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6 Properties of Shrink Film You Need to Know

Apr. 27, 2022

Shrink film is a packaging material made of polymeric plastic film. When heated, it shrinks tightly around whatever it is covering. Shrink wrap and shrink film are very versatile materials that can be used for a variety of packaging applications. 

Believe it or not, there's a lot more you should know about shrink film. In addition to clarity, which we all know is important, shrink film has different handling characteristics. Here are 6 characteristics you should look for when considering the shrink film you need for your packaging.


1. Shrinkage Force

This is usually measured in PSI and tells you the amount of force the shrink film will apply to your product. If you are packaging multi-piece packages that need to be packed tightly without damage, it is helpful to know your shrink force, especially for adjusting your shrink machinery accordingly.

Historically, polyolefin films have been high-shrink films. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) films have had low shrinkage. New polyolefin formulations can reduce shrinkage. 


6 Properties of Shrink Film You Need to Know

2. Shrink Orientation

Shrink films are either biaxially oriented or preferentially oriented. Biaxially oriented films shrink equally in both directions (machine direction or transverse). 

Preferentially oriented films shrink differently in either direction. The benefits of preferentially oriented films include using less film and preventing product distortion.


3. Moisture Transmission Rate

This property is a measure of how much moisture will or will not pass through the film . If low moisture transmission in and out of the package is important, this property should be noted to extend shelf life. 


6 Properties of Shrink Film You Need to Know

4. Puncture/tear resistance

This measures how difficult it is to actually break the film, and how difficult it is to tear the film after it has been punctured.

Typically, films with high puncture resistance have lower tear resistance, and vice versa. If you need to make this trade-off, choose the more important characteristic (for example, puncture resistance is important if you have window boxes). Choose a shrink film that provides both product security and easy access to the actual product. Make sure to keep the shrink wrap in a cool (but not too cold) storage area to prevent the film from weakening before use. 


5. Odor Barrier

Odor barrier films are used to prevent unacceptable odors from entering or leaving your packaging. Don't make your customers feel bad after they buy your product.

6 Properties of Shrink Film You Need to Know

6. Anti-fogging

Anti-fog films are used for food products (fresh and frozen) to reduce moisture buildup on the film. Moisture can create fog that can interfere with viewing the product through the film.


There you have it, the 6 important characteristics of shrink film. Keep these in mind as you choose packaging for your products. Start by understanding shrink characteristics and how they affect your bottom line and you'll immediately trim costs. Do you talk to your current supplier about these items? Or better yet, do they talk to you about them? Get in touch with us.