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Is there a difference between Stretch Wrap and Shrink Wrap?

by Tim Spicer April 17, 2020

is there a difference between stretch wrap and shrink

Is there a difference between Stretch Wrap and Shrink Wrap?

If I had a nickel for every time a customer wanted to order stretch wrap but ordered it as shrink wrap, I wouldn’t be stuck writing blogs for a living. Yes, in the high brow packaging industry, there is a definite difference.  Not to add confusion but for the sake of this discussion, you can replace the word “wrap” with “film” and point out the same comparisons since wrap and film mean the same thing here.

Stretch wrap, made from polyethylene, is most commonly used to wrap around boxes stacked on a pallet.  Either by hand or automatic turntable machine, the film is stretched as it comes off the roll and clings to the boxes.  Because the stretched film wants to go back to its original form, the film acts as a nice method of stabling the boxes and preventing them from falling off the pallet during transit.

Shrink wrap, made from polyolefin or PVC, is actually heated either by using fully automatic shrink tunnel with a conveyor belt or as simple as using your sister’s hair dryer. The end result is a professional looking package ready to be placed on a retail shelf.  Think of a pad of notebook paper at an office supply store or a board game at a toy store.  Both have that shrink film molded around the item.

Neither product is interchangeable.  No matter how much you heat stretch wrap, it will never shrink around your product.  It will just melt.  Shrink film will never stretch to allow a pallet load to be stable.  It’s just the way of the world.  Glad we had this discussion.

 

 

Tim Spicer
Tim Spicer


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