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A Complete Guide to the Different Types of Shrink Wrap Machines

Shrink wrap material provides moisture resistance, and scratch protection and helps protect your items from dirt and dust. It also ensures that you have a strong protective wrap on your items.

The global shrink wrapping market is growing. Estimates of an extra $415 million in growth in 2025 means it’s not going anywhere for your business. 

Looking to bolster your warehouse operations with proper shrink wrap? You need to invest in a shrink wrap machine. It can give you that much-needed edge.

If you plan on adding one to your packaging station, which ones would be best for your business? What are the different types of units you can use? Which one fits your needs? What type of film should you use?

Before you choose a shrink wrap machine, choose the correct shrink film for the job.

  • PVC is used for everyday products.
  • POF is FDA approved for contact with consumable items. 

Choose the mil that you need. The higher the number, the stronger the film. 

Finding the Right Shrink Wrap Machine 

When you look for a shrink wrap systems, there are many classifications. These depend on your needs.

Different machine sizes correspond to different products for different uses.

When picking your machines for shrink-wrap packaging, it’s crucial to factor in a few details.

First, you need to consider the volume of products that you would need to seal up. Smaller machines are great for people who need to protect a small to medium volume of products. These are there to wrap a small output every now and then.

Many of the low-volume shrink wrap machines have a modest cost, going between $200 - $500. A more premium shrink wrap machine offers a better automatic function for faster wrapping. These would be best for a small eCommerce business or online store.

The other volumetric classification of the shrink wrap machines is full automation devices. This type of machine is for large-scale, large-volume production facilities. These will be useful for packing lines with consistent sizes.

These heavy-duty, high-volume packaging machines will cost somewhere between $30,000 to $40,000. These can shrink-wrap up to 100 items or more in an hour of use, depending on the type.

There are only two primary types of shrink wrap packaging machines in the market right now. This is apart from the custom devices that many big manufacturers add in their assembly lines. These are the I-Bar Shrink Wrap Machine and the L-Bar Sealers.

The I-Bar Shrink Wrapper

Differentiating the I-Bar from the L-Bar sealer is not hard. They do the same job but have different categories of uses.

The I-Bar shrink wrap unit is a manual device that uses an I-bar sealer and a feed roller (when using centerfold film to create a custom bag). Use this machine to cut the centerfold film to your desired size and seal the side creating your custom bag. This machine also works well with stock shrink bags. You would then insert your product in the bag (stock or custom) and seal it closed. After you have the product inside the sealed bag, shrink it down with a heat gun for a snug fit. Somebody with an I-bar can seal a conservative estimate of up to 200 items a day.

Many small manufacturers use I-Bar to handle their small-volume shipments. Items with smaller sizes like figurines, toys, and gadgets need smaller packaging.

The L-Bar Shrink Wrapper

The L-Bar uses a square frame with a heat seal device on an L-shaped impulse sealer. It performs the same job as the I-bar but sealing two intersecting sides instead. These can be used for high-level applications.

Many L-bar machines are best for heavy-duty everyday use. These have a seal time of between 1 – 4 seconds. You can then use a heat gun or heat tunnel to shrink the wrapping. This machine is designed to use centerfold shrink to make custom bags.

Our recommended I-Bar Shrink Machines

AIE-2013I - I Bar Shrink Wrap System 13 inch
AIE-2018I - I Bar Shrink Wrap System 18 inch
AIE-2024I - I Bar Shrink Wrap System 24 inch 
AIE-2032I - I Bar Shrink Wrap System 32 inch
AIE-2040I - I Bar Shrink Wrap System 40 inch 

You should go for this type of machine if you expect to work on thousands of products at a time. 

Support Units: Shrink Wrap Tunnels

Beyond the low-volume shrink wrap devices, there are other automatic wrap machines available. These units are best for high-volume production facilities. The heart of these systems is the shrink wrap tunnel.

A shrink wrap tunnel is a temperature-controlled environment that heats packaging in 4 sides. While a heat gun is a handheld device that works fine, this is not fast enough for higher volumes. With a shrink tunnel, you package your products faster and better.

What makes the shrink tunnel a better choice than the heat gun is the conveyor system. They are mobile, so you can move them anywhere you need. They can function with bigger dimensions and are perfect for small items' use.

There are also shrink-wrap tunnels that can accommodate medium-sized products.

Industrial Shrink Wrap Machines

Beyond these, there are machines for bigger, industrial-level manufacturing. Many of these automatic wrap units remove operator involvement in the entire process. This allows you to save time and the expense of additional employees.

If you are gearing towards high-capacity manufacturing, an industrial shrink wrap machine should do it. You would need to connect these devices to your other automation equipment. If you’re a company that wants rapid product output and rapid product wrapping, these are for you.

Find The Right Shrink Wrap Machines

There are different devices for your needs when it comes to finding shrink wrap machines. For smaller operations, it’s best to use semi-automatic shrink wrap devices like the I-bar and L-bar. Couple it with a shrink-wrap tunnel and you should be ready to go.

Are you looking for better, more secure packaging for your products? Do you need someone who can supply you with anything you need for packaging? 

You need Pack Secure.

We provide everything you would ever need to create that professional-looking product packaging. From POF to PVC shrink films, shrink machines to impulse sealers, we have it here for you.

Talk to us today and see how you can get the best packaging for your needs.


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