Posts Tagged ‘Shrink Wrap Film’

Three Affordable Heat Guns for Your Shrink Wrap Film

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Shrink Wrap Heat GunsShrink wrap film, by design, shrinks down when put in direct contact with heat. Many shrink wrap machines are used in conjunction with heat tunnels and integrated hoods, but one of the most popular tools for applying heat continues to be the heat gun (found here). There are a lot of misconceptions about these tools. I would like to clarify what makes a heat gun and recommend a few you may want to use.

As mentioned earlier, shrink film contracts when applied to heat. This is designed to produce a tight, clear and smooth surface for packaging purposes. You have probably dealt with shrink film when opening a DVD, CD or other packaging. While there is a lot of different types of shrink film out there, two are used above all others. These are:

  1. PVC Film (found here) – This type of film is clear, common and cheap. It is extremely popular, universally compatible with pretty much all shrink wrap machines and is excellent for packaging boxes, CDs, DVDs and much more. This type of film has been around a long time. It should be noted that it is not food safe and it is more brittle than Polyolefin film.
  2. Polyolefin Film (found here) – This film is also clear and shrinks much like PVC film. The difference being that it is FDA approved for direct contact with film. Polyolefin film also has much stretchier properties to it when compared to PVC film. While it used to be more expensive per square foot than PVC, the cost has really come down over the years. Polyolefin, unlike PVC film, little to no odors and smoke.

Heat guns can be used to shrink down either one of these types of film without any problem. They can be used with centerfold rolls of film, bags, sheets and much more. One question I get frequently asked is, “Is a heat gun the same thing as a hair dryer?” The quick and simple answer to this is a definite “NO.” A heat gun is many times hotter than a hair dryer, even on the low setting. A heat gun would literally singe the hair off your head.

Heat guns shouldn’t be intimidating though. They are designed to be safe to use including insulated handles that will stay cool during use. You just need to use a little common sense when operating one. At ABC Office we currently offer three different models of heat guns. I would like to cover these three.

  • HG-1-CY Heat GunSealerSales HG-1-CY (found here) – This is one of the least expensive heat guns available on the internet. This gun is lightweight, has a dual temperature setting (high and low) and includes a kickstand that allows it to sit on end when not in use. At just 1 pound 10 ounces, this heat gun isn’t going to tire you out with continued use. It can be used with most types of shrink film including PVC, POF, PET and PP film. You really can’t go wrong with this heat gun, especially for the price.
  • SealerSales HG-1 (found here) – If you like the HG-1CY, but need some added temperature, consider going with the HG-1. This heat gun is just a few more dollars, but can go all the way up to 1,100 degrees for use with film that needs a little more heat. This heat gun also works with most film and is extremely easy to use. The design allows it to easily sit on its end without the need of a fold-out kickstand.
  • Traco Hot Shot (found here) – This heat gun is one of the most popular used today and has been around for over a decade. It features a variable temperature control that goes all the way up to 1100 degrees Fahrenheit.  This gun comes with Traco’s lineup of I-bar sealers by default, but it can be purchased by itself as a replacement or for use with other I-bar sealers, heat sealers and L-bar sealers.

Hopefully this list helps you out. At ABC Office we also offer a great selection of shrink wrap machines (found here). If you still have questions, please give us a call at 1-800-658-8788. We have over 30 years of experience and would love to help you out.

Polyolefin Shrink Film and Food Packaging

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Shrink Film for PackagingPackaging food with shrink film (found here) such as pizza, cheese, fruits and chocolate doesn’t just look good, but it is also sanitary and a great way to preserve food. There are a few things that you will need to know before packaging food using shrink wrap. For one, some grades of shrink film are not safe for use with food, where others are FDA approved. This article will cover the most popular food grade film known as polyolefin shrink film (found here).

First off, what is shrink film? Shrink film, sometimes referred to as shrink wrap packaging, is used to protect, bundle and preserve products. The film used is designed to contract and shrink when heat is applied. You may have seen shrink film on your DVDs, Blu-rays, Xbox games and more. It is very popular for retail packaging. Shrink film is affordable, easy to use / manipulate and can be used to package most retail products.

While boxes, DVDs, software and other items are popular to be packaged with shrink film, food is also another popular applicator for shrink film. The most popular film used today, known as PVC shrink film, is not usually safe for use with food. There are some exceptions. If you’re not sure what type of film you have, here are the characteristics of both Polyolefin and PVC film.

Traco I-Bar Shrink Wrap MachineShrink Film Characteristics

  • PVC Shrink Film – PVC film is a clear shrink film that once shrunk has a brittle characteristic to it. It is often used in non-food packaging. It can be very thick and typically ranges from 75 to 100 gauge thick. The higher the gauge, the thicker the film.
  • Polyolefin Shrink Film – Polyolefin film is a clear shrink film that has stretchy characteristics, making it ideal for use where PVC film may crack or break open. The stretchy characteristics of poly film are often compared to saran wrap.

Some PVC film is OK for indirect use with film. An example of this would be our PVC dome shrink bags (found here). These bags use an PDA approved PVC film that is OK for indirect use with food. An example of this would be a gift basket.

As a general rule, polyolefin is going to be your best bet with direct contact to film. Polyolefin, sometimes called poly film, is available in centerfold rolls for use with both I-bar (found here) and L-bar shrink wrap machines (found here). Polyolefin is typically more durable than PVC film, which means you usually don’t need as thick a gauge of film to accomplish what you could do with PVC. A 60 gauge poly film will be about as durable as 75 gauge PVC film.

Minipack Shrink Wrap MachineOne misconception that people have about polyolefin is that their base model shrink wrap machine, that uses PVC film, can’t use it. I used to think that myself as someone years ago told me a standard shrink wrap tunnel or heat gun didn’t produce enough heat to shrink polyolefin. I later discovered, from our manufacturer Traco, that most shrink wrap machines can use both PVC or polyolefin film and they both take about the same amount of heat to shrink. If you are considering packaging food using your old shrink wrap machine, you should be able to simply swap out your old PVC roll of film for a polyolefin roll. It is that easy.

I have used Polyolefin film on a standard I-bar sealer with a heat gun and it works great! I have also used polyolefin film on a variety of different Minipack, AIE and Traco shrink wrap machines with excellent results.

For those of you who love science, here is a technical explanation on exactly what Polyolefin film is straight from Wikipedia:

A polyolefin is a polymer produced from a simple olefin (also called an alkene with the general formula CnH2n) as amonomer. For example, polyethylene is the polyolefin produced by polymerizing the olefin ethylene. An equivalent term is polyalkene; this is a more modern term, although polyolefin is still used in the petrochemical industry. Polypropyleneis another common polyolefin which is made from the olefin propylene.

So there you have it! Everything you could possibly want to know about polyolefin shrink film. We have been selling centerfold polyolefin shrink film for use with I-bar and L-bar machines for years. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-658-8788 with any questions about shrink wrap or packaging. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here.

Shrink Wrap Film: 60, 75 or 100 Gauge? Which is Best?

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Polyolefin Shrink Wrap FilmShrink wrap film, whether it is a centerfold roll or a shrink bag, comes in different thicknesses. The thickness of shrink film is referred to as the gauge. Many customers call asking which gauge they need for their product. The answer the question, “Which gauge thickness should I use?” depends entirely on what you will be packaging.

One hundred gauge film is 1 mil thick (0.001″). That gives you an idea on just how thick the shrink film is that you will be using. Remember that as the film shrinks it gets thicker. This is because the surface area of the film shrinks when direct heat is applied. As the surface area shrinks, the film thickness increases. Most shrink film shrinks about 40% its original size when in contact with a heat gun or tunnel.

PVC Shrink Wrap FilmMost shrink wrap film is available in 60, 75 and 100 gauges. This isn’t always the case, but is the norm. The higher the gauge number, the thicker the film is. Shrink wrap film comes in 2 different flavors, PVC film and Polyolefin film. PVC film, which is more common, has a tougher texture and feel to it, where Polyolefin has a more pliable / stretchy feel to it. Polyolefin is safe for use in direct contact with food.

PVC shrink film is almost always available in 75 or 100 gauge thicknesses and Polyolefin film comes in 60, 75 an 100. Polyolefin film is available in 60 gauge, because the thinner film is more durable than PVC film. A 60-gauge thickness in PVC film would be too thin and would break too easily.

As a general rule, if you are only packaging a single item, the thinner film is almost always fine. That means if you are packaging a single DVD, CD or box, 75 gauge PVC or 60 gauge Polyolefin is almost always more than enough to keep things coated and protected. This isn’t, however, the case when bundling multiple items together.

If you are bundling multiple items together, let’s say 2-3 DVDs, you will want to use a thicker film. The thicker film helps prevent movement and is less likely to break apart in shipping or while being handled. This means if you are bundling multiple items together, you may want to consider 100 gauge PVC film or 75-100 gauge polyolefin film.

Hopefully this helps answer the question, “Which film thickness should I use?” If you need additional clarification, or simply have a shrink wrap packaging question, please contact one of our specialists at 1-800-658-8788.

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

New PVC Shrink Wrap Bags Now Online

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

PVC shrink wrap bags provide a quick and easy way to quickly package a wide variety of material. These bags make packaging products as easy as inserting something into a heat shrink bag, sealing it shut and shrinking it down using a heat gun or shrink tunnel. The entire process takes just seconds and it is remarkably affordable. We have added two different types of shrink wrap bags to our site.

PVC Dome Shrink Wrap Bags / Gift Basket Bags

Dome Shrink Wrap Bags (found here)

The first type of bag we offer is called a dome shrink wrap bag. This bag has a special rounded dome end to it, which is primarily designed to fit around objects such as gift baskets. In fact, our dome bags are often referred to as gift basket bags. Simply open the bag, insert the basket and either tie or seal off the open end. The next step involves shrinking the film down.

Our dome heat shrink bags can be shrunk down using a heat gun or a shrink tunnel. This film has a 40% shrink rate, which means it will shrink down 40% from its original size. This provides a nice tight seal around everything. Because the PVC film is 100 gauge thick, it doesn’t easily tear or rip. The film is crystal clear once shrunk down. Our dome shrink wrap bags are also FDA approved for indirect contact use with food.

Square “Super Shrink” Stock Shrink Wrap Bags (found here)

These bags are more similar to what you imagine when you think of a shrink wrap bag. These bags are square in shape and can be used to package CDs, DVDs, video games, magazines, books, gifts, paper and much more. Using these bags is extremely easy and requires just a few basic tools. The open end of these bags can be sealed and cut off by using an I-bar shrink wrap machine or a heat sealer with a cutter. Shrinking can be done via a heat gun or heat shrink tunnel.

Our Super Shrink heat seal bags also have a 40% shrink rate, allowing them to quickly shrink down and wrap around corners and various shapes. Because the film is micro perforated, air is able to easily escape during the shrinking process. Our square shrink wrap bags are made from PVC and are 80 gauge thick.

Both our dome and square shrink wrap bags are very affordably priced and ship out quickly. We currently offer these bags in 1,000 count bulk quantities. If you plan on purchasing thousands of these, we may be able to offer a quantity discount. Call 1-800-658-8788 for more details.

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

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.

Best Type Of Shrink Wrap Film

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Shrink Wrap Machines & Film
I have had several customers ask me which type of shrink wrap film is the best. Naturally, they want to get the best type for their machine. In order to answer this question, there are some details you will need to be aware of. Here are a few tips that may help you come to a decision.

There are two main types of shrink wrap film used today, regardless of whether it is centerfold or shrink wrap bags. These types of film are PVC and Polyolefin. While the shrink film rolls themselves look very similar, the end results are a little different.

Polyolefin Shrink Wrap Film
PVC film has been around for years. It is cheap and works on pretty much any machine out there. It has a more brittle feel to it than Polyolefin and is general ideal for use in single-product packaging. It doesn’t hold up as well when packaging multiple items together. PVC film is not safe for use with food.

Polyolefin film has also been around for some time, but is newer on the market than PVC film. Polyolefin is sometimes referred to as poly film. Polyolefin film is more pliable than PVC and is food safe. One thing I really like about Polyolefin film is that it puts off less odor than PVC film during the shrinking process. Poly film is also better for packaging multiple products.

Another thing you will want to take into consideration is the gauge of the film. The higher the gauge, the thicker the film. If you only need shrink wrap film for protecting a product, something as thin as a 60 gauge film may be more than enough. If you will be bundling multiple products together, you may want to go with something thicker, perhaps 75 gauge or more.

Before purchasing shrink film, be sure you know what you will be packaging. You don’t want to end up with a roll of film only to find out it isn’t the right type or the right thickness.

Also be sure and take into consideration the height of the product you are shrink wrapping. Many people don’t realize that increased product height will decrease the packaging width effectiveness of the shrink wrap roll.

Hopefully this information helps you out. If this article has left you with even more questions, please feel free to call one of our shrink wrap experts at 1-800-658-8788. You can find our entire selection of shrink wrap film here and shrink wrap machines here.

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