Posts Tagged ‘I-Bar Sealers’

How To Use An I-Bar Sealer for Shrink Wrapping w/ Video

Friday, August 24th, 2012

I-Bar Sealer for Shrink Wrap PackagingIf you are trying to package your own products, whether it is a DVD or a box of chocolates, you will probably want to use some sort of shrink wrap packaging. One of the most affordable and effective ways to package products on a low to medium-volume scale is by using an I-bar sealer. These sealers are remarkably easy to operate, take very little time to use and are very affordable. I have used dozens of different models of I-bar sealers (found here) and would like to provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to use one. I am going to include a very informative video demo in this article.

This how-to guide can be used with just about any I-bar sealer, although most of my experience is with Traco, Intelli-Pack and AIE brand machines. There are very few differences between I-bar sealers other than perhaps the build quality. I have found Traco, Intelli-Pack and AIE machines to be top of the line. Most I-bar sealers feature a film roll holder, a film opener, a spring-loaded sealing bar and many include a heat gun. Most I-bar sealers can be used with PVC and Polyolefin centerfold film rolls or bags.

Before I go into how to use an I-bar sealer in this article, I would like to post our video demo on how to use an I-bar sealer.

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How to Use an I-Bar Sealer

  • Step 1 – If you are using centerfold shrink film, place your roll of film on the two supporting film rollers. These rollers spin on smooth-rolling bearings, making it easy to dispense film.
  • Step 2 – Once the film is in place, feed the open end of the film over the film separator. The film separator is a metal bar (usually round) that helps keep the film opened for easy product insertion.
  • Step 3 – Take your product and put it inside the open pocked of film. You don’t want too much excess film, so try and make sure the product you are packaging isn’t pulled too far left of the sealing bar.
  • Step 4 – Pull down the sealing bar and cut the film to the right of the product you are packaging. If the bar isn’t cutting the film properly, you may need to increase the sealing time. Once you have your first side sealed, take the package and rotate it 90 degrees to the left and seal the other open side shut.
  • Step 5 – Now that your product is completely enclosed in film, take your heat gun and begin applying heat. Apply heat to all sides of the product you are packaging. This will cause the film to shrink and hug tightly to the item you are packaging. The heat gun’s temperature can typically be increased or decreased. If you notice the film is breaking or holes are melting through, you may need to decrease the temperature, hold the gun further back or move the heat gun around instead of leaving it in a single spot.

Using an I-bar sealer is extremely easy as you can see from the video demo and my step-by-step instructions. If you are packaging dozens to hundreds of products a day, an I-bar sealer is an affordable option. If you are packaging thousands a day, you may need to upgrade to an L-bar sealer with an integrated tunnel. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here and shrink film here.

Overview of the Traco SuperSealer I-Bar Shrink Wrap Machines

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Traco Deluxe SuperSealer I-Bar Shrink Wrap MachineMany people ask me, “Do you offer an economical alternative to your high-end shrink wrap machines?” This is an understandable question. Not everyone wants or needs to spend thousands of dollars on a high-end shrink wrap system. One economical alternative is to use an I-bar sealer, like those manufactured by Traco.

Traco is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of shrink wrap machines and shrink wrap film. Their 60,000 square foot facility has been cranking out packaging equipment for years. Having been in business for 27 years, Traco has developed a stalwartly reputation. We sell a lot of Traco supplies and equipment and I can tell you from personal experience that their products really are that good.

Traco I-bar sealers use the exact same shrink wrap bags and centerfold rolls of shrink film that the high end machines do. They just use a slightly different method to complete the process. To date, their I-bar sealers range in length from 13″ up to 40″. This means you can use them to package something as small as a CD or as large as a box. To date, over 150,000 SuperSealers have been sold.

Comparable to the AIE I-bar sealers, the Traco SuperSealers are available in two different designs. You have the standard SuperSealer and the deluxe SuperSealer. So what are the differences between the two? I’ll explain.

Traco Standard SuperSealer I-Bar Shrink Wrap MachineTwo Types of SuperSealers

  • Standard SuperSealer – The Standard SuperSealer (found here) is extremely similar to the Deluxe model. It includes a roller base for the centerfold roll of film and a film separator. The spring-loaded sealing arm can be pulled down, activating the cutting wire in the “I Bar.” This cuts the film. An included HotShot heat gun can then be used to shrink the film. The entire process takes just minutes, and if sealing a small item, just seconds.
  • Portable Deluxe SuperSealer – The Deluxe SuperSealer (found here) is almost exactly the same as the standard version, but also includes a light that lets you know when the sealing process is occurring. When the light is off, the sealing is done. Some people enjoy having this visual indicator, although it is not a necessity. The Deluxe version also includes a replacement parts kit and a 50’ starter roll of film.

 

This is a video demo of the Traco SuperSealer in use:

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Both versions of the SuperSealer produce high-quality results. Products packaged on a SuperSealer have the same professional appearance as those packaged on high-end shrink wrap systems and L-Bar sealers.

Whether you are packaging CDs and DVDs, or simply want to provide an attractive / protective sleeve for your art or photo prints, the SuperSealer shrink wrap machine has multiple uses. The best think is that SuperSealer shrink wrap machines cost hundreds, rather than thousands of dollars. The only limitation of the SuperSEaler, versus a high-end machine, is the speed. I-bar sealers, like the SuperSealer, are best used for light to medium-volume packaging.

You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here and shrink wrap film here. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 to speak with one of our shrink wrap / packaging specialists.

Best Way to Package Chocolates

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Chocolate Packaging Shrink Wrap MachineWhether you are making your own chocolates or need a way to package boxes of chocolates, you are probably going to need some sort of retail packaging. While there are several ways you can package chocolates, one of the most popular methods is by using shrink wrap. Which kind of shrink wrap machine is best for packaging chocolates and is there any risk of the chocolates melting? I will answer these questions and more in this article.

Having been in the packaging industry for over a decade know, I have seen people package everything from pizzas and baskets to soap and books. Another popular item is chocolates. This involves chocolates in a box or unboxed. There are a couple of different approaches you can take to shrink wrapping chocolate. These involve I-bar sealers and L-bar sealers. The machine you use depends on the volume you will be packaging. Here area  few benefits of both:

I-Bar Sealers – I-bar sealers (aka straight bar sealers) involve a single cutting bar. This bar is pulled down to cut film around an object, usually requiring 2 passes. These systems can be used with shrink bags, but are typically used with centerfold shrink film. Simply insert your chocolate bar or box, cut the film around the package and sealing the film using a heat gun. These machines are ideal for a few dozen to a few hundred packages a day.

Here is a video demo of an I-bar sealer in use:

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L-Bar Sealers – L-bar sealers use an L shaped sealing bar that completely seals chocolate in film in a single pass. These types of sealers can be used in conjunction with a heat gun or a heat tunnel. Many modern L-bar sealers incorporate a built-in heat tunnel that seals and shrinks the film in a single pass. These machines are ideal for a few hundred to a few thousand packages per day. Some of the higher-end machines can package tens of thousands a day.

Here is a video demo of an L-bar sealer in use:

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Which type of film should you use?
There are two primary types of shrink wrap film used in packaging. One is PVC and the other is Polyolefin. The only film that is safe for use with food is Polyolefin. This means if you are packaging chocolate, you should use Polyolefin film (aka Poly film). This is especially important if the film will be directly touching the chocolate.

Will the chocolates melt? Many people thing that since heat is used in the shrink wrap process that it will melt the chocolate. This is usually not the case. L-bar sealers, using an integrated or built-in heat tunnel will rarely if ever cause the chocolate to melt. The heat process takes just seconds and is too little time to do any damage.

I-bar sealers, which use a heat gun, do run a higher risk of melting the chocolate. While it rarely ever happens, chocolate can begin to melt if the heat gun is left on any one spot for too long. It is my observation that I-bar sealers (with heat gun) will only melt the chocolate if human error is involved. If the gun is left on any one spot for too long, it will usually damage the shrink wrap as well. Heat guns take just seconds to shrink film, so you really shouldn’t run into any issues, especially if the chocolates are in a box.

At ABC office we have sold hundreds of machines to people packaging chocolates and they always end up happy with the end results. If you do have questions, or have unique chocolate packaging needs, please feel free to speak with one of our packaging specialists at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here and shrink wrap film 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.

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.

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.

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.

Do-It-Yourself Shrink Wrap Packaging

Monday, November 29th, 2010

I-Bar Shrink Wrap MachineAre you starting up your own business or are you trying to sell your own unique product? If you are selling goods, of any sort, you may be in need of a shrink wrap machine. Many people are intimidated at the thought of packaging their own products. Some think it is too hard and others think it is too expensive. This isn’t the case.

You may be surprised by how many of our customers buy shrink wrap machines and film from us for their own do-it-yourself packaging. The most popular type of shrink wrap machine for start-up businesses is the I-bar sealer. We offer models from both AIE and Traco that are both huge hits.

An I-bar (aka straight bar) shrink wrap machine has a single bar that is used for cutting film around a product. When used with centerfold shrink wrap film, a total of about 2 passes are required to completely package a product. A shrink bag only requires one pass. Once the package is fully sealed, a heat gun is used to shrink the film down.

The entire packaging process only takes a few minutes. Here is a video demo of me using a Traco I-bar shrink wrap machine. I have had customers use I-bar sealers to package CDs, DVDs, fruit baskets, soap bars, chocolate and more.

The I-bar shrink wrap machines we sell are made from high quality components. They rarely need servicing. Most servicing involves changing the pad, the tape or the wire element. We offer all of these parts and they can be replaced by anyone.

You can find our entire selection of I-bar shrink wrap machines here. You can find our polyolefin shrink film here and our PVC  shrink film here.

Good luck packaging your products! I am certain that you will have great luck and success with your do-it-yourself packaging operations. The end results will be very professional and will make a great impression on your customers.

Packaging Playing Cards? Consider Using A Shrink Wrap Machine.

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I-Bar Shrink Wrap Sealers / MachinesSo you’re packaging playing cards for retail sale, for use in a casino or for promotions. What is the best way to do this? You may want to consider using a shrink wrap machine. Shrink wrap is a fast and effective way to package playing cards. There are a few different ways to do this.

The two ways people package playing cards is by using an I-bar or an L-bar sealer with a heat tunnel or heat gun. The method you use will depend entirely on the amount of decks you would like to package. As a general rule, I-bar sealers are designed for lower volumes and L-bar sealers are for higher volumes of packaging.

  • I-bar sealers can be used to package several dozen to a few hundred decks a day. The speed really depends on the operator. A total of two passes of the sealing bar are required to completely seal in the deck of cards. A heat gun is then used to shrink the film. The entire process takes about 30 seconds to a minute. Be aware that I-bar sealers are sometimes called straight-bar sealers.
  • L-bar sealers can be used to package several hundred to potentially several thousand decks a day, depending on the model. Only one pass of the sealing bar is required. Heat tunnels are general used with L-bar sealers, with many L-bar machines including built-in heat tunnels. The entire process usually takes a few seconds.

Again, take into consideration how many decks of cards you wan to package now and in the future. If you expect your packaging volume to increase, you may want to invest your money in an L-bar machine. This will save you money in the long run.

You can find our entire selection of I-bar shrink wrap machines here and our entire selection of L-bar shrink wrap machines here. Still have questions about packaging your decks of cards? Call us at 1-800-658-8788 or leave you question in a comment.

Best Machine for Shrink Wrapping CDs, DVDs and Video Games

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

I-Bar Shrink Wrap Machine for CDs, DVDs and Video GamesSo you want to shrink wrap CDs, DVDs or video games but don’t know where to start? You’re in luck. We offer several options for packaging and shrink wrapping DVDs and CDs. You have two options for doing this.

The first option is the all-popular I-bar system and the other is the L-bar system. The shrink wrap machine you use will depend entirely on how many you would like to package per day. Shrink wrap protects, presents and provides a tamper-proof way to sell products.

The I-bar shrink wrap system, sometimes called a straight-bar system, is the most common and popular method used for packaging CDs, DVDs and video games. This may be for re-packaging video games for “used” sales or for packaging an independent artist’s CD.

I-bar shrink wrap machines use centerfold shrink film, which is very affordable. Once encased in plastic, a heat gun is used to shrink the film. This can be used to package anywhere from a dozen to a few hundred items per day. The entire process can take 20 seconds to a few minutes, depending on the skill of the operator and the size of the item being packaged.

Minipack Galaxy Shrink Wrapper for DVD, CD and Video Game PackagingHere are two good I-bar sealers for packaging CDs, DVDs and Video Games:

L-bar shrink wrap machines are faster than I-bar systems. They use an “L” shaped sealing bar that completely encloses a CD, DVD or video game in plastic in one single pass. Many have a built-in heat tunnel. The entire process takes a few seconds. These can be used to package hundreds of disks a day. Little manual effort is needed.

Here are two good L-bar sealers for packaging CDs, DVDs and Video Games:

You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here. Good luck packaging your CDs, DVDs and video games!

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