We sell our products to companies and individuals. Many of our shrink wrap customers are small start-up businesses and individuals working from home. We often get calls from individuals who are not familiar with the shrink wrapping process. People who want to effectively and affordably packaging their products for sales, storage, or display. Often times individuals wanting to shrink wrap at home are on a tight budget. This post is for those individuals or small startup companies.
We are going to look at some options we offer for people on a budget. We will also point out some great how-to articles, videos, and tutorials to get started shrink wrapping. The best place to get started when beginning to purchase shrink wrap equipment and materials is to examine and define your goals.
Will this only be a small operation with little chance of growth?
This will help determine what type of machine and film you should consider. If there is a real chance of growth, it may be beneficial to purchase a machine to accommodate the growth in production.
Will we be wrapping products of different sizes?
This will help determine the size of the sealing bar needed as well as the film size needed. If using shrink tubing or bags, knowing what you are wrapping is very important.
How many products do we estimate doing per day?
This question is related to the first question about growth. An accurate estimate of the number of products being wrapped will help determine the type of machine needed.
See what is a shrink wrap machine for further information about shrink wrap machines.
What are the dimensions (LxWxH) of the products we will be wrapping?
Proper product dimension measurements ensure you will be getting the proper size of shrink film, bag, or tubing.
How much do we want to spend on materials and equipment?
This is the determining factor for the whole process. Even if you are wanting the cheapest option possible, to obtain a professional look it will cost at $120-$150.
Last year we posted a more in-depth article about questions to ask when shrink wrapping your products. We are going to move along and discuss some low and medium output options for people wanting to shrink wrap at home. Below are a couple of scenarios with recommended options.
Low Output – “Cheapest Possible”
This is very common for people working at home. They may have a handful of products they need to shrink wrap and then never use the equipment again. We also have home-based businesses that only wrap a handful of products per day or week. Affordability trumps efficiency when output levels are this low.
Unless you are shrink wrapping gift bags, long cylindrical objects, or have no interest in aesthetics we recommend using a hand sealer. A hand impulse sealer is used to seal open ends of the shrink film. Depending on the width needed, they vary in price from $44-$190.
After determining the type of sealer, considering the type of film is very important. The variety of product sizes being wrapped, product dimensions, and desired efficiency levels should help determine the type of shrink film.
Shrink Bags- A great option for wrapping products of the same size or close in size. They work great with the hand impulse sealers because only one side of the bag requires sealing. Most of our shrink bags come in cases of 500 bags. Prices range from $14-$70 per case of 500.
Shrink Tubing- An excellent option for cylindrical or long objects. The shrink tubing requires two sides to be sealed. We also recommend a hand sealer with a cutter blade for tubing. The hand sealers with cutting blades are made for sealing shrink tubing and polyethylene tubing.
Centerfold Shrink Film- A great option for low output operations wrapping multiple sizes of products. Centerfold can allow users on a budget to buy one size of film and wrap all of their products. The downside for low output operations using a centerfold shrink film is the lack of efficiency when sealing a centerfold film with a hand sealer. The first product will require three seals and products after that will require two seals. See this video to view the process of sealing centerfold shrink wrap with a hand sealer.
After determining the sealer and the type of film needed, a heating source will be needed to shrink the film. For low output operations on a budget, a heat gun is the best option. Heat guns start at $54.
One great option we offer for our low output customers is our shrink wrap systems. These are all-in-one systems using a hand sealer with a variety of film options. They are more affordable than buying each product mentioned above individually.
Medium Output- “We Plan on Growing”
In this scenario, considering a sealer and heating element that will accommodate growth is important. If the plan is to wrap hundreds of products per day, a sealer that will accommodate this level of output is worth considering. The proper sealer can make wrapping more efficient.
The type of film you decide to go with should help determine the sealer in a medium output operation. If using bags or tubing a hand impulse sealer may offer enough efficiency to effectively seal at medium output levels. From 150-400 or more products per day.
If using a centerfold film we would recommend stepping up to an I-Bar shrink wrap system. The I-Bar sealer still only has one sealing arm, but it does offer a film roller, separator, and work table. Much more efficient than hand sealers when working with a centerfold shrink wrap. Our I-Bar shrink wrap systems come with everything needed to begin shrink wrapping and start at $236. They can accommodate low to medium output.
The most efficient sealer to use with centerfold shrink wrap is an L-Bar sealer. The L-Bar sealer has two sealing sides that seal all open ends of the centerfold film. A great option for medium to high output operations. Most fully automatic machines are L-Bar shrink machines. They do cost more and the semi-automatic machines begin at $631.
The other main consideration should be the heating element. This is what shrinks the film after it has been sealed. Most medium output operations use one or two heat guns, but the other option would be a heat tunnel. Heat tunnels are highly efficient compared to heat guns, but they also cost substantially more. Our base shrink tunnel starts at $2000. Most people doing low to medium output do not desire to spend that much on a heat tunnel.
Hopefully, this has been helpful to determine the type of film and equipment to consider when shrink wrapping at home. If you have any questions call us at 1-800-441-5090 or visit us at www.uspackagingandwrapping.com.