The Difference Between Shrink Wrapping and Bundle Wrapping

31 October 2013
Posted by Aaron Thomas


We often receive calls from potential clients asking if we can shrink wrap a tray of product they have. In actuality, they probably want bundling film but they are often confused about the differences. Shrink wrap, bundling film, stretch wrap… so many types of films can be confusing to someone that is new to the packaging world.

First of all, stretch wrap is what finished pallets are wrapped with. Individual selling units do not use stretch film.

If you want to wrap a single or very few units, shrink wrap is probably your best option. We have shrink-wrapped DVDs and video games in the past as well as curling irons and a 3pk jarred dip. Shrink wrapping works perfect for these types of applications and gives a really nice, completely film covered finished product.

On the other hand, bundle wrapping has the “bulls-eyes” or holes on two ends where consumers tend to grab. We have all seen the hundreds of products bundle wrapped in club stores. There’s the typical single or variety pack of beverages (canned, boxed, or bottled). We often see canned foods and condiments using bundling film as well. You can even find bundling film in the household cleaning section.

Sometimes we’ll see a package and wonder why they did not use printed bundling film instead of clear. For example, we run a project where we place two cartons front to back and bundle wrap them together using clear film. We then automatically place a graphic label on front letting the consumer know that there are two units in this pack and then we flip the unit and place a new UPC label on the bottom of the package. We’ve presented the option of printed bundling film to this client, but they still prefer to stick with the clear film option.

Obviously, printed film will be more expensive than the clear film. There will also be tooling costs to get the film made the first time. However, this will eliminate the need of cover up UPC labels and any graphic labels that may need to be placed on the package letting your customers know that the unit is a multipack. It also opens up valuable marketing space to promote the item or give any additional information that the carton did not already reveal.

The use of printed bundling film on loose cans can be extremely cost saving. If you had, say, six cans that you want in a multipack with clear bundling film, you would have to rotate the cans so that all the graphics are facing outwards. You may also need to individually cover up each UPC. With printed bundling film, the cans are covered completely except for the small “bulls-eye” holes on two sides. With this option, no cover up labels or turning of cans would be required.

Bundling film is really the ideal way to get away from using a carton or other budget-unfriendly way to keep your products together. Bundling film machines can easily be modified to fit multiple sizes without hefty tooling fees and wait times.

Aaron Thomas Company provides you with either the bundling film or shrink wrap option. We have high speed equipment at all three of our facilities that can accommodate a wide variety of needs.

In addition to bundling and shrink wrap, you may want to also consider the option of a shrink sleeve (also referred to as a shrink band). At our Memphis facility, we have multiple on-going projects that require two small cartons to be shrink banded together. We line up two units side by side so that the front of both units can be shown and then we heat shrink a custom made shrink sleeve around the two units. Prior to sleeving, we place a new UPC code on the bottom of the units, covering the old. If you prefer, custom printed sleeves can be ordered, which would eliminate the need to apply a cover up UPC label.

When you have decided which packaging option is right for your product, remember the important things. You want the consumer to be able to handle the product easily without it coming apart on their way to the register. When creating a multipack, you will most likely need to cover the old UPC’s with a new one. Make sure you create a new label with black backing so the old one cannot be seen through the new or design printed bundling film or a printed shrink sleeve that will not allow the UPC to be shown through.

If you need help decided which option is right for you, you can send us a sample or give us a call. Our locations in Los Angeles, Memphis, and Chicago all have made the high speed equipment to complete any of these popular packaging options

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