Regardless of size or shape, if selling products is your primary line of work, you might be well aware of how crucial packaging is for the security of your goods, particularly in the FMCG industry. Since the sector primarily consists of food products and drinks, it has a limited shelf life. The importance of shrink wrapping machines in the FMCG industry has significantly increased due to their lack of long-term durability.
But in addition to ensuring safety during shipping, appealing product packaging makes a solid first impression. Shrink wrapping is a highly common option, especially for environmentally conscious businesses.
An object is wrapped in a film using a shrink-wrapping machine, which uses heat to compress the film around the product and adhere it tightly. This plastic film holds everything together and protects the products from dust, weathering other factors during shipping.
What’s the Difference Between Shrink-wrapping and Stretch-wrapping?
Though stretch-wrap and shrink-wrap are often used interchangeably, they are entirely different types of packaging. Here’s a brief explanation of the differences between the two:
|Shrink wrap is applied loosely and shrinks tightly when exposed to heat. It is commonly used to pack individual or sets of items for sale.||Stretch wrap is an elastic material that stretches firmly around a load and is typically used to wrap pallets for shipping.|
|Shrink-wrapping is mostly done with polyolefin plastics.||Stretch wrapping is mostly done with polyethene plastics.|
|This kind of packaging is typically used to firmly pack smaller goods or shield a single product from elements like dust or rain.||This kind of wrapping is typically used to hold goods and products on a pallet for transit or storage.|
The Working of a Shrink-Wrapping Machine
Since shrink-wrapping is usually stronger and safer than stretch-wrapping and overwraps, it is better preferred by manufacturers and businesses worldwide. Additionally, it matches the object’s shape, creating a thin, translucent plastic layer on top of it.
After an object is inserted into a shrink-wrapping machine, a loose film of polyolefin shrink wrap is wrapped around it. The film is then tightly shrunk around the object using heat. In the end, the object is covered in a transparent, shiny layer.
Shrink-wrapping is made possible by two methods: a heat gun or a shrink-wrapping machine. But since a heat gun can be used only for smaller and less heavy products, most businesses tend to use the machine as they are perfect for handling bulkier goods.
An industrial shrink-wrapping machine’s general process and operation involve changing and modifying specific polymers (polymers are long atoms that make up plastic). When they are made into a film of plastic suited for wrapping, the molecules of the polymers are stretched out into a thin layer, making them ideal for wrapping around various things. This plastic film envelops the object that needs to be wrapped. And when exposed to heat, the film immediately shrinks and holds together the product(s).
Understanding the complete process and what you need to achieve is necessary before choosing the best shrink-wrap machine for industrial needs. One will need to consider the purpose of the wrap, the variety of sizes required, how quickly the switchover will be necessary, and how quickly the products need to be wrapped.
A shrink-wrapping machine’s operation is determined by its type. The three most popular types of shrink-wrapping equipment are the Chamber-sealer, L-sealer, and Side sealer.
You can choose the type of shrink-wrapping machine based on your business goals and what kind of products you need to pack and ship.
Benefits of using Shrink Wrapping Machines in the FMCG Sector
Here are some of the benefits of using shrink-wrapping machines in your business
1. Provides protection against dust and weather conditions
Shrink wrap develops an incredibly tight seal when heated. The shrink-wrapped contents are then completely shielded by this plastic seal. Once sealed, the products are no longer susceptible to moisture, dirt, or dust damage. To protect your packages from the sun’s dangerous rays, some varieties of shrink wrap even include UV protection.
2. Increases the durability of products
Shrink wrap is made from one of three durable plastics: PVC, polyolefin or polyethene. PVC is a common material to use when packaging office supplies, CDs, and software boxes. In addition to being used for more upscale retail uses, polyolefin can be used to wrap food products. For industrial purposes, polyethene films can be exceptionally thick and durable.
Since products in the FMCG sector are perishable foods that might typically go rancid more quickly than expected, their shelf lives can be extended by shrink-wrapping.
3. Provides a visual advantage to customers
When employing the shrink-wrap process, a translucent film is wrapped around the product to allow the customer to see its quality, especially if it’s a fruit or vegetable. Colour-coded transparent films are also used in some shrink-wrapping packaging companies to differentiate between various products. Additionally, it enables printing crucial details like the box’s batch number and expiration date.
4. Increases storage capacity
Shrink wrap is lightweight and takes up little space, and shrink-wrapping machines take up less floor area than conventional packing equipment. These two advantages give growing businesses extra space for equipment storage and other necessities.
Since shrink wrap seals and holds the object’s shape in place, any manipulation and tampering of the object during shipping will be obvious right away. This is the reason behind the widespread adoption of shrink-wrapping by food manufacturers and pharmaceutical firms.
6. Cost-efficient option
Shrink wrap uses up to 75% less material than conventional corrugated goods and packaging methods. Naturally, using less material means saving money. Warehouses and distribution facilities will be able to maximise their budgets with the added benefit of more storage space.
Shrink wraps can be used to pack products of any size and shape. It is a standard method for protecting small electrical cables from dampness. Hardware, candy, and game components can also be collected and shrink-wrapped. From smaller products to truck and train freight, shrink-wrapping is used widely. Entire buildings have also been shrink-wrapped to stop chemical leaks or exposure to dangerous materials.
Now that you know the many benefits of shrink-wrapping products, you can also understand the importance of this in the FMCG industry, where products have low shelf-life and need constant protection from environmental factors during shipping. Remember, the shrink-wrapping technique requires only two things- the right kind of plastic and the heat source.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is shrink-wrapping?
Shrink wrapping is the process of enclosing a product in a plastic film envelope or free sleeve using a shrink wrap machine. The wrap contracts in the heat, holding the object(s) together.
2. What can you use instead of shrink-wrapping?
Instead of shrink wrapping, you can actually wrap products using Stretch films, Bale wrap, Bundling films, Retention films, Hand stretch wrap, etc.
3. How to remove shrink wrap?
Cut the shrink wrap by sliding the scissors’ blade under the layer of plastic shrink-wrap film. Then, you can remove the box or item from the leftover plastic shrink wrap by cutting or ripping it.
4. Is shrink-wrapping waterproof?
Though shrink wraps protect products from moisture and dampness, they are not entirely waterproof.
5. What is shrink wrap used for?
Shrink wrap is a versatile polymer material used for the packaging of finished goods. It is also known as shrink film or shrink wrap