Shrink Wrapping: The Different Types of Shrink Film

Shrink film or shrink wrap is used to describe a type of plastic that tightens or “shrinks” around a product to create a seal when it is exposed to a heat source. The tools needed to shrink wrap an item include a heat sealer (to seal open ends of the film) and a source of heat (to shrink the film into place). The most common types of heat sealers are I-bar, L-bar, and impulse sealers, while the most common heat sources are automatic heat tunnels and manual heat guns. You can also invest in a shrink wrap machine that is able to perform cut, seal, and shrinking tasks. Shrink film can come in a variety of different sizes. Here at The Packaging Company, we carry shrink-wrap ranging from 6”-36” in width, and several different thicknesses including 50, 60, 75, and 100 gauge shrink wrap. Browse the different types and styles of shrink wrap and their most common uses below.

Types of Shrink Film

There are several different types of shrink film available for purchase including PVC, POF, and PE. Take a look at what the benefits are of each kind of shrink wrap below:

PVC Shrink Film

PVC shrink wrap is also known as polyvinyl chloride shrink wrap and was at one point the most commonly used shrink film around the world thanks to its affordability and versatility. Some of today’s most common uses for PVC shrink wrap include DVD and CD cases, gaming discs and other software boxes, retail packaging, packaging boxes, and other non-food-related items. PVC shrink wrap has a higher tear resistance, however, it is more susceptible to becoming brittle after shrinking so it is not recommended to wrap multiple products or for use in high or low-temperature environments.

Polyolefin (POF) Shrink Film

Polyolefin (POF) shrink wrap has recently taken the title for the most popular and commonly used shrink wrap. This is largely due to POF being of higher quality and more versatile compared to PVC. Additionally, polyolefin shrink wrap is FDA-approved and safe for use with food products. Common uses for POF shrink wrap include printed and paper goods, baked goods, frozen food items such as pizza, small toys, candies, and much more. This high clarity, puncture, and temperature-resistant shrink wrap are also made from 100% recycled materials and is perfect for bundling multiple items together.

Polyethylene (PE) Shrink Film

Polyethylene or PE shrink wrap is a stronger and more durable type of film that is typically used for industrial applications. While polyolefin and PVC shrink wraps are typically maxed out at 100 gauge thickness, polyethylene wrap can reach a gauge thickness of up to 1200. The most common uses of PE shrink wrap include wrapping beverage multipacks, wrapping boats for storage, and pallet wrapping.

Styles of Shrink Film

As we now know, shrink wrap comes in a few different materials that each has its own unique benefits. Additionally, shrink film comes in a variety of styles such as the ones listed below:

Tube-Style Shrink Film

Shrink tubing is a unique design of shrink film that comes with two pre-sealed sides. This allows customers to easily input their products into the tube and create custom-length shrink bags. This type of shrink tubing has crystal clear, high gloss film that is perfect for displaying your product proudly. Shrink tubing can be used with either portable or automatic equipment, making it the perfect addition to any business.

Rolls of Shrink Film

Centerfold shrink wrap rolls are made by folding the shrink wrap in half lengthways and then placing it on the roll. These are most commonly used in retail packaging as they allow retailers to put their product into the pocket and seal it all the way around (typically with an L-bar sealer). These can be used for larger products and can typically be used with both automatic and manual equipment.

The Difference Between Shrink Wrap and Stretch Wrap

Shrink wrap and stretch wrap, despite the similar look and often similar materials, are used in very different ways. As mentioned above, shrink wrap can be used for single or multiple products and it is used to create a tamperproof seal around a product by shrinking the plastic with heat. Shrink film only stretches between 50-75% and has no ability to cling to itself.

Stretch wrap is more commonly used to keep larger boxes and items together and prevent them from shifting, such as a skid of boxes. It stretches anywhere from 100-300% and has the ability to cling to itself, no heat is required for the use of stretch wrap.

Looking for High-Quality Shrink Wrap? Visit The Packaging Company Today!

Are you in search of high-quality shrink film for your business? Shrink wrap is an excellent way to create a tamper-resistant seal that will protect your product and keep it in good condition for your customers. At The Packaging Company, we take pride in offering high-quality, affordable products to our customers and small business owners. Take a look at our assortment of PVC Shrink Wrap Products and Polyolefin (POF) Shrink Wrap Products today to get started!