2 Main Shrink Wrap Machine Parts And How They Work

Ever wondered what parts make a shrink wrapping system? This article breaks down the two main shrink wrap machine parts to show you their working.

Shrink tunnel, one of the main shrink wrap machine parts
Shrink tunnel, one of the main shrink wrap machine parts
Resource: https://foodindustryexecutive.com

A typical shrink machine is made of two major parts: heat sealer and film shrinking station or device: These shrink wrap machine parts complete the wrapping process, enabling businesses to package different products with ease. Read on to understand what each part does, how it works, and more depending on the type of machine.

Shrink Wrap Machine Parts

A shrink wrapping machine is made of many different components. However, there are technically only two major parts that these machines use to wrap or package products and other items. The two shrink wrap machine parts are the heat sealer (for sealing the film), and shrinking device (to tighten the film around an item). Read more about these two parts below.

All-in-one shrink wrap machine with the shrink chamber integrated
All-in-one shrink wrap machine with the shrink chamber integrated
Resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL4VhaknMEs

Shrink Wrap Machine Sealer

The sealer is the part of the shrink wrap machine that heats up to cut and seal the film around an item. It can be a hand-held sealing wand, a table-top I/L bar sealer, or it can be a floor standing sealer that’s used with or integrated into the shrinking station.

There are many different types of sealers available on the market, but they all basically use heat to melt and fuse the open ends of the film together. This forms a strong, airtight seal that will keep your product protected during shipping and handling.

Shrink wrap machine sealers come in two major types: the I sealer and L sealer. These offer different benefits when used as part of a shrink wrapper. The I and L shrink wrap machine parts are also used in specific types of the device, as explained below.

I-Bar heat Sealer

The I bar shrink sealer is the most common type of sealer for manual film shrinking system. It gets its name from the shape of the heating element/bar, which looks like a capital “I”. This type of sealer is good for sealing small and medium-sized packages.

Because I bar shrink wrap machines are manual, this type of sealer will mostly be hand operated. A user has to lower it when sealing film while ensuring its proper working.

L-Bar Heat Sealer

The L bar shrink wrap machine sealer is commonly used in semi or fully automatic film wrapping systems due to its efficient sealing and fast action. The heating element in this type of sealer looks like a capital “L” and, therefore, its name.

In a semi-automated machine, this types of sealer is operate by a switch or foot pedal. Fully automatic machines have the sealer electronically controlled, with features to ensure a smooth operation and product safety throughout.

Shrink wrap machine tunnel with its control panel
Shrink wrap machine tunnel with its control panel
Resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7fWqLNBf6Y

Shrink Wrap Machine Tunnel

This is arguably the most important of the shrink wrap machine parts. It’s simply a heating device that’s placed over a conveyor while a heat chamber forms part of the wrapping machine. It’s good to note that the heat gun is the most basic heat source when shrink wrapping. It’s mostly used with manual shrink wrappers and for small applications. Industrial shrink wrap machines use shrink tunnels or chambers instead.

Some shrink tunnels come with casters to allow them to be positioned over conveyors, while others are integral shrink wrap machine parts. There are three main types of shrinking devices or shrink tunnels: convective (hot air), conductive (steam), and radiant (infra-red). Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, which are explained below.

Hot Air Shrink Tunnel

Convectional or hot air shrink tunnels ovens are the most common type of shrinking devices. They use hot air to shrink the film around the product. This type of tunnel is affordable, reliable, and easy to use. It also has a wide range of temperature settings, so you can customize the heat to fit your needs.

The main drawback to convectional tunnels is that they can take a while to heat up. So if you need to quickly shrink some film, this may not be the best option for you. But if you have time to wait, a conventional tunnel will do a great job at shrinking your film. They’re also necessary when steam tunnels cannot be used.

Steam Shrink Tunnel

Steam ovens use steam to provide the heat needed to shrink plastic film. These tunnels come with either the steam generator forming one of the shrink wrap machine parts or a separate system to supply the steam. Steam ovens provide several benefits, which include uniform and controllable heating. These tunnels can be used with items of different shapes.

The main disadvantage of a steam shrink wrap machine tunnel is that you cannot use it with a number of products such as packaging powders. Others include some sleeve labels and tamper-evident applications. When a remote steam generator is required, steam tunnels may also prove to be costly in terms of manpower and maintenance needs.

Infra-Red Shrink Tunnel

The infra-red shrink tunnel uses heat bulbs and other means to radiate heat, and is among the most aggressive type of shrinking device in terms of response time. It offers some unique benefits over the other two types. First, these tunnels are fast and consistent in their results, and you can count on them to provide the same level of heat each time. Infrared tunnels are also very quiet.

The main drawback to the infra-red ray shrink tunnel is its lowered ability to shrink film on items with complicated shapes or those that are closely packed together. Infrared tunnels also produce intense heat quickly and may not be suitable for packaging that requires moderate or gentle heat when passing through the tunnel.


Different shrink wrap machine parts ensure the perfect wrapping of products and other items. Although a typical machine will include many components, the parts can be narrowed into two: the shrinking device (shrink tunnel or heat gun) and the sealer. Depending on the type of machine, these may form a one-piece device or a combo machine that uses the two parts separately.

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