This section provides overview, applications, and principles of shrink tunnels. Also, please take a look at the list of 19 shrink tunnel manufacturers and their company rankings.
Shrink tunnels are machines that use heat-shrinkable wrapping film to protect products during transportation or to wrap multiple products together.
Products to be shrink-wrapped are rolled by a conveyor or other means through a tunnel-like furnace at approximately 150°C, and wrapped in plastic packaging material that shrinks at high temperatures.
Shrinkable packaging films used for shrink wrapping are classified into uniaxial shrink, which shrinks in only one vertical direction, and biaxial shrink, which shrinks horizontally and vertically.
The uniaxial type is used for packaging beverage containers and fluorescent light bulbs, while the biaxial type is used for packaging CDs, stationery, and lactic acid beverages.
There are tabletop types, simple types in which the wrapping film is manually set on the product, and automatic types in which the film is set and the product is wrapped by simply placing the product on the conveyor.
Shrink tunnels are used in the food industry for packaging beverage containers, seasonings, canned foods, cup noodles, etc., as well as in cases for books, CDs, boxes, and pharmaceuticals, etc.
There are also specialized machines that can apply powerful hot air and uniform heat to the entire bottom of products such as sprays and polishes, known as R-packaging.
Dedicated label and cap machines apply hot air evenly to caps and labels while rotating the product.
Steam (steam type) machines are used for shrink-wrapping cans, glass bottles, and PET bottles.
Machines that use far-infrared heat instead of hot air or steam as the heat source save power, minimize the thermal effect on the product, and are used for shrink wrapping thin plastic containers.
Shrink film, a film that does not shrink at room temperature but utilizes heat to shrink, is used for labeling and packaging products and for grouping multiple products together for transportation convenience.
Shrink film is wrapped manually, semi-automatically, or automatically by machines that apply a heat source such as hot air or steam.
There are two types of shrink films: uniaxial, which shrinks only vertically and horizontally, and biaxial, which shrinks vertically and horizontally.
The uniaxial type is used for sleeve wrapping, in which both ends of the product are open, and is used for bulk packaging of dry cell batteries and paper carton beverage containers.
PET bottle labels are also made of uniaxial PET material, which shrinks in only one direction, and require a large amount of heat to shrink, so steam processing is used.
Steam is used to process PET materials because of its efficient shrinking time.
Biaxial types are used in four-way seal packaging, pillow packaging (pillow-like tubular shape), and L-shaped three-way seal.
Shrink film is available in polyolefin (PO), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), and polyester (PET), which differ in terms of transparency and impact strength.
PO can be processed at low temperatures, while PET requires processing at high temperatures.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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