Packaging Solutions for Non-Round or Containers with Multiple Curves

Non-round containersOver the years, we’ve worked with companies on hundreds of shrink sleeve packaging solutions, each with its own unique characteristics and challenges. From full-body shrink sleeving, to tamper-evident banding, and multi-packing—we’ve covered the gamut. 

Keep reading to learn more about some of our favorite, more challenging packaging projects for containers that are not traditionally shaped where our R-Series Shrink Labelers and KST Series  Steam Tunnels provided the perfect solutions.

Sabra Hummus To-Go Pack

Sabra Image-Grey

A hummus company approached us to decorate and provide tamper evidence to their grab-and-go snack packs at 300 packs per minute.

The container is conical, both top and bottom, making it challenging for the label artwork to align with the container. The package also has flashing, with a sharp edge at the maximum diameter where the top and bottom halves snap together that can potentially impede the sleeve application. 

The vacuum-formed container is made of thin plastic, which is very prone to deformation if heated beyond a specific temperature.

PDC recommended our R-300 TSCB Shrink Labeler with Servo-controlled cleated-belt product handling as the perfect system for the job. The camming motion of the cleated belt slows the cup just under the point of application, stabilizing the product and maximizing dwell time. 

Choosing the right shrink tunnel was also critical due to the fragile, thin containers. Two KST 80 Steam Tunnels are used, providing multiple zones of heat, each with adjustable steam runs, to focus heat only where it needs to go. The KST 80 is a dual-zone system with rows of steam distribution tubes on both sides of each zone allowing for precise regulation of the steam flow.

Brillo Cleaning Products

Brillo household item

A household products company wanted shrink sleeves to label their home cleaning products. Non-round containers and the application of labels on empty bottles posed several challenges.

The containers’ non-round shape and offset neck make it difficult for the shrink sleeves to conform to the contours, and the label graphics to be precisely oriented. PDC’s R-150 Shrink Labeler is the solution as it applies sleeves at high speed while its unique mandrel design and shape maintain the labels’ graphic orientation. 

The unstable, empty bottle is another consideration as it is prone to tipping over during handling. This is not an issue for the R-150, which has dual counter, rotating timing screws and a walking beam band positioner that tamps the sleeve down to the conveyor without losing side-to-side graphic orientation.

The shrink tunnel requires high temperatures to shrink the neck but there was a concern that the heat could deform the bottle. PDC’s KST 80 Dual-Zone Steam Shrink Tunnel is ideal as it provides ten steam runs in each of its two zones, each run adjustable for pressure and position.


Pom Wonderful

Pom HULAPackaging for a pomegranate juice with beautiful graphics, curves, and an irregular shape posed unique hurdles. Achieving a consistently tight, wrinkle-free shrink called for innovative shrink sleeve labeling solutions.

To apply full shrink sleeve labeling from base to neck requires the label to conform around complex curves. There’s also a tendency for vertical label shrink, or “pull up,” on the container because of these curves. In addition, shrinking the label between the two bulbs of the bottle required extremely precise heat control within the steam shrink tunnels.

PDC’s R-300 Shrink Labeler and the KST 80-712 Steam Tunnels are just the right systems to do the job. The R-300’s proprietary cleated belt product handling stabilizes the container during application of the label. The KST 80-712’s precise heat application keeps the label anchored at the bottom. Multiple steam controllers direct more heat to the neck and crown to finish the shrink.

Another solution is required for the distinctive “double-bulb” shaped bottle that has a deeply recessed mid-section and small crown. Because of this unique shape, there is a risk of the sleeve bridging between the bulbs. To avoid this, a venting blade system is used to let out any trapped air during shrinking.

Irregular shapes, top-heavy containers, shrink sleeving empty bottles—each of these factors can pose a challenge to achieving successful shrink sleeve packaging outcomes. PDC welcomes challenges like these and works with companies to find the best shrink sleeving and tamper evidence systems to achieve both a beautiful design and a functional package.

At PDC we have over 50 years of shrink sleeve packaging experience providing high-quality application machinery and shrink tunnels for even the most challenging sleeving projects. We offer a free Shrink Lab test for your product to determine label specifications, ensuring the results you and your customers expect. If you’re starting a new shrink sleeving project, please contact us today about our capabilities

We look forward to working with you, and making your next shrink sleeve packaging project a success!