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Is Stretch Wrap the Same as Shrink Wrap?

Jun. 30, 2021

Many people think that shrink wrapping and stretch wrapping are the same thing. So, is stretch wrapping the same as shrink wrapping? Although shrink wrap and stretch wrap may look similar and have almost indistinguishable uses, they are far from identical. If you're having trouble distinguishing between the two types of protective film and aren't entirely sure which one to use to package your products, we'll present everything you need to know about shrink wrap and stretch wrap - including their differences - in this handy guide.

 

What to know about stretch wrap

Stretch wrap (also known as stretch film) is an elastic film used to wrap products around pallets and bind them together. It can be restored to its original state even after it has been stretched and wrapped around the pallet.

 

Advantages of stretch wrapping

There are many advantages to using stretch wrapping to secure and protect your pallet loads. These advantages include

 

Low Cost

Worried about spending too much money wrapping pallets? Fortunately, stretch wrap is one of the most cost effective materials you can use. The machines used to dispense and apply stretch wrap also tend to cost less than other types of packaging equipment.

 

Versatile

You can use stretch wrap for a variety of applications and surfaces.

 

Protected

Several layers of stretch wrap can protect your products from moisture, dust and other hazards. Special stretch wraps can even protect your products from UV rays.

 Sealing and Shrinking Machine

 Sealing and Shrinking Machine

The advantages of shrink wrapping

Just like stretch wrapping, shrink wrapping offers many advantages. The following are some of the most compelling.

The fully automatic L type vertical upper and lower sealing and shrinking machine is a new type of automatic shrink packaging machine with high degree of automation. It can automatically complete the steps of feeding, filming, sealing and shrinking, and the output can reach 20-35 pieces/min, supporting POF film, PVC film and other heat-shrinkable wrapping. The heat-shrinkable packaging result is not wrinkled, requires no personnel to operate, and has high work efficiency.

 

Protected

Shrink packaging excels at protecting products from the elements and contaminants such as dirt and dust.

 

Reduced surface damage

When applied correctly, shrink wrap will protect your products from surface damage during shipping and storage.

 

Breathable

If you're concerned that weather or accidental spills will damage the integrity of your product, the good news is that certain types of shrink wrap are ventilated. This quality significantly reduces the likelihood of moisture damage.

 

The Difference between Stretch Wrap and Shrink Wrap

Is stretch film the same as shrink film? Not exactly. Many qualities separate shrink wrap from stretch wrap, including

 

Plastic material

Both shrink wrap and stretch wrap are made of plastic - but which plastic? Most stretch wrap is made from polyethylene, while most shrink wrap is made from polyolefins. For many years, PVC was the primary plastic used in shrink wrap manufacturing, but most companies have moved away from it because of the harmful byproducts it releases during the manufacturing process. In fact, PVC has been banned in many places, including Canada, Spain and some cities in the United States.

 

Application Process

The stretch wrap application process relies on the elasticity of the film to hold the pallet load in place. The shrink wrap application process, on the other hand, requires the use of a heat source to shrink the film around the product.

 

Usage

You will most likely find stretch wrap for preparing pallet loads for storage or shipment in warehouses and distribution centers. These locations typically use plain stretch wrap for most applications, but there are several special stretch wraps that provide additional protection or security for the product. These include UV, ventilated, anti-static and colored stretch wraps.

 

Shrink wrap is more commonly used to protect a single product or to combine multiple smaller products, but like stretch wrap, it can also secure pallet loads. The most common uses for shrink wrap include protecting products on store shelves, preserving food and beverages, and protecting products that are susceptible to weather, such as boats.

 

Which one should I choose?

Now that you understand the differences between shrink wrap and stretch wrap, you may be wondering which type you should use. To determine whether your business needs shrink wrap, stretch wrap, or both, ask yourself the following questions.

 

What kind of products do I need to package?

What potential hazards will they face?

Will these products be shipped separately or together?

Your answers to these questions should help you determine which type of film is best for your business operations.


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