Heat Shrink Tunnels vs Heat Guns

There are several different types of shrink-wrap machines in existence today. Regardless of whether you are using an L-bar shrink wrapper or a straight-bar system, both machines will eventually require a heat source to shrink down the film. There are two ways of doing this. One method is done by using a heat shrink tunnel and the other is done by using a heat gun. Both machines have their pros and cons. Here is a breakdown on the two different methods.

Heat Shrink GunsHeat Shrink Guns – A heat gun looks very similar to a hair drier, but produces several times more heat. Many heat guns have the capability of being turned up to produce 1,000+ degrees of heat. A hair drier doesn’t even come close to that. I do, however, get people that ask if they can use their hair drier to shrink the film. I usually tell them, “If your hair drier is capable of burning off your hair, it ‘may’ work.” I say that in jest.

Heat guns are manually held and manually aimed to shrink the film. It usually requires a couple of passes. When shrinking film around a box, it is usually necessary to flip the box over to shrink the other side. A skilled heat gun operator can complete the entire shrinking process in 10-30 seconds, depending on the size of the product being packaged.

Heat guns are ideal for low to medium-volume use. They are perfect if you are packaging a few dozen items per day, but if you will be packaging hundreds (or more) a day, you will probably want to upgrade to a heat tunnel. You can find our popular HotShot heat gun here.

Heat Shrink TunnelsHeat Shrink Tunnels – Heat shrink tunnels are used for medium to high-volume packaging. Volume output can range from hundreds to thousands of products, depending on the machine. While many shrink-wrap systems now incorporate a built-in heat tunnel, many modern systems still use a separate heat tunnel.

Heat tunnels require a lot less manual interaction than a heat gun and can shrink film around an entire package in one single pass. The entire process can be completed in just a few seconds, depending on the machine and tunnel being used.

Once a product enters the heat tunnel, hot air is blown around the entire package. Because the air is so evenly distributed, and so quick, heat tunnels can often be used to package heat-sensitive products. You can find our selection of heat shrink tunnels here.

Still have questions about using heat shrink tunnels and guns? Post a comment here and I will answer your question. Have a great day!

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