Shrink Wrap Heat Tunnels vs Heat Guns

Shrink Wrap Heat TunnelWhen it comes to packaging products with shrink wrap, there are two different ways to finish the process. One is by use of a heat gun and the other is by use of a heat tunnel. Both will get the job done. So which system should you use? I’ll explain the differences here.

The biggest and probably most fundamental difference between a heat gun and a heat tunnel is speed. A heat tunnel is significantly faster than a heat gun. Here is a brief description of the two different designs:

  • Heat Tunnels – Heat tunnels typically use some sort of conveyor system that transports the product. The tunnel is heated and blows hot air around the product, causing the shrink film to contract thus completing the packaging process. Heat tunnels are not only known for their speed, but also for their ability to evenly shrink film. Heat tunnels are often located to the side of a shrink wrap machine. Many machines now include a built-in heat tunnel. This process usually takes just seconds.
  • Heat Guns – Heat guns are essentially glorified hair driers, however, much hotter. They are manually held and manually operated. The operator typically blows hot air on one side of the product, flips it, and then shrinks the film on the other side. This process can take anywhere from 10-60 seconds, depending on the size of the product and the experience of the operator.

Apart from speed, price is also a differentiating factor. Heat tunnels are more of an investment where heat guns are a fraction the cost.

You really need to analyze how many products you need to package per day and where you expect your production volume to be years down the road prior to making a purchase. Heat tunnels can be used to package hundreds to thousands of products a day where heat guns are typically used for a few dozen to hundreds per day.

Both heat tunnels and heat guns will probably last you for years, so be sure your decision today doesn’t adversely affect your job later down the road.

You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap heat tunnels here and our heat guns here.

Keith Barlow

Keith is a third generation office equipment expert. ABC Office was started by his grandfather back in 1980 and he is proud to be caring on the values that made ABC Office what it is today… unsurpassed selection, detailed information, low prices, and courteous support.

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