Shrink Wrap Packaging: Advantages and Common Problems Faced During Packaging

Shrink wrap is a material made up of polymer plastic that can wrap around the product irrespective of its size or shape. Shrink wrap packaging is an affordable and easy process and is one of the most commonly used packaging methods in various industries. The wrap shrinks onto the product surface on heating forming a tight, waterproof, durable, and tamper-proof seal. The heat source can be through a conveyor heat tunnel or an electric or gas heat gun. With shrink wrap being designed to be easily recyclable, it can be termed as an eco-friendly packaging material, making it a popular choice for environment-conscious companies.

Shrink Wrap Packaging

The most common types of plastics in the manufacture of shrink wrap packaging are polyolefin, PVC, polyethylene, and polypropylene. It is used to package various products like food, beverages, books, boxes, machinery, marine boats, buildings, etc.  Various examples of shrink wrap are centerfold shrink wrap, shrink tubing, shrink bags, or even marine shrink wrap rolls, and many more.

Shrink wrap applications are varied and aplenty. A few of the widely used shrink wrap applications are mentioned below:

  • Used as a primary packaging solution in the manufacturing industry
  • Protects large machinery when not in use
  • Shrink wrapping of palletized freight and securing boxes
  • Scaffold wrap containment of buildings
  • Marine shrink wrapping of boats and other vehicles
  • Used to prevent exposure of hazardous chemicals or materials from quarantined buildings

Advantages of shrink wrap packaging

● Protection

Shrink wrapping can effectively seal and protect cargo from dirt, moisture, and other damages. It is quite durable; making it hard to tear or puncture and can maintain its shape for a longer duration of time when exposed to extreme weather conditions. There are shrink wraps available that have fire retardant, anti-rust, antimicrobial, and ultraviolet inhibitor additives to ensure resistance to fire, long exposure to the sun, weather, and microbes.

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● Versatile

With the availability of shrink wrap in a variety of thicknesses, clarities, strengths, shrink- ratios, and many more, it has become one of the most cost-friendly packaging materials used by manufacturers. Due to its unique attributes, it is an ideal packaging material for outdoor and indoor storage, or for cargo that needs a protected from rain, dust, and debris during transport or storage. It is versatile enough to wrap a variety of cargo which can range from normal shaped to odd and huge dimension cargo. Shrink wrap packaging is an ideal choice for businesses working with a variety of products as it provides a protective covering irrespective of the cargo being wrapped.

●  Prevents tampering

Shrink wrap holds its shape well, so any tampering is obvious upon inspection of the cargo. Product tampering is a major problem for many industries. Tamper evident shrink wrap, a form of shrink wrap changes colour when the material is cut or stretched. It ensures that products are delivered with the level of diligence required and provides additional security to prevent tampering with cargo.

●  Affordability

The cost of packaging and the process involved is an important factor when choosing packaging materials for your products. Shrink wrap materials are economical when compared to other packaging materials in the market. Due to its ability to conform to the shape of the product, it eliminates the usage of additional packaging material, thus saving time and money when packaging the product. The packaging material is compact, thus saving storage space.  It also offers easy end-product disposal.

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● Labelling

Shrink wraps are often used for labelling because they can easily take the shape of the product they are wrapping. Shrink sleeves are a specific type of product label that is heat-wrapped around an entire product like a bottle or can.

● Marketing Tool

Shrink wrap material can be designed with colours, words, pictures, and logos that will help promote products and the brand image of the company.  It is an ideal platform to increase brand awareness, and make the brand more visible to customers. Shrink wrap packaging helps to design your packaging to be unique and eye-catching to customers.

Common Shrink Wrapping Problems

Although shrink wrapping is quite a popular choice of packaging material, it does create some problems if not used properly. These problems are easily solved by adjusting the settings of the machine like temperature, conveyor speed, air velocity of the tunnel, or as basic as the usage of the correct type of shrink wrap.

Some of the common shrink wrap problems you might experience are mentioned below.

● Dog Ears

One of the most common problems faced during the process of shrink packaging. They are triangular protrusions of the wrap on the corners of a package and as their name suggests, they resemble a dog’s ear. This excess shrink wrap is a sign that there was insufficient shrinkage of the wrap. The presence of dog ears in the packaging makes it difficult for consumers to open the packages as they are sharp to touch. It can be rectified by applying extra heat or using high-quality wraps.

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● Fish Eyes

Fish eyes are round or oval patterns that arise in the plastic due to insufficient shrinking. They are normally caused due to a lack of heat and bad air velocity in the heating element of the shrink wrap machine.  Proper maintenance of the heating element would solve this problem. In addition, slowing down the speed and allowing the heat to apply fully during shrink wrap packaging would minimise the occurrence of fish eyes.

● Ballooning

Shrink wrap ballooning happens due to the presence of excess air trapped inside the shrink wrap after it has been sealed. The air inside of the bag expands and causes the shrink wrap to balloon. This can be solved by using wrap with vent holes, also known as a pre-perforated wrap which allows air to escape as the wrap is shrunk around the product.  The other solution to avoid ballooning is to prevent exposing sealed packages to excess air.

Shrink wrap packaging is an easy process and ensures complete protection for your product. With a variety of shrink wrap materials available in the market, it is easy to create attractive product packaging for your product.

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