Shrink Vs. Stretch Film

Maybe you’re looking for a type of film, but you’re not sure what you need. A lot of people confuse stretch with shrink film, but they aren’t the same material. Both are made for different kinds of applications and using the wrong application does lead to problems.  Here, we’ll talk about what the difference is.  One of the key things to remember here is that only one of these can be used in heat tunnels, and if you use the other, it’ll cause a fire. But here we’ll explore what they are, and the differences between each.

Shrink film is a polymer based plastic.  When it’s heated, it literally shrinks to the product that’s being packaged. This of course is the one that you can use with a heat gun or even in a heat tunnel. Heat guns are of course like hair dryers that are used for small products.  You can use this with different things, for example ink cartridges.

With heat tunnels, the shrink film is sealed and a product with a sealer is then sent along the conveyor belt, and this does shrink around the products as they move. This is used for various things including pizza boxes, produce, and other types of foods and goods.

Stretch film is a stretchy film used on pallets.  This is very elastic, and they’re used to bound tightly.  You can use this with stretch wrap too in order to fully contain pallets too.

When it’s applied in a manual sense, this is wrapped and stretched around the pallets of boxes and products with a tool called a wrap dispenser.  This is then tucked under the corner of the pallet, so the laborer that walks around can dispense as someone walks around with this.  the film will then stretch tightly by pulling the stretch wrap as it moves around.  This then causes it to be tightly wrapped around before it’s shipped.  That of course, is called load containment.

So what is the difference? Well, at the core, shrink film is used to shrink your products. It’ll shrink around the form of the products that are being packaged.  Stretch film is used to wrap pallets of the pre-packaged goods before it’s shipped out. Shrink film will not stretch, so you can’t use it to stretch.  Stretch film will not shrink either, and you can’t send it through a heat tunnel, or use a heat gun with it.  So, really the best way to determine which one you’re going to use is to look to see what kind of product you’re trying to pack. Do you need something which shrinks over time, or something that’ll stretch around a package in order to tighten it? Do you want something that works for heat sensitive products that will help with trapping the heat in there and holding it there? then you want shrink film. If you need it to stretch around something large, then you should get stretch film.

Hopefully by understanding the two, you’ll know exactly what kind of film to use, and the best one for you.