Shrink sleeve labels are called so as, upon application of heat, they can shrink and take the form of the container on which they are adhered. This helps in providing 360 degree printed coverage of the container, easily maneuvers complex container contours, provides multicolor signage and graphics on containers where normally it would be impossible to surface print and provides spectacular shelf appeal. Shrink sleeve labels also provide a means of tamper proofing by incorporating features which can make it very evident if somebody has tried to open the container or tried to pass on spurious product in the market. It is because of all of these reasons that shrink sleeves are widely used across food/ personal hygiene/ beverage markets.
The simplest kind of shrink sleeves are those that cover a part of the container e.g. the shoulder, and shrink to fit upon heat treatment. Shrink sleeves can follow the shape and form of a container with utmost ease something that conventional adhesive labels can never achieve. These kind of shrink labels are used in conjunction with separate shrink seal for the container closure to prohibit tampering and pilferage. Some people prefer full body shrink sleeves which cover the entire outer surface of the container in one sleeve. Shrink sleeves help in reducing the warehousing costs of packaging. For packaging a variety of flavors of same product, the same container can be used in conjunction with custom printed labels for each flavor. Thereby there wont be any need to store and maintain inventory of pre-printed containers for separate flavours, the differentiation will happen through labels once they are applied on the containers.
Full Body Shrink Sleeves
As indicated above, Full body shrink sleeves cover the entire body of the container. Since the sleeve can be completely printed from end to end, the entire surface of the container can be adorned with graphics and visuals to make the container more eye-catching. Whilst its difficult to replace glued paper labels, shrink labels can easily be used to cover older product containers to re-brand them or to give a fresh new look. In full body shrink sleeves the portion covering the cap or the closure is separated from the rest of the body by a horizontal perforation which can be easily torn to open the container. The fact that sleeve has to be torn in order to open the container makes it evident if the package has been fiddled around with.
Preforms or Tamper evidence seals
Preforms are essentially shrink labels which are used as contamination prevention seals or tamper evidence seals for containers that tend to taper inwardly and don’t have shoulders to support the sleeve before shrinking. The perform seals can be transparent or coloured, printed or unprinted as per client requirements. Preform seals not only provide safety against pilferage and adulteration, they tend to provide a very effective indication if the container and its contents have been tampered with in any way. These seals can also have warning messages printed on them cautioning the end-users against using the product in case seal has been found broken. Although not mandatory, but usually perforations are provided on the seals for easy tear and removal from the container top. Preforms are commonly used in food and pharma packaging.
Combination packaging is used to wrap a number of containers for selling them as a single promotional offer. The combination packaging is most often used in household or personal care fmcg products to offer free samples or in buy 1 get 1 free kind of promotions. These kind of offers are very popular during festival sales or when companies want to introduce new products in the market and also when they want to to get rid off old stocked up inventories clubbing them with other better selling products. Since shrink sleeves can offer a snug, attractive and economical package it turns out to be the ideal packaging solution for even grouping products of dissimilar shapes and sizes. The combination shrink sleeves are easily removable from the products and hence can be removed to sell the products individually once the offers expire or are taken back.
SHRINK SLEEVE MATERIALS
PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is the most common shrink film used to make labels and sleeves. It shrinks at relatively low temperatures and offers good shrink ratios. It also has good clarity, print quality, weather and abrasion resistance, but recycling of PVC film is a problem and hence its not as environmentally friendly as some of the other shrink materials available.
PETG – Polyproplyene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG) is a recyclable high density film with a high strength ratio, abrasion resistance, high gloss, excellent clarity and a higher shrink ratio. However it is the most expensive and most heat resistant shrink sleeve material available today. PETG is also pasteurisable.
PLA – Polylactide, or Polylactic acid is a biodegradable environment friendly plastic made out of renewable plant materials such as corn starch.
EPS Foam – Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a recycle-able, closed-cell, lightweight, rigid-foam thermoplastic material. The low thermal conductivity, high compressive, strength and excellent shock absorption properties of EPS make it an ideal material for shrink sleeves. It also offers outstanding form fit and product safety to the container.