The global demand of labels continues to grow as production and populations increases. Statistics show that out of the total shrink label production in the world, Russia consumes 34%, Europe 29% followed by United States 22%, Brazil 10% and Africa at 5%.It is important to note that the sleeve demand closely follows this label demand as of the year 2011.
Trends and Preferences in Different Shrink Technologies
Further analysis of the demand patterns shows that the heat shrink sleeve has more application with a demand of over 83% of the total demand while the stretch sleeve has only 11%. The remaining 6 % is taken up by other materials.
The strongest growth trends remains in South American, china and the Indian market for the heat shrink sleeve applicator systems. There has been a shift towards use of hybrid films which provide specific functions and application demands.
It is also worthwhile to note that steam shrink tunnel have also gained much popularity as shrink sleeve applicators.
Some of the current developments include improved labeling speeds of the shrink applicators, use of much thinner coextruded films, some of which are even opaque. A higher level of shrinkage has been achieved especially with the “machine direction (MD) and the heat shrink” film.
Raw Materials used Shrink Sleeve Labeling
Current developments are towards polyolefin film which offers better shrinkage and handling. Since this is a general raw material Individual users then specify the particular properties desired which determines the production process and additives to be introduced for desired characteristics.
Defining Best Applications
The best uses of the shrink sleeves are the less pressure sensitive containers for products such as specialty beverages like beer, juices and functional drinks, spirits and rums, milk, yoghurts as well as powder and liquid concentrates.
Personal care products are also increasingly using shrink films such as baby care bottles, bathing and shower soaps, hair care products such as gels and hair food lotions. House hold items like air fresheners, toilet washing detergents and surface care applications have also required shrink sleeve wrapping.
Contribution to the Marketing Strategy
The best and most important contribution of the shrink sleeve to marketing is the printability thus enabling branding and communication to customers. Reliable research has shown that 35 % of products are bought because they caught the attention of the buyer. It has also been proved that the color, shape, numbers and words connect with consumers which can lead to greater sales.
Challenges Hindering Technology Advancement
Some of the challenges hampering the development of shrink packaging films include;
- Volatility in the prices of crude oil which has resulted in prices of polymers going very high. This has also limited research and development of newer and improved materials.
- Environmental management concerns have also been a major hindrance especially on the handling of the waste products after use.
- Lower quality imitations leading to inferior packages.
The global demand of shrink sleeve labelling machines continues to grow as the demand for shrink sleeves grow. Advanced technology nowadays means that faster labeling can be done by the applicator machines thus increasing production output. The technology is applicable to various products such as drinks and beverages, personal care products wrapping as well as sanitary detergents. The sleeves are great avenues for product branding and advertisement.
This article is posted by Arjun Rao – CEO of Multi Pack Machinery Company.