You might be excused if you don’t dedicate your time to contemplating the intricacies of shrink-wrap. However, this seemingly ordinary material holds numerous tales. Notably, many individuals may not be aware that shrink-wrap is a classification of products rather than a standalone item. It comprises various types crafted from diverse materials, serving to package and safeguard a wide range of products. The average person probably encounters it daily, often without recognition.
How is Shrink-Wrap Made?
The composition varies depending on the specific type of shrink-wrap under discussion. The fundamental characteristic of shrink-wrap is its ability to shrink, strengthen, and conform to the shape of the enclosed product when heat is applied. However, beyond this commonality, there are subtle distinctions in the materials employed for various types of shrink-wrap. For instance, centrefold shrink-wrap is commonly crafted from PVC and Polyolefin. In contrast, shrink tubing is typically composed of PVC or Polyethylene. Industrial shrink-wrap, designed for wrapping large items and characterized by its thickness, is made from Polypropylene.
What is Shrink-Wrap Used for?
Many individuals are well-acquainted with the glossy PVC shrink films commonly employed for packaging bottles. However, shrink-wrap finds application in a diverse array of products. For instance, were you aware that the safety seal found on medicines and toiletries like toothpaste is a variation of shrink-wrap known as shrink banding? Or consider the Polypropylene shrink films utilized to safeguard grocery items such as lettuce and broccoli. Additionally, think about the shrink sleeves adorning bottles of condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise. Then, there are the industrial shrink-wraps, employed to cover and shield boats in the harsh winter months, or the shrink tape utilized for connecting and insulating electrical wires. Let’s delve into a closer examination of three specific applications of shrink-wrap.
1. Shrink Sleeves
Take a stroll through your local supermarket, and you’re likely to encounter shrink sleeves not too far away. They’re particularly prevalent in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. Typically crafted from Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol-modified (PETG), these sleeves often feature a lower maximum shrink rate to prevent distortion in sleeve printing. But how is the printing process initiated? A cutting-edge method for printing these sleeves is now offered by the Domino N610i, an inkjet press equipped to print onto shrink sleeves. It provides the complete advantages of digital printing, including instantaneous job transitions, minimal substrate wastage, and variable data printing. In essence, it brings clarity, high contrast, and speed to shrink sleeve printing, all in one highly efficient package. >> Domino N610i – the pioneering inkjet press for shrink sleeve printing
2. Shrink-Wrapping of Secondary Packaging
When it comes to promoting your products to retailers, the role of secondary packaging is crucial. The more convenient you make it for retailers to handle and showcase products, the better equipped they will be to position, promote, and sell your items, capturing the attention of consumers in the retail aisles. Shrink-wrap is effective in securing multi-batch items, and Domino offers a range of technologies that simplify the printing process on these films. The M-Series facilitates the application of labels with high resolution and variable data codes that comply with GS1 standards—a vital aspect when guiding packaging and valuable products through the supply chain. Unique features provide complete label control, and tool-free print head changeovers and swift ribbon changes minimize downtime to the utmost extent. The M-Series presents various applicator options, including tamp, blow, tamp/blow, wipe/reverse wipe, and dual tamp, all designed to ensure the proper application of the label.
Witness the M230i-T4 in operation on the production line. Another choice for coding on wraps for secondary packaging is thermal transfer. The Domino V320i has enabled the marking of shrink-wrap films at speeds ranging from 40 to 90 six-packs per minute. Observe it in action here.
3. Pallet Shrink Wraps
Crafted from 3-6mm polyethylene and shrunk using a propane heat gun, pallet shrink-wraps continue to be a widely employed technique for stabilizing and safeguarding pallet loads. The Domino M230i-P150 guarantees automated labeling of all pallets in accordance with GS1 standards. Additionally, it can be set up to affix multiple labels to each pallet on up to three sides. The system is even equipped to identify partial pallets, prompting an operator to safely apply a label to the pallet before returning to regular automated operation.
What is the Future of Shrink-Wrap Packaging?
From a logistical standpoint, the utilization of shrink-wrap brings forth numerous evident advantages. It serves as a cost-effective method for stabilizing multi-packaged items and shielding them from debris and moisture during transportation. Moreover, it provides a level of defense against unauthorized tampering with products, contributing to the preservation of the safety of food items, medicines, and toiletries. Shrink-wrap can also serve as a visually appealing packaging design and labeling solution, ensuring compliance and enhancing consumer engagement.
However, considering the increasing momentum of the anti-plastic movement, the use of shrink-wrap prompts significant questions about its future. It is crucial to note that not all plastics are the same. The majority of shrink-wraps, such as low-density polyethylene film, consist of inert materials. Its production does not emit any polluting elements, and it is 100% recyclable at a very low cost. In fact, when considering both manufacturing and recycling, the energy usage and environmental impact of shrink-wrap are lower than that of cardboard. Coupled with its clear, cost-effective advantages in terms of logistics, transportation, security, and product integrity, it is evident that shrink-wrap will continue to be a popular choice among manufacturers.