Shrink wrap packaging guide

The idea of pallet shrink wrap is that tension is used to hold a number of items together. Shrink wrap comes in 4 primary forms.

Centerfold shrink wrap: Centerfold shrink wrap is folded in half lengthways and rolled onto a roll. A 10-inch-wide centerfolded roll would unfold to a 20-inch width.

Single wound shrink wrap: The film comes off the roll flat. Most single wound shrink film is used to bundle water bottles. The film is only sealed on two sides, leaving round holes known as bulls eyes on two ends of the package.

Shrink tubing: Shrink tubing is a round tube available in different sizes and made to package a wide array of products. Long continuous rolls of shrink tubing are often used to wrap long cylindrical objects. Shrink sleeves are pre-cut and sized tubes often made to go around a bottle. Shrink sleeves are heavily used in food and beverage packaging. Smaller pre-cut tubing sized for fitting bottle caps and lids is called shrink banding or neck banding.

Shrink bags: Shrink bags have three enclosed sides and one open side. Accurate product sizing is important when using shrink bags. The advantage of shrink bags is the need to only seal one open end. Hand impulse sealers used with shrink bags are a great low-cost option for professional packaging.

  • Place the outside of the shrink wrap to the pallet surface.
  • Secure the shrink wrap to the pallet base.
  • Ensure shrink wrap covers the base of pallet and the bottom layer of the load.
  • Wrap the bottom of pallet twice to secure the load.
  • Overlap the shrink wrap by 30 to 50%.

Depending on the weight of your load, consider wrapping the pallet twice. To increase the strength, use the shrink wrap horizontally to create a strap. Use a handheld stretch film dispenser for rapid easy application and to prevent injury through straining or repetitive use.

You should use the thinnest gauge of shrink wrap that will be strong enough to properly wrap your goods.
Shrink wrap thickness
12.5/13 micron shrink wrap
  • Thinnest shrink film available.
  • Suitable where the shrink wrap is supported.
15, 17 and 19 micron shrink wrap
  • For heavier goods and larger packs.
21/25 microns shrink wrap
  • Allows collations of packs.
35/38 micron shrink wrap
  • For large and heavy packs.

Shrink wrap width is calculated by adding the width and height of the pack together, increasing this figure by 10% and adding 60mm for scrap.

As shrink wrap widths are incremented at 5cm per time, you should round up your figure.

Add the height and length together, increase it by 10% and then divide this figure into the length of the roll.
Types of shrink wrap
Cast shrink wrapBlown shrink wrap
Load retention
  • Stretches easily.
  • Slightly more force required to stretch film.
Film yield
  • Additional stretching can be obtained easier through lower micron blown films.
  • Re-stretching the film once its applied is extremely difficult.
Clingyness of the film
  • Naturally clingy on both sides.
  • One sided clingy only.
Visual clarity
  • Perfectly clear, makes reading and scanning in warehouse light easy. High gloss can cause reflections.
  • Hazy and dull which makes reading more difficult. It has lower gloss with reduces reflections.
Noise on unwinding
  • Very quiet when being unwound.
  • Loud when being unwound from the roll.
Puncture resistance
  • Good puncture resistance. Tearing can occur if stretched too much.
  • Great puncture resistance.
Shrink wrap uses
Books
  • Keep your personal library safe from moisture.
  • Shrink wrap your book collection to seal it off from the elements.
Shoes
  • Shrink wrapping shoes is a great way to keep them from aging.
Shrink wrap shoes
Windows
  • Keep your home warmer in the winter by shrink wrapping windows.
  • Increase the insulation of your home.
Shrink wrap windows
CDs
  • Shrink wrap CD cases.
Shrink wrap cds
Paintings and prints
  • Shrink wrap protects artwork from unwanted scuffs, dust or moisture.
Shrink wrap prints
Boats
  • Winter proof boats with shrink wrap.
Shrink wrap boats
Soaps and candles
  • Shrink wrap can be used to protect soap and candles from the elements.
Shrink wrap soap
Firewood
  • Shrink wrap is an inexpensive way to keep moisture out of firewood.
Shrink wrap wood
Food
  • Shrink wrapping food is an easy way to increase the shelf life of food without having to rely on artificial preservatives.
Shrink wrap food
Stretch wrap is an affordable way to wrap and secure products. Using the right thickness of stretch wrap to secure the product being wrapped will protect from product loss and reduce film cost. Below is a brief explanation of common stretch wrap terms referring to film thickness.
Shrink wrap thickness guide
37 gauge
  • Excellent cost saver when wrapping light loads.
  • Great for bundling two light uniform objects together.
  • Users can easily apply the film with minimal exertion.
47 gauge
  • Great for light boxes.
  • No products with sharp edges or corners.
80 gauge
  • The most common gauge in all stretch wrap. Known to be very versatile and handle a variety of applications. 80 gauge is the most common stretch film thickness and ideal for a variety of applications
90 gauge
  • The ability to run with a higher tension with fewer tears.
  • Used to wrap bundle firewood, angle iron and a variety of heavier objects
  • Ideal for taller or heavier loads.
100 gauge
  • Commonly used for heavier boxes and products to bundle together. Medium heavy boxes and medium heavy items such as light lumber are ideal.
  • Often used to wrap pallets of drums, steel beams and other heavy objects.
115 gauge
  • 115 gauge shrink wrap provides excellent stretch with limited tears.
  • Used for banding sets of heavy products together.
  • 115 gauge shrink and above is ideal for taller or heavier loads.
150 gauge
  • The heaviest shrink stretch film offered. For heavy duty pallet loads.
  • Greater strength and puncture resistance.
  • Great for irregular shaped boxes. Ideal for securing steel, metal and other heavy duty items.

By stretching a stretch film to the maximum stretch rate, save money on film costs and reduce product loss. With the simple steps below, companies can find out the amount of stretch being reached. This is useful to find out if you are attaining the proper amount of stretch when applying hand film and thus decreasing film usage.

We recommend using a pallet of goods that are commonly wrapped. Uniform pallet loads such as boxes will often obtain a higher stretch rate than loads with sharp edges or corners.

Stretch film stretch rate
Step 1
  • Tie the stretch film to the corner of the pallet.
  • Make one or two full revolutions around the pallet.
Stretch film stretch rate
Step 2
  • After the last corner is reached to complete two full revolutions, loosely pull 5 to 6 feet from the stretch film roll and hold up to the pallet.
Stretch film stretch rate
Step 3
  • Hold the loose stretch film up to the boxes and make 3 to 5 lines ten inches long on different sides of the film.
  • The lines should be spaced apart a few inches across the length of the extra film pulled out in step two.
  • Multiple lines should be marked on the film to obtain an average rate during one revolution of pallet wrapping.
Stretch film stretch rate Stretch film stretch rate
Step 4
  • Wrap the pallet as normal after 3 to 5 ten inch lines are marked on it.
  • After the pallet is wrapped the lines should be stretched out longer than the original markings.
Stretch film stretch rate
Step 5
  • Use a tape measure to measure the stretched lines and write each line length down.
Stretch film stretch rate
Step 6
  • After all of the stretched lines are measured and wrote down, get the average length of the lines by adding all lengths together and dividing by the number of lines.
  • If the average of all of the lines is 20, a 100% stretch rate is being reached.
  • If the average of the lines is 30 inches, a 200% stretch rate is being reached.

Shopping basket

Recommend us

  • Like our products?
  • Like our service?
  • Like our website?

Secure shopping

  • We use a secure 128 bit e-commerce server.
  • All VISA, MasterCard and debit cards accepted.
  • No PayPal account required to process your order.