Packaging Stretch vs. Shrink Wrap: What’s the Difference?

April 26, 2023 07:40 AM
Packaging Stretch vs. Shrink Wrap: What’s the Difference?

Securing products for storage or shipment purposes is one of the most important aspects of your warehousing facility operations. Whether you’re looking to expand your inventory or fill large orders quickly, having an effective way to safeguard these items preserves your monetary resources. However, there are several methods to do this, and not all of them will work for your needs specifically. Here, we’ll discuss the differences between stretch and shrink wrap packaging. These are two terms that people often use interchangeably, but they have very notable differences.

Stretch Wrap

Also known as cling wrap, stretch film is a transparent plastic material that can stick to itself during the wrapping process. This feature makes it very secure. And this, combined with adhesives, can keep parcels and pallets protected for several months at a time. As such, stretch wrap is very cost effective, making it easy for you to save money for other areas of your business. These products are also very adaptable and flexible, allowing companies to protect even uniquely shaped orders without needing to invest in other materials. You can apply stretch film manually or use a piece of stretch wrap equipment to apply it to a stacked pallet.

Shrink Wrap

Shrink wrap, on the other hand, is similar to stretch wrap in that it’s plastic. However, it doesn’t possess the same level of stretchiness or clinginess. Shrink film typically holds singular products, such as toys or food items that need to remain securely in place. The film shrinks tightly around the product, which means you need to use a heat sealer to shrink the plastic into the correct size for the parcel you’re trying to protect. Shrink wrap is also very effective at blocking out the elements and even has superior moisture protection due to the airtight seal it creates. You can also ventilate this material to further reduce the risk of moisture damage.

Selecting the Right One for You

Now that you know the differences between stretch and shrink wrap packaging, you should find it easier to identify which one is necessary in your particular process. Sometimes, you may even need to use both. Overall, both are great options for keeping your products protected, but your decision depends on what your process needs. So turn to your own internal packaging processes. If you need to prioritize wrapping your pallets, stretch wrappers might be a good fit for applying stretch film. But if you need to protect individual items or groups of items, you might want the airtight seal that shrink wrap can provide. Carefully assessing your needs will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed choice.

You should never overlook the importance of protecting your products. Thankfully, acquiring the necessary machinery is much easier than you think. PackSmart carries a diverse selection of industrial stretch wrap machines, such as turntables, robot wrappers, and orbital models. We also offer shrink wrapping equipment so that we can help you find exactly what you need to meet volume and speed requirements. Contact us today or browse our website to learn more