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Understanding Shrink Films: Types, Applications & Choosing the Right One

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In the world of packaging, shrink films play an integral role in offering versatile, secure, and cost-effective solutions for various industries. This popular packaging material forms a tight-fitting, transparent layer around products when heated, protecting them from dirt, moisture, and external damage. Shrink films are used in conjunction with heat-sealing machines to create professional-looking packages for diverse items – from food products to pharmaceuticals. At Australian Wrapping Company, we pride ourselves on providing a wide range of high-quality shrink films designed to cater to the diverse needs of our clients.

In this all-encompassing guide, we aim to educate our readers about the different types of shrink films, their unique properties, applications, and the factors to consider when choosing the appropriate shrink film for your specific requirements. Whether you’re new to shrink films or wish to expand your knowledge, this guide will offer valuable insights that will elevate your understanding and empower you to make informed decisions when it comes to shrink film selection.

1. Different Types of Shrink Films

Polyolefin Shrink Film

Polyolefin is a versatile and popular shrink film type commonly used for packaging various products. It is known for its high clarity, puncture resistance, and ability to conform to irregular shapes easily. Polyolefin shrink film offers excellent sealing properties and can withstand low temperatures, making it suitable for frozen food items. This film is available in single-wound or centre-folded formats and may be cross-linked for added strength.

PVC Shrink Film

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) shrink film is characterised by its excellent transparency and low shrink force, making it perfect for packaging delicate items. It is ideal for small consumer goods, such as DVDs, stationery, and gift hampers. One downside of PVC shrink film is its sensitivity to high temperatures and the potential to release harmful fumes when sealing. Additionally, it is not suitable for edible products due to its PVC composition.

Polyethylene Shrink Film

Polyethylene shrink film, also known as LDPE (low-density polyethylene) film, is characterised by its durability, strength, and affordability. Often used for bundling multiple products together, polyethylene shrink film is perfect for heavier or larger items that require extra support, such as bottled beverages or bulkier boxes. However, it offers lower clarity than its polyolefin and PVC counterparts.

2. Applications of Shrink Films

Food and Beverage Industry

Shrink films are widely utilised in the food and beverage industry, providing secure and visually appealing packaging for a variety of products. Common applications include:

  • Fresh produce, such as fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and seafood packaging
  • Baked goods and confectionery items
  • Multi-packs of canned or bottled beverages

Consumer Goods and Retail

Shrink films are indispensable in the consumer goods and retail sector for their ability to create tamper-evident and attractive packages. Typical applications include:

  • Cosmetics and personal care items
  • Toys, games, and sporting goods
  • Electronics and accessories
  • Stationery and office supplies

Pharmaceutical and Medical Industry

Due to their adaptability and protective properties, shrink films are often used in the pharmaceutical and medical industries. They ensure products remain sterile, uncontaminated, and securely packaged. Examples include:

  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Medical devices and equipment
  • Bandages, syringes, and first-aid supplies

3. Choosing the Right Shrink Film for Your Business

Product Type and Size

Consider the type of product that needs packaging and its dimensions when selecting a suitable shrink film. Polyolefin films work well for food items or items with irregular shapes, while PVC films are more suitable for delicate items that require lower shrink force. For bulkier or heavier items, polyethylene films may be the best choice.

Sealing Strength

Sealing strength is an essential factor to consider, as it impacts the package’s integrity. Polyolefin films offer strong seals, whereas PVC films provide lower sealing strength. Assess your specific needs and opt for a film that meets the required durability and security.

Clarity and Presentation

The clarity and appearance of the packaged product are critical when it comes to shelf appeal and branding. Polyolefin and PVC films boast high transparency, but polyethylene films tend to have lower clarity. When product presentation is crucial, opt for high-clarity films to enhance the product’s visual appeal.

Environmental Considerations

Environmental impact can play a role in selecting a suitable shrink film for your business. Polyolefin films are recyclable and generally more environmentally friendly than PVC films, which release harmful fumes during the sealing process. If your company prioritises eco-friendly solutions, consider opting for recyclable or eco-conscious shrink film options.


Shrink films are a versatile and cost-effective packaging solution encompassing various types, each with unique properties catering to diverse applications and industries. As you gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies of shrink films, you are better equipped to make informed decisions on selecting the most suitable film for your specific needs.

With an ever-growing emphasis on efficiency, product presentation, and eco-conscious solutions, understanding shrink films is paramount in staying competitive and making the right choices when it comes to packaging. The knowledge and insights gained from this comprehensive guide will empower you to navigate the world of shrink films more confidently, optimising your packaging operations and driving business success.

Are you tired of dealing with unreliable suppliers for your packaging equipment needs? Look no further than Australian Wrapping Company, the leading provider of shrink films, pallet wrapping, flow wrapping, shrink sleeve applicators, and heat sealer packaging equipment.

Our team of experts specialises in finding the perfect packaging solutions for your unique needs. We offer a wide range of top-quality equipment to ensure that your products are packaged safely and securely. From shrink wrapping to heat sealing, we have the expertise to provide you with the best packaging solutions in the industry.

So, if you’re looking for a reliable supplier of packaging equipment, look no further than Australian Wrapping Company. Our commitment to quality, affordability, and customer satisfaction is unmatched in the industry. Contact us today and experience the difference that comes from working with the best in the business.


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