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What is ShrinkWrapping?
Shrinkwrapping is a process in which film is used to completely cover a package in tight film. It is generally used to apply a thin plastic film (clear or printed) over retail type products. This process completely encloses the item in a nice presentable package.

What are the Different Types of Shrinkwrappers?

Automatic
Fully automatic sealers are the best for larger production needs. They wrap at speeds ranging from approximately 25 to 300 items per minute. They vary in price from about $19,000 to about $25,000.

Semi-Automatic (also known as "L" sealers)
L-sealers seal about 15 items per minute. They are perfect for medium to high volume. Semi-automatic machines are further broken down to "One-Step" and "Two-Step" Systems. One-Steps are self-contained machines. The "Two-Step" machines are comprised of a separate wrapper and shrink tunnel that combine to create a shrink-wrapping assembly line. Prices for semi-automatic sealers vary greatly from $1,500 all the way up to $10,000.

Advantages of "One-Step" System vs. "Two-Step" Systems
  • Lower costs when compared to "L" sealer and tunnel systems
  • Easy operation, one operator can complete sealing and shrinking in a continuous operation
  • Space saver, does not require separate tunnel
  • Easily transportable, machine stand has wheels
  • Visually observable shrinking, to insure optimal results
  • Effective batch control, product does not disappear in tunnel
  • Less adjustment time required between different package sizes and types
  • Economical operation, less energy requirements, reduced energy consumption
Manual (also known as bar sealers)
Bar sealers work as fast as the operator can use the machine. You can wrap approximately 2-3 items per minute. These machines are great for low production, and products that vary in size. They are also very reasonably priced and still offer stunning results. Prices range from $229.00 and up.

How to Choose the Right Shrinkwrapper
  • What is your budget?
    Shrinkwrappers vary greatly in price so you have to know both your production needs and your budget. Manual shrinkwrap systems start at around 250 dollars but can only do 2-3 products a minute. Fully automatic sealers are on the opposite end of the spectrum (wrapping 300 products per minute) but can cost you over $20,000. If you plan on wrapping more than 2-3 products per a minute, you should only be considering fully automatic and semi-automatic shrinkwrappers. If you need to seal 15-20 products a minute then a semi-automatic machine will suffice. If you need to be wrapping more products, then you should purchase a fully automatic system.
  • How big are the items you will be wrapping?
    You want to make sure that if you are buying a fully automatic system, that your products will be able to fit in the shrink tunnel you purchase. If you are purchasing a semi-automatic machine, make sure that your final product can fit in the wrapping/shrinking bin.
  • Do you plan on transporting your shrinkwrapper or keep it stationary?
    If you plan on moving your shrink wrapper, you are better off getting a one-step sealer vs. a fully automatic system with a separate wrapper and shrink tunnel. They still have the ability to do about 15-20 products a minute and all models have wheels and are setup similarly to a BBQ grill.
Glossary
  • L-Sealer: This is simply another name for semi-automatic machines
  • Magnetic Hood Hold Down: A popular feature on many one step sealers that magnetically holds the hood of the machine closed until the shrinkwrapping process has been completed
  • Shrink Tunnel: After a product is covered with shrinkwrapping film, it is put through a tunnel to heat the film so it shrinks tightly around the product; Shrink tunnels only exist on fully automatic machines