Best Way to Shrink Wrap Paper for Archival Storage

Shrink Wrap Machines for Paper Archival PurposesDoes your business deal with stacks of papers, contracts, invoices or other paperwork and are looking for an effective way to package and archive this material? One of the most popular tools used to do just that is shrink wrap (found here). ABC Office has been selling shrink wrap machines for decades, with several models recommended for doing just this. I would like to answer a few common questions and offer a few machine recommendations.

Over time, businesses and organizations begin to accumulate paperwork such as invoices, contracts and other material. While it is a good idea to keep some of this paperwork accessible, eventually it becomes cumbersome and takes up too much space in a filing cabinet. Because most businesses don’t need paperwork going back more than a few years, many opt to archive older documents. Even here at ABC Office we eventually have to remove old invoices from our filing cabinets and archive them.

Shrink wrap has quickly become one of the most popular tools for archiving documents. This is because shrink wrap helps bundle and hold paperwork tightly together (thanks to the shrinking properties of the film). The plastic barrier created by shrink wrap also helps keep the paperwork protected, helping provide a barrier against insects, animals, moisture, dust and much more. We have customers that often use shrink wrap to bundle invoices and contracts alphabetically by year. They’ll take all of the invoices that are sorted by the letter “A” and shrink wrap those together. Customers will then take this paper and write on it with a marker or slap a label on it. These stacks of paper can then later be opened (if needed) and re-wrapped with shrink wrap film.

There are several factors to consider when buying a machine and film. I would like to answer a few common questions.

  • How much paperwork are you archiving? If you are only packaging a few hundred documents a day, a machine like an I-bar sealer (found here) may be adequate. If you are packaging a lot of paperwork per day, perhaps in the thousands of sheets per day, I recommend you use a shrink wrap system (found here) that includes an integrated heat tunnel. Keep in mind that an I-bar sealer uses a heat gun, which does require the operator to manually shrink all four sides. If you are dealing with a cumbersome stack of paper, you may need something more robust than just a heat gun (especially when shrinking the bottom of the stack).
  • How large are the documents you are packaging? The size of the stack of paper you are packaging will be one of the biggest determining factors in which machine you purchase. You need to take into account the length, width and height of the stack you need to package. I recommend once you have established the width in height, that you add a few inches on top of that to ensure there is ample room. When it comes to establishing the sealing width you need, I recommend you add the width of the stack plus the height of the stack and add four inches to that number (Width + Height + 4″).
  • What type of film should you use? I would say this also depends on the size of the paper (length & width) and the height of the stack. If you are only packaging letter-size paper no more than a ream thick, you are probably going to be fine using 75 gauge PVC film. If the stack is thick, or the size of the paper sheet is large, you may want to use polyolefin film. Poly film has more flexibility to it (much like stretch wrap) and won’t break or tear nearly as easily as PVC film. You can find both our PVC and our Polyolefin film here.

At ABC Office we use the Compack 5800 (found here) to package our old letter size invoices. It is ideal for medium to higher-volume use. Again, the machine you use will depend on the job you need to do. Just be sure to take into consideration how much your volume may increase over the years. Please feel free to contact us at 1-800-658-8788 with any shrink wrap or document archival questions.

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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