How to Use Shrink Wrap

What’s the Point of Shrink Wrap? 

Shrink wrap, also commonly known as shrink film or shrink wrap film, is a variety of plastic sheeting that is thin and see through. It is an affordable, tamper-evident method for protecting products while showing them off to potential customers. Additionally, shrink wrap can be used to securely bundle a large group of items together and minimizes your packaging costs.  

The Shrink Wrapping Process 

Most often, there are two steps in shrink wrapping a product, which is generally referred to as shrink packaging. First, you must wrap and seal the item. Second, you need to apply heat in order to make the film tighten around it, which is where it gets the name shrink wrap.  

Step 1: Wrapping and Sealing 

This step can be done manually, but many companies have invested in shrink wrapping machines to expedite their packaging process. The most popular machine for wrapping and sealing is an “L” bar sealer, which is named for the backwards L-shaped sealing bar. It is available in a wide range of sizes with multiple options for trimming and sealing the shrink film. When it’s done performing its work, the “L” bar sealer will produce a fully sealed bag around each individual item that is ready to be heated and shrunk.  

Step 2: Applying Heat 

Heat can be applied to shrink wrap in a variety of ways, but the most common is through a chamber that circulates hot air. The product is placed onto a conveyor belt where it will travel through a heat tunnel. As it passes through the tunnel, intense heat shrinks the film around the product in just a few quick seconds. Because the time process is so short, the heat will only affect the plastic wrap and won’t harm the product. Another popular method for applying heat is through a handheld heat gun. These guns are easy to operate, can be transported anywhere in your warehouse, work great for smaller operations, and often have variable heat settings. 

How to Rightsize Your Shrink Wrap 

Determining the correct size for your shrink wrap is a process called package sizing. Package sizing shrink wrap takes more time than many other rightsizing processes because you must account for the fact that you need extra wrap that can be heated and shrunk around your goods. You’ll need to keep a few different factors in mind, including the actual product dimensions, the package orientation, and the method or machine you use to wrap the item. Without this info, you may end up with a poorly wrapped product that won’t be protected.  

Here are the dimensions you’ll absolutely need to know when package sizing. Take each measurement while considering how the package is oriented or positioned when it is placed inside the shrink film.  

  1. Product Width – this should be measured in the transverse direction, or parallel to the cut-off direction 
  2. Product Length – this should the measurement of the item in the machine’s direction, or parallel to film’s fold 
  3. Product Height – this is the actual height of the product. Should the item have an uneven surface, measure from the bottom to the highest point 
  4. Product Orientation – Use the longest dimension as the product width 

The Advantages of Package Sizing Shrink Wrap 

  1. Less Material Waste 
  2. Increased Packaging Efficiency and Speed 
  3. Increased Shrink Wrap Yield Per Roll 

Looking for More? 

One specific application that many find themselves in need of is boat shrink wrap. Let us help you learn how to correctly apply shrink wrap to your boat for both storage and transportation. Simply enter your information in the form below and we’ll send you an email with the full instructions!