How Many Products Can a Shrink Tunnel Package?

Shrink tunnels are used to package a variety of heat shrink wrapped products. They vary in sizes and heating methods. The common denominator in all heat tunnels is they produce heat and have a continuous feed running through them.

The three most common forms of heat tunnels for shrink wrapping are infrared, recirculating, and steam tunnels. Each type of tunnel has advantages and disadvantages.

Shrink Tunnel Types

Steam shrink tunnels are commonly used for wrapping shrink sleeves around bottles and other cylindrical products. They use steam for a heating method to shrink the sleeves onto bottles. They can require expensive set up and plumbing to get started.

Infrared shrink tunnels use Infrared heat energy to shrink film onto packages. Infrared tunnels work great for a variety of films and products, but often cost more than recirculating tunnels.

Recirculating shrink tunnels are the most popular tunnels because of their price and durability. They work great for shrinking a variety of films and products. In this post we will be referring to recirculating heat tunnels.

There are a variety of factors that can determine the amount of products a shrink tunnel can shrink. As discussed above, the type of tunnel is a factor that will determine how many products can be packaged. There are several other factors that can determine how many products a shrink tunnel can package. Below is a list of common factors.

Factors that Effect Shrink Tunnel Speed

Power

The amount of power being supplied to a shrink tunnel is a major factor. A shrink tunnel running on 220v will be able to put out way more heat than a tunnel running on 110v. This also has a direct correlation to the size of the tunnel motor. Amperage is another factor directly related to the power and speed of a tunnel.

Tunnel Size and Product Size

The size of the product in relation with the size of the shrink tunnel will directly influence the amount of products that can be packaged. A longer product within a short shrink tunnel will slow down the amount of products that can be wrapped. The length of the average product to be packaged should be considered when purchasing a shrink tunnel.

Shrink Film Being Used

The type and thickness of shrink film being used is one of the most important factors determining the amount of products a shrink tunnel can package. A thicker film will require more heat and slower conveyor speeds. The type of film will also directly influence shrink tunnel temperature settings and conveyor settings.

Testing

With so many factors that can influence how many products and shrink tunnel can package; we struggled trying to find a way to test the amount of products a shrink tunnel can package. We determined the best method would be to take our smallest and one of our most popular shrink tunnels (1606-20 Shrink Tunnel) to test how many packages a shrink tunnel can package.

This testing method should provide bottom line data to offer an idea of the speed a shrink tunnel can package products. We chose to use a product that was 10 inches in length. The 1606-20 shrink tunnel dimensions are 16"w x 6"h x 20"l. We tested PVC and polyolefin shrink film. Please see the chart below for our data.

Shrink Packages Per Minute
Shrink Film Type & Thickness Shrink Tunnel Temperature Conveyor Speed/Ft. Per Minute
100 Gauge PVC 225º 12-18 FPM
100 Gauge PVC 250º 18 FPM
100 Gauge PVC 275º 30 FPM
100 Gauge PVC 300º 42 FPM
60 Gauge Polyolefin 275º 12 FPM
60 Gauge Polyolefin 300º 33 FPM
75 Gauge Polyolefin 275º 12 FPM
75 Gauge Polyolefin 300º 30 FPM
100 Gauge Polyolefin 275º 6 FPM
100 Gauge Polyolefin 300º 18 FPM

 

PVC shrink film has a lower required shrink temperature than Polyolefin shrink film. That is why the PVC shrink film testing begins at a lower shrink tunnel temp. than the Polyolefin film. The tunnel conveyor speed is directly related to the amount of products that can be packaged per minute. Our package in testing was 10 inches in length. With product spacing that would mean the amount of products per minute would be approximately the amount of feet per minute the tunnel can run with the type of film being used.

This is our base model shrink tunnel and product packaging speeds only increase upwards from this model. If you have any questions about shrink wrap supplies and packaging, feel free to visit us online or contact us at 1-800-441-5090.

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