The shrink tunnel is a machine that releases heat and circulating air to a pre fitted shrinkable material, which then causes the material to shrink around the product and therefore act as a packaging material.
This packaging method is mostly used to batch units together for easier handling and transportation. Bottled water can be held in batches of ten or twelve bottles each to avoid having to hold them individually.
Operation of the Shrink Tunnel Systems
The basic operation of the shrink tunnel involves regulated release of heat and a circulating air stream in an enclosed chamber, thus evenly heating the shrinkable film, which covers the enclosed product or batch of product.
The conveyor used is made of temperature tolerant glass or nylon material for durability. The sprockets used are also made of nylon to prevent sticking of the polythene wrapping material. They also consist of blower motors attached with a power capability of up to 2 horse powers for maximum air circulation.
The velocity of air is carefully regulated for even coverage as well as the speed of flow of the conveyor belt. Other models have the ability to change the direction of flow of the product to suit the needs of the individual manufacturer.
Role of the Shrink Tunnel in Packaging Industry
- Protection and grouping of products has been achieved thus realization of higher quality of products. The shrinkable polythene protects the products from deformation, moisture and even dirt that could contaminate during shipment.
- The availability of varying sizes of these machines means that upcoming manufacturers can afford to buy them to increase their production efficiency. Heavy manufacturing and packaging systems are also available and the equipment can be custom made to suit the individual’s needs.
- High performance shrink tunnels enable faster production and output of the manufacturing process thus more profitability of the industry.
Advantages of Shrink tunnel packaging over other systems
- High quality product and package due to the ability to control and regulate the process.
- Airtight seals are achieved therefore product degradation is eliminated during storage and transportation.
- Lower maintenance costs; the materials used in the construction of the shrink tunnel are specially made to withstand repeated and constant exposure to heat, air and moving product.
- Automatic functionality allows continuous production activity thereby increasing the manufacturing output of the company.
The shrink tunnel is packaging equipment that has a chamber equipped with heating and air circulation system that are important in causing shrinkage of the polythene wrapper used. The products to be packed are loosely covered with polythene material that has shrinking properties when exposed to heat. When these pass through the chamber, the polythene shrinks on the products firmly holding it together.
The shrink tunnel machine has been a critical addition in the packaging industry due to various advantages such as greater output of production, lower maintenance costs of the machine, and varying sizes depending on the scale of operation of the individual company.
This article is written by Arjun Rao – CEO of Multi Pack Machinery Company.