What Is A Shrink Wrap Machine? Definition, Working And Cost

An introduction to the shrink wrap machine including its working and price in the market.

The shrink wrap machine serves a vital role in these businesses: manufacturing, packaging, shipping, and retail. It allows companies to effectively package any product for sale and storage, or even shipping. This post is meant to introduce you to shrink wrapping machines, especially if you want to purchase one for your business or personal use.

What is a Shrink Wrap Machine?

Shrink wrapping machines are becoming a lot more popular today. A survey by Allied Market Research, for example, predicts a 6.5% growth of the machine’s market value to reach $1000 million by 2025. That means a lot of businesses are starting to use shrink wrappers in their day today activities.

But that’s not all – in addition to industrial the option, many people are purchasing the shrink wrap machine for home use. That said, commercial shrink wrap machines still account for the bulk of the market and include the large industrial wrappers with automated systems.

Now back to our question, what is a shrink wrap machine and what is it used for? Here is what it is:

Shrink Wrap Machine Definition

A shrink wrap machine, or shrink wrapper, is a device that wraps a plastic film around a product (or any item) to create a sealed package. The film shrinks in size when heated, hence the name. The packaging is then used to protect or promote items, among other benefits.

There are many different kinds of shrink wrap machinery out there ranging from the most basic (and inexpensive) to the most advanced and costly systems.

The simplest shrink wrap machine uses a heat gun to shrink the film, while advanced shrink wrap systems use shrink chambers or tunnels. As the film shrinks, it tightly wraps around the item and creates a seal that keeps away moisture and dust, more.

Small vs. Large Shrink Wrap Machine

Shrink wrappers are made in a broad range of sizes from the small handheld to the large industrial system. A small shrink-wrap machine is a simple, handheld sealer that you use in combination with heat gun. On the other hand, a large shrink wrap machine is a continuous packaging line for industrial purposes.

Handheld Shrink Wrap Machine

This is a portable shrink wrap machine that you hold in your hand when using. Despite its design, the handheld shrink wrapper can be used in many different settings, including commercial applications that only involve wrapping few items. It’s usually used with a heat gun.

Table top Shrink Wrap Machine

A table top or desktop shrink wrap machine is a simple heat sealer such as impulse sealer that you use with either a heat gun or, in large scale applications, with a heat shrink tunnel. Table top shrink wrappers are mostly designed for use in limited space applications such as office, retail or home but can still be used in small scale industrial situations.

Floor Standing Shrink Wrap Machine

Floor-standing shrink wrap machines are much larger and faster than table-top models. They are designed for high-volume applications and can package items of different sizes. Floor shrink wrap machines may be partially or fully automated, and are often equipped with a conveyor to move products through the machine.

How Does a Shrinking Machine Work?

As indicated earlier, shrink wrap equipment use heat to shrink the plastic film around the item being wrapped. The heat is usually provided by a variety of sources, including electric heating elements, steam, and infrared bulbs.

The shrink wrap machine working depends on whether it’s a manual or automated system. Manual shrink wrappers are small devices, while automated types are large shrink wrappers with more advanced mechanisms.


Manual Shrink Wrapper

A manual shrink wrap machine is a simple combination of heat sealer and heat gun. A heat sealer is simply a device that heats up a sealing element to cut and seal the open ends of a film before finally shrinking it with the heat gun. Here is how you use it:

  • Wrap the item you want to shrink wrap in a piece of shrink film
  • Make sure the film is well secured around the item
  • Move the heat sealer’s I-bar over the film ends to cut of excess material and seal the ends
  • Using the heat gun, shrink the plastic wrap around the item

Automatic Shrink Wrapper

An automatic shrink wrap machine is somewhat more complex. However, it still uses the sealer and heat shrink combination. The only difference is that instead of a heat gun, it uses a shrink tunnel or shrink chamber. Most automatic wrappers also use L-bar sealer. An L shrink wrap machine uses two L shaped bars to seal the film, which is faster and more efficient than the I bar. Here is how to use one.

  • Wrap the product you want to shrink wrap in a piece of shrink wrap film.
  • Move the L-bar sealer to cut and seal the open ends (usually via a switch or foot pedal)
  • Place the item on the conveyor and move it through the heat tunnel
  • The wrap will shrink around the item as it moves through the tunnel

In another version of an automated wrapper called an all in one shrink wrap machine, you do not need to place the sealed product on a conveyor. The machine itself houses a heat shrink chamber to heat the film and make it tighten around the product.

Fully automated shrink wrap machines carry out all the shrink wrapping steps by themselves. They contain automated sealers and heat shrink tunnels or chambers, and may include an in and out feed conveyor for easy integration with other production lines.

Shrink wrap Machine Uses and Benefits

Shrink wrapping machines come in a variety of sizes and can be used to package everything from small items like candy bars to large objects like furniture and even helicopters. Some common applications for shrink wrap machines include:

  • Wrapping foods such as meat, vegetables, and fruit
  • To overwrap shipping boxes and other items that require overwraps
  • For wrapping retail display products
  • For creating tamper-evident seals

Shrink wrap is a type of plastic film that shrinks in size when heated. Mostly, it’s called polyolefin, although others such as polypropylene, PVC, polyethylene are also used. Shrink wrap or film is also transparent and moisture-resistant. Most of all, it’s heat-sealable. Businesses using a shrink wrapping machine gains in the following ways:

  • Watertight seals that keep away moisture and contaminants
  • Thin packaging that takes less space
  • Low-cost packaging than boxes or crates
  • Shrink wrap can package products of different sizes irrespective of their shape

How much does a Shrink wrap Machine Cost?

There are a variety of shrink wrap machines on the market, each with its own set of features and capabilities- and different price options based on these variations. The price of a shrink wrapping machine will, therefore, change based on the type and size of machine you buy.

Manual tabletop sealers with heat guns go for several hundred dollars. The most basic, semi-automatic shrink wrap machine will cost around $1000, while a top-of-the-line automatic machine can cost as much as $30,000. These are machines that use complex systems and programmable wrapping steps.

Generally, the automatic shrink wrap machine price ranges from $10 000 to $30 000. It’s important to weigh the cost of a shrink wrap machine against its benefits. Machines that are used frequently used can be more cost-effective in the long run.


To sum it up, the shrink wrap machine is an essential piece of equipment for any business that wants to package and sell products. It’s an easy way to keep products safe and secure and it can also create a tamper-evident seal. If you’re thinking about purchasing a machine, be sure to research the different types and sizes available so that you can find the best one for your business.

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