Shrink wrap machines are packaging equipment that wrap a layer of plastic around a product before it is shipped or sold. Shrink wrapping is used for two main purposes: for the wrapping of bulk quantities of palletized materials before shipment and for the form-fitting wrapping of small number of products.
Shrink wrapping is an important process in the shipping, storage and sale of a wide number of products. Shrink wrapping can be applied to all kinds of products. It is used to cover small products like office supplies as well as very large objects like boats and helicopters. When used as a protective covering, shrink wrap is applied to the surface of an object. When heat is applied to the wrap, it contracts and takes shape around the contours of the objects it covers. Depending on the size of the object being shrink wrapped, heat can be applied by automated packaging equipment, or it can be applied manually by a worker with a heat gun. When shrink wrap is used to package large quantities of palletized products, it can be applied either by hand or by automated equipment. The main function of shrink wrap in this capacity is to keep objects from shifting or falling in transit. This kind of shrink wrap is almost never used to package products for use by consumers. It is more commonly used in the large scale distribution of products from one commercial or industrial operation to another.
When used to package bulk palletized products, shrink wrap can be an inexpensive alternative to multiple individual packages. Instead of placing every palletized item in its own box or package, a single layer of shrink wrap can be applied. This eliminates the cost of extra packaging as well as the time taken to place each product in a package. When used to package small quantities of products or individual products, shrink wrap can help to protect a product's cosmetic appearance until it is opened by a consumer. This kind of shrink wrap can be affixed with adhesive labels, which eliminates the need for the consumer to remove labels directly from the product; instead, the labels can be discarded with the removed shrink wrap. Shrink wrap is valued because of its low expense compared to other packaging varieties. Its application can be completely automated if included as part of a larger packaging machinery production line. Such automated shrink wrap lines result in considerable savings for their users because of the near or total elimination of labor costs and the increase in product output capacity.