Are you having issues with your shrink wrapping equipment? Learn about the most common shrink wrap machine problems and their solutions here.
Shrink wrappers are amazing pieces of equipment but only if they’re in good working condition. Various shrink wrap machine problems can mean lost time, unhappy customers, and even safety hazards. The good news is that you can learn how to spot most of these issues and prevent or solve them. That’s what we will discuss in this article: the most common shrink wrapping machine problems and how you can fix them.
Shrink Wrap Machine Problems
Shrink wrap machines help to seal products (and virtually any package) by wrapping them in a thin film of thermo plastic. This is often done as a form of protection or packaging, and the film can be shrunk to fit snugly around the object using heat.
A typical shrink wrapper uses various parts to do these such as heat sealers, heat guns or shrink tunnels/chambers, and conveyors. Modern automatic shrink wrappers use complex systems consisting of electronics and mechanical components. The most advanced wrappers use programmable systems.
As you can see, so many things could go wrong with the machine. Most problems mostly involve issues with temperature, pressure, and in some cases, the timing of various events. A lot also depends on the type of machine as different parts and functions are involved.
Problems also usually involve the two main shrink wrapper parts: heat sealer and shrink tunnel. Here is a look at the most common shrink wrapping machine problems for the two parts..
1. Heat Sealing Problems
One of the most common problems with shrink wrap machines is incorrect or unstable temperatures. When the temperature isn’t right, the film won’t shrink properly, which can lead to a number of issues. Some of the most common tunnel shrink wrap machine issues caused by incorrect temperatures are:
1. Film taking longer to seal. This often happens when the temperature is too low. Increase the temperature to correct it.
2. “Angel hair” or hair-like strands near film seals. These mostly result from low heat. Check to ensure the correct heat settings and adjust if necessary.
3. The film is not cutting completely. This happens where the cutting and heating bar is not heating properly. You may increase the heat setting or check for other problems such as residual.
4. Weak seals and open areas. The temperature is likely too high. Turn it down. You can also try using a different type of shrink film or adjusting the settings on the machine.
5. Film not unwinding from the roll. This issue is often caused by excessive heat causing film layers to stick together. Ensure the film roll is always protected from heat.
2. Shrink Tunnel Problems
Shrink wrap machine problems can also be shrink tunnel-related. This means issues to do with the length of time that the item stays in the tunnel and if the tunnel is producing effective and consistent. When the timing and heating is not right, it can cause several issues. Some of the most common shrink tunnel problems include:
1. Wrinkled film, often as a result of ineffective exposure. Two things are necessary: turning up the heat and reducing conveyor speed.
2. Low heat levels causing fish eyes (oval patterns on film). Increase the machine’s temperature to ensure perfect shrinking.
3. Ballooning film due to exposure to heat after it’s sealed. Try using perforated film instead.
4. Products curling because the product is staying in the tunnel for far too long. Increase conveyor speed. You may also decrease the temperature
5. Film producing flaps (commonly called dog ears) in the seal region. This is often caused by insufficient heat reaching the seals. Slow down the conveyor and increase temperature.
6. Seals are failed when heated in the tunnel. Correct this problem by increasing the airflow in the tunnel. Ensure too, that the heater system and its controls are working.
7. Film seals splitting. The problem could be the film itself or the machine. Ensure the cutting wire is clean and free from residual. Ensure, too that the temperature setting is correct.
8. Inconsistent seals. The sealer is worn. Check it to ensure its applying uniform pressure when sealing the film. Proper machine maintenance can also help you catch and replace damaged/worn parts.
Shrink wrap machine problems can also involve other parts such as the electronic control systems, electrical connections, and mechanical or electro-mechanical components such as blower motor (if using a convective tunnel) and conveyor motor.
Some of these issues require a professional to fix and may not be easy to diagnose or troubleshoot. Machine usage tips that will help you avoid most issues with your shrink wrapper, continue reading below.
Shrink Wrap Machine Maintenance Tips
Many of the shrink wrap machine problems mentioned above might be prevented with a simple maintenance schedule. In addition to maintenance, it’s crucial to understand your machine’s working and how to use correctly. Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Regularly clean the machine and its parts to remove any residual.
- Check for loose or damaged electrical wires and replace if necessary.
- Lubricate the moving parts of the machine every few months.
- Keep the fuses in check and replace as needed.
- Check if the timer is set correctly and adjust as needed.
- Replace the Teflon tape on the sealing bar every few months. Other shrink wrap machine spare parts include sealing wire and silicone sealing bar/strip.
- Keep the shrink wrap rollers tensioned correctly.
- Ensure the film roll is properly threaded.
- Make sure the machine is properly plugged into power and that the outlet it’s plugged into is working.
- Check the circuit breaker to make sure it’s not overloaded.
- Keep the machine in a cool, dry place.
There are quite a few things that can go wrong with a shrink wrap machine. Most shrink wrap machine problems are associated with incorrect settings. With a little bit of troubleshooting, you should be able to fix most of them. In addition to the repair tips mentioned above, you can also prevent some common problems by performing regular maintenance on your machine. This includes cleaning it, checking for loose or damaged wires, lubricating the moving parts, and keeping the fuses in check.