Archive for the ‘Shrink Wrap / Packaging’ Category

Impulse Sealing Blade Troubleshooting Tips

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Impulse Shrink Wrap MachinesImpulse sealing blades are the most common method used to seal and cut shrink film and other plastic materials. In relation to shrink-wrap machines, and even many heat sealers, the blade will eventually begin to dull and efficiency will begin to wane. Bad sealing blade symptoms include cracked blades, built-up blade corrosion and the inability to cut film. Here are a few tips that will help you to extend the life of your impulse sealer.

Impulse Sealer Troubleshooting Tips

  • If you are having issues with your bags or film not properly sealing, try lowering the seal time. The less time that is put on a seal, the stronger it should become.
  • I recommend not exceeding 1.8 seconds when sealing. That should provide the beset seal. A longer sealing time will only compromise the seal and decrease its strength.
  • I recommend cleaning the sealing blade on your shrink wrap machine or heat sealer with either a cleaning gel or with silicon spray. This can potentially extend the life of the sealing blade by up to 12 months.

Heat SealersWhile we do offer replacement kits, wire kits and other accessories for AIE shrink wrap machines and heat sealers (found here), some of our replacement shrink wrap wire, Teflon tape, pads and other parts need to be ordered directly from our Service Department by filling out this form.

Many of the replacement kits are listed directly on the product’s page under “Options and Accessories.” We offer machines from Minpack, AIE, Traco, Rochman, Aline, GHL and others. You can find our I-bar shrink wrap machines here, shrink wrap systems here, L-bar sealers here and heat sealers here.

Minipack RP 40 Industrial Shrink Wrap Machine Review

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Minipack RP 40 Industrial Shrink Wrap MachineShrink wrap machines come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re familiar with packaging, you’ve probably seen I-bar sealers, L-bar sealers with heat tunnels and much more. One of the most effective shrink wrappers I have used is the integrated tunnel / L-bar sealers made by Minipack. One such example is the Minipack RP 40 industrial grade shrink wrap machine (found here). This is my review.

Minipack is an Italian company that manufactures shrink wrap machines, vacuum food sealers, heat tunnels and much more. Their products are renowned for their quality, results, durability and much more.

The RP 40 is a relatively new machine. I don’t know about you, but when I first saw it, the RP 40 reminded me of the old Minipack Mini Plus. The dimensions are even similar. That said, the Minipack RP 40 is a compact all-in-one style shrink wrap machine that is perfect for low to medium volume packaging. It is rated at about 6 wraps per minute, which is significantly faster than the 1-2 a minute that most I-bar sealers provide.

The Minipack RP 40 has a 16″ x 10″ x 6.6″ sealing area. This is big enough to package a DVD, Blu-ray, CD, small box, books, paper, small baskets and much more. As mentioned earlier, this is an all-in-one machine. Once you have inserted your product into the film, all you need to do is pull down the hood.

The hood includes an L-bar sealer, which quickly cuts the film. Once cut, the machine then uses the hood chamber area as a heat tunnel. This means cutting and shrinking is all done in a single pass. The clear Plexiglas hood makes it easy to see what is going on the entire time! I certainly appreciate this option far more than a standard enclosed heat tunnel.

Setting up this machine is easy. It has a centerfold shrink film roll dispenser that is set on smooth bearings. The RP 40 can use a roll of film up to 20″ wide and 10″ in diameter. Once your film has been placed on the dispenser rollers, simply feed it through the tear-free perforators and through the film separator. That’s pretty much it. I can set this machine up with film in about 2-3 minutes.

The RP 40 can be used with both PVC and Polyolefin centerfold shrink film. This allows you to package products for retail sale or food for display in a grocery store. The impulse sealer is fast and the heat sealing is quick enough that it will not damage food products.

The control panel is extremely easy to set up. A digital display combined with buttons lets you modify various settings and the built in storage will save up to 10 customizable programs.

The body of the RP 40 is made out of solid steel coated with a baked enamel finish, not that flimsy sheet metal stuff you find in other machines. The quality is unprecedented. This sealer includes its own supportive legs that are set on casters for added portability.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this machine. The quality is there, it should easily hold up for years to come and it is excellent for daily packaging of a variety of products. It really is that good. The RP 40 is robust enough for your manufacturing needs, yet compact enough that it can be used in most rooms. I recommend a ventilated room for use with PVC film.

You can find the Minipack RP 40 shrink wrap machine here, our centerfold rolls of shrink film here and our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here.

Minipack MVS31X and MVS35X Chamber Vacuum Sealer Troubleshooting Tips and Calibration

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Minipack MVS31X Chamber Vacuum SealerIf you own a Minipack vacuum sealer, you’re probably well aware of the excellent quality and renowned Italian design. Simply put, our Minipack products (including shrink wrap machines) have an excellent track record with our customers. We have found that most Minipack issues have simple solutions. One small issue that has come up is that the MVS31X and MVS35X won’t pull a full vacuum of 99.9%. Here are a few tips that may help you.

Minipack vacuum sealers can remove 99.9% of the air in a bag. This produces a remarkably tight seal that is excellent for food and product preservation. Few vacuum sealers are able to achieve this high a mark for air removal. Here is a tip that will help over 90% of you who are experiencing issues achieving the much-desired 99.9% mark.

To begin with, re-calibrating your MVS31X and MVS35X will solve the majority your issues. Here are some step-by-step instructions that should help:

MINIPAC MVS31X / MVS35X CALIBRATION INSTRUCTIONS

Minpack Calibration Vacuum Sealer Digital LED DisplayWhen you first receive your Minipack chamber vacuum sealer, it is recommended that you calibrate it. Differences in elevation and atmospheric pressure vary from one place to the next. Calibration will ensure optimal machine operation.

The calibration process will take about 3 minutes of your time. Calibration should be done the first time you operate the machine and after every oil change.

STEP 1 – Connect your chamber vacuum sealer to a power source, leaving the power switch in the OFF position.

STEP 2 – Simultaneously press the down (\/) and up (/\) buttons while switching the power “ON.” The down and up buttons are located under the digital LED display. If done correctly, the LED display will show CAL (calibration). Once you see CAL, release both arrow keys.

STEP 3
– Close the lid to the chamber sealer. The pump will automatically start running. The digital LED display will eventually show up to 3 numbers. These are your calibration numbers. Once these 3 numbers have stopped increasing for about 5 seconds, write down (or otherwise notate) the number on the display and press the (S) button located above the LED display. This will cause the pump to stop and the LED display will return to the last program being used.

STEP 4 – Turn off the power switch and repeat STEP 2.

STEP 5
– You will now close the lid, starting the pump. The LED display will begin displaying numbers that will eventually increase up to 3 total numbers. Once the 3 numbers displayed reach 1-2 numbers below the calibration number you wrote down in STEP 3, press the (S) key. This will stop the pump and again will return the LED display to the last program number being used.

Your Minipack chamber vacuum sealer should now be calibrated to its environment and should now be ready to use.

Is re-calibration not solving your issue? Please contact our Service Department. They are kind, professional and more than happy to help. Our Service Department is fully trained in repairing and servicing Minpack products. You can reach them by filling out this form.

You can find our entire selection of Minpack vacuum sealers here and Minipack shrink wrap machines here.

Traco Portable Deluxe SuperSealer I-Bar Sealer Review

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Traco Portable Deluxe SuperSealerDo you package anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred items per day? Are you looking for a way to make your retail product look more professional? You may want to consider using something like the Traco Portable Deluxe SuperSealer (found here). This I-Bar sealer is excellent for shrink-wrap packaging just about anything. I have used this system and this is my review.

Traco is a U.S. manufacturer of shrink-wrap machines, film, heat guns, heat sealers, shrink sleeves and much more. We have been working with them for well over a decade, so I can attest to the fact that they are a reputable company that will be able to provide support for their past, current and future products.

Traco currently manufactures two different SuperSealers. They make the Standard SuperSealer and the Deluxe SuperSealer. They are both very similar in use and operation, with the biggest difference being that the Deluxe version comes with a 50’ starter roll of centerfold shrink film and a repair kit. Combined, there are over 150,000 SuperSealers in use today.

Using the Traco Portable Deluxe SuperSealer (try saying that 3 times fast) is very easy to use and only requires a few steps.

  • Step 1. First off you will want to be sure you have your roll of centerfold shrink film on the machine. The Traco SuperSealer has two rollers that spin on bearings on which sits the film. These two rollers help spin the centerfold roll and deploy the film. A small bar sits between the two flaps of the centerfold film, helping to keep it open, which in turn makes product insertion easy.
  • Step 2. You will now want to insert your CD, DVD,  box, soap, pizza or other product into the open pocket of the centerfold film. Push the product all the way back so that it sits in the upper left corner of the film.
  • Step 3. You can now bring down the I-bar of the sealer and seal the right side of the package. Once sealed, turn the product 90 degrees to the left and seal the other side shut.
  • Step 4. Now that the entire product has been sealed in plastic, you can now take the heat gun and run it over the film. The heat will cause the film to contract. Be sure to heat up the front, back and sides. Don’t allow the heat to sit on any one part for too long as it will cause the film to tear open.

It really is that easy. I have seen people use this machine to seal fruit baskets, soap bars, DVDs, chocolate, pizza and much more. If you are packaging food, be sure to use food-safe Polyolefin film. The Deluxe SuperSealer will also work with PVC film.

The Traco Deluxe SuperSealer is currently available in 5 different sizes. These include 13″, 18″, 24″, 32″ and 40″. If you’re not sure which size you need, be aware that the larger sizes can use smaller widths of film. When it comes to shrink wrap machines, it is better to over estimate than under estimate.

This is a video demo of the Traco Standard SuperSealer. It is almost identical to the Deluxe version minus the starter roll of film, repair kit and an onboard assistance light that lets you know when the sealing is done.

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Overall I am very impressed with this system. It is fast, effective, holds up well and is  great for low to medium-volume use. This machine is a best seller with our customers and the track record is excellent.

You can find the Traco Portable Deluxe SuperSealer and our entire selection of I-bar sealer shrink wrap systems here.

Shrink Wrap Film Gauges Explained

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Shrink Wrap Film Gauges If you’re an electrician, or have worked with electrical wiring, you probably know that the lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire. For example, 16-gauge wire is actually significantly thinner than 10-gauge wire. This almost goes against common reasoning as higher numbers typically represent bigger or thicker. So is this the case with the gauge of shrink wrap film?

Shrink wrap film is commonly available in 60, 75 and 100 gauge thicknesses. As you might understand, many people wonder if 60 or 100 gauge film is the thickest. Shrink wrap film gauges, contrary to electrical wire gauges, are actually thicker as the number goes up. One-hundred gauge film is in fact thicker than 60 gauge shrink wrap film.

Hopefully this helps clarify some of the confusion out there. While we have established how shrink wrap gauges work, you should be aware that there are two primary different types of shrink wrap film. These are:

  1. PVC Shrink Wrap Film
  2. Polyolefin Shrink Wrap Film

While both PVC and Polyolefin shrink film gauges are literally the same in thickness, you should be aware that 75 gauge PVC and 75 gauge Polyolefin act very differently.

Shrink Wrap FilmOne of the biggest reasons people go with thicker PVC film is to prevent tearing or breaking of the film. This is because PVC film has a more brittle quality to it than Polyolefin film.

While people increase the film gauge with Polyolefin to help increase the packaging strength as well, Polyolefin film has an elastic-like stretchy quality to it. For this reason, 60 gauge Polyolefin film, while thinner, has just as good an integrity quality as 75 gauge PVC film. Simply put, you don’t need as thick a gauge of Polyolefin film to get the same results as 75 gauge PVC film.

I hope this helps you understand shrink wrap film in a little more detail. We have over 30 years experience with shrink wrap packaging, so please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions regarding shrink wrap film or machines.

You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap film and replacement parts here and our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here.

Traco Stardard SuperSealer (SS) I-Bar Shrink Wrap Machine Video

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Traco SS Standard SuperSealer I-Bar Sealer Shrink Wrap MachineI have been asked my many entrepreneurs and start-up businesses what the best way is to package items such as DVDs, CDS, small boxes and other products for retail sale. My answer is always, “try using a shrink wrap machine.” One of the most reputable shrink wrap machines we offer is the Traco Standard SuperSealer (SS) shrink wrap machine. We use this same machine in our warehouse and I have had many opportunities to use it, including filming an informational video demo.

To begin with, Traco has been around for 27 years and manufactures a variety of I-bar machines, L-bar sealers, shrink wrap systems and offers a wide range of shrink wrap film. I like their products and consider them to be of a good caliber.

The Traco Standard SuperSealer is an I-bar sealer / shrink wrap machine. It is sometimes referred to as a straight-bar sealer. This is because it utilizes a single bar for cutting film, whether it be shrink wrap backs or centerfold shrink film. It includes a heat gun, which is used to complete the shrink wrap process.

This is a video demonstration of me using the Traco SS-24SS SuperSealer.

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Overall the results look very professional. The only downside to using an I-bar sealer is that it is very manually involved. You have to manually flip the product to seal the sides (which isn’t difficult). I would estimate 1-2 minutes to package a product, perhaps faster if the operator is experienced. This isn’t slow, but can’t be used for high-volume packaging purposes either.

I have used the SuperSealer shrink wrap machines with PVC and Polyolefin films. PVC is typically ideal for CDs, DVDs and boxes where Polyolefin is great for food, fruit baskets, etc. The included heat gun works very well and quickly shrinks the film down in seconds.

I personally consider the Traco line (both Standard and Delux SuperSealers) to be high quality products. The only other I-bar sealer that I would consider to be of equal quality is the AIE I-bar sealer found here. The AIE machine comes with a starter roll of film, which is pretty nice.

You can find the Traco Standard SuperSealer (SS) shrink wrap machine here and our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here.

Shrink Wrap vs. Stretch Wrap

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Shrink Wrap MachinesI can’t even begin to tell you how many people have asked me, “Should I use shrink wrap or stretch wrap to package this product?” Many people interchange stretch wrap and shrink wrap not realizing that they are two completely different products. I will help clear up the differences. By then end of this article you will be a stretch wrap and shrink wrap expert!

To begin with, both stretch wrap and shrink wrap are used for packaging purposes. For that reason, I believe a lot of people get confused. Here is my brief explanation of each of these packaging technologies.

Stretch Wrap – Stretch wrap is a type of clear plastic film that has the appearance and consistence of saran wrap. This film is typically designed to bundle multiple items together or provide stability to a package of items. As the film is wrapped around a product, some tension is required to provide stability. Stretch wrap film tends to “cling” together as it is wrapped over itself. Many stretch wrap machines are designed to apply stretch wrap to large pallets of products for stability and shipping purposes. No heat is applied during the stretch wrap process.

Shrink Wrap – Shrink wrap is also a type of clear plastic film, however, it does not have stretchy or clingy “saran wrap” properties. Shrink wrap is typically designed to package an individual product, although it can be used to package multiple items together. Unlike stretch wrap, which is wrapped around a product multiple times, shrink wrap is actually cut around a product using a heat sealer or shrink wrap bar. The shrink film then shrinks (hence the name) around the product as heat is applied. The end result is a professionally packaged product. Shrink wrap provides a tamper proof and protective barrier.

I hope that helped. Let me also demonstrate the differences between stretch wrap and shrink wrap with a few video demonstrations.

This is a video demo of a stretch wrap (pallet wrap) machine:

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This is a video demo of a shrink wrap machine:

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At ABC Office we offer a great selection of packaging products designed to preserve, protect and package. You can find our entire selection of pallet stretch wrappers here and our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here.

Please feel free to contact one of our packaging specialists at 1-800-658-8788 with any stretch wrap or shrink wrap questions.

Great I-Bar Shrink Wrap Machine Advice – Customer Q&A

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

AIE I-Bar Shrink Wrap MachineI just had a chat this morning with a customer regarding some small-volume packaging operations. The customer wanted to buy a shrink wrap machine, but was completely new to the industry and didn’t know exactly where to start. I don’t normally post chats in our blog, due to the fact that I have dozens a day, but this customer asked some pretty good questions that I think will help many of you who are shopping around for a shrink wrap machine.

This particular customer informed me that they were packaging about 6-8 boxes a day that measured in at 12 ½” L x 9 ½” W x 6 ½” H. This is where buying the right size machine can get a little complicated. The easiest way to determine the machine width you need is to take the width of the product you are packaging, plus the height and add 2″ on top of that. Some people only add 1″, but I find that 2″ gives you a little extra (and valuable) room.

This is what we calculated:

9.5″ + 6.5″+2″ = 18″

So we ended up determining that the customer needed a machine that was 18″ wide. In his case we only needed an I-bar sealer because he was only packaging 6-8 boxes a day. Because an I-bar sealer doesn’t use a tunnel, we didn’t need to worry about getting a machine that may have tunnel or chamber height issues.

I provided the customer with a link to our I-bar sealers. After browsing through them for a minute or two he asked me what I thought about the Traco Deluxe Super Sealer. I told him that Traco makes some great products, but that I considered the AIE I-bar sealer to be the better deal because it comes with a 500-foot roll of starter film. I informed him that both machines were probably equal in quality, but that they AIE system was simply the better deal.

He ended up ordering the 24″ AIE I-bar sealer (AIE-2024I) because he wanted to be future proof, believing that he may end up packaging larger items later down the road. In case you didn’t already know, a longer 24″ (or bigger) I-bar shrink wrap machine can use smaller rolls of film.

I hope this chat, and included details, help you with your shrink wrap machine shopping. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here and shrink wrap film here. If for any reason you still have questions about these machines, feel free to speak with one of our shrink wrap specialists by calling 1-800-658-8788.

Aline S-10 & S-6 Impulse Scissor Sealer Review

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Aline S-10 / S-6 Impulse Scissor SealersDo you need to quickly package and seal polyethylene or laminated foils for retail packaging purposes? Do you need to quickly seal around odd-shaped products, drums, box liners or perhaps larger items like furniture? You may want to consider using an impulse sealer like the Aline S-10 or S-6 impulse scissor sealers (found here). This is my review.

Scissor sealers are nice because they are easy to pick up, move around and they allow easy insertion of polyethylene or laminated foils. Aline manufactures a wide range of scissor sealers including floor models and handheld units. The S-10 and the S-6 are both handheld sealers, allowing for easy movement and use.

Using the S-10 or S-6 is extremely easy. The scissor sealer itself is attached to a cable that leads down to the main housing. This housing has a master power switch and a sealing time adjustment dial (timer). Simply take the housing, plug it into the wall and you’re ready to go.

The power cable is 8 feet long and the cable connecting the main housing to the scissor sealer is also 8 feet long. This provides for 16 total feet of length, making this sealer very portable and easy to use.

Both the Aline S-10 and Aline S-6 are pretty much the same in functionality and build, with the S-10 measuring in at 10″ long and the S-6 measuring in at 6″ long. Using them is extremely easy. Simply squeeze the handles to open the scissor-like jaws. These jaws easily and quickly clamp down on bags or film for fast sealing. An indicator light on the main housing will let you know when the sealing process is completed. Once sealing is completed, the handles can be squeezed again to release the product.

Both sealers work on the concept of impulse sealing. This means they use impulses of electricity to quickly cut through material, which is a huge benefit over straight heat. Impulse sealing produces less heat and less smell with continuous use.

One feature I really like about the Aline S-10 and S-6 is the optional flat band elements. You can use a 1/8″, 3/16″, ¼” or ½” flat band element. They can both also be used with wire cutting elements or cold cut wire. Both also come in a 220-volt version upon request.

Aline is known for their high-quality heat sealers, shrink wrap machines and other sealing products. The S-10 and S-6 fall right in line with this reputation and both feature an impressive 2-year warranty, a detailed manual and a spare parts kit.

You can find the Aline S-10 or S-6 impulse scissor sealers here and our entire selection of heat & impulse sealers here.

Is an Excess Film Winder Necessary for Shrink Wrap Machines?

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Shrink Wrap Machine Excess Film WinderI spoke with a customer about a week ago regarding the Minipack Galileo and the optional excess film winder. His question was, “Is the excess film winder something I really need or is just money wasted?” I have personally used shrink wrap machines with and without film winders and this is the answer I gave him.

To begin with, let me explain exactly what an excess film winder is. A film winder is a round drum-like spool that is typically located on the bottom of a shrink wrap machine. The drum is much like a cable spool that you would see electrical wire, coaxial cable or cat5e wire wrapped around. The main purpose of this spool is to contain excess film that is cut off during the shrink wrapping process.

To put it simple, a film winder helps contain the mess left behind during  the shrink wrap process. Is it necessary? No. Is it nice? Yes. Whether or not you use one depends a lot on how much material you are shrink wrapping. In my own shrink wrapping experience, I have found the winder to be more of a convenience than a necessity, however, packaging volume is the real determining factor.

If you will be packaging fewer than 50 items a day, a winder really isn’t necessary and is definitely more of a convenience. If you will be packaging hundreds to thousands of items a day, you may want to seriously consider using an excess film winder as excess shrink film will really begin to make a lot of clutter.

Many of our L-bar shrink wrap machines allow the option to use a film winder. You can find our entire selection of L-bar shrink wrap machines here. If you don’t see a film winder on the machine you need, call us at 1-800-658-8788 and well see if one is available.

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