How To Tell Stretch Film From Shrink Film

by Sebastian
Stretch Film And Shrink Film

In many instances, individuals and companies have had to innovate new ways of doing business to maximize the efficiency of operations. Inline to such a need, stretch films which are plastic films used to stabilize, bundle, and secure objects are the most used, The good thing about these stretch films is they are usually manufactured in various colors, thicknesses, and widths. When the film is applied to a package, the film can be stretched and pulled around products to create secure and tight loads. But, in this industry, many people think that stretch films and shrink films are the same things, which is false. Thus, let’s focus on the differences between stretch film and shrink film.

Stretch films vs. shrink films

Even though both shrink and stretch films are used in the unitization of products while placing them in pallets, they are not the same thing. The two films are also both made out of resins of a polyethylene nature. In addition to this, stretch films are routinely produced on cast film lines or blown film lines, while shrink films are limited to being produced on only blown film lines. However, the differences between the two types of wrapping materials outweigh the similarities.

The main component in shrink film is LDPE (low-density polyethylene), which exists in high percentages within the material. When strict manufacturing parameters and conditions are maintained, it is LDPE that lends its shrinking qualities to shrink film. This is achieved by freezing the tension or stress needed to make the film contract during the manufacturing process.

Whenever a heat source is placed near the shrink film, thus applying sufficient heat and bringing it close to the melting point, the shrink film begins to shrink and “draw up.” But, to maintain consistency and effectiveness of the wrapping process, products of different sizes are matched to shrink films of the same size. LDPE does not offer high load-holding force and does not stand up well to tears and punctures.

In contrast, stretch wraps inevitably contain large amounts of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). Stretch film is explicitly designed to stretch between 25% and 300%. In the most common cases, stretch films can be applied to products manually or by machine. Similar to big rolls of thin tape, stretch films designed to be applied by hand can stretch to 25-100%. On the other hand, stretch films designed to be applied by machines can stretch up to 300% of their original size and can create extremely high tension on a product load.

For high-quality pallet loads, shrink wraps are superiorly economical because shrink films offer decreased capital cost, as well as decreased amounts of energy needed in film application. Other advantages of the stretch film include the ability to apply various load styles to one product, and the minimal weight of film used upper load.


Commonly used to secure product loads and packages, stretch films are a remarkable plastic creation that has made packaging tasks very easy. Made from linear low-density polyethylene, stretch film is available in various sizes and colors.

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