Where to Buy Shrink Film

Monday, February 14, 2022

Shrink film, also commonly known as shrink wrap, is a polymer film that wraps around an object, then shrinks to create a tight protective layer as the user applies heat to the surface using a gas or electric heat gun. Products on a conveyor belt may pass through a heat tunnel for high-volume shrink wrapping. The fully heated film provides a tamper-proof and waterproof seal to protect and package the finished product.

This blog will help you determine if shrink wrap is the ideal packaging solution for your product. We will discuss the shrink wrapping process, the benefits, and where you can purchase shrink films.

How Does Shrink Film Work?

Shrink film creates a tight, seamless barrier around a product. The molecules that make up the film are intertwined randomly in twists and coils, but these unstructured areas straighten and align in a single direction as the film heats up, reorienting the random molecules to fit around the object. As the film cools, the molecules set in place in their new arrangement, leaving a tight plastic film barrier around the object. 

The film remains tightly around the object unless exposed to more heat, after which it may contract further and break or tear, though accidental exposure to the temperature required to achieve this is rare. 

Benefits of Using Shrink Film for Packaging

Shrink film provides the following benefits:

  • Shrink energy. This term refers to the amount of energy the shrink film exerts on a product, measured in PSI. Depending on the material, the energy can increase or decrease, preventing overexertion from ruining soft or fragile products.

  • Orientation. Shrink films shrinks on both sides equally in biaxially oriented film, or in one direction in preferentially oriented film. Orientation is critical to providing a proper fit around products with a unique shape.

  • Percentages. Lower shrink percentage can protect the product from shrink energy. Allowing more free-shrink—the amount of shrinkage before the film contacts the product—can be beneficial for packaging oddly shaped products.

  • Resistance to punctures. Puncture resistance refers to the film's ability to resist tears and punctures. A good film will balance protecting and securing the product during handling and transit with ease of accessibility by the end user.

  • Moisture vapor transmission rate. Plastic films will often allow some level of moisture to pass through the film after shrinking. This factor is critical to product life if moisture can damage the product.

  • Anti-fog. Some films will fog up when exposed to moisture or humidity. Food products require a film that resists moisture build-up on packaging. 

  • Odor barrier. Films act as an odor barrier to prevent outside odor from contaminating the product or to keep strong product odors from escaping.

Shrink Film vs. Stretch Film

Shrink film does not stretch and has a fixed size until heat application. Stretch film stretches over the object and will not shrink when heated. While shrink film protects individual products, stretch film protects and organizes palletized goods during transportation or storage. Though the names are similar and sometimes get confused, the two films serve different purposes in packaging. 

  • Shrink film is best for packaging products for display, allowing customers to see the product while giving it an aesthetically pleasing glossy coat. Shrink wrap offers an ideal component for packaging food and comes in printed options to display a logo or text. There are also perforated varieties of shrink film to help the product breathe and make it easier to open. Polyolefin shrink film is generally preferred for food items, though biodegradable options are available for more eco-friendly packaging. Shrink film is not ideal for sensitive products and products that cannot withstand heat.

  • Stretch film is ideal for wrapping palletized products and can add protection from contamination when stacking pallets. Stretch film is dispensable using a simple and inexpensive dispenser or a machine that holds a roll of film. Machines are generally preferable for large volume wrapping and can reduce labor costs. Manual dispensers are suitable for low-volume facilities.

Where to Buy Shrink Film

Many industries rely on shrink film to package and protect goods during storage or retail. Shrink wrap provides an ideal packing solution for food items, beverage containers, and consumer packaged goods, often increasing shelf life and ensuring a consistent quality product. 

Stamar Packaging offers a wide range of shrink film solutions. We stock various gauges and sizes of shrink film in polyolefin, crosslink, centerfold, Surlyn, Sur-flex, and more. Browse our catalog of high-quality shrink film to find the best solution for your needs or contact us for assistance identifying an appropriate shrink film for your application.