12 August 2021 //
Benefits of LDPE Shrink Wrap for Packaging
Innovations in plastic continue to improve the way we live — it has also had a profound impact on the packaging industry.
Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is one of the most widely used plastics today for shrink bundling. It is produced by the polymerization of ethylene in high-pressure reactors. The resin can subsequently be blown, slit and wound to create film rolls, which are increasingly used by product manufacturers for a variety of packaging purposes. In shrink bundling, LDPE’s strong, flexible properties make it vital to the protection, unitizing and distribution of packaged goods.
The Benefits of LDPE Film for Packaging
Working with LDPE film can provide some wide-reaching benefits across efficiency, finances, waste production and other aspects of operation. It’s an excellent material for many applications thanks to its physical properties for the packaging process and how it affects the appearance and usability of the end product. Below are some of those benefits of LDPE for packaging.
1. Film Shrink Potential
Film shrink is what allows manufacturers to wrap their packaging tightly around the product. They place the polyethylene (PE) material loosely around the item or items and apply heat. The PE shrinks around it for a tight fit that conforms to the item. Different types of shrink material vary in characteristics of durability, stretchability and thickness, allowing users to find the right one for their work.
There are many benefits of LDPE shrink wrap for packaging. It has a low melting point and great durability and thickness, making it particularly useful for wrapping materials, including heavier items and food products. It has approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so it’s commonly used in wrapping certain food items. It also doesn’t have many of the drawbacks that come with alternative shrink-wrapping materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyolefin (POF).
The manufacturing process of LDPE film allows the shrink potential around a product to be between 40% and 60% in the machine direction, or length of the film, and 5% to 15% in the transverse direction, or width of the film. Shrinkage occurs when the film absorbs energy, typically through the form of heat energy, causing the molecule chains to return to a more natural arrangement. The film casts to the product, creating a tight unitized pack.
Shrinking the film to the product provides additional shipping, palletizing and handling benefits compared to unitizing and packaging products within a corrugated box.
2. Packaging Waste Reduction
Anyone who has ever received a package knows that once received, the box must be broken down and stored somewhere until it can be disposed of properly. Shrink bundling reduces the amount of packaging required, minimizing excess materials that need to be sent to landfills or recycled and reducing the work required by the buyer. In addition, plastic packaging and LDPE film create fewer greenhouse gases than alternative packaging.
LDPE film can also be collected and recycled to create new end-products. Product manufacturers looking to reduce packaging and develop a zero-waste initiative benefit from shrink film for bundling and distribution.
3. Shipping Cost Reductions
Shrink bundling products in LDPE film can minimize the overall size and weight of a package, resulting in lower shipping costs. Product manufacturers find that replacing a corrugated box with a tray or pad helps to reduce overall shipping costs. And in some instances, it can increase pallet density, too.
A good example of this is shrink bundling gable-top bags for the pet food industry. Using EDL’s Double-Tight Wrap shrink bundler to create a brick-like package, manufacturers can maximize pallet density and fit more products onto one truck.
4. Various Film Blends and Thicknesses
Packaging LDPE film gauge typically ranges between 1.0 to 4.0 thousandths of an inch (mils), offering an array of thicknesses suitable for different packaging needs, from protective layers of wrap around a product to thin yet effective barriers for food products. However they’re used, these films offer plenty of durability and flexibility for many types of products and applications.
LDPE film can also be blended with various chemical additives or other film materials to enhance the original properties. Film rolls can be clear, opaque, randomly printed or print registered. This benefits manufacturers looking to achieve a specific goal or product need beyond corrugated.
Aside from meeting various product needs, the versatility of LDPE allows us to create more presentation options. You can include additives for fog resistance, create a glossy sheen on the surface of the product or print quality graphics on your product with eye-catching designs. LDPE is a good choice if you want to give your marketing team the maximum number of options.
5. Different Types of Wraps
LDPE’s flexible properties allow for various enclosures to be achieved using EDL Packaging equipment. The enclosure type is dependent on both the product and distribution requirements. In addition to creating unitized packs, different enclosure types can provide aesthetically appealing packaging — like for windows being shipped to a big box retailer — primary packaging protection from dust or abrasions, containment of potential primary packaging leaks or tamper evidence.
The benefits of LDPE as a packaging solution are significant. For windows, bagged food products, personal care products and many others, LDPE is a practical packaging choice. It’s the preferred bundling material for manufacturers looking to protect, unitize and distribute products. LDPE helps manufacturers reduce pallet cost and enhance visual display while gaining flexibility in film type, thickness, wraps and even printing.
Incorporate LDPE in Your Packaging
If LDPE packaging film sounds like something you’d like to incorporate in your manufacturing practices, the experts at EDL Packaging can help. We have over 50 years of experience focused on the process that happens at the end of your production line. With a dedication to your success, EDL Packaging can help you take full advantage of all of the benefits that LDPE has to offer.
To learn more about what LDPE can do for your business, reach out to our team today.