High efficiency of production lines in Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industries are now required and expected. Your company and clients are often demanding, with high expectations to make output and productivity goals. Your sleeving process should not be the culprit in keeping you from meeting those goals. Here's what you need to keep in mind when selecting and using a shrink sleeve machine to ensure it works effectively and efficiently.
Understand the Detailed Material Specifications
Even if you have a great machine, it’s important to understand the fine details of the shrink sleeve film you’re using. Material quality and consistency has a huge impact on machine, and therefore production line, performance. Shrink characteristics vary widely depending on the material substrate on which the graphics are printed, as well as the source of the raw film itself. PVC has different qualities than OPS, and PET and PLA will behave differently both on the application machinery and through the shrink tunnel. In addition, there are various grades of film within each type of film substrate. Labels printed on the incorrect film will result in poor shrink quality and cause substantial downtime on the production line.
Know Before Buying
Before investigating new vendors for materials, you must have the crucial specifications as to material type, raw film manufacturer, specific grade and material shrink curve. As mentioned above, different sleeving materials react differently and each sleeve will have its own unique properties. If you want the end product to retain the same look as customers are accustomed to, it is best to do your due diligence before making any changes. Which leads us to our next “must do”…
Changing System Settings
The shrink sleeve machine and shrink tunnel may need to be set at specific settings in order to produce sleeving of a desired result. If setting changes are needed, have it done by a technician who is properly trained in how the machine works and what effect altering the settings will have on the sleeving quality. If you don’t have a properly trained technician on your staff, contract for a technician from the shrink sleeve machine manufacturer who will have the required knowledge.
Test Before Purchasing
If you want to change your shrink sleeve material vendor, you need to ensure that the new material will be of the quality that is expected. You should know the raw film source and the specific type and grade of film, both from your current supplier and from the potential supplier. In order to test film from a new source, request sample rolls from the new material vendor and test it on the machine and tunnel to see how well the sleeving performs and how well the graphics shrink. Only after ensuring that the new rolls create an acceptable end product should you order it on a large scale.
Keep a Technician Present During Trials
Changing sleeving materials can affect any machine. That is why you might want to have the sleeving machine and shrink tunnel vendor send a technician during the trial run. They may be able to make recommendations or adjust settings during trials so your product looks great and you don’t end up with any surprises during production runs.
Utilizing high quality shrink sleeves will help you maintain your productivity goals and ensure deadlines are met, clients are happy, and a quality product is consistently being produced. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the correct film types and grades so you purchase shrink sleeves that work well on your packaging equipment.