Shrink Wrapping uses three major types of films to protect and secure products for retail and shipping environments: polyvinyl chloride, polyolefin, and polyethylene. Each of these materials has its capabilities and qualities that make it ideal for specific applications. Furthermore, each can be co-extruded into multilayer films with different additives to generate unique barrier qualities that improve shelf life or a special appearance.
Flattened roll stock, bags, overwrap, banding, and tubing can all be made from shrink films. They can give packed goods a layer of tamper-resistant protection. Here's a rundown of the three primary varieties of shrink film and their most popular applications:
PVC was previously the most widely used shrink packaging material globally due to its lightweight nature, low cost, and multi-purpose capabilities. For various reasons, including the health risks posed during production and incineration, as well as its level of sustainability, it has now given way to polyethylene (PE) and polyolefin (POF).
In its rigid form, PVC is a long-lasting material that is employed in construction projects and household goods. PVC is used in rigid and flexible packaging structures (such as blister and clamshell packaging) (like shrink film and bagging).
PVC Has a Bad Wrap
PVC comprises three different elements: carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine. It is suggested for usage in well-ventilated facilities due to the solid and unpleasant scents emitted when heated. It is outright banned in some countries because of its chemical composition and the hazardous byproducts emitted during synthesis and breakdown. Even in nations where it is permitted, firms committed to corporate and social responsibility have prohibited the use of PVC in their packaging. The Walmart Sustainability Playbook, for example, focuses on reducing PVC in packaging materials used by makers of products sold at Walmart shops. If you use PVC film in your supply chain, it's vital to establish the highest possible standards for usage and disposal.
A notable downside to PVC is its reaction to hot and cold temperature changes. It can become brittle under certain low temperatures and subject to wrinkling under certain high temperatures. Its resistance to tearing after being punctured is on the higher side, but its resistance to being stuck is lower.
It's Got Some Issues
Due to its fragile nature after shrinking, this type of film is not suited for packaging many things together. PVC is also known to develop carbon deposits on the sealer, implying that consistent operation necessitates adequate and regular maintenance. It has a preferred orientation (only shrinks in one direction) and has a low shrink force. It's a #3 recyclable material, which means it can't be recycled in most circumstances.
Where is it used?
PVC is used in various industries, including the building and construction industry, as well as the healthcare, electronics, and automobile industries. Pipe and siding, blood bags and tubing, wire and cable insulation, windshield system components, blister packs, clamshells, and other items, are all made using it. PVC shrink film is used for packaging CDs and DVDs, games and software boxes, and other non-edible things.
Polyolefin shrink film is a premium alternative since it is exceptionally robust and adaptable. It has replaced PVC in various uses and is FDA-approved as a food-safe material. POF materials come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The cross-linked film is one choice for high-speed packing applications since its high tensile strength and exceptional clarity. The cross-linked film also avoids accumulation on your machinery's sealing components.
POF shrink film provides outstanding puncture resistance and seal strength, ideal for protecting irregularly shaped products along the supply chain. POF's increased power allows for the production of long rolls of film with thinner gauges. This reduces roll change-over time while also increasing efficiency and output. POF is available in various gauges, including 35-gauge (.35 mil) and the more typical 45, 60, 75, and 100 (1 mil) gauges.
Polyolefin film is a Go-to choice.
POF is a go-to option for protective packaging makers of all sizes because of its versatility and low cost when applied to a variety of equipment and packaging types. In some cases, perforations, or microscopic holes, must be added to POF film before using it. These perforations allow air to escape during the shrinking process, resulting in a smooth package with no air pockets and an even shrink surface. Many suppliers offer pre-perforated shrink film for this reason.
POF is built entirely of materials that are 100% recyclable. This shrink film is ideal for consumer products requiring a high presentation level due to its exceptional clarity and glossy shelf appearance. It's also helpful in combining various products, such as tissue boxes. POF is a long-lasting material that is less impacted by temperature variations. It possesses good tensile strength and tear propagation and the ability to shrink fast and thoroughly, resulting in a finished product as soon as it exits the shrink tunnel.
Where is it used?
Toys, games, candies, books, cuisines, most retail items, and any consumer product where the look is essential are all common uses for POF shrink film. We don't exaggerate when we claim it's adaptable. Additives can be mixed to provide you precisely with this packaging film, depending on your need for barrier layers or MVTR.
Polyethylene is a type of polyolefin, which means it is a single monomer film created by adding ethylene to the polymerization process. PE is utilized in various flexible protective packages, such as shrink film and stretch film, and each performs differently.
High-Density Polyethylene, Low-Density Polyethylene, and Linear Low-Density Polyethylene are the three most common types of PE.
HDPE (high-density polyethylene) or PEHD (polyethylene high-density) is a petroleum-based polyethylene thermoplastic. HDPE is used to make plastic bottles, corrosion-resistant pipelines, geomembranes, and plastic lumber because of its high strength-to-density ratio. HDPE is routinely recycled in both rigid and flexible forms (e.g., containers and bags), and it has a resin identification code of #2.
It is the most frequently used plastic, and it is used in a wide range of products, from hard helmets to milk bottles, due to its fantastic adaptability. Beverage bottles, personal care goods (such as shampoo), and home products are common uses. HDPE is used to make grocery store bread bags, thin plastic produce bags, and cereal box liners. It's also used for heavier-duty stretch wrapping, such as packing food on farms. It usually comes in a roll like other films, but it's more of a net that allows the objects it surrounds to breathe.
Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
LDPE is a low-density polyethylene similar to high-density polyethylene but has a lower density (as the name suggests). This indicates that it has a lower mass-to-volume ratio. Impact, moisture, and chemical resistance are all high points for LDPE. LDPE is commonly used in heat-sealing applications, the fabrication of some flexible lids and bottles, and wire and cable applications. Rigid LDPE items (e.g., bottles, containers, lids, caps, etc.) are frequently collected in curbside recycling programs.
Linear Low-Density Polyethylene(LLDPE)
This is one of the most widely used films in the packaging sector. LLDPE is the most flexible of all the polyethylene films. LLDPE is a blended version of Low-Density Polyethylene with higher strength and conformability than standard Low-Density Polyethylene, making it ideal for stretching. It doesn't shrink as much as other films, but it's perfect for stretch-wrapping pallets and transporting bulky items. Because it looks so similar on the roll, this film is frequently mistaken for shrink films like basic polyolefin. It does, however, operate substantially differently in terms of packaging protection. Pallet wrapping, snacks, frozen meals, and carrier bags are frequent uses for LLDPE and LDPE films.
Low-Density Polyethylene has several advantages over other types of shrink film packaging, including increased strength and durability for heavier, larger goods (e.g., beverage multipacks). It is possible to add clear graphics while retaining the image and the appropriate power. These films can also be printed.
PE has the disadvantages of a reduced shrink rate (typically about 20%) and much lesser clarity when shrinking. Unlike POF and PVC, which are limited in gauge thickness (typically approximately 100 gauge), PE can be gauged up to 1200 gauge. Shrinkwrapping a boat for storage is one application for these thicknesses in the marine industry.
Bringing your product to your customer should be a pleasurable experience. How do your items compare to similar products on the market, from how they seem to the way they feel to how long they last? Shrink Wrapping is a simple technique that requires only two things: the correct shrink film and heat. With simply a roll of shrink film and a heat source, you can waterproof, weatherproof, and tamper-proof anything, regardless of its size. You'll also be able to give your customers a boost of confidence and stand out with the protective shine of shrink wrap when used correctly!