Top Things to Consider

Top Things to Consider When Looking for Shrink Sleeve Equipment

Shrink sleeve labeling is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to create brand awareness for products. With their bright colors and sleek look, shrink sleeve labels help catch the consumer’s eye by standing out on the shelves and, in turn, create brand awareness for the product. But how do you know which sleeve labeler and shrink tunnel are right for your packaging line?

Following is a list of the top things to consider when looking for shrink sleeve equipment.


Before adding shrink sleeving equipment to your production line, make sure you take space into consideration. How much square footage on the production floor will you have, and what is the environment? These factors will help determine the maximum space the shrink sleeve line can occupy. If production space is limited, a smaller sleever might be the best option for your manufacturing environment.

Another way to save space is by utilizing a shrink tunnel that can be mounted onto an existing production line. For example, AFM’s GS Series radiant heat tunnel features a small footprint and a versatile design. It can be easily mounted to an existing conveyor frame, doing away with the need for a floor stand. If a floor stand is needed, casters provide the ability to move the equipment within the plant, allowing for easy reconfiguration of equipment if manufacturing needs change. AFM’s shrink sleeve applicators and tunnels are equipped with casters to allow for easy transportation throughout the production floor.

Product Volume

How much product do you plan on running through your line? If it is a small volume of product, consider getting a shrink sleeve labeler designed for low to moderate production rates, like AFM’s LX-100. If production volume is greater, purchase a machine designed for greater production rates, like the LX-150, which feature production rates of up to 300 containers per minute, or the LX-350, which can run up to 500 containers per minute.

Type of Shrink Sleeve Labeler

What are you sleeving? Container shape and size are important aspects to consider when looking at which shrink sleeve labeler would be the best for your packaging line. The type of shrink sleeve your product requires is also a consideration. If the packaging line is specifically designed for tamper-evident bands, then choosing a tamper-evident applicator like AFM’s CH-100 is the best option. Tamper evident applicators are a great way to add an extra level of security to your product and give customers peace of mind while shopping.

If your packaging line consists of middle, full-body, or full body and cap applications, a shrink sleeve label and tamper-evident band applicator, like AFM’s LX-150, is an ideal choice. These applicators offer a versatile solution and are compatible with oval and round containers made of plastic, glass, or metal.

Type of Shrink Tunnels

Once you’ve decided on the applicator, it’s now time to choose the shrink tunnel that will best fit the shrink sleeve line. There are three main types of shrink tunnels: steam, radiant, and electric. Each are designed for different applications and each provide different finishes to the container. 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 and irregular shaped containers because they offer uniform heat to shrink 360° around the container.

Another tunnel that is ideal for shrink sleeve labels and tamper-evident bands are electric heat tunnels. Electric heat tunnels often have a compact design and can be wheeled up to an existing conveyor belt appropriate for high heat applications.

And finally, radiant heat tunnels like AFM’s OAL Classic are the last type of shrink tunnel. These tunnels use heat that is emitted by radiant heating elements within the tunnel at a set temperature. Radiant heat tunnels are great for simple and fast shrink applications like tamper bands and other low percentage shrink films.

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing a shrink sleever and shrink tunnel for your production line. If you are still trying to decide which equipment will best help you deliver your products to the world, contact us today! Our knowledgeable packaging team is here to help!