A semi-automatic shrink wrap machine is an excellent mid-level machine for companies doing several thousands of products per day. We often recommend newer, growing companies to start with manual impulse sealers or I bar sealers. These smaller less productive machines only cost a few hundred dollars and can accommodate a few hundred products of production per day.
As the business and production grow we recommend stepping the machine up to a semi-automatic shrink wrap machine. A semi-auto machine offers several benefits over I bar sealers and impulse sealers. Let’s look at the advantages of a semi-auto machine over manual machines as well as cost and production levels.
L-Bar Sealer – Semi-automatic shrink wrap machines come with an L bar sealer which is designed to be more efficient than I bar sealers. The L bar sealer seals and cuts all open sides in one motion. An impulse sealer or I bar sealer requires users to rotate the product after the first seal to make the final seal.
Magnetic Hold Down – Some impulse sealer and I bar sealer manufacturers offer a magnetic hold down option, but they are not standard on most manual sealers. A semi-automatic shrink wrap machine comes with a magnetic hold down. The magnetic hold down holds the sealing bar down to complete the seal. This allows a worker to begin preparing the next product to be sealed. In the video below, at the 16-second mark, the worker releases the sealing bar and the magnetic hold keeps the bar held down.
Discharge Conveyor – The discharge conveyor is an excellent time-saving feature on the semi-automatic shrink wrap machines. The discharge conveyor is a conveyor found between the L bar sealer. The conveyor transports products from the sealer to the shrink tunnel after the magnetic hold releases. At the 17 second mark in the video below, the discharge conveyor is activated.
Shrink Tunnel – A shrink tunnel is by far the most time efficient advantage to a semi-auto machine over a manual machine. Most companies advancing from a manual shrink wrap machine are often using one or multiple heat guns to apply heat to the film. This step can drive people crazy and takes the longest amount of time in the entire shrink wrapping process. A shrink tunnel uses a conveyor to transport products through a heated area. Once the film is heated and shrunk, finished products exit the shrink tunnel.
Micro Knife Band Ribbon – Most all I bar sealers and impulse sealers have wire sealing elements. Wire sealers often burn out faster and require replacement more often than band ribbons. A band ribbon is a thicker metal piece used to seal film.
220V Option – All impulse sealers and I bar sealers run on 110V power. Semi-automatic machines have a 110V power, but also have the 220V power option available. Running a semi-automatic shrink wrap machine on a 220 V power supply is recommended when possible. The 220V allows the machine motors to run cooler while using less electricity during production.
Cost Difference – The cost difference from a manual shrink wrap machine to a semi-automatic shrink wrap machine is often several thousands of dollars. Depending on size, most manual shrink wrap machines are less than $600. Semi-automatic shrink wrap machines start at $6,300 to $9,000.
Production Difference – As seen above, the cost of a semi-automatic machine is ten times the cost of a manual shrink wrap machine. Production levels are fairly consistent with the cost increase as well. A single user with a manual I bar system and heat gun can wrap 1-3 products per minute. We recommend any company wrapping over 300-450 products per day to consider increasing machine production capabilities. A semi-automatic machine with one user is capable of packaging 8-14 products per minute. We recommend a semi-auto machine for anyone wrapping up to 5,000 to 6,000 products per day.
For more information on semi-automatic shrink wrap machines, call us at 1-800-441-5090. We also offer a wide variety of manual and semi-auto shrink wrap machines online. Click here to view all of our shrink wrap machines.