Best Shrink Wrap Machines for Packaging Food

Food Packaging Shrink Wrap MachinesWhether you are trying to package chocolate or you simply need a way to package and present fruit baskets, shrink wrap (found here) is an effective food packaging tool. There are a few things you will need to know before purchasing a machine, but ultimately shrink wrap is an affordable and easy way to package food for a variety of reasons. I would like to cover a few machines that may help you and go over a few tips that may help you out.

There are two types of shrink wrap machines you’ll want to consider when packaging food. The first uses an I-bar sealer (found here) and the second uses an L-bar sealer (found here). An I-bar sealer shrinks film along one length at a time, requiring usually about two passes to seal a product in centerfold film. An L-bar sealer seals the film in two spots completing the sealing process in a single pass. As you might imagine, the L-bar sealer is much faster than an I-bar sealer, making it ideal for industrial and commercial applications. An I-bar sealer, however, is better for sealing and packaging products with awkward shapes and sizes.

When it comes to shopping around for film, you’ll probably want to use Polyolefin film (found here). Polyolefin film is safe for direct contact with food, where PVC film is only safe for indirect contact with food. Most shrink wrap machines can use either type of film.

What are the benefits of packaging food with shrink wrap? Shrink wrap provides a protective barrier from the outside. This may be handling by customers, shipping, the elements and much more. Shrink film also makes products look much more presentable. Shrink wrap can also have food preservation benefits by helping contain moisture and flavor.

Which machine design should you use? There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, but the biggest is packaging volume. I-bar sealers are good for packaging a few dozen to a few hundred items a day. If you are packaging more than that, you should really be using an L-bar sealer equipped machine.

What are some of the limiting factors? The biggest limiting factor will be the sealing width. In the case of an L-bar sealer it will be the width and the length. If you are using an L-bar sealer equipped with a heat tunnel, you will also need to take the height of the product into account. Many people remember the width and length, but forget the height. Remember, the height of the product will take up film. You’ don’t want to end up with a machine that won’t accommodate your product or future products.

What about heat damage? If you are worried your food item may suffer from heat damage, you may want to use a machine that utilizes a heat tunnel. A heat tunnel applies heat evenly and shrinks film much faster than a heat gun. Because heat guns are manually operated, they are subject to human error such as leaving the gun in a single spot for too long. I have had people package chocolates and other temperature sensitive food without suffering any damage.

Which brand is best? There are a lot of shrink wrap brands out there. Those that I have personally used and trust include AIE, Traco, Intelli-Pack, Minipack and Strategic Group.

If you still have questions about our shrink wrap machines, or if you would like samples to be tested on the machine we offer, please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We have over 30 years of experience and are more than happy to help you out.

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