Dr. J. Anitha

Shrink Wrapping – Introduction 

Shrink wrapping is a contemporary and efficient packaging technology that has evolved in the past few decades, enabling firms with the most practical packaging solutions. While packaging, the products are wrapped with a heat sensitive shrink film and with the help of a heat source, the shrink film is made to shrink and fit tightly to the dimensions of the product, thereby giving a safe and secure package. The Shrink wrap solutions protects the products from dirt, dust, humidity and environmental influences while in transit and in store. It definitely adds abundant value to the prized merchandise, eliminating pilferages during transit and ensures tamper-proof protection for end-users. As industries are consistently optimizing their operations through automation, there is a crucial need for efficient and agile packaging systems. This enables the manufacturers to increase their production and output without expanding the plant. 

Purpose of Shrink wrapping

Shrink wrapping is beneficial in many fronts, of which a few are listed below:

  • Unitizing canned goods and beverages – When primary packages are unitized in secondary packaging for bulk transport and storage, shrink wrapping serves as a truly functional model for an intact transport.
  • Pilferage proof packaging – When multiple packages, say cans, are unitized, and shrink wrapped, it isn’t easy to tamper with it.
  • Securing boxes – Frozen food, fruits, vegetables and other products packed in boxes are secured to safety until it reaches the end customers.
  • Brand promotional packaging – The nature of the shrink film, whether it is plain and transparent or is printed with brand info, serve as a promotional tool for the product. It presents the contents to the consumers, in a transparent, yet in a protected and reliable package.
  • Cost effective – It enhances the customers’ brand lssoyalty and transparency on one side and reduces manpower cost over traditional carton packing on the other. Carton packing can be conveniently and cost-effectively replaced for shrink wrapping depending on the goods, like beverages and eco-friendly cutlery/ crockery.

Shrink wrapping application in the food industry

Food industry is a significant arena, for its nature of addressing the basic need of living beings on this earth. Trends suggest transferring of food from manufacturers to consumers through retailers, in safe and secured packages. Specific packages are required for different forms of food right from fresh fruits & vegetables to frozen foods; from sachets of spices to tetra packs of coffee and tea powders; and containers of solid food ingredients to liquid ones. Any kind of food packets are securely wrapped in shrink wrap machines that aids to transfer packs in lots and batches as unitized entities, occupying less space, avoiding pilferages, and withstanding environment influences like moisture & dust.

Dry packs of food powders, flour packets, containers and tins of food ingredients like asafoetida, spices and tinned foods, packs of chilled products like paneer, butter, cheese, soft drinks, tetra-packed goods and non-chilled products like coffee & tea packets and chocolates can be suitably and comfortably unitised for safe transit. All kind of food packets in different sizes are suitably shrink wrapped with the appropriate model of the shrink wrap machines. It is ensured that primary packaging is given a safe holding in bunches and lot sizes as per the requirement of users for proper storage and transit.

The recent pandemic has given rise to a spike in single serve condiments as well, which has increased production of smaller packs to a larger extent in most of the food businesses. This calls for a reasonable unitisation of mass production of these small pack condiments in an effective and professional manner that calls for an expert and an affordable solution. Small packs of snacks, sweets, nuts, single serve condiment packs and many other products have a reasonable scope for being shrink wrapped for long distance transit.

Apart from food items, shrink wrapping also finds application in packaging the primary packages of food. Eco leaf plates and bowls are increasingly becoming popular these days to cater the hygienic requirements called for by the 2020 demands generated because of the global issue. It becomes important to ensure an entity of same for a secured transit to the required places. Shrink wrapping technology takes utmost care in preparing these eco leaf plates and bowls of different sizes in safe and secured wraps. The packages are made in order to withstand long storages against dust, dirt, moisture and insects. Another major benefit of going for a shrink wrap of products is to enable brand visibility in a neat and cost-free manner, as the transparency of the shrink films aid in enhancing the brand prominence. Apart from the functional element, the package also adheres to the aesthetic sense of being presented well in the stores.

This packaging solution ensures to take your processes to the next level in manufacturing and production. Companies like Italindia.in offers a variety of models of shrink-wrapping machinery that would suit any kind of product with varied dimensions.

Shrink Wrap films

The shrink wrap film is vital in this technology. The widely used Heat Shrink film for secondary packaging is the LDPE shrink film or Low Density Polyethylene shrink film and Polyolefin Shrink film, as they are more beneficial than others. They are appropriately used for safe packaging of the products to ensure safe transit, secured storage and enhanced visibility. There are numerous types of shrink films that are manufactured as appropriate for different products that varies in responding to heat, food grade fit, shrink capacity, shrink force, shrink orientation, resistance to tear etc. Choosing the right shrink film is necessary for a quality outcome.

The LDPE shrink film has specific advantages and properties that suit the shrink wrapping requirements. LDPE shrink films have proven for higher packaging speeds, higher tear resistance, appropriate shrinkage properties and high holding force. Apart from functional performance, LDPE shrink film is also known for its glossy surface, transparency, and affably aesthetic visual appearance.

Polyolefin shrink films are known for their more flexible storage, excellent shelf appearance after shrinking and certain composition is even FDA approved for food contact for primary packaging. Shrink film manufacturers claim that Polyolefin is one of the most favoured shrink films for packaging products due to its amiable properties to heat shrinking. It can withstand wide range of temperatures without any changes in its property. Polypropylene film is a common polyolefin shrink film that is used in secondary packaging for its premier properties. It is more resistant to heat than polyethylene. Theseare more preferred shrink wrap films that are known for their sealing strength and desirable recyclable properties.

Types of Shrink-wrapping machinery

Versatile models of shrink-wrapping machines that accommodate different sizes of food products and primary food packages are available in the industry. The general types of shrink wrappers are based on the level of automation designed in machines. The automatic shrink packing series of italindia.in ensures a swift and stable output. Single product packaging or multiple container packaging is done in these models. Semiautomatic Shrink-wrapping machines require manual loading of units in periodic pauses, after which they are collated and shrink wrapped.

Automatic packaging machines with a 90° conveyor has the products loaded in a 90° oriented conveyor and then automatically arranged according to the required collation of the bundle. This model completely automizes collation process to offer a high production output. Another special feature of the A90° models is that the shrink wrap equipment occupies less space and the layout can be planned in such a way so as to receive shrink package products more ergonomically.

Shrink Tunnel

Shrink tunnels play a significant role in the shrink film packaging process. The purpose of the shrink tunnel is to shrink the heat-sensitive films which cover the products that are to be shrink wrapped. Shrinking is done inside the tunnels with the help of the heat that produces special enclosures where heaters are placed either in single or in double chambers as per requirement. Temperature controllers are used to control the heat according to shrink film and the product to be wrapped. Effective insulation is also provided in the tunnel that maintains temperature in the appropriate level for energy efficiency.

All shrink wrap machine models are available with wide variants that will suit different dimensions of products with variable temperature and speed controls. Choice of the machine model and the shrink film will provide a range of benefits to the engineering components including protection from scratches, humidity, temperature, dirt, handling, warehouse stacking, transit and in-transit stacking, vehicle vibration, and switching shipment mode impacts. Shrink-wrapping is one of the promising solutions in the packaging industry.

  • Designation – Executive Admin – Penguin Engineers