Troubleshooting Labeling Issues While Running Shrink Sleeve Machinery

Today’s shrink sleeve labeling machinery is designed to run efficiently and exhibit a long life cycle. Over time, however, you may encounter some issues with your machine, and in some cases, this may relate to the materials you are using. To help you out, we've provided a guide on how to troubleshoot labeling issues with your shrink sleeve machinery.

1. Run New, High-Quality Labels

One way to narrow down whether the performance issues with your shrink sleeve labeling machinery are caused by the machine itself, or the labels you are using is to run the machinery using a roll of labels that you know run well. Ensure that these labels are the right size and are not damaged in any way. If the machine functions properly using these labels, you know the problem lies with the film material you are using and can then more easily identify and troubleshoot the issue.

2. Check the Lay Flat

It's important to understand the tolerances of your shrink sleeve materials and ensure that the lay flat dimensions (the measurement, in millimeters, across the flattened tube) of your labels fall within those tolerances. Have a millimeter scale near the machine and instruct the operators how to measure the lay flat dimensions of your labels. If the labels are outside the specified tolerances you will encounter problems.

3. Check for Split Seams

Make sure that seam on your label is correctly positioned and does not split open due to lack of solvent adhesive. Seams should be consistent and intact, with no excessive solvent welding the sleeves together.

4. Check for Deformations Caused by Overheating

Shrink labels can become deformed by overheating in transit or storage. If your labels seem crinkled, warped, or deformed in any way, they may have become overheated and will not apply properly. Damaged labels will jam when running through the shrink sleeve machinery.

5. Check the Dates on Your Labels

Shrink labels have a shelf life and you should be aware of labels that have expired. Labels that are older than 9-12 months begin to lose their functionality and they may cause your shrink sleeving machinery to malfunction. Check with your label supplier for the best dates of use. Discard labels that have expired by more than a month or two.

6. Clear the Tunnel and Applicator of Excess Material

If excess material such as loose sleeves or fallen containers has gathered in the tunnel or applicator of your shrink sleeve labeling machinery, make sure to thoroughly clean it out. The machine and tunnel will perform better once this debris has been cleaned out. Make sure the conveyor is clean and running smoothly.

7. Confirm Conveyor Speeds in the Operator's Manual

If your shrink sleeve labeling machinery is malfunctioning, you may be running the conveyor at the wrong speed. Check the recommended speed in your operator manual, then measure the speed of your conveyor using a tachometer that is designed for measuring conveyor speeds. If the speed is above or below what it should be, adjust as needed and run the machinery again. Conveyor speeds can not only affect sleeve application, it determines how long the product is in the shrink tunnel, which affects the shrink quality and appearance of your products.

8. Check to see if the Chain is too Hot

If the chain on your machine is overheating, it may cause problems such as shrinking the film on the label prematurely. An overheating chain is evidence of other issues within your machine that will need to be addressed before you continue running it. There are methods of cooling the chain, such as adding a blower to the body of the conveyor to dissipate heat.

The Importance of High-Quality Shrink Sleeve Machinery

Having your operation stalled by issues with your shrink sleeve labeling machinery can be costly. That's why it's important to ensure you are using high-quality labels as well as high-quality shrink sleeve labeling machinery.

At PDC, the packaging machinery that we manufacture is designed to function flawlessly and last longer than the competition, helping you avoid costly malfunctions and downtime. PDC cutting blades last months, not days. If you would like to learn more about putting our high-quality shrink sleeve labeling and tamper-evident banding machinery to work in your plant, we invite you to contact us today.

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