notable examples of these are on boxes, beverage cans, printed materials and CD/DVD/Blu-ray boxes. With the right equipment, one can shrink package virtually any product.

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We have also, STEP Skinpack Packaging Machines that are available in two (2) models. Both are suitable for packing products of small to medium sizes.


STEP SKINPACK machine makes a skin pack, where you have a sheet of cardboard. Then you place the products and the machine sucks the air inside  film around the product while laminating the said film.



Protection with Shrinking

Shrink packaging films comes in a wide variety of properties such as thickness, opacity, strengths and shrink ratio. Different properties serve different purposes, for example, light or heat sensitive products uses darker films to protect it from sunlight.  A thicker film is used for heavier products and a thinner, weaker film is used for security purposes. 

The film also keeps the products together, making it easier to transport. It also gives the product a welcoming appearance and a sense of security. The shrink package prevents a product from accidental opening as well as indicates tampering.


Final Thoughts

The importance of shrink wrapping a product is undoubtedly immense. These things are hardly noticed by the everyday consumer. They are simple and affordable; it protects our products’ integrity from the harsh elements as well as malicious intents. 


The Author of the Article:

Gunnar Salbæk

CEO/Industrial Design with 30 years of experience in the field.