What Is Shrink Wrapping?

September 23, 2015

Shrink wrapping is something of a common sight in this day and age, especially in the delivery of goods. It is a fast, efficient, and convenient means to store food and keep them fresh and protected from exposure and potential contamination. Shrink wrap is also employed for industrial purposes, generally as a first line of defence against moisture or tampering for salable products like books and magazines.

On a larger scale, shrink-wrap is employed in order to seal packages of all varieties and sizes. Due to its compact and reliable nature, this type of wrapping has branched out of the industrial scope and has been made available for use even in home or office settings. Aside from these standard uses, shrink wrap is also employed well outside of common public knowledge - to wrap buildings after natural disasters, either to keep their structural integrity intact or to prevent debris and other articles from falling off.

Versatile Nature of Plastic Packaging

Due to its unique and versatile nature, shrink wrap can be employed to coat, and protect, quite literally any surface imaginable. This type of wrapping proves to be beneficial for a number of other reasons, the most common being that its innate molecular structure, which results from its chemical composition that is mostly comprised of either PVC, polyethylene, ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer, copolyester, polypropylene or a combination of any of these compounds.

Shrink wrap is also waterproof, and, in some, if not most cases, air-proof. This helps to protect anything wrapped in it from exposure to moisture and oxidation, which is why shrink-wrapping is standard practice in the food industry. When employed to coat products or materials other than food, shrink wrap also helps to prevent unnecessary tampering. It can even act as a means to tamper-proof an item or product, since the only way to open shrink wrapped products is to tear the temporarily bonded polymer film.

How is Shrink Wrapping Applied?

It is accomplished by employing either standard food-grade or industrial-grade cling film, or some other specially formulated type of polymer film, which is cut to fit the size, contours and dimensions of a given surface. It is then stretched over the surface of a product or item needing to be encased.

In order to facilitate a ‘sealed bond’ between the item’s surface and cling film, various sources of heat such as special automatic heat gun or a heating oven is employed. For most home and small-scale industrial shrink wrapping methods, heat guns generally suffice. Large-scale sealing preparations for mass-produced materials often involve the use of shrink tunnels or shrinking ovens, which effectively heat the cling wrap to form a seal on very large products such as land-based and airborne vehicles, or very large parcels.

If your company requires fast, efficient, reliable and affordable wrapping services for your goods and products, please visit Challenge Packaging and Warehousing Solutions, for all of your shrink-wrapping, packing, and industrial-scale assembly needs:

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