3 Common Questions About Shrink Sleeve Labeling

Over the years, as our technology and equipment have grown, some frequently asked questions about shrink sleeve labeling have been asked. We have compiled a few of those questions below, along with their answers.

What is the difference between shrink sleeve tunnels, and how are they used?

There are a variety of different shrink tunnels on the market. AFM specializes in steam, electric, and radiant heat tunnels.

Steam tunnels use steam as the heat source to conform middle, full-body, and full-body and cap shrink sleeves to the container. These tunnels are great for full sleeve applications because they offer uniform heat to shrink 360° around the container. In addition, steam is ideal where high-quality, distortion-free graphics are important. Compared to other tunnels with a different heat source, steam tunnels run at a lower temperature – around 180°-200°F. Steam tunnels (WSN Series) often require a separate steam boiler in the production facility to provide the steam used in the tunnel. Some tunnels, including AFM’s WSN-GEN S steam tunnel, are designed with a built-in boiler and do not require an outside steam source.

Electric heat tunnels are also used to shrink labels to a container. These tunnels use the heat produced by an electric heating element circulated through the tunnel by fans to shrink the film to the container. In shrink sleeve applications, electric heat tunnels can be wheeled up to an existing conveyor belt appropriate for the temperature the tunnel emits. As a result, electric heat tunnels, such as AFM’s ES-200 Series tunnels, provide an ideal solution for shrinking shrink sleeve labels and tamper-evident bands.

Radiant heat tunnels are used for shrinking tamper-evident bands and shrink sleeves by using electromagnetic, infrared waves to shrink film. Bulbs emit the heat within the tunnel at a set temperature, and blowers help circulate the air around the container. These tunnels are great for middle, full body, combo packs, and full body and cap shrink applications. Radiant heat tunnels come in a variety of sizes. A small radiant heat tunnel (GS-Series Tunnel) can be added to the line for applications that only require the shrinking of a tamper-evident band. For larger applications that require the shrinking of a full-sized shrink sleeve, AFM offers the OAL Classic Radiant Heat Tunnel. The OAL Tunnel features electric and radiant heating elements to provide a positive shrink and high-quality finish on several films, including PVC, PETG, OPS, and PLA.

GS Series
OAL Classic

What does tamper-evident mean? Is it the same as a shrink sleeve label?

A tamper-evident band is a strip of film, typically PVC, PETG, PLA, or OPS, wrapped around a product’s neck and cap and used to provide an extra layer of security. On many tamper-evident bands, the film is perforated with a vertical or horizontal line to make opening easier for the consumer. The perforation allows consumers to easily tear off the tamper-evident band and shrink sleeve entirely or tear off just the band and leave the full-body shrink label intact.

Although tamper bands and shrink sleeve labels are different, a tamper band can be added to a shrink sleeve label. Tamper-evident bands can be applied as just a neckband or part of a full-body application that covers the entire container and the cap.

Are there different sizes of shrink sleeve labels?

There are several types of shrink sleeve labels: full-body, full-body with tamper-evident cap, middle sleeve, and multi-pack. Shrink sleeve labels are designed to fit a specific container size.

Full-body shrink sleeves cover the entire container to create a 360-degree design from top to bottom. These sleeves can be used for a single container or multi-pack. Multi-pack is when multiple containers are packaged together using a larger shrink sleeve. This type of packaging is often used when offering a two-for-one sale, packaging products to sell excess inventory, or adding a new sample to an existing product.

Middle sleeve shrink labels are used to cover part of the container. This label is typically used in consumer products like beverages, food, health, and beauty. Shrink sleeve labels can be added to containers like oval and round containers made of plastic, glass, or metal.

For more information on shrink sleeves and the equipment, visit our website and view AFM’s full line of sleeving solutions.

Do you still have questions about shrink sleeve labeling, shrink tunnels, or tamper-evident bands? AFM’s knowledgeable team of district sales managers is here to answer your call.

Contact us today at (714) 974-9006 or by email at info@afmsleeves.com