Posts Tagged ‘Paper Shrink Wrap Machines’

Shrink Wrap Machines for Stacks of Paper

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Shrink Wrap Stacks of PaperIf you are filing away stacks of paper, invoices and other material from previous years, one great way to keep that paper protected is by shrink wrapping it. Shrink wrap provides a barrier from pests, dust, moisture and other damaging elements. Even better, shrink wrap helps keep paper bundled together, makes it easy to move around and makes it easier to organize. This is a process we use here at ABC Office. So which machine (found here) should you use to package your stacks of paper?

Shrink wrap machines come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on what you are packaging and how much you are packaging. The two most common shrink wrap tools people use for packaging paper is I-bar sealers and shrink wrap systems. Here is what the two systems consist of:

  • I-Bar Sealers (found here) – This is a type of shrink wrap machine that uses a single straight bar to cut a line through film. The bar cuts the film and seals the edge shut. While I-bar sealers can be used with shrink bags, most people use centerfold shrink film (found here) to package paper. The centerfold film is affordable, only requires two passes of the bar and is excellent for packaging volumes of stacks of paper. Once the I-bar has been used to cut the film around the paper, a heat gun is used to shrink the film down. I-bar sealers are probably the most common machines used by small to medium-size businesses for shrink wrapping old documents, invoices and other paperwork.
  • Shrink Wrap Systems (found here) – Shrink wrap systems are designed for higher-volume packaging than your standard I-bar sealer. They use what’s known as an L-bar to seal the film The L-bar is designed to seal two sizes of the film, essentially completely sealing the paper in a single pass. Most shrink wrap systems include a heat tunnel either integrated or to the side of the machine. Heat tunnels shrink film at a much faster speed than your standard heat gun.

Shrink Wrap SystemsSo what size of machine should you use? You will need to measure the paper to determine the sealing width dimensions. What you will need is the width and the height of the paper. I recently had a conversation with a customer that was packaging 12″ x 18″ paper that was about 4″ high. Sealing length with I-bar sealers isn’t such a big deal as the length of the product can be as long as the film roll is. What’s really important is the sealing width. So follow this formula when shopping for an I-bar sealer:

Width + Height + 2″

So for a 12″ x 18″ sheet size at 4″ tall, you would take 12″ + 4″ + 2″, which is 18″. So in this situation, the customer needed an 18″ I-bar sealer.

When shopping for a shrink wrap system (L-bar sealer), you will need to take the width and length into account.

What kind of film should you use? Centerfold shrink film, which is what you use for shrink wrapping paper, comes in two types of materials. The first is PVC and the second is Polyolefin. PVC film isn’t food safe, but since you are packaging paper that doesn’t matter. Here are a couple of things to consider between the two film types:

  • Centerfold Shrink Wrap FilmPVC Film (found here) – PVC film in most cases is going to be the cheaper of the two. If cost is an issue, you may want to consider using PVC film for packaging paper. Most people use 75 gauge film for packaging paper, however, if you are packaging over 2″ of paper, you may want to consider thicker 100 gauge film. PVC film is more brittle than Polyolefin film and can break in situations where Polyolefin film will stay together.
  • Polyolefin Film (found here) – Polyolefin film is rising in popularity for packaging paper for many reasons. For one, polyolefin film is more pliable and has more give for bundling large stacks of paper. Second, Polyolefin gives off fewer odors when heat is applied, making Polyolefin more desirable for packaging in enclosed places.

Regardless of the machine you go with, shrink wrap film is by far one of the most economical and long term tools for packaging and storing away paper. The film is clear, making enclosed paper easy to see, and you can easily write on it with a magic marker. If you are packaging invoices for a specific month and year, simply write on the film what the stack of invoices contains. It makes paperwork organization easy.

Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions about packaging paper for storage purposes. We use shrink wrap here at ABC office for filing away paperwork and are more than happy to provide you with tips and advice. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here.

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