Applications, Shrink Sleeves

A well-executed shrink sleeve brings your product to the next level. A 360 wrap design takes full advantage of your product’s shape and can make it stand out from all the rest. If you think your product is a good candidate for a shrink sleeve makeover, there are some basic elements to consider: film types, the shrinking process and the characteristics of your product.

Film types

First of all, there are few different types of plastic film you can use: PET-G, PVC, PLA and OPS.

PET-G has good resistance to chemicals and excellent clarity, which is good for showing off the contents of the packaging. It is currently not recyclable, however.

PVC is the least expensive of shrink films, can be molded at low temperatures and is good for products that shouldn’t be in contact with heat. It is also the most predictable of shrink materials. It’s not recyclable either.

PLA is a more recent and fully compostable shrink sleeve material. it has excellent printability and can also be shrunk at low temperatures. It has a tendency to be brittle and requires more care during the shrink sleeving process.

OPS Provides excellent transparency and shrinks steadily. it is designed to be flexible once applied and is well-suited for “squeezable” applications.

The shrinking process

There are three types of shrinking processes to reduce the above plastic films: steam, hot air and radiant heat.

Steam is the most gentle process, offering steady control over the shrink and the least distortion of the graphics. Moisture and condensation have to be dealt with however, and steam isn’t recommended in a cold environment.

With the Hot air  process the heat can be directed more precisely at specific areas of the packaging. It is ideal for tamper evident sleeving.

Radiant heat (or radiant infrared) is fast and produces the most heat. It is ideal for products that can withstand a fair amount of heat.

The physical characteristics of your product

The success of your shrink sleeving project will depend on the ideal combination of material and shrinking process, but It will also have a lot to do with the physical characteristics of your product. It’s shape and it’s resistance to heat will dictate which type of materials and shrinking technique are best to use. This  requires some testing and adjustment.

Contact the experts!

To the uninitiated, Shrink sleeving can be somewhat overwhelming, but with the help of experts, the results can be amazing. Want to lean more? download our Ebook on shrink sleeves or contact us. We’ll help you with that makeover!