Custom stretch and shrink wrapper films combined with high-quality manual or fully automated equipment can make your pack-n-ship process even more streamlined. When you’re sending shipments, you want all the bits and pieces to be held together safely and securely. Sometimes, that requires custom stretch or shrink film.

Packaging suppliers like Fastpak sell a variety of custom stretch and shrink films for specific product packaging needs. Make it easy to meet the needs of your warehouse, shipping and receiving department, or anywhere else where you package supplies. When deciding what type of stretch or shrink film to invest in for shipping supplies, remember these essential tips.


Stretch Wrap vs. Shrink Wrap Film

At first glance, both of these products look pretty similar, but there are a lot of differences between stretch and shrink wrap film and machines

Both films look like the cling wrap you probably have in your kitchen to wrap leftovers. However, stretch wrap stretches around products. It has a degree of elasticity that lets you pull it taut around your shipments, and it holds everything tightly together. In contrast, shrink wrap goes loosely around your products or shipments. Then, to tighten it, you need to apply heat. Often, you can do that with a blow dryer, but an automatic shrink wrapping machine does this task for you.

Applications for Shrink Film

Shrink film protects the same as stretch film, except it does not stretch. Shrink film is the same for packaging and shipping, but there is the added step of heating the film to shrink it and create a tight seal. Shrink film and shrink wrapper machines should not be looked at as more work or more complex because of the extra step to heat the film, but merely a different way to protect your items in transit.

Applications for Stretch Film

Let’s say you’re packing up a group of jars and you’re putting them in a box that doesn’t have a lid. You can apply the stretch wrap to keep everything well organized and to prevent the jars from falling out of the box. However, you don’t just have to use stretch film for single boxes. Stretch film is also great for holding together pallets of boxes. You cover the pallet with your boxes. Then, to ensure the stacks don’t tip and tilt to the side, and to prevent boxes from getting separated from your shipment, you can cover the whole load in stretch film.


Applying Film Manually and in Stretch and Shrink Wrapper Machines

You can apply shrink wrap and stretch film in a variety of ways. You can get both films in a wide array of quantities.

To apply the film, pull a little bit out of the supply roll and stick one end to the item you are wrapping. If you’re wrapping a small item, you can pull off the rest of the wrap that you need and wrap it around the item. Or, if you’re wrapping a large pile of boxes, you may just walk around the boxes, moving your stretch film dispenser as you go so that it can release stretch film over the rest of the items.

Shrink film will not stretch and stick. Therefore, you have to apply heat as you wrap products so the film molds and creates a seal. (Semi-automatic and fully automated shrink wrapper machines do this step for you). For both stretch and shrink film, semi-automated and fully automated equipment makes this process much easier, if the budget and space are available or if you have high-load shipments.


Stretch Wrapper Films

Cast Stretch Film is manufactured using a continuous casting process where the film is extruded through a flat die onto a chill roll. This process produces a clear, quiet, and smooth film with excellent clarity and cling properties. Cast stretch film is often preferred for applications where high clarity is required, such as retail packaging.

Blown Stretch Film is produced using a blown film extrusion process where the film is inflated like a balloon, resulting in a thicker and more puncture-resistant film compared to cast stretch film. It offers excellent load-holding force and is ideal for heavy or irregularly shaped loads.

Machine Stretch Film is available in both cast and blown varieties and comes in various widths and thicknesses to accommodate different machine types and packaging needs. Machine stretch film offers high efficiency and consistency in wrapping palletized loads.

Hand Stretch Film is known as manual stretch film, it is designed to be applied by hand without the need for a stretch wrapping machine due to its flexibility and convenience. It is available in rolls of various widths and thicknesses and is commonly used for smaller palletized loads or irregularly shaped items.

Pre-Stretched Film is manufactured using a specialized process that stretches the film before it is wound onto the roll. It results in a lighter and thinner film with higher tensile strength and stretchability compared to traditional stretch or shrink wrapper film. Pre-stretched film offers reduced packaging costs, improved load stability, and increased productivity.

Colored Stretch Film is available in various colors such as black, blue, red, or green, it is often used for color coding, product identification, or branding purposes. Colored stretch film provides visual differentiation and can help enhance the appearance of packaged products.

UV-resistant Stretch Film is specially formulated to withstand prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. It is ideal for outdoor storage or transportation applications where extended UV exposure may cause standard stretch film to degrade or lose its integrity.


Shrink Wrapper Films

Polyolefin Shrink Film is a versatile and widely used option for shrink wrapping. It provides excellent clarity, strength, and durability, making it suitable for a wide range of products, including food, electronics, and consumer goods

PVC Shrink Film (polyvinyl chloride) is known for its high clarity and glossy appearance. It offers good shrinkage properties and is often used for packaging items like CDs, DVDs, and other retail products.

Polyethylene Shrink Film is a cost-effective option that provides good strength and puncture resistance. It is commonly used for bundling products together or for packaging irregularly shaped items.

Cross-Linked Shrink Film is designed to offer enhanced strength and shrinkage properties compared to standard shrink films. It is suitable for packaging heavy or sharp-edged products that require extra protection during transportation and handling

Printed Shrink Film allows for customization with branding, logos, or product information directly printed onto the film. This type of film is commonly used for retail packaging to enhance product visibility and branding.

Anti-Static Shrink Film is designed to prevent static buildup, making it suitable for packaging electronic components or other static-sensitive products.

Perforated Shrink Film features small holes or perforations that allow air to escape during the shrinking process, resulting in a smoother and more uniform shrink wrap finish. It is often used for packaging perishable goods or products that require ventilation.

Colored Shrink Film adds visual appeal to packaged products and can be used for branding or product differentiation purposes.


Considerations when Buying Stretch and Shrink Wrapper Films for Manual Tools and Machines

When you’re trying to buy custom film for either a manual tool or machine, it is best to work with a reputable packaging supplier to understand these important factors:

  • Does the package contain enough film so that you don’t have to reorder for a while?
  • Does the stretch film work with your equipment?
  • Is the film strong enough? If you’re using weak film to save money, you may end up double wrapping which drives up costs.

At Fastpak, we are packaging suppliers who sell a variety of shipping essentials and equipment. To learn more, contact us directly or look through our online catalog.