Polyolefin vs PVC Shrink Film. Which is Best?

Posted by: James on November 26th, 2012

Centerfold Thermo Shrink Wrap FilmIf you’re shopping around for shrink film for your machine, you have probably come across two different times of film, PVC and Polyolefin (found here). Both of these film types are readily available and are used for packaging a variety of products. So which of these two types of film are best? Should you go with PVC or Polyolefin shrink film?

Before you decide on a film type, be aware that most shrink wrap machines (I-Bar and L-Bar) can use either type of thermo shrinkable film (film that shrinks with heat). That means if you would like to try both out and see which you prefer, you can try one out and then the other without having to buy a new machine. There are a few limitations you should be aware of.

Many shrink wrap machines have a diameter limitation based on the diameter of the centerfold shrink wrap film being used. Almost all shrink wrap machines can handle a PVC shrink film roll because the length is usually around 500 feet long. The Polyolefin film rolls range in length from 2,600 to 4,300 feet in length, making the diameter fairly large. Most I-bar sealers can handle any roll of centerfold Polyolefin film, but not all L-bar shrink wrap systems can.

Here are some of the pros and cons of both types of shrink wrap film.

Polyolefin Centerfold Thermo Shrink Wrap FilmPolyolefin Film (found here) – Polyolefin shrink wrap film has quickly become one of the most popular used today. A few years ago PVC was still king, but Polyolefin has risen to the top for many reasons. Here are just a few that you should be aware of:

  • Polyolefin film is more environmentally friendly than PVC and is easier to recycle.
  • Polyolefin is typically more durable than PVC film because it has more stretch and give.
  • This film is better than PVC for bundling multiple items together.
  • Unlike PVC film, Polyolefin doesn’t give off nearly as much odor or smoke during the shrink wrap process.
  • When you break it down per square foot of film, Polyolefin is actually less expensive. While the rolls cost more, you get a lot more film for the price.
  • It doesn’t gum up the cutting wire in shrink wrap machines as much as PVC.
  • It is safe for direct contact with food.
  • It is more difficult to puncture or tear Polyolefin film than PVC film.
  • Polyolefin film can be used to package just about anything from DVDs and music to fruit baskets and soap.
  • Doesn’t lose integrity or appearance with age.
  • Provides a professional appearance for retail display purposes.

PVC Film (found here) – PVC film used to be the most popular film used. It is still very popular today for packaging individual items for retail sale. Here are a few things you may like to know about PVC film:

  • Still a great method for packaging  items such as DVDs, CDs, boxes and software.
  • Very common and readily available.
  • Compatible with all heat tunnels and heat guns.
  • Can be used with any I-bar sealer or L-bar shrink system.
  • Easier for a customer to open up than Polyolefin film (this could be a plus or minus).

Both types of film are available in different thicknesses. In the United States this is known as the gauge. The higher the gauge number, the thicker the film. Film thicknesses usually range from 60 gauge up to 100 gauge. Outside the United States shrink film is measured in microns.

In conclusion, I have to say that my preference is Polyolefin film. I don’t consider PVC film to be bad, but I do consider Polyolefin to be better. The only downside is that Polyolefin film comes in larger diameters that may not be compatible with your system.

At Office Zone, we have years of experience with both shrink wrap machines and film. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-543-5454 with questions about film or machines. You can find our entire selection of film here and shrink wrap machines here.


All About Centerfold Shrink Film Rolls – PVC & Polyolefin

Posted by: James on November 16th, 2012

Centerfold Shrink Wrap FilmIf you’re looking for an economical way to package products for retail sale, you may want to consider using a shrink wrap machine (found here) that uses centerfold shrink film rolls (found here). Centerfold shrink film provides a fast, affordable and effective way to package products. There are several factors involved in choosing a roll of film for packaging. This article will cover all aspects of shrink packaging in an effort to help you make a more educated decision when shopping around.

Before you start packaging anything, you’re going to need a machine. At Office Zone, we offer a great selection of I-bar sealers and shrink wrap systems. Once you have a machine, you will need to read the owner’s manual and determine what the maximum width of film is, maximum diameter and types of film it can handle. If you can’t find that information, please call us at 1-800-543-5454 and we can help you figure that out.

Here are a few things you will need to know:

  • Centerfold Shrink FilmFilm Types – Centerfold shrink film comes in two different formats; these are PVC and Polyolefin. Most shrink wrap machines can use either PVC or Polyolefin film.
  • PVC Film – PVC film has been around for years and used to consist of the bulk majority of packaging. It is commonly seen in packaging for DVDs, CDs, software packaging and other retail packaging. PVC film has a crinkly feel to it and is less flexible than Polyolefin film. PVC film is not approved for direct contact use with food. PVC film is typically cheaper than Polyolefin film.
  • Polyolefin Film – Polyolefin film is growing in popularity for many reasons. To begin with, it is stretchier and has more give to it than PVC film. As a result, Polyolefin film (aka Poly film) doesn’t break or tear as easily. It is also approved for use with food.
    Determining Film Size – When packaging a product, there are several things you will need to take into account. While the width of the product is important, you will also need to take into account the height of a product. If you have a box that is 10″ wide and 4″ tall, you will need at minimum a roll of film that is 16″ wide to accommodate the height. How is this calculated? Take the width of the film, plus the height and add 2″. The formula looks like this (Width + Height + 2″).
  • Width – If you have a shrink wrap machine that handles film up to 24″ wide, you will be able to use any rolls 24″ or smaller. This is nice to know and may affect the machine you purchase. If you only need a 10″ width, but may see a need for something bigger in the future, I recommend you get a machine with a slightly longer sealing width in order to be prepared for future jobs.
  • Diameter – A centerfold roll of film consists of a sheet of film that has been folded in half and rolled up. This means a 24″ wide roll of centerfold film is actually a 48″ sheet that has been folded in half. Different shrink film supplies come in different lengths. PVC film often comes in 500 foot lengths, but Polyolefin film often comes in rolls as large as 4,000+ feet long. Just be sure your machine has ample room to accommodate the diameter of the roll.
  • Thickness – Shrink wrap film thickness is measured in gauge rather than mils (mils is used with lamination film). The higher the gauge number, the thicker the film. The most popular PVC film gauge is 75 and the most popular Polyolefin gauge is 60.

If you still have questions about centerfold shrink film, or if you just need a little help selecting the right product, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-543-54543.


Shrink Wrap Machine Review: The MiniPack Galaxy

Posted by: Morgan on May 8th, 2012
MiniPack Galaxy shrink wrap machine

The MiniPack Galaxy Shrink Wrap Machine

I had the opportunity last week to demonstrate the MiniPack Galaxy shrink wrap machine to one of our local customers. Before he arrived, we discussed his specific shrink wrap packaging needs over the phone. I determined that the Galaxy would be the best fit for his application.

Over the years I’ve learned that the MiniPack Galaxy is a reliable shrink wrapping machine that satisfies the packaging requirements for several businesses. For starters, the Galaxy’s relatively large shrink chamber has the capacity to accommodate a wide spectrum of products of various sizes. We have sold machines in years past to customers who are packaging DVDs, books, candy boxes, frozen pies, machine parts, artwork, all sorts of food products and more.

The operating controls on the Galaxy are most definitely user-friendly. It’s also simple to install a new roll of shrink film on the machine. The Galaxy has been rated by Office Zone as a high-performance shrink wrap machine, able to package up to 300 units an hour. You can use PVC or Polyolefin centerfold shrink film with the Galaxy. After the film is loaded, it passed through the built-in tearless perforating system. Tiny holes are necessary to ensure quick and efficient shrinking of the film. Without the tiny perf holes, the shrink film would look like a big mess with waves of air pockets and wrinkles. The maximum film roll for the Galaxy width is 20 inches; maximum roll diameter is 10 inches.

The machine includes a helpful adjustable shelf in the sealing area that may be positioned up or down, according to product height. The lid automatically opens after the film cutting and shrink wrapping process is complete. The film is trimmed to size with an electronic pulse that flows through a Teflon-coated sealing blade. You can program the cutting blades and heat chamber to adjust to different shrink wrapping needs. For example, if the item you are packaging requires a significant amount of shrink film, the cutting blades and heat chamber may be adjusted to apply more heat to efficiently encase the product in film. On the flip side, you may also decrease heat chamber time to prevent melting with sensitive food items such as chocolates.

The MiniPack Galaxy includes an overheat safety circuit that prevents the internal parts from any significant damage. Please be aware that an electrical end plug is not included with this machine. This is because MiniPack shrink wrap machines are sold internationally — where power systems vary — thus allowing you to install the correct plug extension for your building.

Be sure to contact Office Zone’s customer service department today to learn more about the MiniPack Galaxy and how it can save you time and money with your packaging needs.