Previously we wrote posts on this subject and offered some videos about getting started shrink wrapping. Even though we commonly work with large companies, we also enjoy working with start-up companies in trial stages and individual people wanting to shrink wrap a few items for storage protection. At U.S. Packaging & Wrapping LLC. we want to grow with our customers, so we welcome smaller start-ups and want to assist them with getting started on the right foot.
Almost everyone has heard of shrink wrap, but the process is not generally common knowledge. We have several products we offer that are referred to shrink wrap all the time. Most all of our stretch film products are called shrink wrap by our customers. In fact, we almost have as many people call for stretch film when they ask for shrink wrap as we do people who are actually looking for heat shrink wrap.
We will go down the steps for how to shrink wrap your products. Even though we will detail the steps to get started you may still have some questions. Feel free to call us and we will try our best to assist you.
1. Determine The Shrink Wrap You Need- There are three main questions you should ask to determine the type of shrink wrap you need. The questions all start with the products you are wrapping.
Question 1= How much does your product weigh? This will help determine the film type you need and the thickness you need. Polyolefin shrink film has a stronger seal and can be better for heavier products. We currently offer up to a 100 gauge polyolefin shrink wrap online. This shrink wrap should be strong enough to package products weighing up 35 and possibly even 40 pounds depending on edges of the product being wrapped and other factors. A 75 gauge is the most common film thickness and we recommend it for anything from 5 or 7 pounds up to 30 or 35 pounds. Our light 60 gauge shrink film is great for small light objects weighing up to 5 or 7 pounds.
PVC shrink film is a cost-effective film for multiple product weights. Currently, we only offer 75 gauge PVC shrink wrap online because of its versatility. It should be good for products weighing up to 30 pounds. Don’t be surprised by how thin the film is before heat is applied. Once heat is applied it becomes much stronger.
Question 2= What is the size of the object being wrapped? Length, height, and width are important measurements, but circumference of the object at its widest point can also be important. The measurement is important to help determine if a centerfold shrink wrap, a shrink tubing, or a shrink bag would be a better option for you.
Shrink bags are great and cost-effective for smaller products. The larger shrink bags can become more expensive than a centerfold shrink film of the same size. Shrink tubing is a great option for a variety of products that have similar circumferences.
Question 3= Are all objects being wrapped the same dimensions or do they vary in size? If all of the objects being wrapped are the same size, it is easier to determine the type of shrink wrap you need. Probably a shrink bag or a centerfold shrink film would be an ideal option.
If the products being wrapped slightly vary in dimensions, all three options may work. If the products being wrapped largely vary in dimensions, you may be able to choose a centerfold shrink film to fit the largest object being wrapped. By having a centerfold film to fit the largest object, it can also fit the smaller products being wrapped. Be aware that if the products dimensions are largely different there will be a lot of waste when packaging the smaller objects. The best option would be to figure the cost of buying two different sized centerfold rolls versus the amount of waste when buying only one larger roll.
We almost always recommend shrink tubing if you are wrapping objects of the same circumference, but different lengths. We also recommend shrink tubing when people need the shrink wrap to be used as a protective sleeve, but not seal the ends. People often use shrink tubing for wrapping products like candles and jars.
2. Find the Right Equipment-Once the type of shrink wrap type is determined, the type of equipment needed should be the next consideration. Below are a few questions to ask to help determine the right equipment.
Question 1= What type of shrink wrap did you choose? The sealer we recommend largely depends on the type of shrink wrap you choose. For shrink bags and shrink tubing we would recommend an I-Bar sealer, for centerfold shrink wrap we recommend an L-Bar Sealer.
Question 2= How much quantity will you be going through? If this is a one time deal for protecting products for storage, you can probably get away with no sealer or shrink gun and use a hair dryer. We don’t recommend this, but if price is a concern and overall aesthetics is not you could probably do it.
If you are a start-up and want to see if shrink wrap is the right option for wrapping your products for retail, we would recommend an impulse sealer and a heat gun. Be aware that if you have chosen to use a centerfold shrink film, a impulse sealer will not be very efficient. It will give you an idea of how your fully packaged product will look with a proper seal though. The cost of an impulse sealer and shrink gun are very affordable to get things up and going.
If you already know you want to package your products with shrink film and will be doing a decent amount of output, you may need to consider a semi-automatic or fully automatic machine. We do not offer them online because of how much they cost and the amount of variables there are for determining the right machine. Please call so we can help you with the right option. Another possible option is a shrink tunnel for applying the heat. Shrink tunnels are far more efficient for applying heat than heat guns.
3.Package the Product-Now the hard stuff is out of the way, it is easy to package the product.
1. Place the product into the crease of the centerfold film, the shrink bag, or shrink tubing.
2. Seal the open ends of the centerfold, bag, or tubing. Some people do not choose to seal all open ends, that is individual preference. Depending on the sealing machine you choose, some trim excess film and seal all at once and others you will have to manually trim excess film.
3. Apply heat. Whether using a heat gun or tunnel, adjust heat properly and apply to the centerfold, shrink bag, or shrink tubing to shrink the film and allow it to conform to the product.
Of course there are several variables to shrink wrapping products and this article does not highlight a lot of the minor adjustments and tweaks needed when shrink wrapping. The higher output your operation becomes, the more technical questions and tweaks become.
This article is only a brief overview of how to shrink wrap, intended to inform people who are not familiar with the basics of the shrink wrap process.