3 Main Types Of Shrink Wrap Machines And Their Uses

Are you new to shrink wrappers? Here look at some of the different types of shrink wrap machines and what they’re best used for.

There are different types of shrink wrap machines for your choice. You have the small hand-held ones, the industrial-sized machines, and everything in between. So which one do you need for your business? And more importantly, how do they work? In this post, we’ll introduce you to the different types of the device and explain how each one works.

Types of Shrink Wrap Machines

If you’re new to commercial shrink wrap machines, you might be wondering what the different types are – or even how to use them. The different kinds of this machine are categorized into 3 types: the manual, semi-automatic, and automatic. These vary in many ways such as size, construction, working, and advantages or disadvantages. Here’s a breakdown of each type:

1. Manual Shrink Wrap Machine

The manual shrink wrap machine requires your effort throughout the wrapping process. It basically consists of a heat sealer + heat gun combo. The sealer serves to closes the open ends of the film, while the heat gun provides the heat to shrink the film. The manual shrink wrapper is also usually a handheld or tabletop device.

Tabletop shrink wrap sealer machines consist of a film holder, a sealing wire or knife, and a separate hot air blower called heat gun. During their operation, a user will pull some film from the roll (or use shrink bags), wrap it around the product, then lower the sealing bar to cut and seal the film before shrinking it with the heat gun. In the handheld type, the sealer is lowered to the wrapped item instead.

Manual shrink wrapping machines are the most basic types of wrappers where every step of the wrapping process is manual. This can be time-consuming, so it’s not ideal for businesses that have a lot of products to wrap. This type is also the most suitable type of shrink wrap machine for home use. It’s pretty easy to use, affordable, and applicable to many different situations.

2. Semi Automatic Shrink Wrap Machine

Semi-automatic shrink wrap machines are designed for medium to high-volume wrapping. They offer more automation than manual machines, but less than fully automatic machines. Semi-automatic shrink wrappers are generally a combination of two separate parts: a heat sealer and wrap shrinking unit, but that use more advanced mechanisms.

Starting with the heat sealer, these machines often use an L-bar sealer to heat and seal the plastic film around the product. The heat source to shrink the film is also normally a floor-standing tunnel or chamber that uses steam heat, hot air, or infrared heating. When using one, the operator has to wrap the product or item with film before sealing and sending it to the shrink tunnel.

Semiautomatic shrink wrapper can be two different types: the Combo type and the all in one machine. These only differ in the second step of the process: the shrinking of the film. As explained below

Combo Shrink Wrap Machine

This semi-automatic shrink wrapper combines a heat sealer and a shrink tunnel into one complete machine, but with different sections. The sealer is usually an L-bar unit with an automated roll dispenser and wrapping platform.

The shrink tunnel features a covered chamber with a conveyor to pass the wrapped and sealed product through it. Although not fully automated, the heat tunnel shrink wrap machine is capable of wrapping hundreds of products in an hour, a speed that suits medium scale industrial packaging needs.

One Step Shrink Wrap Machine

The one step or all in one shrink wrap machine is combines the heat sealer and shrink chamber in one floor standing unit. The operator will place the product in the wrapping platform, wrap it with film then enclose it with a clamshell-shaped cover. The shrink chamber them completes the process by sealing the film and shrinking it.

A semi-automatic shrink wrap machine is a step up from manual a manual type. These systems partially automate the feeding of the product into the wrapper, which speeds up the wrapping process. They’re a good option for businesses with a few to medium range number of products to wrap.

3. Automatic Shrink Wrap Machine

Automatic machines are the most advanced types of shrink wrap machines. They automate the entire wrapping process, from feeding the product into the wrapper to sealing it shut. This makes them the fastest and most efficient option for businesses that have a lot of products to wrap.

The modern automatic shrink wrap machine consists of an automated heat sealer, automated heat tunnel or chamber, and automated input and output systems. All processes are essentially controlled by electronic systems, and often include sensors to detect product or item height and position.

Because of their high speed (up to several thousand products an hour) automatic shrink wrappers are usually used in large companies that need thousands of products wrapped every day.

Types of Shrink Wrap Machines Sealers

Shrink wrap machine manufacturers often indicate if their machines are I or L types. If you’re in the market for a shrink wrapper, you will certainly come across these. So it’s important that you understand what they are. Here is more about them and what application each is suited for.

I- Bar Shrink Wrap Machine

The I-Bar shrink wrap machine uses an I-shaped sealer, which is usually a single bar than you lower onto the wrapping film to seal and cut it. This type of sealer is slow in operation and mostly used in small manual shrink wrappers. I bar shrink wrap machines are, therefore, usually meant for low volume applications.

L-Bar Shrink Machine

This type uses two L-shaped bars that heat up and seals the wrap around and item. Its machine much faster than the I-Bar machine and more effective when it comes to sealing shrink wraps. The L-Bar shrink wrap machine is also more efficient and suitable for use in industrial packaging situations


Different types of shrink wrap machines offer varying wrapping capacities that fit specific wrapping applications. As you have seen, each one has its own unique uses and benefits. It’s, therefore, important to understand the different types and their features before you make a purchase. With this knowledge, you can buy the right machine for your business and packaging needs.

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