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When it comes to shrink wrap and its uses, there are different films available for various jobs, all of which are made from distinctive plastics. Below, we have looked at the different kind of plastic found in shrink wrap, to help clarify matters:

Polyolefin shrink film available from Kempner

Polyethylene Shrink Wrap Film

The most commonly used shrink wrap film is low-density polyethylene, or as it is more commonly referred, polythene (PE). The primary use for PE is as a transit medium, where it allows packs to be wrapped individually or together, and offers the best combination of unit cost and protection when compared to the alternative packing methods.

Polyethylene films tend to lack the optical properties and tight shrink characteristics needed for most shrink film applications, hence why it is used in transportation. Unlike other shrink films, polyethylene does not shrink at the presence of heat, rather, it shrinks after exposure. However, it still offers elasticity for puncture resistance.

PE film can also be used on a vast range of goods, ranging from cans and jars to the individual wrapping of products such as pizza, and even work surfaces and radiators.

Next, there are some other shrink films which are known as display shrink plastics, which can be categorised into polyolefin (PO) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics.

Polyolefin Shrink Wrap Film

Polyolefin shrink film (PO) is made up of multiple layers of PE and polypropylene (PP). It can be irradiated to give it extra strength and treated for anti-fog or hot slip properties. This form of packaging is formulated to offer a wide sealing and shrinking window so it can be used on manual, semi and fully automatic shrink wrapping machines.

Polyolefin is an extremely versatile film, so is often the first choice when it comes to display shrink films, as it offers an excellent solution to any shrink film requirements.

Polyolefin shrink film is used for almost every kind of application, including toys, sporting goods, stationary and foods, just to name a few.

PVC Shrink Wrap Film

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) shrink wrap films have been largely surpassed by polyolefin films, due to being inferior to PVC regarding strength, low-temperature flexibility and equipment maintenance requirement. However, PVC films do have a particularly easy sealing and shrinking features and continue to be used on older equipment. They also tend to be used on very flexible packs, particularly those that are heat sensitive.

PVC shrink wrap film is also used with less plasticiser in the form of a semi-rigid film, which can be used to replace BOPP overwrap film but with the added benefit of a shrink wrap finish.

The uses of PVC shrink film include packaging boxes, CD and DVD packaging, small canisters and non-edible items.

Contact us for information on how to buy shrink wrap or for help and advice when choosing plastic shrink wrap or shrink wrapping machines.