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3 Key Issues that Prevent the Perfectly Shrink Wrapped Package

photo of a man holding a shrink wrapped candy bar in front of a shrink tunnel machine

There are two main types of shrink wrap packaging. One is the use of shrink film as primary packaging. This can be commonly seen in fresh produce industry where individually wrapped or sorted produce is grouped together. This use of film is designed to create a containment force for multiple goods being sold together.

The second form of shrink wrap packaging is the creation of an anti-theft and contamination shell. This is the practice of wrapping packaged consumer goods in a tight, clear film that prevents the opening of boxes or the risk of dirt and dust entering the primary package. This practice can commonly be seen in high tech products such as phones and tablets.

How Are You Using Shrink Wrap To Package Your Product?

If you are using your shrink wrap as a secondary package to hold your pre-packaged products together for shipping, you are likely using your shrink wrap as a secondary package. This protective level of the film holds your products together and prevents shifting during transport. When these wrapped products reach their destination, the shrink wrap is often removed before the products are shelved for consumers. This type of wrapping does not need to have a perfect look as the film is not intended for consumers. These shrink wrap methods will often focus on speed and containment strength as opposed to a crisp, clean look.

When using shrink wrap as a part of your product’s primary package, the clarity of the film is a key part of your product's presentation. Your film is designed to act as an invisible barrier. Keeping your products safe inside without taking away from the product itself. This type of shrink wrapping involves an intricate process with multiple variables that all work together to create the perfect package.

The 3 Key Factors for Crystal Clear Shrink Wrap

1. The Shrink Film Used

One of the biggest impacts on the clarity of your shrink wrap is the film itself. High-quality films are made from higher quality materials and undergo more refining. These films are engineered to offer the best look with consistent shrinking characteristics to improve quality. High-quality films help ensure that the final packaged product is shelf ready once it exits the shrink tunnel.

High-quality shrink films offer packers a head start in developing attractive consumer products. For this reason, if you are shrink wrapping your products for consumers, investing in a quality film should be considered to maintain consistency and avoid errors.

photo of a clear roll of shrink wrap film on a white background

2. The Shrink Tunnel Settings

To develop a clear, clean package shrink film has to do more than shrink. There are two phases to the shrinking packaging process and the shrink tunnel settings are key to their success. The first process involves the shrink film bag expanding outward. A blast of hot air expands and tightens the film before it shrinks, eliminating any wrinkles. Once the bag expands, the tunnels heat shrinks the film. As the film evenly shrinks around the package it forms a clear, tight shell.

This expanding and shrinking process can be very intricate. If a tunnel is too hot, or its belt is too slow, the film can burn and cause holes. If the tunnel is too cool, or the conveyor is to fast, the film will not have the proper amount of shrink time and may be loose or wrinkled. Regularly assessing your shrink films finished quality can help you identify any possible issues that you may be having during the shrinking process.

shrink wrapped cases of wine coming out of shrink tunnel in packaging facility

3. Shrink Film Perforations

As we discussed in point two, the ability to inflate your shrink package is key to developing a clear, crisp package. If your shrink film has perforations it has a direct effect on this process.

If your package has too many perforations it will not be able to inflate fully. The ability to inflate the bag before shrinking requires air to enter the package and not quickly escape. As air enters, the bag balloons out, stretching the film. If your shrink film is too perforated, this inflating process will not happen as the air escapes too quickly. Without the stretching process, the film can develop wrinkled corners and edges. Dog ears, a triangular extension of film on the products corners, is one of the most common issues caused by excess shrink film perforation.

If you require perforations and your film has too few, the air will not be able to escape your package. This can create bubbles in your package, trapping the air inside. These bubbles are unsightly and can make stacking products difficult. The ballooned air can also result in shrink film burnouts and unsightly holes. This is the result of the bubbled film receiving excess heat, melting the film.

photo of a line of english cucumbers on conveyor heading towards shrink wrap machine

shrink it right icon on top of orange colour background of a shrink wrap line

Shrink It Right

Have you been experiencing poor shrink-wrapping performance? The Crawford Packaging Shrink It Right program works with business to audit existing shrink wrap equipment, materials and process. These audits aim to identify areas of inefficiency and under-performance and offers improvements that increase productivity and improve product quality. This can include updated shrink wrap equipment and materials or improve wrapping standards to increase quality and improve material use.

Let Us Find the Right Shrink Film for You

To learn more about the Crawford Shrink It Right program contact one of our Packaging Specialists for a free audit today.

Crawford Packaging is a full-service packaging company located in London, Brampton and Waterloo, Ontario. From packaging to packaging equipment, installation and upgrades, and in-person equipment training and repair, we're focused on your business success every step of the way.