Archive for the ‘Shrink Wrap / Packaging’ Category

Minipack Galaxy Shrink Wrap Machine Video Demo

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Minipack Galaxy Shrink Wrap MachineOne of my favorite all-in-one shrink wrap machines is the Minipack Galaxy. It is easy to use and literally takes just seconds from start to finish. This machine can be used to package CDs, DVDs, gift baskets, pizzas, soap and much more.

Basically all you need to do is take the product you are packaging, place it in the film and pull down the hood. The hood will cut the film around the product and then envelope the plastic in hot air, shrinking the film. The end results are extremely professional and are perfect for transportation, presentation and retail sale.

I would go into more detail on how to use the machine, but this video will probably do more in 6 minutes than I could explain in 6 pages. Enjoy!

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I hope you liked this video. This machine is affordable, is made in Italy and now has a long history and great reputation behind it. You can find the Minipack Galaxy shrink wrap machine here and our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here. Have a great day!

How to Shrink Wrap a Gift Basket

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Shrink Wrapped Gift BasketMother’s day is right around the corner and gift baskets are a popular item during that time of the year. If you are a business that makes gift baskets, our you’re simply a hobbyist, you may want to consider shrink wrapping your own gift baskets. The process is very easy and the end results look just as professional as anything out there. I’ll explain.

To begin with, shrink wrap looks great, it protects the enclosed product and keeps items safe while being transported. While cellophane is popular for gift baskets, shrink wrap looks far more professional (in my opinion). To begin shrink wrapping gift baskets, you’re going to need a few items:

I-Bar Shrink Wrap Machines for Gift BasketsEquipment Needed

  • I-bar shrink wrap machine
  • Centerfold PVC or polyolefin film
  • Heat shrink gun

I recommend using an I-bar shrink wrap machine, sometimes called a straight bar shrink wrap machine. This is because it can be used to quickly cut down your own shrink wrap bags, making it possible to tailor a bag to fit just about any unique size basket. Some people use “wand style” shrink wrap bars, but I think an I-bar system is more precise.

You will then need shrink wrap film. I highly recommend using centerfold film. This type of film is already folded over once and rolled into a single roll. This makes it easy to quickly create shrink pockets for packaging purposes. This can be PVC or polyolefin film. I recommend using 60-75 gauge film, although thicker film should be fine.

Last, you are going to need a heat gun (not a hair drier). The heat gun is used to shrink the film around the basket.

There are two ways to package a gift basket using shrink film. One way is to wrap the film around the basket using a machine and the second way is to cut the bag first and then place it over the basket, sometimes called the “handle” packaging method. This is considered to be the best method of packaging baskets with handles.

If your basket does not have a handle, you can still use the “handle” packaging method, but you may have better luck simply placing your basket in the film (on the machine), sealing the film and heat shrinking it. I will be covering the handle method of packaging.

Shrink Wrap FilmHere area few steps for packaging gift baskets.

  1. Determine the length you will need for your basket. I recommend using a measuring tape. Also be sure that the film roll you are using is wide enough for your basket. I recommend measuring the height of the basket and cutting the film about 6-12″ longer. The film is cut by using the I-bar sealer. Remember, a little excess film isn’t a big deal as it will shrink with heat.
  2. Take your cut bag and slide it over the basket. Pull the film down over the basket until the centerfold seam of the film sits on the handle of the basket.
  3. Take the excess film and tuck it under the basket.
  4. Take your heat gun, tilt your basket at a 90 degree angle and start shrink wrapping the bunched film under the basket. This will cause the open “bunched” end of the film to stick together. Tilt the basket the other way and apply the same amount of heat to the basket.
  5. Now take your heat gun and shrink the rest of the film around the basket. Don’t keep the gun in any one place for too long as this could cause a hole to melt open.
  6. Once the heat gun has shrunk the film, you can repeat the process on another basket.

Having done this myself, I can tell you that packaging a gift basket will only take about 2-3 minutes (once you have the hang of the process). The end results look great and very professional, which should in turn increase sales.

We offer a great selection of I-bar shrink wrap machines here. This includes brands from Traco and AIE. The Deluxe Traco system and the AIE system include the I-bar sealer, a roll of film and a heat gun. This is everything you need to get started. You can find our entire selection of centerfold PVC and polyolefin shrink film here.

Do you still have questions about packaging your gift basket? Give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. Our shrink wrap experts all have experience packaging a wide variety of products and should be able to quickly and professionally answer your questions.

Best Sealing Width For Heat Sealers

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Heat Sealers / Bag SealersHeat sealers are great machines to have on hand. They can be used to package and seal most plastic bags. While heat sealers vary in sealing length, they also vary in sealing width. So which sealing width is best for packaging your products?

As should probably come as no surprise, the thicker the sealing width, the more durable the seal. I have found that as the sealing length goes up, the sealing width increases to compensate for the added pressure from the larger contents of the bag. This isn’t, however, always the case.

If you have found a heat sealer of equal length, but of varying sealing widths, there are a few things you will want to take into consideration.

If you are sealing liquids, powders or other fluidic products, you may want to use a wider sealing width. This is because liquids, powders and other pliable products can quickly produce added pressure in a single area during shipping and transport. More pressure could create a rupture if the sealing width is too small.

If you are packaging solid products, food, parts and other materials, you may be fine with a thinner sealing width. Remember, the smaller the sealing width the less film and bag you will end up using. Sealers with smaller sealing widths also typically cost less money.

If in doubt, a thicker sealing width will certainly not hurt anything and will provide you with added protection.

Common sealing widths include:

  1. 2mm (most common)
  2. 5mm
  3. 10mm
  4. 15mm (typically the largest)

A few additional features you may find in a heat sealer includes a magnetic lockdown (for convenience) and a built-in cutter for slicing off excess plastic.

You can find our entire selection of heat sealers here. Feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any heat sealer related questions.

Best Way To Package Cake Clamshells

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Minipack Galileo Shrink Wrap Machine & PackagingI had a customer ask me today if we offered a machine that could be used to package cake clamshells. I informed her that we had several machines that would work, but I needed to ask a few questions first. We ended up settling on a shrink wrap machine. This is how we came to that decision.

To begin with, I asked the customer how many cakes she was packaging per day. She informed me that she would be packaging about 300 cakes a day, which were enclosed in clamshell packaging. I informed the customer that 300 pieces a day was a fairly large amount.

I then asked the customer how big the clamshells were. She informed me that they were about 9″ x 7″ wide and 2″ high. I provided the customer with a few options.

First of all, 300 cakes a day is a lot. While you could use an I-bar sealer (found here), I informed the customer that they would be looking at about 2-3 minutes per package, perhaps 1 minute per package with a well-experienced operator. Even in a best-case scenario that would be about 5 hours to package everything.

I informed the customer that she would probably want an L-bar shrink wrap machine with an integrated tunnel. These types of systems take anywhere from 10-20 seconds per package. Packaging time will go up or down depending on how automated the machine is. In a best-case scenario this would take about 50-60 minutes.

I explained to the customer that the amount of time saved per day would easily make up the difference in cost. The customer also informed me that she would probably experience an increase in volume if everything went as planned. She definitely needed an L-bar system.

We ended up settling on the Minipack Galileo. The Galileo is affordable, could easily packaging the cake clamshell and seemed to be the best fit.

Having used the Galileo myself, I am confident that the customer will be very happy in the long run.

You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here.

Best Gauge Of Shrink Wrap Film

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Best Gauge Of Shrink Wrap FilmI have customers ask me at least a couple of times a week which gauge of shrink wrap film is the best to use. I always answer that question with my own question, “what will you be shrink wrapping?” Answers to this question will help you determine the optimal gauge of shrink film you will need for your packaging projects.

There are two primary types of shrink wrap film. These are PVC film and Polyolefin (Poly) shrink wrap film. Both types of film are made from high quality materials. Both films have similar shrinking temperatures and can be used universally on most shrink wrap machines.  Both of these films are usually available in a centerfold roll format.

PVC film is old school, having been around for some time. PVC shrink wrap film has a harder texture to it and is commonly used for packaging DVDs, CDs, boxes and other material.

Polyolefin film is a little newer than PVC. While it can still be used to package DVDs, boxes and other retail goods, it is also food safe. Poly film also has a more stretchy quality to it than PVC film.

The gauge of shrink wrap defines the thickness of the film. The higher the number, the thicker the film. Many people think that they need a thicker film simply because thicker has to be better, right? I tell most people that they will be fine with thinner gauge film

Thicker gauge film is best used for bundling multiple products together, where the chance of the film bursting or tearing open is higher.

PVC film typically comes in 75 gauge and 100 gauge thicknesses. The 75 gauge continues to be the most popular thickness.

Polyolefin film usually comes in 60 gauge, 75 gauge and 100 gauge thicknesses. Since Polyolefin film is stretchier than PVC film (and tears less easily), you can usually get away with the 60 gauge film without any problems.

You can find our entire selection of PVC shrink wrap film here and Polyolefin shrink wrap film here. If you’re in need of a machine, you can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here.

Affordable Pizza Packaging Machines

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Affordable Pizza Packaging MachinesI recently had a customer ask me if we sold anything that could be used to package pizza for a local pizza shop. I told him that we had several “pizza packaging machines” and the model he used depended entirely on how many pizzas he needed to package. You know what that pizza packaging machine was? It was a shrink wrap machine. I’ll explain.

Shrink wrap machines aren’t only used for packaging DVDs, CDs and software boxes. They are also very commonly used to package food. That’s right! Shrink wrap machines can be used to package pizzas, chocolates and even fruits. The trick is to use the correct type of shrink wrap film.

PVC film, which is often used to package DVDs, CDs and other products is not safe for use with food. If you are packaging food, you will need to use Polyolefin film. Polyolefin is 100% food safe, has a stretchier feel than PVC and looks very professional.

One of our manufactures, Minipack, told us that a lot of people use the Minipack Galileo to package pizzas. This is because the Galileo has a large chamber area and can be used to package a pizza in just seconds. In fact, it operates at a speed of up to 300 items per our. That’s about 5 seconds per item. Of course the speed can vary depending on the operator.

We also offer what’s known as an I-bar sealer. These types of sealers take longer to package ranging from 30-60 seconds, but they also cost less money to buy. Our I-bar sealers use a heat gun, rather than a heat tunnel, to shrink wrap pizza.

Here are a few popular shrink wrap machines you can use to package pizza:

  1. Minipack Galileo
  2. Compack 5800 Shrink Wrap Machine
  3. Traco SS Standard Super Sealer
  4. Traco DS Deluxe Super Sealer
  5. AIE I-Bar Shrink Wrapper

All five of these models have a great track record. As a general rule, L-bar sealers like the Compack 5800 and Minipack Galileo are better for higher-volume packaging. The I-bar sealers, such as the Traco and AIE models, are best suited for medium-volume pizza packaging.

Packaging pizza is very easy to do and you shouldn’t feel intimidated by the prospect of packaging your own food. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here. Feel free to call us up at 1-800-658-8788 to speak with one of our shrink wrap specialists. They should be able to answer all your pizza-packaging questions.

AIE 310HD Double Impulse Bag Sealer Review

Friday, January 28th, 2011

AIE 310HD Double Impulse 10mm Bag SealerDo you need a heavy-duty tabletop bag sealer that can be used to close bags for retail sale? While there are many handheld heat sealers out there, few are designed for high-volume commercial use. One model you may want to take a look at is the AIE 310HD double impulse bag sealer (found here). This is my review.

AIE manufactures are wide variety of impulse sealers, bag sealers, band sealers and shrink wrap machines. AIE products are considered to be some of the best available for retail packaging purposes. One of their more unique products is the AIE 310HD.

Both the AIE 310HD and the AIE 305HD are very similar machines. The biggest difference between the two is that the 310HD has a 10mm sealing width and the 305HD has a 5mm sealing width.

Many people have asked me why someone would need a machine this big. To begin with, many of our customers use the 310HD to bag and seal computer components, cosmetics, personal care items, baby wipes and coffee bags. Because the 310HD has a 10mm sealing width, the packaging holds up extremely well.

The 310HD has both a top and a bottom heating element. This is necessary for sealing thick bags. The 310HD has been rated for sealing bags up to 20 mils thick. This is perfect for plastic lined, foil and gusset bags.

The build quality on the AIE 310HD is exceptional. It features a heavy duty transformer designed to keep up with commercial and industrial bag sealing operations. It also has a durable cast aluminum housing that can take a pounding. The handle is leveraged in such a way that it is extremely easy to pull down.

Simply make the proper adjustments on the machine, place your bag in the opening and pull down the handle. Literally seconds later the bag with have a durable 10mm seal. Once done, the bag can be removed and another can be placed inside.

Like most AIE products, I highly recommend this model. It is tough and great for long commercial runs. There are literally dozens of retail packaging possibilities with this machine.

You can find the AIE 310HD double impulse bag sealer here. You can find our entire selection of bag sealers and heat sealers here.

Traco THC-150 Handheld Bag Sealer Review

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Traco THC-150 Crimp Style Bag SealerDo you need to quickly seal up balloons, small gift bags or other novelties? One great way to do this is by using a handheld bag sealer. One model you may want to consider is the 6″ Traco THC-150 handheld crimp-style bag sealer (found here). This is my review.

Traco is one of the largest manufactures of shrink wrap equipment, supplies, heat sealers and bag sealers in the United States. Their products have developed a great reputation and are considered to be an affordable alternative to other more expensive products on the market.

The THC-150 is designed to seal bags up to 6″ wide. As mentioned earlier, this may include balloons, gift bags, small retail bags and more. It can be used with materials like polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, foil, surlyn, Mylar and bubble packaging. It is a very versatile sealer.

Sealing is done via a constant-heat Teflon sealing surface. This means that it can be used for repeat sealing and is great for keeping up with a wide variety of projects. I would rate this sealer as a light to medium-volume sealer.

The THC-150 only weighs in at 1 pound, so it is extremely portable. It is also fairly compact, which means it can be placed in most drawers and cupboards for storage purposes.

The housing of the THC-150 is made out of plastic. Once plugged in, it takes about 10-15 minutes before it is fully warmed up and ready to use. Sealing only takes a few seconds. It can seal bags up to 0.010″ thick.

While the THC-150 isn’t the best bag sealer Traco has to offer (no slitter or impulse sealing), it is an affordable alternative that is capable of keeping up with most jobs. The build quality is great for what it is and it should hold up well.

You can find the Traco THC-150 handheld crimp-style bag sealer here. You can find our entire selection of heat and bag sealers here.

Traco TISH Handheld Bag Sealer Review

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Traco TISH Impulse Bag SealerBag sealers are a very important tool in the retail and packaging market. Bag sealers (aka heat sealers) can be used to seal a wide variety of PVC, poly, foil, mylar and other bags. They can also be used to seal bubble pack bags and padded mailers. If you need a good solid bag sealer, you may want to consider our Traco TISH impulse bag sealers (found here). I have used these and this is my review.

One of the most popular bag sealers we sell is the AIE line of handheld sealers. The Traco TISH line the second most popular line we offer and it is quickly rising in popularity. This is due in part to the excellent pricing and the fact that TISH sealers are made from the same parts as the AIE sealers. This means the TISH sealers equal the quality of AIE sealers, usually at a much better price.

Traco has been making shrink wrap equipment and machines for years. Manufacturing impulse bag sealers fit right in with their existing product line.

The TISH line of impulse heat sealers comes in a variety of different designs. These include the TISH-100, TISH-200, TISH-200C, TISH-300 and the TISH-300C. These sealers are all very similar in make and construction. The biggest difference is the cutting width. Models ending in “C” include a built-in cutter.

These sealers use impulses of electricity to quickly seal bags shut. This is a huge advantage over traditional heat sealers as impulse sealers produce less smoke and less odor.

The TISH line of bag sealers can be used to seal polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, foil and surlyn, mylar or bubble pack / padded mailers. This makes the TISH sealers extremely versatile.

Very little training is needed to get one of these bag sealers up and running. Once the time duration has been set, simply plug in the machine, insert a bag and pull down the arm. In just seconds a bag will be completely sealed shut.

The TISH line of sealers weigh in at 6-12 pounds shipped, depending on the model. This makes them very light and very portable. This is great, especially for packaging operations that require a portable machine.

We have been selling TISH bag sealers for several years now and I am not aware of any quality issues. The build quality seems to be right where it should be. Traco claims, and I agree, that the TISH bag sealers are designed to hold up for years.

You can find our Traco TISH bag sealers here. You can find our entire selection of heat sealers and bag sealers here.

Hot Wire Foam Cutter Tips & Advice

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Hot Wire Foam Cutters from RiemaWhether you need to cut foam packaging to fit a product, or are in the stucco business, you can probably benefit from using a hot wire foam cutter. This useful little machines are compact, portable and can even be used on-site for construction purposes. Here are a few things you may not know about our hot wire foam cutters.

To begin with, we carry a wide variety of hot wire foam cutters from Riema. These cutters are German engineered for perfection, and to be honest, they are really easy to use. One thing Riema focuses on is the ability to create multiple precise cuts on a single foam block.

Riema hot wire foam cutters are set up on sturdy ball bearing rail tracks that are dead-on accurate. This makes strait cuts fast and easy and the end results look professional. These hot wire cutters also make angled cuts extremely easy and accurate.

Hot Wire Foam Cutter Cutting Examples

Our line of hot wire foam cutters is very portable. The high-end Riema L-G-S 135R even includes wheels for easy portability. These hot wire cutters can be used in a vertical or horizontal position and make it easy to cut on a worktable, counter or other surface.

The hot wire on the Riema foam cutters is safe. It heats up quickly for cuts and cools down equally as fast for safe handling.

What if you need to cut a unique foam piece for custom packaging? No worries. Riema hot wire foam cutters allow the hot wire lever to become disconnected from the base for freeform foam cutting. This makes it possible to cut foam at just about any angle in just about any position.

We currently carry three Riema hot wire foam cutters. They are as follows:

The quality of these hot wire foam cutters is unsurpassed. Feel free to speak with one of our knowledgeable Customer Service Representatives with any questions by calling 1-800-658-8788. Be sure to check out our hot wire foam cutter index. Have a great day!

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