he packing and shipping industries place a premium on protecting products from damage during transit. Shrink wrapping has evolved as an important way to increase the security of things being transported on timber pallets, which have been used for decades as a reliable mode of shipping. The use of shrink wrap results in a number of positive outcomes, including increased stability and defence against the effects of the environment, reduced expenses, and an enhanced aesthetic.
In this blog, we will examine how shrink wrapping helps secure items in timber pallets and why it has become a go-to solution for a variety of industries.
What Is Shrink Wrapping?
The process of shrink wrapping involves utilising a shrink film, which is composed of plastic, and wrapping it tightly around an item so that the item is held intact. This is accomplished by wrapping things in plastic film, heating the film (causing it to "shrink" over the products), and then letting the film cool.
You've probably seen water bottle packs with the plastic so tightly stretched that the bottles burst. That right there is a typical everyday use of shrink wrap. The food and beverage industries, in particular, can benefit greatly from the use of shrink wrap. Shrink wrapping is a great option for packaging and transporting a variety of things, including bottles, books, boxes, hardware, cans, and even large items.
Why Do I Need Timber Pallets And Shrink Wrapping?
Pallets and shrink wrap are like warm bread and butter; they go together like peanut butter and jelly. They are inseparable. They are independent components that work together to provide higher cargo protection. Items placed on pallets run the danger of becoming disorganised and damaged while in transportation if the shrink wrap used to secure them is absent.
The use of shrink wrap, which works as a preliminary step for storage and shipping on timber pallets by binding goods together and preventing moving, is one of the steps in this process.
Shrink wrapping helps to ensure that the cargo will remain undamaged throughout the journey, which simplifies loading and unloading. The complementary relationship between shrink wrap and pallets is analogous to the complementary relationship between bread and butter in that it ensures the delivery of goods in a secure and efficient manner.
The Advantages Of Using Shrink Wrapping
Shrink wrapping has many benefits that make it a valuable addition to the packaging and shipping processes. The following are some of the numerous advantages that this method offers:
Heat applied to shrink wrap results in an extremely secure seal, which protects the contents that are wrapped. This plastic seal offers excellent defence against environmental hazards like dust, grime, and moisture. Some types of shrink wrap have UV protection built-in, making them even better at keeping your items safe from the sun's rays. This careful sealing method protects the contents from contamination and moisture in transit or storage.
Shrink wrapping, in comparison to other packaging options, is a cheap and widely available alternative. This technique ties things securely and makes the most efficient use of the available area. Shrink wrapping improves productivity by streamlining storage and transport by tightly packing things. Because of its low cost and capacity to conserve storage space, it is a sensible option for organisations in search of low-cost, high-efficiency packaging.
Shrink wrap is a multipurpose packaging material made from the resilient polymers polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyolefin (PO), and polythene (PE). The most common use for PVC is in packaging software, CDs, and office supplies. Food and high-end retail items often come in polyolefin packaging. Meanwhile, polythene films' exceptional thickness and durability make them ideal for use in industrial settings.
The thickness of shrink wrap is measured in mils or gauge (ga), with one mil being equal to one-hundredth of a gauge. One million is equivalent to one hundred gauges. Thicker wrap, meaning more strength and resistance, is indicated by higher values. Since a wide range of thicknesses are available, businesses may choose the perfect shrink wrap for their purposes.
Prevent Packages From Sliding
Pallets are loaded and unloaded in a controlled manner using a pallet jack or a forklift in a horizontal position. In most cases, this indicates that your belongings are secure. However, there are times when mishaps can't be helped. The forklift's prongs might not be fully inserted into the sockets. Shrink wrap is sturdy and will securely wrap your products.
Shrink wrap is useful for preventing products from becoming separated during shipping. This means that the pallet's centre of gravity is directly under the combined weight of all the goods. Accidents are less likely to happen when the entire load can't slip off at once.
Shrink wrapping is a foolproof way to prevent product tampering because it is strong and difficult to pierce. You'll probably get the point if you've ever tried to open a shrink-wrapped package with your bare hands. If anybody manages to tamper with your shipment, you will likely discover it immediately.
Shrink wrap not only seals but also maintains its original form after being applied, making any attempts at tampering readily apparent. This is why many companies in the food and pharmaceutical industries now use shrink wrap. Shrink wraps that change colour when stretched are used in banks and government entities to indicate that the sealed objects have been handled.
The ability of shrink wrap to prevent leakage makes it an ideal choice for packing perishable goods like food and drink. The leak is contained within the packaging and cannot spread to other items thanks to the shrink wrap. This capability ensures that the integrity of adjacent things is not affected in the event of a leak. This safety feature of shrink wrapping gives companies carrying perishable goods or liquids more confidence and peace of mind.
Shrink wrap stands out as an extremely adaptable packaging option that can be used for various projects of varying sizes. It acts as a protective cover for a variety of goods, including small electrical wires, candies, and hardware, shielding them from damage and protecting them from dampness.
This versatility extends to applications on a larger scale, such as protecting yachts and glasshouses from the elements by employing shrink wrap kits. It's even used to fasten cargo on trailers and trains, making operations simpler.
Remarkably, the adaptability of shrink wrap extends to the point where it may be used to encompass entire structures. This is a precaution that is taken to prevent chemical leaks or protect against exposure to dangerous materials. Because of its extraordinary adaptability, shrink wrap is consistently a top choice in all settings.
Allows For Customisation
Transparent shrink-wrapped packaging is preferable since it allows for easy product inspection. However, personalisation offers an attractive alternative. Putting your logo on the shrink wrap gives your packaging more character. Shrink wrap's adaptability means you may give your products a visual identity by using certain colours, graphics, or logos to draw attention to your brand.
Adding aesthetic value while meeting practical needs is a smart marketing move. Shrink wrap has a dual advantage, assuring both functional monitoring and an eye-catching market presence, regardless of whether you opt for transparency because it is more practical or embrace customised designs because it is more effective in promoting your company's identity.
Offers Excellent Protection
Nothing beats the effectiveness of shrink-wrapping when protecting your goods from the elements. It's an efficient barrier against the elements, including wind, rain, dust, sunlight, and vermin. This extreme toughness and the bag's resistance to punctures provide unflinching security for your items throughout the transport.
Because of this quality, shrink wrapping is highly recommended for perishable goods. Layers of shrink wrap will protect these potentially contaminated necessities. Shrink wrap's multi-layered defence system emphasises its suitability for protecting fragile goods in transit and highlights its critical role in preserving product quality and safety.
How Do Machines That Shrink Wrap Work?
Shrink wrapping, in its most basic form, consists of lightly wrapping a plastic film around a product or collection of objects. The film is then shrunken by heat to form a snug barrier around the product. Different types, from more hands-on approaches to full automation, have their uses.
1. Automatic Shrink Wrapping Machines
All aspects of the shrink wrapping process, from product feeding on a conveyor belt or rollers to film dispensing, are computer-controlled in fully automatic shrink wrapping equipment. After the product has been wrapped in film and sealed, it is sent to the conveyor and heated equipment. After being heated, it goes through the wrapping machine before being labelled and processed further in preparation for distribution.
2. Semi-Automatic Shrink Wrapping
Modern packaging machinery uses a film dispensing reel to feed film onto a platform, where it is then automatically cut to size and gently wrapped over the goods. The goods and film are transported to a sealer, where an airtight seal is created. The article is transported on rollers or a conveyor belt into a heat tunnel, where the film is shrunken to a snug fit around the item. From the heat tunnel, the materials are transferred through the same conveyor to a waiting surface or container.
3. Manual Shrink Wrapping
Using a film dispenser, sealing bar, and hand-held heat gun to shrink-wrap a product is the cheapest and most straightforward option. After unrolling the film onto a level surface, placing the product on it, and folding over the excess film, the goods are ready to be packaged. Heated sealing bars seal the film's seams, and then a heat gun is used to shrink the film to the product's surface.
Because the costs are so low, but the throughput is so low, a manual technique is only appropriate for companies that deal with very low volumes of items because of the incredibly restricted capacity it offers. They are most helpful for start-ups and small firms that deal with solid materials that are in smaller quantities.
Application Of Heat To Shrink Wrap
These films wrap any item with a roll made specifically for shrink wrapping. After the film has been wrapped around the item, it is shrunk using a heat gun, oven, or shrink tunnel.
Oven –It is primarily a space that has been thermally insulated. An oven functions in a manner comparable to the one you have at your house and can be used to heat, bake, or dry food. It operates using the same fundamental principles as your regular oven at home.
Heat Gun – The term "heat gun" refers to a device that produces heat. This heat is conveyed to the target in the form of a current of extremely hot air. The appliance is shaped like a hairdryer and functions at extremely high temperatures.
Shrink Tunnel – A heated tunnel that is either mounted on or wrapped around a conveyor belt constitutes a shrink tunnel. After that, the film is processed in such a way as to produce the desired result.
You can use a shrink wrap to shrink in either a single direction (unidirectional) or in both directions (bidirectional). These films are produced in a stretched state by heating and then rapidly cooling them throughout manufacturing. They stay that way until they're used on something and heated again. This causes the film to return to its original size, completely covering the item.
For things to be moved safely and effectively, they must be packed well and put in the right size container. When filling containers, both first-time shippers and those who have done it before should follow the advice of experts. Most standard shipping containers are 8 feet wide and either 20 or 40 feet long. Proper packing makes loading and unloading go more smoothly. Leaving too much empty room can cause goods to move around while in transit.
Standard containers should be picked based on their size and how well they keep the temperature and humidity stable. Avoid putting things that are easy to break, check the container for damage, and put important things at the front so they are easier to get to. Use tie-down straps to keep things in place, take apart big items, stack boxes vertically, and raise shipments on pallets.
Shipments that are sensitive to temperature should be put in climate-controlled packages, and desiccants can help absorb moisture and stop mould and corrosion. For foreign shipping, you need special permission to send things that are dangerous, illegal, or that will go bad quickly.
Items that are valuable or can't be replaced need extra security, so it's best to hire a secure courier service or find another way to move them. The best way to ship something quickly and safely is to pack it well and choose the right size package.
- Shrink wrapping is an essential tool in the packing and shipping industries, enhancing the security of items on wood pallets.
- Shrink wrap is a plastic film that is heated to "shrink" around an item, holding it intact.
- Shrink wrapping has everyday uses, such as tightly wrapping packs of water bottles.
- The food and beverage industries can greatly benefit from the use of shrink wrapping.
- Shrink wrap is also useful for packaging hardware, books, cans, and boxes.
- When combined with timber pallets, shrink wrap works to provide higher cargo protection.
- Shrink wrapping aids in binding goods together, making them less prone to moving during transportation.
- Shrink wrap increases the stability of the cargo, easing the loading and unloading processes.
- Shrink wrapping offers excellent protection against environmental hazards like dust, grime, and moisture.
- Some types of shrink wrap even offer UV protection.
- Compared to other packaging options, shrink wrapping is an affordable and efficient solution.
- Shrink wrap is made from durable polymers such as PVC, PO, and PE.
- PVC shrink wrap is commonly used for packaging software and office supplies.
- Food and high-end retail items often use polyolefin packaging.
- Polythene films are exceptionally durable and ideal for industrial settings.
- The thickness of shrink wrap is measured in mils or gauges, indicating its strength and resistance.
- Shrink wrap helps to prevent packages from sliding, maintaining the centre of gravity of the pallet.
- The use of shrink wrap deters tampering due to its strong and hard-to-pierce nature.
- Shrink wrap can change colour when stretched, a feature used by banks and government entities.
- Shrink wrap can contain leaks, making it ideal for packaging perishable items.
- The leak-proof nature of shrink wrap gives peace of mind to companies transporting liquids.
- Shrink wrap is highly versatile and adaptable, usable for projects of varying sizes.
- Shrink wrap kits can be used for large-scale applications like covering yachts and glasshouses.
- Shrink wrap's adaptability even extends to encompassing entire structures for chemical leak prevention.
- Transparent shrink wrap allows for easy product inspection.
- Customisable shrink wrap can include logos, graphics, or specific colours.
- Shrink wrap offers a dual advantage of functional monitoring and aesthetic value.
- Shrink wrapping excels in protecting goods from elements like wind, rain, and vermin.
- Shrink wrap's puncture resistance offers robust security during transportation.
- Multiple layers of shrink wrap can protect potentially contaminated or fragile goods.
- Shrink wrapping machines range from fully automatic to manual methods.
- Automatic machines are computer-controlled and efficient but are best for high-volume operations.
- Semi-automatic machines cut the film to size and wrap it over goods before sealing.
- Manual shrink wrapping is the simplest and cheapest option, suitable for low-volume operations.
- Shrink wrap is applied using heat guns, ovens, or shrink tunnels.
- An oven for shrink wrapping functions similarly to a household oven.
- A heat gun produces extremely hot air aimed at the shrink wrap to induce shrinking.
- A shrink tunnel is a heated space around a conveyor belt used for high-efficiency operations.
- Shrink wraps can shrink in either a single direction (unidirectional) or in both directions (bidirectional).
- Shrink films are produced in a stretched state and return to their original size upon reheating.
- Shrink wrapping ensures that items on pallets remain organised during transport.
- The complementary relationship between shrink wrap and pallets enhances the security and efficiency of deliveries.
- Shrink wrapping provides an effective barrier against various environmental hazards.
- Polythene films are known for their exceptional thickness, making them robust packaging options.
- Shrink wrap improves productivity by making efficient use of available storage space.
- Shrink wrapping ensures that the integrity of adjacent items is not compromised in the case of a leak.
- Shrink wrap is a top choice across various settings due to its extraordinary adaptability.
- Personalising your shrink wrap can be an effective way to promote your brand identity.
- Shrink wrap is highly recommended for protecting perishable goods due to its multi-layered defence system.
- Manual shrink-wrapping techniques are particularly useful for start-ups and small firms dealing with low volumes of items.
Frequently Asked Questions
While traditional methods like strapping and stretch wrap are effective to some extent, shrink wrapping offers distinct advantages. Unlike strapping, shrink wrapping doesn't create tension that might damage fragile items. Unlike stretch wrap, shrink wrapping adheres more closely to the shape of items and pallets, providing a tighter seal and better stability.
Yes, shrink wrapping is considered a cost-effective solution. The materials required for shrink wrapping are relatively inexpensive compared to other methods. Moreover, the efficiency of the process and the protection it provides can reduce the potential for damage during transit, minimising replacement costs.
Many modern shrink wrap materials are recyclable, contributing to environmental sustainability. This aspect aligns with the growing emphasis on eco-friendly packaging solutions. Recyclable shrink wrap reduces waste and supports a more circular approach to packaging materials.
Shrink Wrapping typically involves using specialised equipment such as heat guns or heat tunnels. These tools apply controlled heat to the plastic film, causing it to shrink and conform to the items and pallet. While the equipment may vary depending on the scale of operations, shrink wrapping is an accessible technique for businesses of various sizes.
Absolutely. Shrink wrapping creates a sealed barrier that effectively guards against moisture ingress. This is particularly valuable for items sensitive to moisture or requiring a dry environment for preservation.