SHRINK SLEEVE MATERIALS
PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is a high density film that shrinks at low temperature ranges. The most commonly used shrink sleeve material, PVC is the easiest film to control in the shrink process. It has excellent shrinkage rates, clarity, print quality, and a wide range of both shrink temperatures and shrink ratios. PVC also has high impact strength for extra weather resistance. This scuff resistant shrink sleeve material has the lowest cost, but is also less environmentally friendly than other shrink sleeve materials currently in use.
PETG – Polyproplyene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG) is a high density film with a high strength ratio and excellent clarity. While PETG is the most expensive and most heat resistant shrink sleeve material, they are the most scuff resistant, have a higher gloss, and also have a higher shrink percentage. Additionally, PETG is pasteurisable and can be recycled, an often-sought feature in today’s market.
PLA – Polylactide, or Polylactic acid (a misnomer since PLA is not an acid), (PLA) is a biodegradable thermoplastic made from renewable resources. The fact that PLA is biodegradable has increased its popularity in recent years and in addition to its use as printed shrink sleeve labels, PLA has also been used as a loose-fill flexible packaging material. For more information on Flexible Packaging visit www.DRFlexPac.com.
EPS Foam – Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a recycle-able thermal plastic material. Though a light material, EPS is relatively strong mechanically for its lightness and has a high resistance to heat, making it an excellent insulator. EPS offers exceptional form fit product protection.
SHRINK SLEEVE APPLICATION PROCESS
Manual – In this process, custom printed shrink sleeve labels are manually applied to containers before shrinking. This method is ideal for short runs and sampling prototype programs.
Automatic – Through an automatic application process, conveyors and other assorted machines are used to slip the shrink film material over the containers and then process them through the heat-shrink area for the form-fit that shrink sleeves create.
Clear – A translucent sleeve which can be printed on but will otherwise show through to the container, and if a clear container, the contents therein. This type of shrink sleeve is ideal if you would like to showcase your product.
White – The shrink sleeve applied to the container is a white opaque film. Still printable, this type of sleeve will give the impression that the area of the container where applied is white.
PERFORATIONS FOR SHRINK SLEEVES
None – There will be no perforations on your shrink sleeve, it will be a solid label for the type of label selected.
Vertical – There will be vertical perforations that will make it easy to tear the shrink sleeve apart. This perforation is commonly found on safety-seals, and can be used in conjunction with horizontal perforations to create an entirely removable tamper-evident band.
Horizontal – This type of perforation allows part of the shrink sleeve, such as a tamper-evident band, to be easily removed without damaging the rest of the label so your product identity stays in tact. This also gives customers piece of mind when purchasing a product so they know it has not been altered.
T-Perforation – The perforation is used as an “easy to remove” tamper evident band.
PLAIN OR PRINTED SHRINK SLEEVES
Plain – Your shrink sleeve labels will simply act as a barrier to protect your container and will not have anything printed on it.
Custom Printed – In this format, you can print any design on the shrink sleeves however you want. Though this is more difficult to set up, it will be your custom design that makes your products stand out from all the others.
NUMBERS OF COLORS PRINTED
The number of colors you select to print with will also determine the cost of printing. The fewer colors selected, the less expensive it will be to print. The number of colors will be determined by your artwork and graphic design.
Flexographic Printing – This process of printing uses flexible polymer plates. The image on these plates is raised in a “letter press” type of image. Line screens are typically 133 to 150 lines per inch. Run length for flexographic jobs typically starts at 5,000 units.
Digital Printing – Digital printing uses liquid toner and uses no print plates. Because there are no printing plates the cost for short run printing is less expensive than Flexographic and Gravure printing. Run lengths for digital units typically don’t exceed 10,000 units.
Gravure Printing – Gravure is an intaglio form of printing. It uses metal cylinders that have been etched with ink cells. Each cell holds more or less ink based on the shadow or highlight tonal qualities required for printing. Gravure printing is a very high quality form of printing used for long runs over 500,000 units.